If you’ve recently replaced your sash windows in Oxfordshire, or are considering doing so before the winter, then you know that the outside of your property will look refreshed. While new windows will also improve the appearance of the interior, there are a few other things you need to do to properly showcase your windows.
That’s right, you need to think about window dressings. You might want curtains, blinds or some other kind of drape. Different styles of windows will need different kinds of window dressing, as an article for the New York Times recently explained.
The news provider spoke to a number of interior designers to get their top tips on how to accessorise different types of window.
As well as the practical side of things, fitting the right kinds of curtains or blinds to your home can make your rooms feel bigger, introduce warmth and a sense of coziness to a space, or even be used to hide less than attractive views.
If you’ve got casement windows, which open outwards like doors, curtains are typically a better option than blinds, according to Michelle Morgan Harrison, an interior designer at New Canaan. This is because when they’re open they allow you to enjoy the full view.
Should you opt for blinds instead, make sure you mount them at least six inches above the casing so that they don’t block the light out when they’re open.
When it comes to hanging curtains for casement windows, Ms Harrison adopts a similar approach to the width of the curtain rail. Allowing a good six inches either side of a single window is her general rule, while this should be extended to eight to ten inches for a double window, or up to a foot either side of any larger windows.
But when you’ve got the curtains open you want them to sit just on the edge of the casement so that they frame the window.
And if you don’t have enough space for that, Ms Harrison’s top tip is to use a bracket that “curves back to the wall, instead of a rod that ends in a finial”. This will mean you can push the curtains right back against the wall and make sure more of the window is showing when the drapes are open.
Bay windows, meanwhile, can present more of a challenge in terms of window dressings. Grant K. Gibson, a San Francisco-based interior designer, told the publication that he likes to use Roman blinds on bay windows.
He also prefers to match the colour of the shades to the colour of the wall. “Your eye would have too many places to look if there had been a colour or pattern on the window treatments,” he said about a design he did for a property with large bay windows overlooking Buena Vista Park.
But what about if your windows aren’t anything special and aren’t a particularly inspiring feature in your space? According to Alexis Alvarez, design director at Interior Marketing Group, the best option is floor-to-ceiling curtains.
You should pick these kinds of drapes even if your window doesn’t extend to the height of the ceiling, she recommended. “It will draw the eyes up and make windows appear bigger and ceilings appear higher,” she told the news provider.
If you have a stretch of windows or french doors running from one end of a room to the other, you can create the illusion of an unbroken expanse of glass by hanging curtains between the doors or windows.
When you’re picking dressings for doors, one of the most important things is to make sure you don’t impede the use of the door itself, while you should also make sure that you’re not blocking light from entering the room.
Straight curtains that stop just above the floor are typically the best option if you’ve got sliding glass doors, for example.
Aside from the aesthetic qualities of curtains and blinds, they also provide a number of useful functions. Naturally, blocking light is one of them, but there are many others.
Jess Cooney, a designer based in Great Barrington, Massachusetts, told the newspaper that one of the benefits of curtains is their ability to absorb sound. “Textiles help so much for acoustics, especially in a space with an open floor plan where noise can easily echo and bounce around,” she said.
Curtains or blinds can also be used to help keep your home cooler during spells of hot weather. This Is Money recently shared some advice about how you can use your window dressings to prevent your property from heating up too much during the summer.
Keeping the blinds or curtains closed during the day can help keep a room cooler. Ideally, leaving the windows themselves open slightly to let fresh air in and having the blinds or curtains closed is the best way to go, Victoria Arrington, spokesperson for Energy Helpline, told the news provider.
Of course, you need to consider your home security if you’re going to be out and about, so leaving windows open may not be possible for everyone.
“In general, the more opaque the curtains or blinds are, the better the cooling result will be,” Ms Arrington said. “There are even speciality ‘solar’ curtains that have been designed for this very purpose,” she added.
If you’re concerned about keeping your home cool during the summer months, Grace Gaudson, from This Is Money, added that you could also consider installing window films. These are thin laminate mirror films that can be applied to the interior or exterior of a window.
Their purpose is to reduce heat and glare, with Ms Gaudson noting that they can cut the excess heat in a home by up to 80 per cent. If you find that your property gets too warm in the summer then this is certainly something you could consider.
You may even want to consider changing your curtains depending on the season. An article for Bo Herald noted that this is one option if you want to change the ambience in a room as the seasons move from warm to cold.
But the news provider also offered a number of low-cost tips to make your curtains into more of a feature in your room.
For example, you could take plain and boring curtains and make them a little more of a standout feature by stenciling on the fabric. This will allow you to customise the drapes you already have and bring a new look to your space without a big outlay.
Another tip from the website to personalise your curtains is to create what it describes as “script curtains”. This basically involves you writing quotes and phrases across your curtains using a permanent marker. It’s a look that works best in dens, studies or libraries, and you’ll want to make sure you’ve got neat penmanship.
Whatever kind of curtains you’re thinking of fitting in your home, you need to carefully consider the type of fabric that they’re made from.
New York-based interior designer Kevin Dumais told the New York Times that the key to having nice-looking curtains is to choose a fabric that has a good draping quality.
“Generally, lightweight fabrics such as linen-poly blends or wools work best, because they hang straight, they are durable and keep their shape over time,” he asserted. A linen fabric that’s woven with a synthetic fabric is a particularly good option he revealed, because the synthetic fibres prevent the linen from growing and wrinkling.
There’s more to consider when it comes to your curtains or blinds than you might have first appreciated.