As any decorator will tell you, curtains make a room — but only when chosen correctly. When it comes to window treatments, it’s a matter of color and fabric, length and lining, and custom-made versus off-the-shelf. With so many decisions, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed, so we asked a few pros for advice on narrowing down the options and selecting the right curtains for your home.
COLOR AND FABRIC
Fabric is an essential part of choosing curtains, since the material will dictate how well your curtains function and hold up over time.
Work with a big sample, at least 2 yards, since a smaller piece may not show the fabric’s true drape.
Also, remember sunlight will fade fabrics over time. If the room in question gets a lot of light, it’s smart to avoid bright colors, since they tend to fade faster.
Some fabrics can help keep out the cold. Many hotels use suede, velvet, tapestry or tweed since their weight helps block light and keep heat in. Still, nearly any fabric can be interlined with bump, a thick, insulating felt material. And interlining — a piece of fabric slipped between the lining and the face fabric — can also help prolong the life of the curtains.
LENGTH AND LINING
Measure from the top of the window (plus the added inches of height where the curtains will hang from) to the floor. For a more traditional look, with the curtain slightly puddled on the floor, you’ll want to add another two or three inches to your length. For a modern, crisp look, have the panel fall flush with the floor.
When measuring the width of your window, be sure to add four to eight inches on both sides and double the total number to ensure curtain fullness.
If you plan to use the curtains to shut out the sun, those extra inches around the perimeter of your window frame will also help block out any creeping light.
OFF-THE-SHELF AND CUSTOM WINDOW TREATMENTS
Custom window treatments offer many benefits: You can customize the dimensions to your window size and create a tailored look, like a perfectly-fitted suit. Custom panels come in endless design options, from material to header style. With these options, though, comes a considerable price difference from off-the-shelf curtain panels.
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