Consider your interior scheme
Here are some things to bear in mind when choosing curtains or blinds to suit your scheme:
- Consider the style and period of your home.
- Take note of the existing interior colours and styles you like and make sure your ideas will work well with these. Think about future changes you may wish to make to your home, to make sure the decisions you make now hold good for future decorative changes.
- Think about what furniture will be used in the room and make sure your plan for patterns and styles will work well together. If you’re being brave with the use of large and bold patterns, take account of the scale of the space they’ll be used in.
- Textures also play an important role in adding to your interior style. Shiny, light-reflective fabrics help create a light and luxurious feel, whilst soft, matt finishes add depth and warmth.
Consider window size and shape
Classic Georgian windows have splayed reveals with wooden panels and panels below, finished with an architrave all round. When it comes to adding curtains, heading styles such as pinch pleats suit well. A common way of treating Georgian windows is to fix pole brackets to the top corners of the architrave so that the curtains just cover the area.
With Victorian style windows, their scale and solidity demand fabrics and treatments that match the architectural heft. Heavy curtains with a generous fullness help to balance the scale, with deep pelmets adding impact to large windows.
Modern windows tend to be much less detailed so treatments such as roman blinds or curtains with simple heading styles work well. Alternatively for a contemporary yet classic look, a straight pelmet is a good option.
Large windows provide an opportunity to make a statement with beautiful fabrics and curtains of a generous fullness.
Windows that look too wide can be helped by a longer curtain length and by using a minimal overhang to each side of the reveal.
The proportions of windows that are very tall and narrow can be improved by fixing the curtain track/pole close to the top of the window and allowing a generous overhang each side of the reveal.
Layering window treatments, by adding a roman blind behind the curtaining for example, can also be used to create the illusion of better proportion.
Small windows require a lighter treatment and long curtains can often be overpowering. A roman blind is a simple and more contemporary solution when fitted either inside or outside of the reveal. Alternatively, for a traditional look, curtains that hang to the sill within a deep window work well. A bent track also works well for this type of window, allowing the curtains to draw into the sides of the reveal, helping to maximise light.
Narrow windows can be made to appear much larger using curtains hung further beyond the reveal than usual, covering a larger expanse of wall.
Short windows can be made to appear larger by using a roman blind fitted much higher than the top of the window, covering a large expanse of wall above and adding height.
For attic dormer windows where light is at a premium, traditional dormer rods can be used. There is a limit to the width they can span but it’s generally up to about a 1 metre reveal width.
Bay windows can be challenging. A simple option is to fix curtains straight across the opening of the bay, but when drawn, they will close off the bay area. A bent track can be fitted around the bay, or blinds can be fitted within each section of the bay, particularly useful if there are window seats within the bay. Special care is needed when measuring for blinds within a bay as you need to plan sufficient clearance between each blind.
Window styling solutions
Windows with restricted space for stackback can sometimes be treated with blinds, avoiding the need to find space for hanging curtains. Sometimes a single curtain is a solution. For balance, if a side wall abuts the window, hang the single curtain to this same side. Alternatively, by using curtains of a reduced fullness, less space is required for the curtains to stack. Another lightweight suggestion is to use sheer, voile curtains.
Round, triangular and other awkward window shapes can usually be treated effectively or are sometimes best left alone to be enjoyed as pieces of architecture.
For window soffits that are out of line with the floor or windowsill, or for ceilings that are not level, it is usually best to use your eye. Try to align the pole with horizontal lines that appear “correct”, but also consider whether this will create difficulties when planning curtain lengths.
Hanging floor-length curtains to crash onto the floor by 2-3”, 5-8cm is good for disguising an uneven floor. Alternatively, it is possible to make curtains to suit the slope of a floor or pole – within reason! Remember, if your curtains are made to hang to the correct lengths when closed, they are likely to appear less perfect when open.
Windows with reveal sides that are not perpendicular are only a concern for blinds. The sides of roman blinds or roller blinds must be square. Plan for the minimum blind width that can hang square within the reveal. Alternatively, plan to hang the blind outside the reveal, extending beyond and outside the uneven sides to the window.