In this section I shall move on to window treatments combined with fixtures.
I used to love dressing up a window with swags, tails, tie backs all edged with a contrasting fabric. These days I like to let the light in and not make the window the focal point of the room. Therefore, I personally would use the base neutral colour of the scheme for the curtains and if necessary edge them with the accent colour of the soft furnishings.
The choice of poles and finials is vast and they can remind me of the finishing touches of jewellery on a tailored item of clothing. If bling is your thing, there is a finial to suit or if you like look understated there are clear Perspex ones which almost disappear. All these suggestions are for the minimalist interior, but if you have an interior with original period fixtures; it is well worth spending time researching the history, your interior will look so much better for it.
The choice of curtain headings is also vast. If you are using a pole the best heading is a pencil pleat, or if the curtains need to remain closed at the top, a ‘fixed’ heading would be best, this is where the whole curtain is cased on the pole, then the curtains can be held or tied back. Other headings are:-
French pleat where a row of hand sewn pleats in groups of three are separated by flat areas.
Goblet pleat which are calculated and formed in the same way as French pleats but only one cup is formed. This cup is then stuffed with wadding to pad it out.
Flemish heading this is the same as the Goblet pleat but threaded with decorative cord which is tied at the base of the pleat. Best used with a ‘fixed’ heading.
Smocked heading the smocked area on the front of the curtain needs plotting first on paper then it is transferred to the curtain. It requires a lot of time and careful sewing – personally this kind of heading suits a ‘fixed’ heading best.
When it comes to tie back curtains the options are limitless. Italian stringing where the curtain is held back by threading the stringing (also called Reefing) is a technique used in curtains that have fixed tops, but allow the bottom and middle to open and spread as in Theatre curtains can look classy.
There are lots of hold backs and tie backs on the market, but how about making your own? They can be elegant, funky, bohemian, classy, country, or earthy with a minimum of fuss and maximum style. They can be beads threaded onto wire, leather, raffia, faux fur or even silk flowers – let your imagination run riot!
Considerations for blinds versus curtains or have both!
The style of a blind has a more architectural quality and suit a contemporary room. Curtains have more fluidity and give a softer feel.
Blinds can be made in all sorts of materials from lace to paper, metal or leather. Depending the look you want to achieve, the fabric could echo other soft furnishings within the room. There is also the option to have blackout blinds.
Blinds and versatile and are the better option for an awkwardly shaped window where curtains would be a bit more difficult to hang.
Blinds take up less material but are more complicated to make which can make them more expensive. You could of course make your own roller or Roman blind, the savings made by home made could be taken up by buying a slightly more expensive fabric.
Blinds and curtains combined can make a very sophisticated window treatment if say for instance the blind is made of a contrasting fabric to the curtains. If the window does not a particularly good outlook then sheer panels behind either a Roman blind or to add a little softness an Austrian blind.
The Asian influence is very much coming into the fore with Shoji blinds made of paper which allows light to filter in while also ensuring privacy. Other ideas would be to hang lots of fine chainmail (fringe like) against the window; this would also ensure privacy and have a twinkling effect when the sun is reflected from it.
Roman blinds give an extremely sophisticated look but care must be taken not to make them in fabrics such as velvet , I think one of the best fabrics is linen. They are particularly useful if a window is an unusual shape or proportion, but for very large windows, the mechanism can get very heavy.
If the windows/patio doors are really large and wide, consider vertical blinds, they come in all sorts of widths, for the Asian influence get the very wide variety, these can be ‘stacked’ back to one side of the door.
For my next blog I shall move from curtains to soft furnishings, which will include ‘tenting’ and what to do with those old chairs which have seen better days.