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If you think curtains are just curtains and they’re all the same, you’re very mistaken. Here are the various things that can dramatically alter how your curtains look.

Fabric type

The type of fabric you choose will affect how your curtains fall and how much light they let in. Some fabrics are better for different rooms too. For a run down of the different types of curtain fabric, download our helpful guide to choose the right curtains

Here are a couple of tips when choosing a fabric type: hold the sample up to a window to see how it filters light, and if it’s large enough, pleat it at the top to see how the fabric drapes.

Colour and pattern

It’s wise to get fabric samples brought to your home so you can hold them up next to the wall and see just how they work in your space. Maybe go for a darker colour for high traffic areas so as it doesn’t get too noticeably dirty. Rooms that get a lot of light probably need a lighter colour as a darker one will fade. Plain fabrics can be dressed up with decorative rods. And think about pattern repeat; if you choose a large pattern, ensure it’s for a large window for good effect.

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Lining choices

Your choice of curtain  lining will affect how your curtains hang and how they perform. Enhance the effectiveness of your curtains by utilising lining to dramatically improve heating efficiency, block out light and help to reduce noise. 

Thermal lining

Thermal lining maximises heating efficiency and can also be used to reduce outside noise and unwanted light.

Block-out lining

Used to reduce natural light and UV rays, block-out lining provides an ideal solution for darkening a bedroom or media room. It also offers excellent sound insulation and thermal properties.

Interlining

This is a layer of fabric between the main fabric and lining. Interlining is ideal for increasing thermal performance and reducing noise. To increase the insulating properties of your curtains a light to medium weight interlining can be added.

Hardware

Just as there are thousands of curtain fabrics to choose from there are almost as many hardware options; these are the tracks, rods, hooks, loops and tie-backs. The hardware you select doesn’t have to be just practical, you’ll also find many options to be as decorative as the curtains themselves, brining a whole different look to a room.

Tracks

Curtains are commonly attached to tracks. These can be the standard face-fixed variety or slightly more decorative or as a rod. Usually fixed directly to the architrave or wall just above the window, any pleated curtain can be hung from hooks that glide along the track. For the standard variety, place the hooks low on the curtain heading so that it hides the track. If you choose something more decorative, place the hooks higher up so you can see it.

Traverse rod

Good for curtains frequently opened and closed, especially heavier curtains. Panels hang from hooks which attach to carriers hidden on the inner side of the rod and are drawn by the use of a cord or wand.

Tension rod

Rubber-tip tension rods have a spring mechanism that secures it in place within a recessed window frame; a great option for small spaces but really only good with lightweight curtains. 

Heading style

This is how the curtains are pleated and sewn at the top. Heading styles dictate how a curtain falls which has a massive effect on the overall look and feel.

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Pencil Pleat

Pencil pleated headings are the most common and create a relaxed, classic drape.

Single Pleat

Classic, economical single pleat headings are ideal for small spaces and patterned fabric.

Double Pleat

Double pleating achieves a contemporary feel, whilst maintaining fabric efficiency. 

Triple Pleat

A Triple Pleat is a very formal heading style and creates an opulent, full curtain. However, it requires more fabric.

Reverse Single Pleat

A Reverse single pleat lends itself to a beautiful, minimalistic look, creating an illusion of fullness whilst requiring only minimal fabric.

Reverse Double Pleat

Paired with contemporary fabric the Reverse Double Pleat establishes a clean, minimalistic look.

Eyelet Heading

Tailored with a European influence, eyelets are threaded through the curtain rod to create a contemporary, wave-like effect.

Tab Top Pleats

This is the most simple of curtain systems. Tab top curtains have a fabric loops evenly spaced across the top through which the curtain rod is fed. The drawback of this heading style is that they are not the smoothest to open and closed so are best used on sheers that are rarely opened or decorative drapes that are rarely closed.

How they hang at floor level

Beautiful curtains add so much to the look of a room. But the real key to how good they look is how you hang them. Floor length is the recommended way to go, not just because it looks good but it’s practical too; the longer length helps to block cool air coming though the glass. There are several variations on this length to consider:

Floating or Hovering

Leave about a finger width of space from the floor. This is a nice, casual look and it’s practical too – hovering curtains won’t get a dirty hem and dust won’t gather. This is the best length for curtains that you’ll be opening and closing a lot. 

Breaking

A break is a very slight fold or bend just above the hem. It doesn’t have to be much, a few centimetres is enough to create a stylish break.

Pooling or Puddling

This is a decadent, romantic look where the fabric goes beyond a break and pools in a rumpled fashion on the floor. The drawback is that pooling curtains are high maintenance. Dust will gather around the bottom and they need refluffing every time you vacuum.

We hope you’ve found this information helpful. When it’s time to choose curtains for your home, consider all the different options you have so that you end up with a look you’ll love for years to come. For absolutely everything you need to know about choosing the right curtains for your home, download our helpful guide

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