How to choose the right curtains and drapes for any room

Windows are among the most noticeable and influential features of any room, affecting how large it feels and how it looks in both natural and artificial light. In the same way the right haircut can emphasise your very best features, so the right curtains and drapes will highlight both the internal and external features of your home in the way they frame your windows.

The fabric, colour and style can all influence the overall effect of your room. This is why it’s so important to factor your curtains and drapes into your interior design plans from the start.

Hamburg - Make rooms look bigger and lighter with just the right pair of #curtains:

Adding more height

If you’re looking to hang curtains or drapes in a room and want to make that room look bigger, you can start by making the window itself look bigger – which you can do with no more than a simple curtain-hanging trick.

Hanging your curtains closer to the ceiling makes your windows look taller, as does choosing a fabric with vertical stripes. If there’s a large gap between the curtain rod and the top of your window, you can cover this with a valance to make it appear that there is more window behind the curtain than there really is. All of this draws the eye up and emphasises the height of your ceilings, giving the impression of more space.

Adding more width

If you want to make a window look wider, you can use fabric with a horizontal stripe. You can also hang your curtains so that they’re wider than they need to be, ensuring that when they’re open the inner edges of the curtains only just cover the outer edges of the window.

This makes the most of the window’s existing width, but again also cleverly suggests that there’s more window behind the curtains – which tricks the viewer into seeing the window as larger than it really is.

Finding the right fabric for curtains and drapes

As well as the pattern, the type of fabric you choose can affect the overall look and feel of your room. If you want a room to feel light and airy, you should choose fabrics that are light in both colour and composition, like cotton and linen, which let the light filter in and add an airy feel. But if you’re instead looking to add drama and elegance, you can opt for heavier fabrics such as velvet and suede, which create a more opulent and cosy feel.

Buying to suit a purpose

When choosing curtains and drapes, a vital thing to consider is the practical use of the room you’re working with, and whether privacy and light pollution are an issue. For bedrooms or rooms that will chiefly be used in the evening, heavier, lined curtains may be more appropriate – these will block out early morning light in a bedroom, and hide the outside view of a well-lit room in the evening.

Buying curtains and drapes should be an extension of your home’s lighting design, rather than simply a way to ensure privacy. You should also consider the view your curtains will be framing, and how your windows can incorporate the concepts of indoor-outdoor living. By looking for curtains that work with your garden design as well as your interior design, you’ll ensure they have maximum impact.

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