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Design Tips: Adding Curtains - Part One -
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Design Tips: Adding Curtains – Part One

Design Tips:  Adding Curtains

Window treatments are a big topic. There are so many options out there from blinds that practically disappear to wooden plantation shutters. There are pros and cons for every installation. Where do you start? Setting aside personal style for the moment, function comes first. Today I’d like to focus on curtains. It may seem like a simple task to add curtains to your windows but there is actually quite a bit you need to consider.

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First of all, what is the purpose of the curtains? Is it for light control or purely for esthetics? If you are wanting light control in a bedroom or privacy you will want lined curtains. You may even want to look at having blackout lining if you want to block out most of the light. Blackout lining will feel a bit heavier so it is important to know what look you are after and the function you require. I almost always use some sort of lining on curtains unless I am specifically wanting a very light, almost sheer look. Lining will add substance to the curtains and will also make them last longer as it protects the fabric from sun damage and fading.

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How long do you want your curtains? If you have a window that is not to the floor, it is still best to have the curtains go to the floor unless there is a radiator or deep sill in the way. If you will be opening and closing the curtains then having them just skim the floor works well. Some people do like the look of “puddling” but it does make it more difficult to open and close the curtains and the hem will definitely get dirtier. Puddling curtains seems to work better for inactive curtains.


Where do you hang them? A common mistake people make is to hang the curtain rod on the frame of the window. This works for blinds but not as well for curtains. The ceiling will appear higher and the window larger if you hang the rod would be to hang the rod 4-6” above the frame. Another rule of thumb would be to hang the rod half way between the top of the window frame and the ceiling (for an 8 ft ceiling). Be reasonable with this, hanging a rod more than 8” above the frame will start to look awkward.

curtian measurementscurtain placement

And how wide should they be? Another common mistake is to make them only as wide as the window but the reality is is when the curtain is open the fabric will cover some of the window, which will decrease the light in the room. I like to make the rod about 12” wider on each side of the window so when the curtain is open it will cover only a small portion of the window. This also gives the illusion of a wider and larger window.

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These are just a few ideas to keep in mind when you are thinking of curtains. I still need to go over rods, headers, and fabric choices, to add a valance or not…you get the idea!

Check back with us as we will be posting more about curtains in upcoming blogs.



1 Comment
  • Lynne Streeter Childress
    May 14, 2015 at 5:49 am

    We need curtains for our bedroom. Does hanging them 4″ to 6″ work for the bedroom as well?

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