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Useful tips to choose the right curtains and blinds for your home

23rd September 2018 Print

Curtains have a way of adding aesthetics, class, and flair to any space, but they can get quite expensive if you are looking for quality. On the other hand, the installation costs of blinds are not as high, and they do provide a decent amount of options to choose from when it comes to variety as well, but they cannot match high-grade curtains in pure aesthetics and are not as versatile in terms of interior fashion. However, the smart interior designer doesn't need to leave one out entirely in favour of the other, because both blinds and curtains have their place in a home; it's just about figuring out what needs to go where. On that note, we are going to discuss some useful bits about both curtains and blinds next, which could help make your decisions a lot easier.


Consider the Weight of the Fabric

When buying curtains, we are usually so busy with selecting the design and the material that we do not always realise how important the weight of the fabric is. You are better off by going with a fabric that's too heavy than one which is too light, but the balance is, of course, both desirable and ideal here. To understand how the fabric will behave once it has been made into curtains, hold a large piece of it in front of a window, pleat it up top in a few folds and let the rest hang like a curtain would. If it starts to flare up like a wedding dress, it's too light and therefore, won't look as good as it should. If it doesn't, the weight is heavy enough.

Bright or Dark?

There’s more to choosing the colour and shade of your curtain than people realise at first. For example, light coloured curtains in front of bright sunny windows may actually look quite beautiful, but know that sunlight will fade any colour over time, and lighter shades fade the fastest. On top of that, if the tone is too light and the light mostly just permeates through the curtains, is there any practicality behind the choice? You don't necessarily have to go with full on black curtains unless you want to, but darker shades offer better insulation, and privacy, not to mention, the colour lasts a lot longer too. 

Choice of Fabric Material

Silk is definitely posh and luxurious, but it doesn't last as long, and when pure silk is not lined and appropriately interlined, it will rot away even faster. More practical options include velvet, tapestry, suede, tweed and faux silk because they are much more durable and provide better insulation than silk.

The Measurements

Each window needs to be measured for the fabric to be cut and shaped accordingly, but there are some general rules which you can follow to make sure that your curtains end up looking exactly like you want it to. Go through the following to understand how to measure your windows and other spaces for curtains.

The Height Up Top – The general rule of thumb is that your curtains should begin at least six inches above the top window frame, but depending on your taste and the size of the room, feel free to add or subtract a few inches.

Touching the Floor – The length of the curtains should be such that it either just touches the floor or cascades on it a bit, but nothing in between. The first gives your room a modern look, while the latter gives it a classic and lavish feel.

Maintaining Fullness – Add 4 to 8 inches on both sides of the window frame while measuring the width and then multiply the total number by two to get the right fullness for your curtains. You could choose to make it fuller by increasing the total width by three, but that may not be advisable in most situations, except when you are really serious about blocking all sunlight for whatever reason.


Blinds and Shades are Not the Same

Although they are often spoken of synonymously, they are not one and the same at all. Shades do not have slats and are therefore capable of blocking out light completely, unlike blinds, which will always allow a bit of light to seep through even when they are drawn.

Metal Blinds are Better at Insulation

Wooden blinds are a lot more aesthetic and the good ones can be quite expensive too, but if you want better insulation and light control, aluminium blinds are a sturdier and more durable choice. Faux wood and vinyl are also options and would be a better choice than wood or aluminium in the bathroom, kitchen or any other room that's inherently humid because moisture rots timber and rusts aluminium.

Recess Fit Vs. Outside Fit

The recess fit is ideal when you are trying to go with a minimal look, and you have plans to put up a pair of curtains later on, but if you don't have plans of putting up curtains, be aware that recessed blinds will create a halo of outside light from the sides. On the other hand, blinds that are fitted outside the window sill will take up more wall space but will give you better control over the sunlight, alongside making your smaller windows seem more prominent than they actually are.

Measuring for Recessed Blinds

This is a bit complicated compared to the measurement technique necessary for blinds that are to be fitted outside the window sill. Go through the following steps to do it right:

- Measure the width at the top, middle and bottom 

- Note down the narrowest measurement

- Measure the height at the left, middle and right side

- Note down the longest measurement

Measuring for Outside-Mounted Blinds

Measuring for outside-mounted blinds is a lot easier, especially since there is a little room for error, although not much! Go through the two steps to learn the process.

- Measure the height and the width of the window sill

- Add anything between 1.5 - 3 inches to both the height and the width measurements

Should You be Shopping for Curtains and Blinds Online or Offline?

Going to the store and checking out the curtains in person is a shopping experience that cannot be replicated on the internet, but browsing online gives you greater freedom to explore your options before making a choice. Instead, use a trusted retailers such as Fresh Ideas which blends both the concepts together by letting their customers go through their image gallery of curtains and blinds online, before they come into the physical store to check them out in person and decide what’s right for their home. Advice from professional interior designers, along with actual measuring and installation services are also available through them, making the online vs offline debate completely moot.

Sometimes, blinds and curtains don’t just work in the same home and the same room, but they can work together on the same window or door frame as well. Add three layers of window treatment to make things look luxurious, or merely couple translucent sheers with recessed blinds for a bright and cheery appearance. It's all about taste, the overall décor and of course, your budget for the whole project.