Everything you need to know when shopping for a new pair of curtains or blinds. Let our curtain and blinds buying guide help you to find the perfect style, colour and design of curtains or blinds to complement your home.
How to measure your windows for new curtains or blinds?
Choosing the right size of blinds or curtains to buy is important, so it is vital that you measure your windows first. Measuring your window for a new set of curtains or blinds can be tricky and it often depends on the style of window dressing you’re looking for.
Floor length curtains are often best for rooms that have no furniture directly under the window, so the curtains can drop to the floor and give a room character. Long curtains can help a room appear bigger and make the ceiling appear higher than it is.
For floor length curtains, you’ll need to measure from above the curtain pole to approximately 3 inches past the floor, to give yourself enough fabric for the curtains to drape beautifully.
Shorter curtains can be more practical, especially if you have a busy family home and have little ones running around. Short curtains often drop to the window ledge or slightly below. To measure your windows for short curtains, it is more straightforward, and you’ll need to measure from the top of the curtain pole to slightly below the window edge or the end of the window pane.
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 centimeter 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
How to dress a window?
When it comes to dressing a window, style and design is key. You should first consider the room that you’re buying new curtains or blinds for.
A bedroom or guest bedroom should typically have curtains or blinds that help to block out the light and provide a dark and tranquil place to rest. Choose colours and designs that are simple and calming and avoid any strong patterns or busy designs as they can distract you from a good night’s sleep. A living room should allow for as much light as possible during the day but also ensure the room is kept warm during the night. Curtains in a living room or lounge can add a pop of colour and complement your soft furnishings. A kitchen is often thought of as the heart of the home, but it can be prone to condensation from cooking. When it comes to dressing a kitchen window, look for easy-to-clean roller blinds that also add character to the room. For a bathroom, make sure to choose blinds or curtains that provide privacy as well as being damp-proof or waterproof.
To make small windows appear bigger than they are, mount the curtain pole higher than you normally would, to allow the curtains to drape down to the floor and give the illusion of a taller window. This clever idea helps to make a room appear larger and will help the ceilings to appear taller too.
Bay windows can add character to your home but can be tricky to dress. Choose floor length curtains that drape down from a curtain pole fitted outside the recess. For more privacy, add roller blinds or a sheer panel.
A roller blind can be the best option for a skylight. You may also want to choose a blind that can be operated remotely for skylights that are difficult to reach.
You may want to add curtains or panels to patio doors in your home, especially if your home is overlooked by other properties. Vertical blinds are also a good option and can be easily cleaned.
Curtains or blinds, or both?
Depending on the type of window you’re looking to dress, you may prefer a set of curtains, a set of blinds or perhaps both to give a finished look to your home. At TJ Hughes we have plenty of options and styles to choose from and all at up to 70% off the RRP.
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 ones for your needs is really important. 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, and 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 tilted 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 needs. While a light fabric will do for living rooms, a heavier blind or blackout material 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 tilted, vertical blinds can usually also be drawn back to allow as much light in as possible.
How do I clean my curtains or blinds?
How to clean curtains
Some curtains can be washed in the washing machine, on a delicate cycle and at a low temperature. More delicate curtains can be gently hand washed and heavy fabrics can be steam cleaned to avoid a lengthy drying process. Don’t put curtains in a tumble dryer as this can cause significant shrinking and creasing which will be very difficult to rectify. Instead hang curtains outside to dry naturally but avoid exposure to direct sunlight.
How to clean blinds?
Firstly, you’ll need to remove as much dust as possible from the blinds by using a duster, a damp cloth or a vacuum. Next, add a few drops of washing up liquid into a bowl of warm water. Using a microfibre cloth, dip into the warm soapy water, remove as much of the liquid as possible and begin to clean each panel.