Any interior designer will tell you that a window treatment can make a room. A famous interior designer, however, will tell you that this is only the case when the correct treatment is chosen with precision and care. Using a quality luxury interior designer is like investing in quality. The skill in designing, sourcing supplies and hanging beautiful curtains is a craft best provided by skilled professionals. Well designed window treatments are similar to a perfectly crafted, tailor-made suit – think of it as the Saville Row of curtain treatments.
When it comes to choosing a design for your window treatments, there are numerous details to consider such as fabric, colour, tailoring and finishing touches. From length and lining to pelmets and poles, getting the right curtains for your windows can be a tricky business. A quality interior designer will be able to steer you through the maze of options.
The amount and quality of natural light filtering through a window plays a big part in the decision making process when it comes to choosing a scheme. Direct sunlight can be hugely damaging to furniture and fabrics and the effects of fading can be irreparable.
A carefully thought-out treatment will help prevent damage from fading, but still allow valuable natural light to enter the room. For example, a neutral, sheer fabric or frosting will allow enough natural light to come through while preventing damaging UV rays from entering the room. The added benefit of these options is that, as well allowing vital light, they will provide privacy. Furthermore, because all of these choices are effective, yet unobtrusive, they are subtle enough to ensure that any further treatment such as dress curtains will still function as the main visual attraction.
The next consideration is the use of a room. If your window treatment needs to provide darkness for a bedroom, for example, a blackout lining or shutters could be the answer. For warmth and quiet, nearly any fabric can be interlined with bump, a thick, insulating felt material, or interlining – a piece of fabric slipped between the lining and the face fabric. These solutions are also what give curtains their body and luxurious thickness.
When it comes to the choice of further aspects of a window treatment, particularly decorative, a client needs to consider several options. Do you want beautiful simplicity which will allow other features of the room to shine? Or, do you have a penchant for the elegant, glamorous or even the theatrical – complete with swags, tassels and fringe?
When the function of the curtain treatment is decided, fabric and colour are the next area to think about. The fabric you choose will dictate the efficacy of your curtains over time. If the curtains are too heavy, they may not fold crisply when drawn – too lightweight and they may not fall well.
Many luxury interior designers favour layering, sometimes choosing up to two or three fabrics to create drama or add texture. Others opt for suede, velvet, tapestry, or even tweed, as their weight helps create a beautiful hanging line that helps block light and keep heat in. Linen, silk and velvet are the best choices to use for window treatments as they tend to hang the best, while faux silk tends to be the most durable. In a particularly sunny room, faux silk doesn't deteriorate as quickly as real silk. A trade secret, though, is that silk curtains that haven't been lined have a tendency to rot.
Another useful tip is determining how your fabric might hang. When in the showroom, putting suspicious glances from staff aside, hold the fabric up to the window to see how dense the weave is. You want a weave that has substance and isn't too flimsy. Then, holding a decent sized sample (a few feet), pleat it like an accordion at the top and let it fall to the ground. If it starts to flare out, it simply won't work, no matter how much you've fallen in love with the colour or design.
But don't let that stop you. From traditional to cutting-edge design, there are an amazing breadth of prints and weaves in a dazzling array of colours and textures to choose from on the market. The perfect, quality window treatment is inches away with the help of top tips and expert designer advice. Look out for our next posting on “Length, lining and finishing touches.”