Curtains are one of the most important finishing touches to a room, so we have written this post to give you a few things to bear in mind when choosing your curtains - it is important to get it right. (For this post we have taken it as a given that you have decided on Made to Measure rather than readymade curtains.)
Readymade or Made to Measure
You will not be surprised to find we are not fans of readymade curtains, in fact we have a whole article on why you should always opt for Made to Measure (M2M ) - What are the Differences between Readymade and Made to Measure Curtains?
The only things going for readymade curtains are their instant availability and lower price (although they are not so much cheaper as you may think.)
Probably the most important consideration of all, try to find a colour that is complementary and harmonises with other items in your room - professionals make up mood boards to make sure everything works together, something we strongly recommend. Sometimes a contrast is good – too much of the same colour is not a good thing.
Curtain fabrics come in a multitude of compositions. The best draping fabric surprisingly is linen – it has a great combination of weight and drape and unlike linen clothing, does not crease.
A fabric with a soft finish will pleat nicely whilst a stiff fabric will try to straighten itself out, so it is important to “train” curtains for a few days when they are hung.
If room warmth is an issue, don’t worry about the thickness of the face fabric – a blackout lining has far better thermal properties than thick fabric, and you can also add an interliner if you wish.
Although there are a few exceptions, the vast majority of fabrics used for M2M curtains is around 137cm (54”) wide – this means that curtains wider than this will have a join in the fabric – curtains are typically made in ½ width increments I.e. 1W, 1 1/2W, 2W 2 1/2W etc.
It is always advisable to consider the scale of pattern to the size of the window - a large pattern on a small window may look a little incongruous.
Fullness is simply the amount of fabric in the curtains that is used to form the drape and pleats when hung. e.g. 100cm of track at 1.75:1 fullness requires (100 x 1.75) = 175cm of curtain. Each heading treatment requires a different fullness -
Pencil Pleat – 2:1 fullness
Triple Pinch Pleat – 2.5:1 fullness
Double Pinch Pleat – 2.2:1 fullness
Eyelets – 1.75:1 fullness
Tab Tops – 1.25:1 fullness
A heading treatment that requires a greater fullness will in turn require more fabric, making it more expensive.
Top or Heading Treatments
There are a multitude of heading treatments available which we have described in detail in our post - A Short Guide to Curtain Headings
With M2M curtains, you can have them made to whatever length (drop) that you like, although most fall into 3 categories:
To the sill
To the Floor
Midway between sill and radiator
If there is a radiator present, always leave sufficient (at least 2”) between the top of the radiator and the hem of the curtains, otherwise heat will go up the back of the curtain and not into the room.
Having unlined curtains is a real false economy. Curtain linings provide several functions, not least preventing fading and extending curtain life whilst at the same time improving the drape and plushness of the curtains. For more information we have made a short video on the importance and functions of lining fabric.
If the curtains are required to block daylight when closed make sure they extend past the window and consider a track rather than a pole as the curtains will be closer to the wall. If the track extends either side of the window you will also block less light during the day when they are drawn back.
We get asked a lot about cleaning curtains. Our advice is simple, put a soft brush attachment on your vacuum and vacuum them carefully and gently whilst in situ. If the lining is a different construction to the face fabric the fabrics will shrink differently and cause the curtains to twist – also dry cleaning is expensive and may also cause shrinkage to a lesser extent (read the disclaimer you are asked to sign!)
If all the above seems a little daunting, don't worry, we can help with expert advice - feel free to call in or contact us for more imformation