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We’ve seen good curtains. We’ve seen GREAT curtains. We’ve also seen some shockers. Not just a style accessory, curtains serve a purpose and some of these common yet avoidable mistakes can ruin them for both. Keep reading so you’re prepared to make the best decisions when choosing curtains.


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1. Hanging them at the wrong height

It’s never a good look to just plonk your curtains right on the window frame. All but a few homes will have some amount of wall space above the frame where they can hang. Hanging curtains too low visually shortens the height of the window and the room as a whole. A common height to hang a curtain rod (in houses with ceiling height of 2.4m) is about 10-15cm above the window frame. If your ceilings are higher, go higher, about halfway between the window frame and ceiling or architrave. Or you could go full floor to ceiling for a really grand look.


Not sure which curtains will suit your home? Get your free guide here and find out.


2. Too short a length

Curtains look and function best when they come to the floor at least. The only time you’d ever opt for short curtains is if there is something in the way below the window that won’t allow floor length. Here’s how we once described it in a blog about how and where to hang curtains. “Think of a man in a perfectly tailored suit…now imagine how that suave look could be ruined if the pants were too short.” Short curtains don’t just look wrong, they lose a lot of functionality (in terms of heat retention) by allowing air to seep underneath. Here are your choices:

  • Floating/Hovering - about a finger width of space from the floor.
  • Breaking - a very slight fold or bend just above the hem.
  • Pooling/Puddling – the fabric goes beyond pools on the floor.
3. Not wide enough

Curtains should completely cover the window frame and then some. Where the curtain extends past the wall, this area is called the stack space. This is very important in rooms where you want your curtains to block out light and will also protect your curtain when not in use from the harsh rays of the sun. Ensure your curtain pole/rod/track extends beyond the sides of the window frame so the curtains are partially covering the wall; how much to allow depends greatly on the size of the window and the amount of space available for stack but as a general guide, aim for minimum 25-30cm either side. 


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4. Lacking fullness

Curtains pulled taut look dreadful – probably the worst of all the looks. They need some ruffles/waves to give them fullness. The pleat heading you choose will determine for the most part how the full the drape will be. Pencil Pleat for example looks great when it is 100% fullness, this means it is twice the amount of fabric to the length of the track. However, there are pleat headings that are less 100% fullness which can be great for those places where we do not have a lot of room to stack the curtains off the window. There are also pleat headings that are more than 100% fullness for those opulent grand looks and everything in between.

How to avoid all this and end up with fabulous curtains perfect for your space?

Get in touch with a Russells style consultant or course! Custom made curtains won’t fall foul of any of these mistakes like ready-made will. Our style consultants come to you with fabric choices galore, plus all the advice you need to make the right choice. They’ll take expert measurements, taking into account all the things we’ve just mentioned, and can even give you tips on track and rod options, and heading styles too. 


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Can’t wait to get started choosing your curtains? Click here to book your free in-home consultation. 


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