Bright curtains can pick up a dull room like nothing else can, and muted pastel curtains give the room cool undertones, writes Harkiran Sodhi
Give character to your room
CURTAINS play a very important part in giving a room a warm, lived-in and finished look. In vogue since the 17th century when curtains were largely used to shield the bed and give it some privacy, curtains today do much more they give the room character and a mood that is its own.
Bright curtains can pick up a dull room like nothing else can. Muted pastel curtains give the room cool undertones. Florals, geometric, prints, woven, ethnic, classical, curtains in silk, cotton, curtains that fold up or are pulled back ... the list of options is endless.
What are the curtain options that are available today? Here are some pointers on what is best where, as well as some curtain terms explained. While selecting a curtain firstly keep in mind the room it is to be hung in. If it is for the formal sitting room then the fabric and style can be more formal (and ornamental if you want), while for the casual sitting area you can suit your fancy and try a more casual, carefree look easily.
The number of windows in the room influence the amount of natural light the room receives, which in turn will affect the colour of the room and curtain that you will select. The normal yardstick followed here is that the darker the room, the more light the furnishings and room colour should be to lift it and give the room a look of being brighter than it actually is.
The size of the windows is another factor that determines what curtain style would look best in that room, as does the climate of where you live. In cooler hill areas coloured, heavy fabric curtains look great and give a cosy warm feeling while the same curtains in the hot plains would overheat the room. Light fabric and soft colours look good in hot places, though you have to ensure that if the window receives direct sunlight, the curtains should be thick enough to be able to keep it out.
French windows or windows that run all the way from the ceiling to the floor obviously need curtains that go all the way up and down their size. Apart from this, these types of windows look good with generous sized curtains in terms of the width and their fall. Double curtains also look very good on this type of windows, with light airy fabric curtains in the lower rail and the heavy curtains coming on the outer edge. In the daytime the heavy curtains can be pulled back and secured on the two sides with a decorative tie-back, leaving the light fabric curtains exposed in the middle.
Bay windows also look best with double curtains. A lighter curtain on the outer window edge and a thicker curtain shielding the entire bay give a pleasing effect. The seating in the bay can be co-ordinated with one of the two curtain colours for the best effect.
Long, narrow windows tend to make a room look dark and out of proportion. These windows need curtains that can give them an illusion of extra depth. This can be done by giving them extra fabric in the width that stays pleated, as well as the top railing extending out a little more than the actual window size on both ends. This way, the windows will look wider than they actually are, even when the curtains are pulled back.
Windows whose size and look are perfect and look upon a good view should have minimal curtains. Lighter, muted, curtains, which should not try to detract attention from either the window or the view are the best.
Fabric choices for curtains can be bewildering, to say the least, from pure cotton to silk and blended fabric, the choice is endless. Each fabric has its own plus points and drawbacks which should be kept in mind while selecting the right curtain for your room.
Lets start with the best silk. This fabric gives curtains a rich look with a soft sheen that looks fabulous in any room it is hung in. Though silk is available in both raw and regular variety, its the semi-raw silk look thats more popular for curtains. Found in a huge range of colours, silk comes in prints, woven, as well as plains. Silk curtains look great on windows that are large in size like French windows where the curtains are long and generously sized. This is the most expensive material on the pocket, both on buying as well as in further maintenance, as they will need to be dry-cleaned.
Cotton is a very popular choice largely due to the cheaper price factor as well as the large variety available in it. From woven, printed, striped, checked, plain to mixed cotton blended fabrics like glazed cotton, cotton handloom, ply-cotton, etc., the choice is mind-boggling. For those on a shoe-string budget export surplus cotton can give you simply fabulous curtains at a fraction of what the regular ones would cost, and to top it all, they wont burn a hole in your pocket even if you decide to change them every year.
These are some of the popular fabrics used to make curtains as well as the windows styles we have listed in this column. In the next one we will discuss different curtain styles as well as the various options on hanging a curtain.
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