From blocking out the light to providing privacy, some people feel that a house is just not a home without curtains. With a range of different types available, choosing the right one for you needs is vital.
Eyelet: These curtains contain the holes needed to hang them up in their heading at the top, so will require a pole. Folding the eyelet curtains onto the pole creates an attractive fluted look, while also allowing for heavy designs that block out more light.
Pencil pleat: Able to be used on curtain poles or tracks, pencil pleat curtains use hooks threaded through the cords in the heading to stay up. These often provide a flatter look for curtains, although they are often patterned.
Voile: These lightweight curtains allow some light through, often providing a soft glow. While not always ideal for the bedroom, they still provide privacy, meaning they can complement kitchens and living rooms.
Nets/Lace: Providing extra privacy but still allowing in as much light as needed, lace and net curtains are a favourite for living spaces in many British homes. These types are often hung together with heavier curtains to get the benefits of both formats.
Durable and practical, blinds are often a cost-effective way to maintain privacy and block light. They also come in a range of styles.
Venetian: These blinds have slats that can be titled to look through and let in light, or lowered for the opposite effect. Venetian blinds are often made of metal or wood, allowing for a great degree of light control.
Roller: This type of blind is made from fabric that can be raised or lowered as needed. Roller blinds are designed in a range of colours and degrees of thickness, so it is important to pick a design that will suit your need. While a light fabric will do for living rooms, a heavier blind would be needed for bedrooms.
Roman: Working in a similar vein to the roller style, Roman blinds are made of fabric and can be raised or lowered, but form a pleated look when up. This is due to slats or dowel rods hidden in or behind the fabric, which can create an attractive display.
Vertical: Ideal for longer windows, vertical blinds use slats or strips that hang down, allowing for control over the light entering a room. As well as being titled, vertical blinds can usually also be drawn back to allow as much light in as possible.
Choosing the right size of blinds or curtains to buy is important, so it is vital that you measure your windows first.
First choose whether you want a pole or track, which should be positioned around 15cm above the window and carry on around 15-20cm on either side. Then work out the total length of the track or curtain pole, remembering that the curtains will need an additional overlap of around 2.5cm added to the width measurement to connect in the middle.
When measuring length, decide whether you want the curtains to fall to the floor, below the sill, or to it. Floor length curtains often finish around 1.5cm from the ground, although it can be longer if you want it to trail. Below-the-sill curtains usually stop around 15cm below it. Meanwhile, sill-length curtains will be measured to around 1.25cm above the window ledge.
From where you measure from at the top will be determined by the curtain type, starting at the track for this type of design. However, when using a pole it will depend on the fastening. Measure pleats from the eye of the curtain ring and eyelets from the top of the pole.
If fitting within a window recess, be sure to measure across at different points, taking the lowest measurement as the one you should stick to. Also, make sure that the recess is at least 7.5cm deep to fit the mechanism in.
If you choose to have the blind in front of the recess, allow for around half a centimetre extra on either side. It is also often a good idea to attach the blinds around 10cm above the window to allow for the mechanism.
Keep curtains away from condensation by hanging them so they don’t touch the window pane
Most curtains must be hand washed, after first removing any hooks or other accessories, but some can be machine washed in a laundry bag. Always read the washing instructions
Tiebacks can be a useful and less damaging alternative to constantly drawing curtains back and forth, especially for heavier eyelet and pencil designs
Blinds can be easily dusted or even vacuumed using an attachment to keep them clean
It is important to keep the cords from blinds out of reach of children and pets, as there is a risk of strangulation if they become entangled