Window dressing ideas and tips for making the right purchase

Curtains and blinds are a major feature of any room. KBB journo Yvette Filer has the lowdown on how to source the slickest designs to suit your space…

Window dressing can have an enormous impact on the overall look and feel of your home. So, there’s a lot to consider before you make a purchase. “Curtains and blinds are highly decorative and help to soften the feel of a room, but their purpose is much more practical,” says Simon Temprell, interior design manager at Neptune.

“In the days when our single-glazed, draughty windows let too much cold into the room, we had to install shutters or hang fabric to keep the winter out. Today, curtains and blinds can still help with draughty windows, especially if they are lined and interlined, but their main purpose is to block out light and to offer privacy,” adds Simon.

Bedroom design with tall ceiling and window with neutral curtains.
Linear Grey Cumulus Duette blinds, from £81, Thomas Sanderson.

Window dressing ideas

The type of window dressing you choose depends entirely on the function you need it to serve. In a bedroom, for example, choosing blackout curtains or lined, made-to-measure blinds is usually the most effective way to shut out unwanted light and keep in warmth.

Bedroom design with large headboard, bed, bedside tables, lamp and skylights with blackout blinds.
These skylight blinds, compatible with leading window brands including Velux and Fakro, ensure total light control. Prices start at £19.35, Make My Blinds.

Bathrooms, on the other hand, can benefit from moisture-resistant solutions, such as vinyl blinds or elegant shutters. These guarantee both privacy and ventilation.

Bathroom with roll top tub, neutral tiles, wood flooring and white shutters.
Ideal for bathrooms, vinyl shutters are easy to wipe clean and modify light and privacy levels. San Jose faux wood shutters, from £333 per sq m, California Shutters.
Neutral bathroom with plaster walls, central tub placed under a window with roller blind.
PT Library Roman blind in Ivy fabric in Pampas, £45.36 per m, PT Blinds.

Kitchens usually need a solution that allows for plenty of natural light, while still offering privacy. So, café curtains could be the perfect option.

Closeup of sheer cafe curtains in a kitchen.
Relaxed Roman blind in Sheer Natural 100% wool linen, from £210; café curtain in the same fabric, from £293, Tori Murphy.

“You should consider which direction your window faces,” advises Helen O’Connor, product developer at 247 Blinds. “A south-facing room will benefit from thicker, thermal materials, to help keep it cool. Wooden Venetian blinds and plantation shutters are great for keeping the temperature down in the home because they allow you to adjust the amount of light filtering into the room by altering the size of the gap between the slats.”

Dining room with a mix of chair styles, spring table setting and yellow shutters.
Bespoke hardwood shutters, from £339 per sq m, Shutterly Fabulous.

What styles are available?

Once you’ve established what type of window dressing you need, it’s time to delve into the different styles available – although, as with everything, this will depend on your budget.

With curtains, blinds and shutters you can always have made-to-measure options, but they are more costly than any off-the-shelf alternatives.

If you are looking to add window dressings to a more complex feature – such as a bay window, French doors, or a skylight – then something bespoke, fitted by a professional is most likely to be your best bet. With a huge variety of different window dressing ideas available, it’s wise to shop around until you find a design you’re happy with.

Many window dressings can be ordered in store, with even more options online. Or, alternatively, brands such as Hillarys will have representatives who can come to your house to help you decide on a style, measure the space and then return to complete the fitting within a matter of weeks.

Kitchen design with run of cabinets, central island, glass roof and roller blinds on tall windows.
Conservatories and extensions often feature lots of glazing, which consequently require plenty of window dressings. Bifold’s ClickFit Premier Argent pleated blind, from £79.75, Blinds2go.

3 things to remember when shopping for curtains

  • Whether you’re shopping in person or online, try to get a few sample fabrics sent to your home so that you can get a better impression of how they will look in your room. If possible, ask to see different linings too, as they can make a difference to the final appearance of your chosen fabric.
  • It’s vital that you take accurate measurements before placing an order. If you do this yourself, remember that when it comes to the height of the curtain, you’ll need to take into account what type of header you want (pencil pleats are the most popular), as well as where your curtain pole hangs and what the drop underneath is. In terms of width, it is recommended you have a curtain 1.5 to 3 times as wide as the window, for a fuller finish.
  • Consider your final touches. You’ll need to think about buying curtain poles, rings, tie-backs and pelmets, depending on the look you wish to achieve.
Blue bedroom design, decorated with cushions, throws, rugs, and with roller blinds and curtain on the window.
Window dressing ideas that work particularly well in bedrooms include combining different designs, choosing blackout solutions, or installing floor-to-ceiling curtains. Astro Grey voile Roman blinds, from £101, and Anika Grey curtains, from £169, Hillarys.

What to expect when buying and fitting window dressings

Timescales vary depending on the type of fitting you choose. You can buy ready-made curtains and blinds off the shelf and fit them yourself on the same day, whereas bespoke designs will, of course, take longer.

Made-to-measure curtains usually take two to three weeks to arrive and then need to be hung. Shutters that are made to order are more likely to take eight to 10 weeks. For all options, payment is usually made upon placing an order.

Dining room with patterned curtain.
Santa Maria in Cactus made-to-measure curtains, from £37.89, 247 Curtains.

Enjoyed this post? Click here for our guide to choosing glazing

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