“Curtains? I don’t care, you choose them,” said no responsible resident or stylist ever! Finding the right curtains is a call to arms—your sacred living-space needs you to ensure its fulfillment, you have to find the curtains most perfect in all ways! Shopping curtains are equal parts exciting and troubling, made all the more difficult by the astonishing variety modern drapery has to offer.
The unenlightened scoff at all the time and energy the style-sensible put into choosing the right type, but only those that know the importance of curtains & drapes for the household can understand the importance of finding the ideal ones!
A Brief History of Curtains
The first curtains were nothing like the beautiful, decorative fabrics you see around the homes or in the pages of interior décor magazines and window solutions websites. They were invented by the Egyptians sometime in the early 31st Century BC. Made from animal hides and hung in place at doorways with hooks, these ancient curtains served to provide both privacy and warmth. It would be years, perhaps decades before man learned to spin textiles and discovered more pleasant materials for making curtains.
The Greek is supposed to have used curtains as panels to divide the living space into rooms. Renaissance era architecture saw the advent of glass window panes and intricately, extravagantly designed curtains became a norm.
During most of the 18th and 19th century, curtain designs continued to evolve. Their appearance grew finer, more artful. Silk was one of the most preferred choices for curtain fabric throughout China, Persia, India, and other eastern countries. Development of textile machinery in the late 19th century revolutionized the scene. Mass production of drapery material led to the introduction of newer designs and applications for curtains.
With present-day window treatment solutions, the word ‘curtains’ has come to be used interchangeably with the word ‘blinds’. While curtains, often referred to as ‘drapes’ in America are basically light, non-lined materials for covering windows and adding color and beauty to the room, blinds find wide-scale application for providing insulation and privacy. If the word-play appears a little difficult to wrap your head around, just think of them all as window coverings, make a note of what you desire for your room and then embark on the hunt for the best curtains for your home.
Uses of curtains
They’re an effective guard against the elements
One of the most obvious applications of curtains, and also one of the most vital, is their use as a guard against light, drafts, and rainfall. It’s perhaps the very reason they came into existence, and they continue to serve the very purpose today, all this time after their invention! With the astonishing variety of modern-day drapery has in store, you can control whether to let the light in fully or keep it partially blocked. You can also help insulate your living space, simply by selecting the right curtain for the job.
They’re great for decor and aesthetics
Curtains are a key fashion element, their color, design, and shape all contributing to the room’s overall aesthetics. If you’re aiming for a specific theme, say a princess’s playroom or an antiquated study, curtains with corresponding designs are the most effective means of accentuating the desired tone.
They’re quite capable as privacy screens
Light, translucent curtains are trendy, but if you’re looking to block out a pesky peeping neighbor, you’d be best served by layered, opaque materials, and perhaps be happily surprised at the varied range you can pick from!
Clever alternative uses of curtains
The importance of curtains in home décor just can’t be overstated. They’re great both as flamboyant show stealers as well as complimenting backdrops, but that isn’t all! Thoughtfully utilized, curtains can help you attain your dream aesthetic goals, and trick the eyes, making space seem larger or smaller (whichever’s desired). They can also be used to separate a room into sections, decorate blank walls, even operate as a flexible replacement for in-house walls. Curtains work wonderfully as cabinet doors and are great for creating nooks in children’s rooms. Door-curtains can lend a dramatic touch to the décor plan on top of helping insulate your room—a wonderful option for your home’s entrance hall!
Choosing the right curtains for your home
One of the most frequent queries received by interior decorators, lifestyle and styling experts is tips on choosing the best curtains. The best advice I’ve ever heard is – break it down. You can’t ever go wrong listing all that you require from your window treatments, and then select options that fit the requirements. Be dispassionate and willing to cross off options that don’t fit the bill, no matter how tempting they might appear. Note that you might still be left scratching your head or flipping a coin to make some impossible choices! Here are some factors that require consideration before you embark upon your curtain quest…
The curtains or drapes need to be a perfect fit for the space you’re looking to cover, so you’re required to be careful when taking measurements. Take a pause though and think of the height above the window or door frames at which you’d like the curtains to begin. 5-6 inches above the frames is a common practice but you can opt to go even higher if you’re looking to make the room seem taller than it is. If you’re interested in that classic ‘puddled look’ at the bottom, be sure to add a couple inches to the curtain’s length. Widthwise, adding 4-8 inches on either side will give you that ‘full look’. This will also prevent any light peering in from the window corners.
Material and color
The material of your drapes should be chosen for its efficacy in achieving the desired objective, and not solely on how it looks or feels. Consider the conditions. If you’re looking for drapery to counter the wind, you should be looking into heavier fabrics. Faux silk, linen, and velvet are some of the best and most popular window treatment fabrics of the day. Suede and velvet are great at preventing heat loss and a great choice if you’re looking to fight the cold. When it comes to color, the conditions, again have a telling effect. If it’s too hot and the curtains are going to be subjected to plenty of direct suns, it’s advisable you pick neutral colors as sunlight can cause the brighter hues to fade away more quickly.
Before buying curtains for your home, make sure you’re investing in something you can properly manage. For instance, if you aren’t keen on spending money on dry-cleaning, steer clear of the materials labeled ‘dry-clean only’ and look for the ones you can yourself clean using a washing machine.
Does the style of curtains you saw online and are mooning over compliment the color and dimensions of your living space, the furniture and the running theme? If it doesn’t, make the hard choice, and get over them. Consider the location of the windows or doors you’re looking to cover. For a window that lies behind a piece of furniture, for instance, you should focus on curtains that compliment the color, texture, and outline of the furniture instead of thinking about how they touch the floor. The best curtains for your house won’t just blend in, they’ll add to the aesthetics. Remember the times you walk into a room, the curtains aren’t even the first thing you look at, and yet when you do notice them, it’s like they’ve perfected the picture?! That’s the effect you should be going for!