Amanda Hanley’s Curtain Style Guide
"Full-length curtains are more elegant in appearance than sill-length, which rarely make an impact on a scheme."
Every window is unique, so when selecting curtains and blinds it is important to think about the function and scheme of the room, as well as the window shape and position in the wall. Other factors include: budget, light, curtain length, fabric preference, window shape, and outlook, which will all affect your final choices.
Curtain and blind styles
There is an enormous array of styles available to choose from, which range from curtains with decorative headings hung from tracks, poles and fabric-covered laths, to curtains combined with valances, pelmets, swags or tails. A popular alternative are blinds; these can be used in combination with curtains for a layered and luxurious look, as well as to block out light.
Here (top image), roman blinds have been used with floor-length curtains. Made in a textured but neutral fabric, the blinds can be used to filter the light levels in this very bright room, making it feel less stark and transforming it into a relaxed living area.
Trends for 2018
Adding layers of contrasting textures will be a popular look for the coming year. Used to add interest and create atmosphere, texture can be integrated into a room’s design by using curtains and roman blinds with a heavier weight. A thicker material gives a more luxurious look, as well as having an insulating effect, creating a warm, cosy atmosphere, and adding a tactile nature to the room. Alternatively, other textures can be used to layer-up and create that same warming effect, such as silks, linens, velvets and wools, in a variety of patterns, finishes and colours.
All curtains will block out light if they stack back over the glass.
Stack back is the total width of a curtain panel when the curtains are opened and your window is in full view. It is a crucial measurement when you want the fabric clear of the window and onto the wall, space permitting. How tightly curtains can stack back depends on the heading, for example, eyelet and French-pleated curtains stack back into a more compact space than other heading types.
With a little creativity, stack back can also completely fool the eye by adding height, drama and space where none exists – a small window can be made to feel bigger, and more in proportion to a room, when a generous amount of fabric is used to stack back onto the wall, clear of the window to allow maximum light in.
For minimal light loss at the top of the window, tracks, poles or fabric-covered laths would be a good choice. Valances, pelmets and swags have the opposite effect of blocking light.
To allow maximum light into your home this spring, use sheer curtain fabrics, or a combination of both sheers and opaque fabrics. A colour palette of blues is fresh, inviting and on trend.
Full-length versus sill-length
Full-length curtains are more elegant in appearance than sill-length, which rarely make an impact on a scheme. If full-length curtains are not practical, due to a radiator or other obstruction, such as a sink, it would be worthwhile considering a roman blind instead.
Top Image – Baker Lifestyle
Below – G P & J Baker
Bottom – Designers Guild
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