At first glance, designing curtains should be easy. All you need to do is choose a beautiful piece of fabric for your drapery, tailor it to the right length and hang it up, right? But when you start curtain shopping, things can get complicated quickly.
There are so many things to consider when it comes to selecting your curtains:
- the fabric material
- your ideal colour palette
- different curtain hanging styles
- rods, finials, tiebacks
- the length of the curtain
- valances, cornices, swags
… it looks like a headache doesn’t it!
We love this massive array of choices! It sparks creativity and passion for designing within us! But if you don’t have a set image in mind, choosing the best curtains for your window, door or balcony can get muddled very quickly.
So, let’s take a step back and clear our minds. With this straightforward step-by-step guide, you can form an ideal image for your curtains, narrow down your options and choose the right curtains for your home.
First, before you design your curtains, you need to ask three essential questions.
Curtains aren’t just hung up to look pretty – they are hung up to look beautiful and to support our lifestyles!
In general, we use curtains to block out sunlight, protect our privacy, control air circulation and maintain the temperature of our homes. However, because curtains can be made from almost all fabrics, our drapery can fulfil all these functions with different outcomes and create different environmental settings.
For example, sheer curtains are often made out of translucent fabrics; hence they can only block out some sunlight. However, while they may not entirely block out sunlight like most curtains, they can diffuse natural sunlight while blocking out strong heat waves, creating a cosy environment suitable for living rooms and libraries.
So when you go curtain shopping, you should search for curtains with properties that would best suit your lifestyle and the function of your room.
For example, let’s say you are looking for curtains for your bedroom. You want your bedroom to be a place that gives you a good night’s rest: a safe space that offers the opportunity to relax and get comfortable under your sheets. To get this experience, you will need a bedroom that can create a dark environment, protect your privacy and maintain the room’s temperature.
To achieve this, you should choose thick blackout curtains. Blackout curtains are fully opaque, preventing light and sound from passing through their material. It also prevents nosy people from looking in, and thicker fabrics are great at insulating heat or cold.
Knowing the role of your curtains will also help you eliminate options you don’t want. For example, in kitchens, cooking can often get messy and wet. Therefore, you wouldn’t hang expensive fabrics like linen or velvet that are hard to clean. You wouldn’t want the long ceiling-to-floor curtains either, as they have a higher chance of getting wet or dirty.
By process of elimination, you will most likely want window-sill length polyester or cotton curtains for your kitchen windows!
Once you understand the role of a curtain in each room and your lifestyle, you can start identifying what you need to create the ideal curtain design for your home.
Where and how should your curtain be?
Curtains aren’t just hung above windows. They can be hung by doorways, above glass planes, on balconies, within gazebos, over bedrooms canopies, above corridors and even in bathrooms.
So naturally, different places will require different hanging styles.
For example, most bathrooms use eyelet or hook ring curtains for showers or bathtubs because every part of the curtain can be made of plastic. In addition, they are both really simple hanging styles that don’t have complicated folding techniques or mechanisms. Any other hanging type may be too complex for shower curtains or they will rust over time.
Sometimes the size of your window, door and hallway can also determine the size of your cloth. For example, ceiling-to-floor curtains look fantastic against glass panels and main entrances. They make the room look taller and grander. However, if you hang a full-length curtain against a standard window on the wall, the curtains will look disproportionate.
Once you know where and how your curtain is hung, you can determine the measurements of your curtain, the space you need and the machinery required.
What is the visual style of your room?
Curtains are usually a supportive element in a room’s design. Even if your curtain is your feature furniture, it should match everything else in the room to create a unified aesthetic and tone. So, you can design your curtains however you like so long as it works in visual harmony with everything else in the room.
Choosing an existing interior style can help you quickly determine your room’s colour palette and other key elements. Of course, you can create an interior design that is uniquely your own. But to get a head start in your planning, it is good to understand the two major interior design movements, as your ideal interior will most likely fit under one of these two categories.
Traditional interior designs are known for their detailed designs, ornaments and patterns. When you walk into a traditional interior, you will be amazed by its grandeur and luxurious surroundings. Traditional designs never become overwhelming despite being filled to the brim visually and literally.
This is because each detail is selectively chosen. Every item in the room balances out each other’s design to create a unified theme. When done well, you can come home to a visually stunning and comforting environment.
Usually, curtains in this style will have a lot of complicated folds, frills and embroidery. They often hide the hanging rod with valences, cornices or window scarves and use grand tiebacks to hold back the cloth. They also usually have layers and have their curtains pool on the ground.
As busy people who are always going out, we rather live in a home that is convenient and easy to maintain. That’s why today, modern interiors have more purposeful, minimalist designs; they prioritise simplicity and functionality.
Common features of contemporary styles are crisp, clean shapes, muted colours, open spaces, subtle textures, and natural lighting.
Modern curtains tend to have simple folds, basic curtain structures, neutral colour tones and subtle textures and patterns. However, if homeowners want their curtains to have more characters, they pick big patterns of plants, stripes or geometric shapes.
Once you identify which of the two major movements you want to go for, it is much easier to finalise a specific hanging style, determine your fabric material and select design elements like colours and patterns.
Now that we’ve answered all three questions, you are free to go wild with your designs! There are many things you can do, but here are some tips and tricks for design factors you can use to perfect your ideal curtains.
> Material Colour and Texture.
While material choice is usually made beforehand for the sake of utility, each fabric presents an array of options you can choose from, especially regarding colour and texture.
Textures are a great way to experiment with subtle design changes if you have a range of fabrics that suit your needs. The material used for the thread and the way they are weaved together form the fabric’s texture. While it’s not always noticeable at first glance, they can be seen if the threads are spaced out far enough or if the thread is noticeably thick.
For example, the three most popular fabrics for sheers are linen, cotton and polyester. While most people prefer cotton or polyester because of their wide range of colours, others prefer linen because it is a distinct tight weaving pattern that forms a noticeable chequer pattern.
As for colours, most fabric choices offer an excellent array of colours with different tones. Acacia’s fabrics catalogue is an excellent example of this.
Their catalogue has collections for all fabrics; each of them has a wide range of colour tones, textures and patterns. Get a good look at their colour choices by checking out their catalogue here: Product
When selecting a curtain colour, you should take your time exploring different colour shades and tones. After all, scarlet red and clay red both give off very different effects. Scarlet red is rich and bright which attracts a lot of attention, while clay red has more muted tones, allowing it to blend well in the background.
That’s why it helps to have a colour palette. A colour palette helps you find the right tones and shades for your curtains while offering a few ideal colour choices. If you don’t have a colour palette, it is usually safe to go with neutral tones like off-whites, greys and blacks.
As of 2022, rich muted colours are currently in trend, so they are a safe option for modern interiors. If all else fails, choose colours that either match or complement the colour of your walls.
Take your time to choose the right curtain fabric and keep a few options in mind. You won’t know which material suits your curtains the best until you have explored all options.
Most curtains these days are often plain due to the simplicity of modern styles. However, that doesn’t mean you can’t use patterns for your curtains.
If your curtain is a supporting design feature, you can choose a fabric with a very subtle pattern. When you look at these patterns close up, they are so translucent they’re almost invisible. But when light hits the curtains at just the right position, you can see it very clearly. With this remarkable effect, you can virtually go with any pattern: floral, geometric, strips, zigzag etc.
However, if your curtain is the main feature, you can go for any pattern you like. Most people go for big patterns, but smaller styles and embroidery will work to your advantage if you are working with traditional styles. Just make sure the pattern is not disrupted when the curtain is closed.
The direction of your patterns can also give an illusion of size! Vertical patterns will make your curtain look longer, while horizontal patterns will make your curtains look wider.
> Finials, rods and tiebacks.
When the rods and hooks of a curtain are hidden by a valence or the curtain, their appearance doesn’t affect the curtain’s visual design. But for hanging styles like eyelet or ring curtains, the design of an exposed rod or the finials can significantly change a curtain’s style in minor ways.
Finials, rods and tiebacks are to a curtain like how accessories are to us. While they may not be the main focus, their design can complete a style. Since these parts are also customisable, it is also a cost-effective way to make small yet drastic changes to your design for different occasions.
It is easy to buy new finials and tiebacks online or at a home deco shop. You can even DIY some tiebacks with rope or ribbon if you feel artsy.
When you go curtain shopping, don’t just focus on the fabrics, also pay extra attention to the colour, material and details on the other curtain items.
If you are searching for the perfect curtain to express your personality at home, talk to our sales representatives in here.