You must have heard the adage that window dressings matter. We agree, metaphorically as well as literally. Your home isn’t complete without suitable curtains on its windows and doors.
We think of curtains as that finishing touch that makes all the difference to the overall look of your interiors.
So how do you go about choosing the right curtains for your space? Well, you need to keep in mind not just the aesthetics but also some very practical things. Let us cover these points one by one.
Set your budget first-
Curtains are a medium to long term investment for any household. Most home owners expect their curtains to last several years. So, do allocate an appropriate budget in advance. Remember, you can buy curtains off the shelf, or you can order custom curtains. There are a range of things you can choose between- an expensive curtain material, or make do with something affordable, high-end hardware to hang curtains, or just install basic curtain rods. You even get an option to opt for lining/ interlining, or get custom blackout panels, or just a thick material. Alternatively, if you’re on a better budget, you can pair your curtains with custom roman shades for a stylish look. There are so many cost factors associated with curtains that it is better to know beforehand how much you are willing to spend, and then choose accordingly.
Readymade curtains or custom curtains?
Readymade curtains are available in standard sizes of 84/96/108 inches. While there is no dearth of patterns and fabrics, these are mass produced and rarely have a polished look. If your windows or room ceilings are of non-standard height or width, or if you want an exclusive look, or if you simply have a fabric or style in mind that isn’t available off-the-shelf, it is better to go for custom curtains.
Curtains can be made from a wide range of fabrics – cotton, silk, polyester, velvet, linen, wool, and also fabrics with blends of yarns. Whether buying readymade or getting custom curtains, you need to choose a fabric that fits not only your budget but also the decor style of your room, and suits your maintenance habits. This basically means that you need to choose the fabric of your curtains based on their usability and features. For instance, a room with windows bringing in lots of sunlight needs curtains that allow light inflow control to cut glare. A room with privacy needs requires curtains to be opaque (you can also use an interlining or a custom blackout lining for this). For casual and heavy-usage areas with heavy footfall, breezy cottons and linens can work well. For formal areas where you entertain guests and the curtains are not required for their high functionality but rather that rich touch of eclectic luxury, curtains could be in silk, velvet or brocade for a luxurious vibe. If you are on a tight budget, polyester might be the best choice.
Next, we need to talk about the maintenance aspects that you need to consider while choosing curtains.
Curtains aren’t like bedsheets or pillowcases that need regular laundering every few days. Still, depending on the surrounding dust and the pollution, you do need to wash curtains every few months. Some fabrics (like silk and suede) require dry cleaning that usually costs a bundle. Some fabrics like cotton and polyester can be washed at home in the washing machine. Even with the ones that you can wash at home, the ironing needs can differ. Cotton and linen need heavy ironing. A polyester-cotton blend fabric can do with light ironing. If you are using velvet curtains, be ready to vacuum clean each panel every week or so as it ends up trapping dust. So, think in advance about just how much money and effort you are willing to put into maintenance before choosing your curtains.
Curtain heading styles and length/width of curtains
You also have to choose a heading style that goes with your room’s look. There are two main categories of heading styles – one requires metal rings or hooks for attaching the curtain, or the other one that has openings sewn into the fabric itself. Pleated curtains look more formal and require more fabric length per curtain. When the hanging system is sewn into the curtain (with grommets or tie tops), it gives off a less formal look.
You also have to decide on the length and width of the curtains. The curtains should ideally extend up to 4 to 8 inches wider than the window frame width. Similarly, the curtain heading should be at least 6 to 8 inches above the window top edge. For shorter room heights, the higher the curtain’s top edge, the better it looks. You can also go for ceiling-to-floor length custom curtains.
Color and printed/ plain/ textured curtains
Now that you have decided on budget, fabric, style, length, and such, we come to the next important factor, i.e. the color and the print or plain or texture choices. You need to pick curtains that go with your room’s color palette. For smaller rooms, it is best to choose curtains that match the walls to create visual continuity which expands the space visually. If the room is large and uncluttered, you can opt for bold prints and contrasting colors. If the upholstery is patterned and the walls are plain, you can use a fabric that picks the color of the upholstery. You can also mix and match patterns and fabrics to create color blocks. If there’s an accent wall in the room, avoid using a bold or contrasting curtain fabric as it might take away the focus.
Using blackout liners and lining
Blackout liners, being densely woven, help block out the sunlight. A lining also helps check light inflow. Sheer curtains also need a lining to enable privacy and light filtering effect. Lining and blackout liners also increase the life of curtains by blocking out harsh sunlight that can weaken the fabric and fade stronger colors.
To conclude this important chapter-
You are now aware of all the factors you need to consider before choosing your curtains. You just have to put a little thought into all these dimensions and most importantly keep note of both functional and aesthetic needs that your curtains fit into, and you’ll be good to go for choosing the best curtains to adorn and levitate the look of your home.
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