What to consider when choosing curtains

how to hang curtains

Window treatments can be an expensive part of redecorating or building a new home so it is important that when measuring and selecting your curtain fabric you take the time to get it right, or bring in a professional.

Let’s look at curtains in this post.   Curtains are a fantastic way to create softness in a space and visually change the look of a room.   Another important feature is they have thermal properties -  keeping our rooms warm in winter and cool in summer while minimising noise.

Did you know that by having a separate backing (lining) as well as the front facing curtain fabric, you are in fact creating a space for trapped air – much like a double glazed window.   So this is the best option for rooms where you want them to stay warm. (In most cases this would be the entire house!)

Start by choosing the best lining for the particular room requirements.  There are several options depending on what you want to spend:

Thermal
Blackout - the fabric has been coated with a product to ensure no light can come through. Can make the fabric quite stiff.
Dimout / Triple Weave - great product for keeping light out (not to the extent of blackout) but it has a nicer drape to it and is affordable at the same time.

For the front facing fabric you have a wide range of options from linens, cottons, polyester, viscose or a mix of these.   Linen is very popular due to the way it hangs, looks and feels (the handle).   However as it’s a natural fibre it isn’t as robust – it can rot with sun exposure and can shrink with moisture and is expensive comparatively.    Man-made synthetic fibres have a longer lifecyle and stronger properties, making them a good choice for homes particulary where there may be children and pets. These may be a more affordable option as well.

Ready  made curtains can be a great idea if you are on a budget and they still look great.   Stores like Freedom, Citta and Ezibuy have some nice ranges.

When it comes to calculating how much fabric you need, ensure you have measured your windows correctly.   Ideally you would have your curtains full length (to the floor) and in most cases they are hung a minimum of 100mm above the architrave.  

To calculate the length of fabric you need use the following calculation:

Measure top of the architrave to the floor + 100mm (track position) + 200mm (header) + 100mm (hem) = total length required.

To calculate the width of the fabric you need use the following calculation:

Measure the width of the window from edge of each architrave + 500mm + 500mm (where curtains will sit when open each side of window) x 2 (you double the fabric so you have enough fullness) = total width required.

Note, you can hang your curtains higher if you prefer to give the feeling of height especially if you have a low ceiling for example.  So the 100mm would change depending where you want to place the track. To create a nice full look you need double 2 to 2.5 times your fabric width. 

Some other points to think about are the style of curtain header (pencil pleat, inverted, French, wave, eyelet etc). Each header gives a different ‘look’ to a room, whether that be contemporary or traditional. And, curtain rods, tracks and finials also need thought.

So as you can see, there is a lot to think about and if you are doing an entire home it can be a large part of your budget, which you don’t want to get wrong. The calculations above can give you a guide for budget purposes however it is always best to get a professional to do the final measure up.

For more information on choosing and hanging curtains read more  here, here and here.

Image Credit: EstLiving