FRAMING THE VIEW
“Update a room in one of the most pleasurable ways, selecting a window treatment to provide focus to a scheme, while adding beauty and impact”
At the heart of many a beautifully decorated room is a distinctive window treatment. Although blinds and shutters have their place, well-made curtains in generous folds enhance a room scheme with a luxuriousness that is hard to beat. There is pleasure to be had, too, in playing with pattern and colour, embellishing with trims and selecting a pole or pelmet to set the scene.
“It is lovely to see that full, elaborate curtains are back, in place of the recent minimal looks.”
The practical aspect is important; too, “Curtains absorb sound and create an atmosphere that is both luxurious and cosy.”
When choosing curtains for a room, length, fullness, headings and fabric all need careful consideration. All Made Up will run through the options with you in your own home.
There are no hard and fast rules regarding curtain length.
“I am a fan of full-length curtains every time, although some people prefer not to cover radiators.”
Cottage or dormer windows will suit sill-length curtains. To disguise window proportion, set a pole, track or pelmet a few centimetres higher than usual to create the illusion of height. Extending the track beyond the frame tricks the eye regarding window width, also allowing curtains to swish right back to enhance a beautiful view.
Tracks & Poles
To avoid expensive mistakes, put the pole or track in places before measuring up for curtains. Sleek, narrow, polished steel poles suit a contemporary room, while thick wooden versions offer a country look. All styles and sizes can be found by clicking here.
If choosing a track, bear in mind that PVC, lightweight aluminium flexes can be shaped at home but won’t spring back, while heavy aluminium must be cut or bent professionally. It is a matter of personal choice whether to draw curtains by hand or opt for a cord track to protect fabrics from finger marks. Automated systems need more consideration.
“They are best planned at the early stage of renovation, so electrical points can be made available, All Made Up can help and advise on this.”
Curtain-weight fabrics will drape better than heavy upholstery fabrics, which can prove a little stiff for creating voluptuous folds. Floaty sheers diffuse the light and look lovely when layered, but for privacy, use them in conjunction with heavier curtains or blind. To gather well, curtains need to be made from fabric that is two-and-a-half times the window width.
“Don’t have them too minimal, it never works!”
A fabric-saving alternative is to have dress curtains and add roman blinds.
Cotton and cotton mixes drape well and some are washable. Linen, whether used alone or mixed with other fibres, which helps prevent creasing, is strong yet can be woven into the lightest sheers as well as heavier weights. Silk is a perennial favourite, whether with a smooth lustrous finish or a slubby, dupion effect. Though prone to fading, it can be dyed in a dazzling array of colours and, when embroidered, has a particularly luxurious look. Wool is more commonly used for upholstery, yet makes wonderful warm curtains. Look out for wool and silk mixes. Synthetics such as acrylic, polyester and viscose, which are made from wood pulp, are alternatives to the natural fibres, or they can be woven with them to enhance their performance.
Choose the pattern with care and the curtains will stand the test of time. Here at All Made Up we have a large selection of fabrics, for all styles, from Clarke & Clarke, to Prestigious Textiles and many, many more. If there is a fabric that we do not stock, please let us know and we can arrange to get it in for you.
Headings & Linings
Part of the art of designing curtains is in hanging them to best effect. Instead of the ubiquitous pencil pleat heading, consider deep (up to 6” / 15cm) cartridge pleats, which sit regimented at the side of the window, or triple, pinch and goblet pleats for the formal option.
“Each pleat owns a ring, making them neat and tidy”
Narrow, gathered tapes create a pretty, casual effect, especially when the tape is set below the top edge of the curtain making it frill. Eyelet curtains and tab / tie tops offer a casual look and show off the curtain pole.
For a successful outcome, curtains need lining, which adds weight to the curtains, helping them hang better and making them warmer while excluding more light. As a refreshing alternative to standard cream and beige, consider coloured lining or a contrasting fabric. Thermal lining can ease problems of draughty windows and blackout lining will cut out light completely.
For truly sumptuous curtains, interlining is a must. Here, a second layer of fabric is attached at several points between the face fabric and curtain lining.
“Interline curtains for a luxe appearance. The extra layer between fabric and lining gives a bespoke look and will make curtains warmer, too”
The interlining, which is suitable for all but the sheerest fabrics, also makes the curtains heavier so they hang better.
After a spell in the decorating wilderness, pelmets are back! taking the window treatment to another level, framing the curtains and disguising the track.
“Fixed straight pelmets are in demand, at the moment, with a contrasting colour or fabric type in a padded or smooth finish”
We can even offer painted wooden pelmets to cover the working of a roman blind, fitted on the outside of a window.
For a pretty, country effect, consider a valance, a softer, gathered version of a pelmet fixed to a separate track or stitched to the curtain itself.
If budget is a consideration, there are clever ways to getting a distinctive look for new curtains.
“Consider a cheaper fabric but use extra widths of fabric to make the curtains fuller”
A beaded or tasselled trim will enhance new or existing curtains and there is a long history to remaking curtains to suit different windows, by adding borders.
Complete the curtains with tie-backs or holdbacks, which look best, fitted about two thirds below the curtain top, or even lower. Coax some of the fabric through the tie-back to fall in loose folds before making the position for the hook, to get the perfect end result.
If this has inspired you to have new curtains or indeed alter those favourite ones that have sat in the loft.
Call All Made Up on 01455 556922 or click here to send your requirements for a quote or
We offer a free local, in home consultancy with a wide range of fabrics.