Room Ambience

Warmth

Colour rules are simple. Reds, golds and purples give a room a warm and cosy feel. Heavier curtains mean more insulation and less heat loss. Consider lining the curtains to double the benefit.

Allow sunlight into the room during the day. Voiles add little to heat retention but cut down the warming effects of the sun. Full length curtains shield a radiator from the room.

Even with shorter curtains, much heat can be lost behind the curtain. To overcome this you should fit a ledge about 50mm above the radiator to deflect the rising heat into the room. Curtains fitted within the sill, with a minimum gap to the sill, should be fine.

Light

Remember the effect of sunlight in the room when you are deciding on your curtain design. If you fit voiles, you cut down some light from outside, but they do provide the best compromise between daytime light and privacy.

Dark curtains darken the room. If low light is an issue, particularly on north facing windows, look at fine translucent curtain materials in pastel shades. Some fabric textures reflect available light. When purchasing your material, always try to look at the fabric in natural light… Light, bright colours and patterns enhance available light.

Privacy

During daylight, voiles provide good privacy and allow in light. At night, with the lights on in the house, the reverse is true. Unless privacy is not an issue at night, always use voiles with more conventional curtains.

An alternative approach is to fit a plain blind within the window recess. These are functional, if unattractive. Blinds can be effective with light translucent curtains if the colour of the blind is similar to but, lighter than, the curtains. Remember that closed roller blinds can be hidden behind a pelmet.

Space

A simple room to maximise space, or to give the impression of space in a room, is to keep the curtains light and discretely patterned. Translucent curtains work well.

Where possible, retain the curtains in the window recess. Cooler colours tend to make a room feel bigger. Where practical, voiles used on their own give a clear impression of spaciousness.

Design

Modern houses suit contemporary curtain fabric designs. If your furniture and accessories are bold and busy, offset them with quiet and discrete curtains. Remember that you should match both colours and textures in curtains and furniture.

The windows connect the inside of the home to the outside. If you have a wonderful view from the window, make use of it. Use your curtains to frame it like a work of art. Use tie backs to maximise the visible window space.

Single coloured and generally plain curtains can be given a lift by using bright and attractive curtain accessories. Consider moving away from conventional tracks, tapes and hooks to tab tops and pins, or rivetsrip.

If you do not like seeing curtain rails or poles, why not use hidden straps?

Match your pole to the colour and type of curtain. Dark mahogany poles may be not appropriate for light and bright curtains. Conversely, a white pole would look odd with a heavy velvet drape.

For voiles, lightweight and translucent curtains, consider tab tops withglass or fantasy pins and matching tie-backs. These can be especially effective in a child’s room