Buyer's Guide to Curtains

General Decor Ideas

The right curtains can bring a whole room together, unifying a colour palette, adding warmth, texture and enhancing architectural features. So think big. Although there us a great range of ready-made options, itís a good chance to go crazy with fabrics and styles in a made-to-measure design.

Caution with colour

Donít try to match the exact colour with sofas or carpets, go for a contrast. Curtains can make a bold statement in a room - try lush, deep reds or purples for romance, or opt for a darker shade of the roomís wall colour.

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Live with it

You should always order a large sample of fabric before investing in bespoke curtains. It gives you the opportunity to see the effect of the colour during different times of the day. Living with the sample will ensure a costly mistake is not made.

Measure up

If you buy ready-made, take your measurements carefully (most curtain retailers have online measuring guides), and if you choose bespoke, use the expert advice offered by the storeís furnishing consultants.

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Spread it about

Donít restrict the fabric to the windows. Cover some cushions an arm chair or foot stool. But donít go overboard Ė a room smothered in the same pattern will give you a headache and the scheme will lack depth. Use a maximum of two patterns in any one room. If your sofa and rug are patterned, youíre better off with a plain curtain that wonít compete.

Job fit

Get the right fabric for the job. Warmth in the sitting room for winter? You will want a heavy draft-excluding fabric with liner. Do you want darkness for the bedroom? Make sure you have a black out layer behind your fabric to block out the light. If your room lacks light, use sheer fabric like voile or light cotton. These will provide the texture and look of a curtain without darkening the room.

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Brighten up

Remember that curtains block-out the edges of windows, even when theyíre open. To gain back those extra inches of light, choose a curtain rail thatís slightly longer than the window and your curtains will fall to the outside edge of the window. And how easy do you want things to be? Steer clear of silk if you want low maintenance, no matter how enchanting it looks in the showroom. Consider a synthetic alternative.


For headings, go for eyelets in a modern room, or triple pinch pleats for a traditional, opulent design; you can modernise this look with plain, good quality fabric or a contemporary print. And be creative with your tie-backs. Try bracelets, belts, ropes, ribbons or beads.