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Curtains or drapes at the window?

Well, is it curtains or drapes? To be honest I am not very sure, but I am inclined to believe  that “drapes” is rather an affected way of saying curtains!  

Report by Helen Devmac

Whatever term you use to call  them, it is without doubt that curtains serve both a functional and decorative purpose.

They  provide privacy from prying eyes, protection from the direct glare of the sun, warmth on a cold winter’s night, while at the same time helping to cool off a hot room in summer. Imagine light gauzy curtains blowing cool air into a room in October!

They add resonance to any room and while helping to block out sound, they somehow improve the acoustics, making any room feel snug and cosy. And there is the decorative aspect. Curtains when well-chosen put a final seal on any décor scheme.

Window  treatments have become lighter  over the years, in the past curtains had to serve every purpose for which they were intended and therefore tended to be rather heavy. There was a light gauzy lacy affair, providing  a filter against the sunlight, followed by heavy drapes, which could be drawn across the window, blocking out noise, providing warmth, etc, and then atop this would be the decorative swags and jabots.

I remember the covered pelmets on my mother’s windows, all frilly and fussy! And the street on which I lived, the lace curtain was a prized item, housewives traded recipes on how to keep the lace curtains white, or how to add a beige tint by soaking them in black tea.

And lace curtains were particularly treasured by nosy neighbours who could look in on their neighbours  comings and goings, behind thick lace curtaining. This was before the days of durawalls!

Curtaining has come a very long way. There are many designs and fabrics from which to choose. my best advice is to keep it simple. For your lounge there are a few guidelines:

Just like with any décor project, think about what it is you would like to achieve. Colours and designs which may look great elsewhere may not necessarily have the same effect in your lounge.

Look at your style and colour scheme and ensure that your curtains are in keeping with the décor scheme. In short, your curtains must mirror the furnishings and style of the room.

Choose your fabric carefully, consider not only the colour but the texture of the fabric. there are fabrics out there designed to be more hard-wearing and have a built-in protection for dust and sunlight.

Curtains should not obstruct any natural views you have of the garden or sky, rather they must complement and bring in the outside.

While heavy curtains with pleats, swags and frills have their place, remember they may detract from your décor. you want your curtaining to complement your design.

Look at what is available in terms of tracking hooks and rods and again see what best suits your room.

Choose tracks that are simple to operate. there are motorised tracks available for the more discerning households.

Look at the latest trends in décor magazines and see what style will suit your windows and  general style.

Fabrics range from sheer to heavy embossed satins and jacquards. but do not choose a fabric or style because it is expensive. I have seen bleached calico drapes  look absolutely exquisite.

There is not only variety in fabric, but in application as well. combine blinds with curtains, use bold and bright curtaining together with toned-down complementary fabrics.

Use different textures on the same window.

Curtains should be well-made to hang properly
Make your windows seem longer by hanging your curtains from just under the cornice, and widen narrow windows by extending the width of your curtaining beyond the actual size of the window.

Curtains for the lounge should always be floor length for a more formal look, they could just touch the skirting or lie on the floor in attractive folds, this look can be further improved upon by using attractive tie backs.

When your décor and style is imposing and dramatic, rather than just elegant then certainly accentuate the look by going for swags of curtaining wound around a rod or valance pleats and jabots and I believe covered pelmets are back in fashion! Most important of all, curtains must be well-made to hang properly .

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