Dressing Up – How to pick the perfect curtains for your windows

December 10th, 2009 by admin

Most interior designers work their rooms around where the light comes from, so if you’ve got a window, chances are  it’s a focal point. It is imperative, therefore, that you dress your windows properly, considering a number of factors before you make your final decision. Below is a short guide to help you make the right choice for your curtains. Tone

The first consideration you might make is the overall formality or intended casualness of the room. A formal living or dining room with elegant furniture requires equally well-dressed windows. Classic drapes in silk damask or velvet with swags or tie-backs over sheer netting is appropriate for this level of formality, whereas a simple, natural, slouchy Tab-top would better suit more laid-back surroundings.

Detail, Coordination & Contrast

Silk fringe or rosettes, and other fancy trimmings are often used in living and dining rooms, but if you prefer a clean, simple line, then by all means use what you like. If you’re a minimalist, you won’t be happy living with fussy details.

For a more casual, but still sophisticated room, panels or drapes of natural silk in colors which coordinate with the floor coverings and upholstery make a nice statement. Wool blends and linen are also chic in this setting, and should meld with your chosen furnishings. For example,  a softly draped wool panel is superb with an overstuffed couch, and dark polished wood tables.


You’ll need to decide what fabrics and materials best suit the environment, tone and function of your room. For example, if you’re furnishing a bathroom window, it is wise to select a material that is fairly water resistant, like cotton, wool or hemp. If you’re decorating for a bedroom, consider a blackout lining and a heavier fabric to block out the light. Drafty hallway? Interline your draperies with thermal lining to lock in the heat and save on your energy bills. Think carefully about light too. Silk curtains, for example, fade easilly when exposed to harsh sunlight, so if you are going for the luxury look in a naturally illuminated area, be sure to line the material carefully.

Exhibition or Privacy?

A fourth factor to consider is the windows themselves. Think about how you plan to use the windows. Is there a beautiful view, and lots of natural light that you would like to make use of? Or do you live in a city with a view of an alley, and a need for privacy? Voiles and semi sheer fabrics are the chicest way to get the ‘net curtain effect’ with an element of style, allowing you to see out, but preventing others from seeing in.

Tastes, Preference & Fashion

A fifth factor is your own personal likes and dislikes. If you like an eclectic, or even eccentric, look, use the colors and fabrics that you like the best. If you choose colors in the same value, that is all pastels or all brights, and patterns in the same size range, you can mix and match fairly easily. Busy room? Go easy on the paterns and stick with block colour.

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