Curtains & Window Treatments: What you Need to Know
Reading Time: 5minutesDo you feel pressed to make decisions about which fabric, color, texture, and design to choose for your window treatments? Let’s us release that stress and share some of the basics you need to know about window treatments!
Where to Start: Functionality
The most common mistake many homeowners do is try to make a decision regarding their style considerations. This consumes too much valuable time and should be an afterthought. First comes function. So, depending on the level of privacy you need, you can have wither lined curtains (for total darkness) or unlined, decorative ones that will allow some light filtering. The lining will increase the cost of your window treatment, but it will also protect your fabric, as well as your carpeting and furnishing nearby, from sun damage. In short, it will help prolong the life of your curtains and drapes. That aside, you will also notice that the fabric falls more gracefully with lining.
If you want max insulation and light blockage, window treatments with an interlining (fabric sewn between the face of the fabric and the lining) will work perfectly. Interlining will also add more durability and body to the curtains. Note though that you won’t find it in ready-made panels. However, most custom-made window treatments offer that option!
Selecting Texture, Color & Patterns
To choose texture, think of the room. Is your window treatment intended for a formal space or do you want a more casual feel? In the first case, velvet and silk are great (heavy) options, besides excellent insulators. They can only be dry-cleaned, though. Cotton sateen and silky rayon blends are often washable; hence are more practical. Finally, for a more casual look, crushed velvet and billowy linen are more appropriate. Want something neutral that can work with all décor styles just as well and bring a neat and crisp feel? Cotton and wool blends, as well as cotton and wool, of course, are perfect.
To select a color, you will need to consider the look you want to achieve. Do you want your curtains to pop or blend with the décor? Choose a bold color and work your way around it to increase your wow factor or go for a soft color existing in the room (i.e. a few shades darker than the shade on the wall or a subtle color from the carpet) to blend your curtains.
Tip: Before choosing the color of your window treatment, keep in mind that the sun that enters the room slightly changes colors. So, if your curtain is unlined and placed in a space with lots of natural light, you will notice that, for example, pink, is, in fact, reddish!
Regarding which patterns to use, there is a rule of thumb, which says that if your bedding or furniture is patterned, your window treatments should not distract the eye with any pattern or print. Instead, use solid curtains. Of course, this goes vice versa, too. Meaning, if you don’t have any pattern in the room, you can consider adding it to the curtains. Now, if you want something more subtle, you can always choose an all-time classic, such as paisley or dots that infuse style. And, if you are bold enough, why not try something like a large, graphic print? Super trendy and brings a fab result to the décor.
The Right Length
Usually, curtains are floor-length unless there is an obstacle (i.e. a radiator) that commands you to have them shorter. There are two options: (1) have curtains that hit the floor (or hover ½” above) or (2) break slightly on the floor. The first is ideal if you will be opening and closing the curtains a lot throughout the day or want a more tailored look. The second option is when the curtains extend onto the floor by a couple of inches or up to 6 inches in formal rooms. They are great if your floor is uneven and add elegance and luxury to the room although more relaxed than the other option. However, if you choose the more exaggerated version, you should expect more effort on y our side to maintain your curtains, as they will need to be re-fluffed after each vacuuming.
The Right Width
It depends on whether you are framing a window or hanging curtains for functional purposes, too. Generally, the width of the panels should be twice the width of the window. That’s because you need your curtains to look drapey when shut. If you don’t want to close them, the width should be 1-1 ½ times the width of the window.
Where to Hang the Curtain Brackets
To allow the fabric to fall nicely, the curtain brackets should be hung above and outside the molding. The only exception is when you want to let elaborate window frames show. In this case, the curtains look best if hung within the frame.
Drapery curtain rod ideas
Right Type of Rod
The curtain rod you choose should be relevant to the style of the room. Some of the most common options include the classic rod, return rod, track rod, and tension rod.
More on Installation and Types of Curtain Rods here!
The hem you choose for your curtain will define the look you have chosen, be it formal or casual, sleek or not, and also enhance the panel’s functionality (let the curtains slide easily). You can opt for the traditional flat top with rings stitched to the top hem that attach to the rod, rod-pocket top (for a casual effect), pleated heading (for more formal looks) or tab-top tops (can create both buttoned-up and relaxed looks).
How about Tiebacks?
Do you want to pull your curtains to the side and let natural light shower the room or do you prefer a more formal look? Either way, tiebacks will help you get there fast! All you have to do is mount a rosette (peg or metal bracket) on the wall. To have the perfect result, make sure it’s mounted about one-third of the way up the floor (or 2/3 down the window!). The rod can also be matched with the style of the rest of the room. In the market right now, you can find anything from simple fabric tiebacks to fancy tassels to help you create the look of your likes!