Styles of Window Coverings

26/03/2014

Venetian blindsOptions of window coverings are now seemingly endless. What you choose will not only have a huge impact on the aesthetics of the whole room, but also the atmosphere, as the window coverings can affect the insulation of the room.

Natural light is one of the most sought after qualities in a room. It will lift your mood and make any room seem more spacious. But although you want to let light into a room you will need to choose window coverings that are practical for your situation. You may need privacy in the day time, black-out coverings at night, extra insulation and a covering that suits the style of your whole home.

Curtains are the obvious choice of window covering. Fashions now are changing so curtains can still provide you with a crisp, modern feel and don’t have to be so heavy. Curtains are perfect if you need some extra insulation. Lined curtains work perfectly to keep heat in when you have single-glazed or sash windows. They are a more expensive option, but you’ll soon start saving on your heating bills. Lining curtains also makes them hang more opulently and will protect the colour and pattern of the curtains from sun-damage, so they will last longer.

However, lined curtains can seem too heavy for some spaces and can block out some light during the day when they’re open. If you want to use lined curtains but want maximum day light, make the curtain rod longer so the entire window is exposed when the curtains are opened. It will also make the window feel larger. Or, you can tie curtains back. This is a very formal look that will not work in every home, but can provide a lovely frame for the extending view.

Curtains don’t have to be heavy. For a relaxed look use a lighter material, such as a crisp cotton. If you need curtains that come down to the floor consider having them made about 3 inches too long, so they trail and bunch attractively when drawn. This suits informal spaces and will do wonders in an older property for hiding an uneven floor. Lighter, unlined curtains fall very differently to lined curtains, will not offer much in the way of thermal insulation and will not block as much light, so won’t work if you have street lights outside your property, but they do work well in open, communal spaces.

Curtains don’t provide any privacy during the day, which is needed for windows that look directly onto a street or public area. If you wish to have curtains but maintain some privacy, or add an extra feature then you no longer have to use the heavy net curtains of the 1980s. You can now buy beautiful sheers that light can filter through. These can come with subtle patterns, or plain and add a touch of class to a room.

For a sleek look you will want to consider using blinds instead of curtains. There are many different styles of blinds to choose from and each has their own advantages and disadvantages. For a bedroom, black-out blinds are a very popular choice. They can come in thick, woven materials that will also provide some insulation when closed. Black-out blinds are very popular in children’s bedrooms, but ensure there are no parts of the mechanism that could be a hazard to your child.

Generally, black-out blinds are roller blinds. If you go for this choice then make sure you research the mechanism, so it’s within your reach. Roller blinds can work well in lots of different spaces due to the variety of colours and patterns. If you wish to have the blinds as a feature during the day, then hang them higher than necessary to cover the window, so you can have some of the blind showing without blocking any light.

Roman blinds add a look of luxury to a room. They can come in thicker material for improved insulation and block unwanted light during night time. The cascading fabric works well in grander spaces. Roman blinds are very hard to clean so hang them somewhere where they will not get messy.

Venetian blinds are traditional in spaces where you want both privacy and light control. They come in a variety of different materials. Wooden blinds provide a lovely soft look and are very sturdy, but offer little to no insulation. Venetian blinds can let in maximum light, or provide shelter from the sun in a room that is prone to getting too hot.

If you have large patio doors to cover, you may consider vertical blinds. Choose an option which gives you full control of how much light is let in to the home as during summer you may want to provide some shade. Vertical blinds are generally made from a lighter fabric that will not block all light, but will provide privacy.

When you choose your window coverings ensure you consider the practicalities before aesthetics. Decide on your budget, how much insulation is needed and how much light can filter through. Check the mechanisms of any blinds before you buy them. You will now find so many different options with colours, patterns and materials and you can experiment with how window coverings are fitted that you can add a truly unique and seemingly effortless touch to a room with your choice of window treatment.

Of course, for those of you lucky enough to be planning a new build, you have the luxury of choosing the shape, size and position of your window. Your project manager will be able to advise you on any implications that will affect the plastering, finishing and decorating, leaving you to choose your perfect window covering.

 

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