The Beauty of Blinds: From design to completion

For a crisp, modern look, blinds are very effective and can be just as eye-catching as curtains. Bought ready-made or made-to-order in the same way as curtains, they use minimal fabric, tend to be cost effective and can be used alone or layered under curtains. They are often the most practical and streamlined solution for kitchens and bathrooms. Choose from plains or patterns, or create a bespoke digitally printed design yourself. Try Surface View, where a 50cm sq blind costs from £l80. “The biggest trend in blinds is a move towards a more informal look,” designer Dave, our in-house specialist. “Look out for relaxed prints, including hand-drawn illustrations and trims that add personality.”

You can opt for an at home children’s blinds service with a fitter who will install your blinds, or buy online from a host of companies that offer a made-to-measure option. For online blines, we can recommend BlindsBoutique.co.uk. This tends to be cheaper, but it will be up to you to get the measurements right. Follow each company’s instructions carefully, as there will be variations according to mechanisms, styles and fabrics used. One word of warning: be especially careful that solaire blinds cords are kept well away from young children.

Measuring for Blinds

Blinds Boutique for Childrens Blinds

Blinds Boutique for Childrens Blinds

If you plan to install a blind inside a window recess, check that it is deep enough (usually at least 6cm) to accommodate the operating mechanism, and look out for windows that open inwards or handles that may get in the way. Using a metal tape measure for accuracy, measure the width and depth of the recess, checking the measurements in several places to allow for any variation in shape.  Use the narrowest width measurement and the shortest height. Outside a window recess, decide how far you Want the fabric to overlap on all sides, usually at least 4.5cm each side. Measure the width and depth, adding an extra 3.8cm for the operating mechanism.

Specialist Blinds

Try the following hard-working options for more demanding environments. Black out blinds are made from densely woven fabric and are designed to eliminate light as well as provide complete privacy. Moisture-resistant blinds are ideal for use in rooms such as kitchens and bathrooms where the atmopshere can sometimes be damp. Electric blinds make life easier if you have windows that are difficult to reach, skylights or large areas of conservatory glazing. Try Controliss, priced to order.

Solar blinds are useful for conservatories or rooms with large areas of glazing. They reflect external heat on hot summer days and insulate during cold Weather, as well as reducing glare. Try Solar R roller blinds from Appeal Home Shading, from £175sq m, including design, manufacture and installation.

Thermal blinds are designed to cut down heat loss substantially and remove down draughts from single-glazed windows; they are made using layers of special thermal fabrics.   The Thermal Blind Company, from £16Osq m.

Our Guide to Blinds

Blinds use minimal fabric, tend to be cost effective and can be used either alone or under curtains.  They can also offer a sophisticated option to complement most window sizes and styles – here’s our guide to the choices on offer.

Roller blind: A flat panel of specially treated or stiffened fabric which is operated by a side cord or a spring mechanism.

Roman Blind: A fabric panel that draws up into horizontal pleats when raised. It has a soft and dressy look.

Swedish Blind: This simple style is either raised by a cord-and-pulley system that hangs from the top or rolled up and held in place by ties.

Venetian and wooden slatted Blinds:  These can be tilted, raised or lowered to allow you to adjust the light or cut it out entirely.

Panel blinds:  These sliding blinds create a modern feel and work well on large windows and glass doors providing privacy and good light control.

http://collections.vam.ac.uk/item/O115514/curtain-unknown/

 

Want Style for less £££s? New for Old could be for you….

There is no getting away from the fact that large windows can be expensive to dress. Quality second-hand curtains offer an affordable approach, and one that is environmentally friendly too. Companies such as The Curtain Exchange offer carefully inspected, good-quality interlined curtains in all sizes and fabrics, which can be taken home to try on a 24-hour approval loan. Conversely, if you are moving house or decorating, consider selling your curtains through such outlets. www.blindsboutique.co.uk

How Much Fabric? – Our simple to follow guide to calculating fabric

Depending on the type of heading you have chosen to use; taped or pole, fabric widths can vary enormously. There is an option that is practical but also beautiful for every room and window.

Taped Headings: Popular pleated choices that are created with Heading Tape, suitable for tracks and poles that take curtain hooks or rings.

Standard Heading Tape gives soft gathers and simple pleats for lightweight to medium fabrics. 1.5 to 2 fabric widths required.

Narrow pencil pleats have a sharper finish and slim, defined pleats.  Ideal for light-medium fabrics, shorter curtains and valances. 2 to 2.5 fabric widths required.

Triple or french pleats are ideal if you’re after a classic smart curtain look. 2.25 fabric widths required.

Extra and ultra-deep headings offer more support for long curtains and heavyweight fabrics. 2.5 to 3 fabric widths required.

Double and single pleats are a more realxed version of the triple and inverted pleats, and are smart and modern. 2.25 fabric widths required.

Goblet pleats are usually filled with wadding to help them hold their shape, leaving a dressy finish for heavy fabrics.  2 fabric widths required.

Box pleats are lareg, sharp pleats that are ideal for voiles, nets and and lightweight sheer fabrics.  3 fabric widths required.

Pole Headings: These tape free options hang straight from teh pole for a sleek modern finish. They require 1 to 1.5 fabric widths.

Eyelet Simple and modern. The pole threads straight through it. Rufflette sells eyelet tape for easy application and even spacing.

Tab-top and tie-top Relaxed, informal-looking panels with simple heading that either loops or ties directly onto the pole.

Clips A fabric panel is suspended from peg-style clips that are attached to rings threaded onto the pole. Best used with lightweight fabrics.

Whatever you choose, there is an option that is practical but also beautiful for every room and window.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Curtain

FINISHING TOUCHES: Lining, Interlining, Sizing? Our Guide to Getting to Grips with Curtains

Although some lightweight fabrics are suited to a relaxed look, most curtain fabrics benefit from being lined to boost the quality of their drape, as well as protecting the face fabric from sunlight. Lining also enhances heat retention, and you can buy a thermal variety, which is helpful if you have large expanses of glass.

Blackout lining is a good choice for bedrooms if early morning sunlight disturbs your sleep and especially for childrens bedrooms. Interlining consists of two layers, usually a cottonwool-like middle lining sandwiched in between the main fabric and a simple cotton lining. This gives a sumptuous finish, designed to create heavy, full curtains that hang beautifully, provide extra warmth and last for years, but do check that your track or pole can withstand the extra weight. Expect to pay from about £4m for simple cotton lining, more for interlining.

Ready-made curtains are an affordable choice if your windows are standard sizes; they’re ideal, too, if you need curtains in a hurry or you are looking for something simple such as voile panels or a design for a child’s room. Most ready-made curtains tend to be sold by the pair, and the size given represents the width of each curtain in the pair. Standard ready-made curtain sizes are 117cm, 137-168cm and 228cm and, when buying, you need the total width of the curtains to be about 1-2 times the width of your pole or track. Standard drop sizes are 137cm, 183cm and 229cm.

One of the best ways of achieving an elegantly simple and light look is to layer your curtains and blinds using different weights of fabric or colours and incorporating a sheer curtain or panel. This will provide a variety of screening solutions for different times of day and night, as well as adding depth to your scheme. To add the finishing touch to your look, you might choose to fit a pelmet across the top of the window to conceal the track. You can also use a pelmet as a decorative feature or to create the illusion of height.
Usually made of plywood or MDF, pelmets can be painted or covered in fabric. Jali offers made-to-measure pelmets in a choice of many different styles, costing from £16.76m. Finally, you may want to add tie-backs. Metal, fabric and passementerie (applied braiding) are all popular options.

Measuring Up & Making: Our Guide to Achieving Your Perfect Curtains

There are two ways to buy curtains: you can opt for ready-made but these will limit your choice, or you can have them made to order. Start your search at the fabric showrooms, local interior design shops and department stores, many of which offer curtain-making services, too.  You can either measure up yourself or choose to use at at-home made to measure service.  Even if you use the latter, you may find it useful to have at least an approximate idea of your measurements beforehand in order to ‘calculate fabric quantities and estimate costs. When calculating quantities, several factors come into play. The heading type has a big impact on the look of your curtains.

Tab tops and eyelets use the least amount of fabric, while the fuller pleated styles can be quite greedy.  If you measure up yourself, you will need to know the position of the track or pole in order to calculate the drop so ideally, install your tracks and poles before you measure up, taking into account the space needed for the curtains to be drawn back either side of the window (usually about 15~2Ocm, depending on both the thickness and the amount of fabric).

Dull blinds - no good for a childrens room

Dull blinds – no good for a childrens room

Using a metal measuring tape for accuracy, measure the full width of the tracks or the width between the finials for poles. Add 10cm to the width measurement to allow the fabric to overlap when the curtains are drawn, and 20cm for side hems, then calculate the width of your fabric depending on your heading: 1 to 1.5 widths for simple tab or tie-top panels and 2 to 3 widths for the more complex taped headings. Bear in mind that you may need to join two widths of fabric. In terms of drop, the most popular option is floor-length curtains. If you are using a pole, measure pencil and pinch pleat curtains from the eye of your curtain ring, and eyelet and tab top from the top of the pole.

For tracks, measure from the top of the track to about 1~2cm above the floor, or add an extra 20cm or so if you want your curtains to pool. For recessed windows or if you have radiators below your window, you might choose to have sill-length curtains, in which case measure to 5mm to 1cm above the sill or about 15cm below the sill. solaireblinds On all drops, add a 30cm head and hem allowance and remember to allow for any pattern repeats.

Not all fabric houses offer a curtain making service and, even if they do, you might prefer to use a local professional. Some curtain makers offer a full design service with fabric recommendations, so you may choose this as your starting point. You will find a list of’ local professionals in your telephone directory and online, although word-of-mouth recommendations are always a reliable source. Be sure to ask to see samples of work and discuss make-up time, Many makers offer a personal service and will come to your home to measure, provide free estimtltes and advise on styles and fabrics, as well as tracks and poles. Some will return to fit and hang. You will also find made~to-measure services for curtains (and blinds) online. With many of them, you can request free fabric Samples before ordering. Express services are useful if you are in a hurry, although you are likely to pay more for these.

Creating Balance in Your Room

As windows are an important focal point and a major source of light in a room, it’s important to get the proportions right, especially when using a dark or heavily patterned fabric, which will contrast sharply with the light, Let maximum light in through small windows by making sure the curtains can draw fully back to expose all the glass. lfyou are blessed with large windows, don’t stint on the fabric, allow for generous proportions and dare to be bolder with your fabric choice, whether you go for a heavy velvet or a colourful pattern.

The siting ofthe pole can also help balance the position ofthe window. You may be able to make a squat window seem taller by positioning a curtain rod as high as possible.  Hanging a blind behind it, dropped down to where the glass begins, will help to create the illusion of more height. Or extend the curtains either side of a narrow window to give the sense of greater width. If you have windows of varying heights and shapes, it might make more sense to hang all the curtains at one height for a better line.

There are two ways to buy curtains: you can ot for ready-made but these will limit your choice, or you can have them made to order. The latter is the preferred option, bearing in mind the vast choice of fabrics, sizes and heading styles on offer. Start your search at the fabric showrooms, local interior design shops and department stores, such as John Lewis, Heal’s and Liberty, most of which offer curtain-making services, too. In London. a visit to the Design Centre Chelsea Harbour offers probably the greatest choice of fabrics anywhere in the country, with more than 50 showrooms in one location.

The Perfect Curtains

A well-chosen window dressing combines beauty with practicality for the smartest of finishes. While functionality may sway the decision from curtains to blinds, especially in hardworking rooms such as kitchens and bathrooms, choosing window treatments
is very much about “creating a look” rather than implementing a wholly practical solution, so follow your heart here. The current trend is for a degree of simplicity to let the fabric do the talking. Our designer, David says “Perhaps it’s because We are living in less ostentatious times, but there is a move away from fussy pelmets, swags and tails towards much simpler, less formal looks,” But simple doesn’t have to mean plain. “A greater choice of fabrics in every weight, pattern and colour means that curtains are as effective a part of the decorating scheme as ever,” David adds. And from simple sheers to sumptuous` drapes, theres plenty to choose from.

There are two ways to buy curtains: you can ot for ready-made but these will limit your choice, or you can have them made to order. The latter is the preferred option, bearing in mind the vast choice of fabrics, sizes and heading styles on offer. Start your search at the fabric showrooms, local interior design shops and department stores, such as John Lewis, Heal’s and Liberty, most of which offer curtain-making services, too. In London. a visit to the Design Centre Chelsea Harbour offers probably the greatest choice of fabrics anywhere in the country, with more than 50 showrooms in one location.

Ideal choices include natural fibres, such as cottons and linens that tend to have character and drape beautifully, while lined silks, wools and heavy velvets will add volume and a luxurious feel. Bear in mind the effect your curtain heading will have, with some styles adding a fair amount of bulk. Certain fabrics offer more insulation than others and, where privacy is not an issue, you might choose a lightweight option such as layered voiles; a good range of plain, patterned and coloured voiles exists.

When calculating quantities, several factors come into play. The heading type has a big impact on the look ofyour curtains. Tab tops and eyelets use the least amount of fabric, while the fuller pleated styles can be quite greedy. If you measure up yourself, you will need to know the position of the  track or pole in order to calculate the drop.