Guide to curtains and drapes


One very important thing about curtains is that they have to match the rest of the decorative elements in the room and fit into the overall tone of the room. That is why a living room decorated on minimalist principles, with precise shapes and straight lines, will have no common feature with a curtain or a heavy curtain, in baroque style, with folds and ruffles. If you follow the principle that a curtain is just a textile that hangs on windows, you lose a lot. There is now such a wide variety of colors, textures, and patterns that choosing them can no longer be considered easy.

Where to start?

Set aside style considerations for a moment, as the feature is what will limit your options for a particular curtain pattern. If you want these window treatments to give you privacy or darkness, you need lined curtains. If you are looking for something lighter that allows light to pass through, or if the curtain simply has a decorative role, the unlined ones will work better.

The lined ones are a bit more expensive, but they also have their advantages. This can protect the fabric from sunburn, which makes the curtain material last longer. The lining also adds an amplitude that protects against drafts and helps the curtain to “fall” nicely. For maximum durability, total light blocking, and even insulation, you can opt for curtains with an “interline”, ie a layer of flannel sewn between the lining and the material of the “face”. This is a common option for custom curtains, but it is not widely available, being a bit more expensive.

What do you need to know about texture, colors, and patterns?

In terms of texture, consider the mood of the room. For a formal space, there are variants of heavy silk or velvet (with a high degree of insulation). The most practical options include blends of artificial silk and silk or cotton satin. For a casual look, there are wavy and wrinkled velvet curtains. The cotton ones and blends work with any type of decoration and bring a clear and clean look.

Regarding the color, you will have to decide if you want the curtains to blend in with the decor or to surprise. For a middle way, choose curtains in the same tone as the walls, but with a few darker shades, or choose a subtle, non-dominant color in the room (a soft shade for a rug, say). A bold color will work as an exclamation mark (if you are looking for extravagance). Also keep in mind that in a space where the sun shines through the unlined curtains, the color will infuse the room. Blue can be weird, pink, and cheerful.

As for prints and patterns, if you have pieces of furniture, bedding, or a rug with elaborate patterns, go for solid, solid window accessories. If you have solid furniture or plain bedding, consider patterned curtains. For a stylish, positive, and subtle but energetic result, go for small, neutral prints such as dots or curved lines. A larger one-color print that relates to the existing décor is bold, but it can be spectacular.

How long should the curtains be?

The most suitable option is the floor-length option unless there is a radiator or a deeper sill. Ready-made window treatments are available in lengths from 160 cm to 360 cm. Measure from the floor to where you will mount the fastening system and then round the amount thus obtained to the higher value. You may always need to trim them a bit, so it would be best to round up the material to a larger number. You will get the cleanest look if the material comes in contact with the floor (sill or radiator). Curtains that are too short can look monotonous and cut.

The easy “hitting” aspect of the floor or sill is classic and easy to adapt, but it only makes sense if you open and close the curtains several times a day. The fabric should just look like it’s touching the floor. This is also a good approach for “cafe” type curtains (those short treatments that cover only the bottom of a window), which work well in the kitchen and bathroom, or where long curtains simply they are not practical.

Curtains that are 2.50 to 7 cm on the floor are currently the most elegant. They are more relaxed than just touching the floor, but they still need to adjust. If you have uneven floors or are worried about measurement accuracy, this style is more forgiving. In formal rooms, an exaggerated approach – 15 cm or more of material falling to the floor – can seem romantic and bohemian, but also difficult to maintain. Think that you will have to lift them every time you suck and that you will have to chase the cat every time he lies down on the curtain.

How wide should the curtains be?

To ensure that the treatments will be ample and draped when closed, they should be 2 to 2 and a half times the width of the window. Exceptions are cases where you hang the curtains just to frame a window and do not intend to close them, in which case you can round the measurements to a lower value, only once – once and a half the width of the window. Pleated curtains have a fullness of their own “construction”, so the width should more or less match the range they cover.

Where should they be mounted?

In general, hanging the curtain on the wall above and outside the window trim and trim system looks best, as it allows the fabric to fall gracefully. If the window frames are slightly more detailed and you do not want to cover them, an interior mounting (ie in the immediate frame of the window) can work better. The extension of the rail up to 7-15 cm beyond the frame on each side makes a window be perceived larger allowing better penetration of light if the curtains are open. That’s because the material hanging on the wall doesn’t block the glass.

What do you need to know about the top of the curtain?

  1. Basic hem with hooks – A traditional, flat variant that attaches to the rail through tiled rings at the top or sometimes through rings attached to the hooks.
  2. Pocket-type hem – A “channel” along the top of the rail that creates a casual and gathered effect. A nice choice for curtains that will stay longer closed, as it is not as easy to handle as the first option.
  3. Pleated hem – There are many styles, from narrow folds the size of a pencil to very wide, flat folds. Because they are structured, these curtains give a much more formal effect than other types. Pleated curtains generally work with hooks and rings.
  4. Gauze hem – Flat fabric loops hang on the fastening system. This type can look relaxed on steamy fabrics and stiffer and starved on stiffer materials.
What type of rail should you use?

Decorative rails for curtains and drapes should relate to the style of the room. Those that are completely hidden from view can only be chosen based on functionality. The most common options would be:

  • Classic rail – An adjustable rod, often finished in some ornamental covers, which attach to the walls. Match the metal of the rod with the other finishes in the room. You can buy a double version if you want to layer the window treatments.
  • U-shaped rail – An adjustable rod that screws directly into the wall. The curtains wrap around the bar on curved sides, making this rail model a good solution for blocking light. They are also available in a double-layer variant.
  • Track-shaped rail – Curtain hooks are attached to the pulleys inside the rail. Can be installed on a wall or ceiling. Some parts look like a rod with lids, hiding all moving parts inside the rail.
  • Classic rail – The lightest and cheapest variant, but also the least robust, adjusts to the size of a window frame without any system. This simple, personality-free bar is only for light curtains or cafe curtains.
Do you need laces, cords, or other accessories for curtains and drapes?

Whether you want to pull the curtains or drapes to the side to allow light to pass through, or a formal, platonic look, cords are the answer. They are also a handy and good-looking solution for any type of curtain. Mount a curved metal bracket or bolt (known as a rosette) on the wall about two-thirds of the length of the window at the bottom. Match the curtain fittings with the rest of the decor, the rail system, and the style of the other finishes in the room. There are simple textile cords and more fancy tasseled cords with a real effect. For a more casual look, tie the curtain in the center with a wide fabric or ribbon.

What do you need to know about rail installation?

Either you can choose to hire a specialist, who will probably finish the job in about 30-40 minutes (depending on how many windows you have) for a small amount of money, or to do all the editing yourself. After all, all clamping systems come with instructions for use and manuals full of pictures that explain quite clearly what element falls and where. You may need to purchase the rings separately. If so, always buy extra. For a project on your own, you will need a folding ladder, a roulette wheel, a pencil, a portable drill, and a screwdriver.

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