How to Choose Curtains
Choosing the right window treatments for your home doesn't sound like a complicated task, but there are a lot of factors that go into the decision. It's common to see people standing in a hardware or department store looking completely bewildered or frustrated because they didn't realize just how many options are available.
Curtains are an excellent way to bring any room together and showcase your unique style, but it's best to go shopping only when you're fully prepared. Below are five important tips that will help you choose the perfect treatments for any room in your house.
This one might seem obvious, but your first step should be to consider every aspect of the room you're choosing the draperies for.
If it's a bedroom, you may want a blackout style to minimize the amount of light that filters in. For a living room or kitchen, you may want to have an airy, sheer set behind another, heavier set so that you can control how much light and privacy the space gets.
The function of the room can help narrow down your potential options considerably, so this is a good first step to take when choosing the perfect draperies.
Heavy fabrics like velvet, damask or silk are best for large spaces that have a polished, formal aesthetic. While these fabrics provide plenty of privacy and thermal insulation, they can be difficult to clean. Heavier materials also tend to close up a room, so they can make a small space feel stuffy.
For less formal spaces, cotton or linen are usually the best choices. While some of these drapes let in plenty of light, it's also possible to get lightweight draperies that are lined with special, light-blocking fabric for extra insulation. These are popular for bedrooms and spaces that require a bit more privacy.
Most of these fabrics come in an array of finishes and designs, so you'll also need to decide on things like sheen and texture while shopping. It can be helpful to bring paint chips and fabric swatches from the room so that you can compare colors before purchasing.
The two most common hanging styles are tracks and rods.
Using a track system is popular for its convenience and smoothness. Draperies are able to be moved around potentially awkward spots like curved windows or corners without fuss, and they are relatively soundless.
Using a pole or rod means that it will always be visible unless you decide to cover it with a valance, pelmet or specially-designed set of draperies. If you choose a decorative rod, however, being able to see it can be incorporated into the room's aesthetic. We've written more about hanging curtains here.
How your draperies attach to your chosen window hardware is referred to as the "heading style." This is where you will see terms like rod pocket, grommet, tab top, back tab, eyelet and tie top.
Rod pocket curtains, as the name suggests, are threaded onto the pole through a small pocket at the top of the fabric. This covers the hardware completely, but it can make it difficult to slide the draperies open and closed. You'll also need to ensure that the pocket is wide enough for your hardware.
Choosing grommeted, tie up, eyelet or tab top styles means that the treatments will have more mobility and durability. However, you should keep in mind that the rod will be exposed, so it's important to make sure that it matches the decor.
This is another one that seems obvious, but you should double-check all of your measurements before shopping. Remember that you will need not only the width and height of your window but also the distance from the rod to the floor. This will help you determine how long your chosen treatments will actually be when hung.