A well-chosen window dressing combines beauty with practicality for the smartest of finishes.
One of the main focal points of a room, the way you dress your windows will always have an impact. While functionality may sway the decision from curtains to blinds, especially in hardworking rooms such as kitchens and bathrooms, choosing window treatments is very much about ‘creating a look’ rather than implementing a wholly practical solution, so follow your heart here. The current trend is for a degree of simplicity that lets the fabric sing. ‘Perhaps it’s because we live in less ostentatious times and our style statements follow that, but there is a move away from fussy pelmets, swags, and tails and towards much simpler, less formal looks,’ says David Adeane, director of The Natural Curtain Company. But simple doesn’t mean plain. ‘A greater choice of fabrics in every weight, pattern, and color means that curtains are as effective as part of the decorating scheme as ever,’ adds David.
HOW TO CHOOSE CURTAINS
There are two ways to buy curtains: you can opt for ready-made designs – although your choice will be limited – or have your curtains made to order. The latter is the preferred option for the vast choice of fabrics, sizes, and heading styles on offer. Start your search at the fabric showrooms, local interior design shops and department stores such as John Lewis & Partners, Heal’s and Liberty, most of which also offer curtain-making services too. In London, a visit to the Design Centre Chelsea Harbour, dcch.co.uk, offers probably the greatest choice of fabrics anywhere in the country, with more than 30 showrooms in the one place.
1. GO FOR A READY-MADE OPTION
Ready-made curtains are ideal if you need something in a hurry and they are an affordable choice if your windows are standard sizes, or if you are looking for something simple like voile panels or curtains for a small window. Here, tactile fabrics and graphite accents add depth to this scheme where the clean lines of crafted wood furniture take center stage. The vertical lines on the tongue-and-groove paneling contrast beautifully with the horizontal lines on the curtain.
2. LINE YOUR CURTAINS
Although some lighter weight fabrics are suited to a relaxed look, most curtain fabrics benefit from lining to boost the quality of their drape, as well as protecting the face fabric from sunlight. The lining also boosts heat retention, and you can buy thermal lining which is helpful if you have large expanses of glass. Here, smart asymmetrical banding has a strong modern look.
3. THEME YOUR SCHEME
Curtains are a visually pleasing way to work in trends and themes. Inky dyed textiles with soft blurry edges and ombre, watercolor washes create a painterly effect. The ombre effect in the curtains is subtly echoed in the cushions and rugs.
4. ADD THE FINISHING TOUCHES
Consider how to complete your look. You might choose to fit a pelmet across the top of the window to conceal the track. You can also use a pelmet as a decorative feature or to create the illusion of height. Usually made of plywood or MDF, they can be painted or covered in fabric.
5. EMBRACE THE BEAUTY OF BLINDS
For a crisp, modern look, blinds are very effective and can be just as eye-catching as curtains. Bought ready-made or made to order in the same way as curtains, they use minimal fabric, they tend to be cost-effective and can be used alone or layered under curtains. The Roman blind, which draws up into horizontal pleats when raised, has a soft and dressy look, tying beautifully with the window seat below.
6. MAKE A SHEER CHOICE
One of the best ways of achieving an elegantly simple and light look is to layer your curtains and blinds, using different weights or colors and perhaps incorporating a sheer curtain or panel. This will provide a variety of screening solutions for different times of day and night, as well as adding depth to your room scheme. A delicate, sheer curtain is a clever way to dress your windows and still let light and airflow into the room.
7. GET CREATIVE WITH COLOUR
Plain roller blinds in a stunning color can bring a room together and draw the eye towards the elegance of period windows. Roller blinds are widely available, including online, as a ready-made, complete with fixings, or made to order.
8. OPT FOR DELICATE DETAIL
A white sheer provides privacy while still allowing soft light to filter through its fabric. Here, delicate embroidery has been used to add a pretty detail, creating a subtle statement on a simple design.