How to... Choose Curtains & Blinds

Creating and co-ordinating an interior that reflects your personality and is aesthetically pleasing yet practical, can be challenging and requires a lot of attention to detail. Given that Angela and I are no longer on hand to offer our advice or help you navigate your design journey, I thought writing some hints, tips and guides might give you the confidence to complete some of those interior tasks yourself. In the first of the 'how to' series, I'm sharing some information on the variety of curtain styles and blinds and how to decide between the two.

Curtains and blinds are often the finishing touch to any interior make-over and should therefore be well considered, from the fabrics and linings, to the heading style and poles. This decision can be overwhelming, although if you are re-decorating or re-designing a room, I suggest choosing your curtain and or blind fabric first. This will dictate the style and will help you to select paint colours, flooring, furniture and more.

If you have chosen to feature curtains, once you've selected a fabric, you can then decide on what heading style to go for. There are multiple heading styles to choose from and I've outlined a few of them below.

Pencil Pleat - Folds of fabric are tightly gathered on tape to create a semi-cylindrical heading that resembles a line of pencils. Fabric tumbles freely to the floor from underneath the pleat. This heading style suits a variety of interior styles although is perhaps best hidden under a pelmet as this style isn't as aesthetically pleasing or as decorative looking as some of the other options.

Cartridge Pleat - Fabric is folded and stitched in to a single pleat at regular spaces along the curtain width. These folds stay in place whether the curtain is open or closed. This heading style suits a more modern interior.

Double/Triple Pinch Pleat - Fabric is gathered and sewn discreetly in to two or three pleats at regular spaces along the curtain width. Fabric falls neatly into folds from underneath the pleat. These two heading styles are relatively timeless and suit a variety of interior styles from modern to traditional.

Goblet - Fabric is shaped in to a traditional cup style, padded and discreetly sewn in at regular spaces along the curtain width. Fabric falls into neat folds from underneath the goblet. This heading style is very formal and suits a more traditional interior.

Eyelet - Decorative metal eyelets are sewn/punched in to the top of the fabric at regular spaces along the curtain width. When drawn back fabric falls into defined folds. This heading style suits a modern interior and has to be used with a metal curtain pole.

Most of the time we would suggest making curtains with three layers, face fabric, interlining and lining. The only exception would be voiles or sheer fabrics. Lining can be either standard or blackout.

Before moving on to discuss roman blinds, it's worth mentioning that curtains can be made to floor or sill length. Where possible our advice would be to opt for floor length as this creates more elegance than sill length. Floor length curtains help to elongate a window and soften the window edges too.

A roman blind is made from fabric and helps soften a room in a way that roller or Venetian (wooden or metal slatted) blinds can't. Roman blinds fold up softly and neatly hide the mechanical parts required to operate them. A much more practical solution as a window dressing, they are less formal and simpler and particularly suited to smaller windows. Roman blinds can sit inside or outside a window recess, whichever you prefer. Blinds hung outside a window recess can help make small windows appear bigger.

Our tip to give a neat and structured appearance is to use a fleecy bonded lining which is also available in a blackout version, particularly suitable for bedroom windows.

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