Every house needs some sort of curtains or blinds for privacy, security, limiting daylight ( eg keeping your Kids asleep!) or just for decoration. But where do you start and what options do you have?
This guide will include the following-
How to measure for a good fit....
What choices you have.......
What are pelmets, blinds, tie backs etc .......
What is fashionable......................
So lets get Started!
HOW TO MEASURE FOR A GOOD FIT
The easiest way to measure for curtains is to start with the width, a good curtain pole or rail should extend about 6-8 inches either side of the window, this give space for the curtains to be pulled back from the window which helps prevent fading and lets more light into the room. Measure the width between each end hooks or rings. You can measure in centimetres or inches (but only men use millimetres!) but remember to use the same scale with all measurements. Remember each curtain must be at least the width of the window before gathering, (for double gather) or even better an extra half a window wider, for triple gather, anything less looks terrible!
Next the finished drop, this depends on your personal taste. It should be from the hooks/rings (where the top of the curtains will start) of the pole or rail down to below the window sill, how far below is up to you and depends on your personal taste but I would recomend a minimum of 4 inches below, generally 6-8 inches is best for shorter curtains.For full length curtains allow the to be 1/2 inch above the floor as fabric will drop width time. For a real luxurious look try adding an extra 12 inches tothe length to allow the curtain to pool or puddle at the bottom, this look is great for glamourous bedrooms when combined with fitted roman blinds but no too practical for a busy family home!
Now you know the size you need, What choice do you have on Ebay?
Ready made or Factory Made Curtains
The cheapest option by far is a pair of ready made curtains, available in standard sizes they can range from childrens curtains- usually polycotton to match bedding sets, to large lounge curtains in thicker fabrics such as faux silks and taffettas. There is a vast array of choice, and can look fantastic-providing you have measured well and buy the better ones available. The downside is they are cheaper fabrics that arent meant to have a long life, and if you are buying second hand you cannot guarantee how they have been cared for. Fading, shrinkage and even rotting can occur. Also Fabrics that are cheap tend to be thinner and let more light through, which can effect the look of the curtains completely.
Second hand made to measure Curtains
For really deluxe curtains you can have a browse through the variety of second hand made to measure curtains available, if you are lucky you may discover the perfect size and colour for your needs. But although they are generally superbly made, variety is limited and you will find a lot of competition for the most fashionable designers.
Made to measure curtains vary greatly, but generally you can expect a thicker top quality fabric, lined with a fade resistant or Sulproofe lining, the best will be interlined-this is when a thick felt type wadding is fitted between the fabric and lining, giving the effect of a lovely quilt hanging up at your window which helps keep the warmth in in winter.
Made to measure curtains available through Ebay
Generally to get a pair of curtains made to measure you would either go to a fabric shop that provides this service or for the best quality call up your local Interior designer. The are a few curtain makers on Ebay who provide a made to measure service in a wide variety of designer fabrics or designer copies. These can be in plain, floral, stripes, checks, polka dots even love hearts- perfect for nurseries, any size available with backout linings, interlinings, sulproofe linings and any type of heading you want, You can even buy handsewn silk interlined curtains on Ebay for a quarter of the price the Interior designers charge . Made to measure is the deluxe option though, but the upside is your curtains will stay looking new for far longer, will be exactly what you choose and will fit and compliment your room perfectly. To be fair they mostly require dry cleaning as even five minutes on the gentlest wash can destroy the delicate almost invisible stitches that hold the fabrics together, and although buying through Ebay is a very reasonable option, prices on average start at about £50 which is a lot compared to the factory made options. But these curtains would be a dramatic focal point to any room.
What is a pelmet?
The pelmet goes across the top of the window but can be gathered, straight, pleated anything goes..
What is a roman blind?
As in the centre of the window above, a roman blind is a flat folding lined blind that is pulled up and down by cords on its back, often prefered by Men to curtains! It is sometime blackout lined ideal for nightworkers and little ones, looks gret when combined with curtains.
What are tie backs?
Sometimes fancy cords with tassel, sometime shaped fabrics tie backs are designed to hold your curtains back in an attractive drape. Metal or wooden hold backs do a similar job.
Whats the latest fashion?
In the last few years top designer Cath Kidston has revamped our houses with shabby chic style, designed to combine different fabrics in an almost patchwork style. The shabby chic look includes ginghams, soft rose florals and polka dots for a summer fresh feel. Headings include pencil pleat, tie tops,flop ever frills and bunting. Also now look out for cowboy, vintage cars etc and animals as cute scenes with a retro feel.
Classic and classy
Typified best by the timeless Laura Ashley fabrics, you can be a bit more formal and grown up if you want! Elegance and style in classic florals, best for big statement windows with matching wallpaper.............they look best with stiffer headings like Hand pinched pleats and Box pleats, or gathered straight onto a pole.
Funky and modern
For the young and trendy types among you, retro is very cool! Seventies patterns in oranges, black, browns and fucshia pink are all really cool- but you can always play it safe with gentle neutrals in check and patterns.............(funky headings include eyelet rings and tab tops)
Now I think I have giving you the basics, why not have a look through some of the glossy home interior magasines and see if you can get any idea of what would look great in your home- the worlds your oyster!