Winter window tips: how to layer sheer curtains for the best of warmth and light

Angela Wilson
Written by Angela Wilson
Russells Consultant
Explore more advice and tips
Related posts
Join our style club

Sign up and create a home you love with expert décor tips, seasonal solutions, the latest trend inspiration, exclusive offers and more

Sheer curtains are best for filtering light and maintaining privacy, so they're obviously a great spring and summer window treatment solution. But winter isn't all dark and it's worth making the most of the light on shorter days. In fact, letting sunlight shine in through the windows is a key source of natural warmth in winter. So here's how you can use sheer curtains AND insulate your windows.

Sheer curtains in front of thermal curtains on a double track

The thermal curtains that sit behind the sheers would be closed at night for insulation and opened during the day with the sheer at the front filtering the light. We fitted an example just like this which you can see in Shayden's episode of our People & Homes series. On the back track is a James Dunlop fabric that can be used as a curtain or lining; over the top of that, on the front track, is a blended sheer fabric. Alternatively, you could have them the other way around - a thermal in front and sheer curtain behind.

Sheer curtains over blockout honeycomb blinds fitted inside the window frame

Honeycomb blinds are also known as 'cellular shades' or 'designers' double glazing'. Consumer NZ found that of all window coverings, thermal lined honeycomb blinds retain the most heat (at around 60%). This is because their cells trap a pocket of air that acts as a barrier, allowing them to regulate the temperature of any space and help keep your home warm. The idea here would be to fit the honeycomb blind inside the window frame (so the sheer can go in front), draw it down at night for insulation, then when it's up, the sheer curtain remains in place to diffuse the light and create a cosy daytime atmosphere.

What about a sheer curtain over a thermal roman blind?

Yes, this would work similarly to the honeycomb blind. But the thing to consider is that a roman blind stacks at the top when drawn open/up and that takes up some of the window and therefore blocks the light. It would be better on a very large window. By comparison, a honeycomb is slimline and when up takes up very little space at all.

A few more tips and tricks

  • The trick to retaining all that good warmth the sun has brought in during the day is to close the thermal curtains or blinds as the light begins to fade so the heat doesn't escape through the window glass.
  • What's essential for good insulation at the windows is a pelmet above the curtain rail. This helps create a pocket of air (similar to how double-glazing works), which helps to reduce heat loss.
  • Read our blog for more ways to reduce heat loss through windows

Styling your sheer curtains

Sheer curtains are a versatile style option. Check out our recommendations on which rooms to try sheers in and various ways to hang them for different effects.

Whatever the look you like, sheer curtains can be made from several different kinds of curtain fabric, available in a variety of colours and pattern options to help you achieve very different looks. Explore our range of sheer curtain fabrics by selecting 'Curtains' and 'Sheers' in the filters.

To get it right, we can bring fabric samples to try in your home - the best place to get the right advice if you ask us. It's free and we come to you no matter where you are in New Zealand. Book your free in-home consultation now.

Learn what to consider in picking the right curtains for your home

Join our Style Club

Sign up and create a home you love with expert decor tips, seasonal solutions, the latest trend inspiration, exclusive offers and more.