This post will really open your eyes to the power of curtains and window treatments in general and how they can transform a room.
To me, curtains are a bit like lipstick. Would you spend time putting on the perfect make up, but leave out the lipstick? Probably not. Even though I’m no expert when it comes to make-up, I sure know the power of lipstick (as it’s sometimes the only make-up I wear). So, think of your curtains as lipstick and with that, we are actually only addressing the aesthetic aspect of curtains. Curtains are essential in interior design for aesthetic as well as functional reasons.
Many people, when they think of interior design, curtains are often an afterthought. Window treatments, however, should be carefully planned as early as possible when designing a room. Nonetheless, even if curtains are the ‘only’ thing still missing in your space, please do read on. Window treatments will always have a big impact on the overall feel and ambience of a space. Curtains are as important in interior design as any other element in a room. In fact, I would even go as far as planning the style of curtains before deciding on the actual windows when building a home. Why? Because the type of window will affect the type of window treatment you can or cannot apply. The architecture will limit your choices, so why not plan from the inside out – like we interior designers do? 😉
Whatever your situation may be, if you are looking at adding curtains to your space, the first question you should ask yourself is:
What’s the purpose of the curtains?
Sun control, privacy, decor, or a combination thereof? Once that’s determined, you then need to consider some other factors, such as:
I – The architecture of your home
How much space do you have to work with above and/ or to the side(s) of your window? What type/ style of windows do you have? How do they open?
II – The Interior Design
Should the curtains blend into the interior design of the room or should they make a statement? What’s the overall style you are trying to achieve?
III – The Window Treatment
What style window treatments do you like?
So let’s look at some options, so that you can successfully maximise the power of curtains in interior design.
Curtains, blinds or shutters?
This is an important decision when it comes to window dressings. The most common window treatments are curtains and blinds. Shutters on the other hand are very popular in tropical climates, such as the Caribbean.
Your choice should be based on the architecture, the style of window, the functionality and of course your personal preference. Think about the character of the room that you are aiming for, then decide from there.
Blinds are a common choice for the kitchen, the study and ideal for half windows and bay windows. There is a wide range of blinds (enough to maybe write an entire blog post about). Some of the most popular ones are roman blinds, roller blinds, venetian blind, plissés and London blinds. Again, each has somewhat different functionalities and of course create a different feel and look.
In interior design curtains are known to add a touch of elegance. At the same time, curtains add texture, which in return creates coziness and also has a positive effect on the acoustics of a room. Let’s take a closer look at curtains in interior design. As you probably know, there are endless options when it comes to curtain styles, curtain headings, decorative treatments, not to mention fabrics.
Tracks or poles?
Curtains either hang from a pole or from tracks. Poles tend to work best in a more traditional setting, but can also work well in a casual environment, such as a teenager’s room, depending on the type of heading used.
If you decide to go for poles, then you will need also need finials at each end of the curtain pole. Finials can look very attractive and a design element in their own right. You can really customise this pole accessory to make a statement.
Here at Global Inspirations Design, working on a recent design project, where Comfort meets Luxury, we chose to have floor length sheer linen curtains, suspended from a solid iron rod with forged finials. The curtain pole and finials were made bespoke by a London based blacksmith, to enhance that elegant French chic look and to match the craftmanship of the bronze table lamp and the handmade chandelier.
What heading should you go for?
How would you like your curtains to hang? Are you aiming for a casual or formal look? Do you prefer a more modern, traditional or classic style? The type of heading will depend on your answers. The heading, which is the section at the top of your curtain is ultimately the most essential part of the curtains as it will determine how your curtains hang, as well as their overall style and appearance.
Flat heading is the most common heading used in contemporary settings, whilst goblet pleat, pencil pleat and French pleat to name a few are considered best suited for traditional and classic interiors. Eyelet heading work well in both environments and tie top heading for example are great for a somewhat more casual environment. When working with clients on interior design projects, together with our preferred curtain makers, we advise on the best heading for your curtains, to help compliment the rest of the interior design. Curtains, as we have established, are part of the interior design process.
How to choose the right curtain fabric to match the interior design?
How do you know which fabric to choose? This again strongly depends on the overall interior design and the desired function of the space. The fabric of your curtains either complement the interior design or they are used to add a pop of colour or make a statement using a bold pattern for example. At Global Inspirations Design we tend to use natural fabrics, such as linen, cotton and silk. Linen comes in many different weights to accommodate different needs and styles. It’s a great fabric that works equally well in winter as it does in summer. Velvets (made of cotton and/ or silk) are another favourite of ours, especially when used in combination with linen, as a border for example as seen in the bedroom pictured above.
Selecting fabrics is actually one of my personal favourite things of interior design. I can spend hours on end at fabric showrooms, regularly attend fabric launch events across Switzerland, visit the Chelsea Harbour Design Centre in London once a year and pay the fabric houses in Milan and Paris a visit during Maisons et Objets and Milan Design Week (pre-Covid). Fabrics are often a source of imagination and there are truly endless options and possibilities.
Do you need lining or not?
When it comes to custom made curtains, you will also need to decide whether you need a lining or not and choose the correct weight lining for your needs. This is an important step to getting the right curtains to compliment your home décor. Blackout lining will block out light, so this can be great for bedroom curtains in order to get a good night’s sleep.
Interlinings, however, can add weight, volume and warmth, which can add value to a luxurious living room décor. However, some fabrics won’t require a lining, such as ‘sheers’ or ‘voiles’. They hang beautifully alone. We have used sheers in some of our recent interior design projects as they add a touch of elegance, whilst allowing a lot of light to come through.
How long should your curtains be?
At Global Inspirations Design, unless we are designing a Swiss chalet or a rustic country home, we only work with floor to ceiling curtains. With full length curtains you will need to choose between floating and pooling curtains. Pooling, as opposed to floating is when you have fabric collect on the floor. You can either have an extra 5cm, to allow for uneven floors and a bit of pooling, or generous pooling, which creates a more luxurious look. The latter is only recommended in large spaces and for those without kids and pets in the house. I recommend for curtains to at least touch the floor plus some, as can be seen in above dining room.
There is so much to consider when it comes to curtains, so take your time. Think about each element before you make your choice, because you want your blinds or curtains to positively impact your interior design for a long time to come. When done well, bespoke window treatments are well worth the investment. You may also wish to listen to this segment on The English Show on Radio X Basel (at 3.28), where I answered one of the listener’s question about curtains.
If you would like more advice on how to choose the right curtains for your interior design project, then get in touch today and book your free Interior Design Discovery call.
Changing lives, one room at a time!