How to choose curtains for your living room - Lifestyle AU
How to choose curtains for your living room

How to choose curtains for your living room

Few of us can claim to be experts when it comes to curtains which makes choosing the right ones for your home a fairly daunting proposition. While we may have some idea about the look and style we’re after, there are a number of other considerations to take into account before making that fateful final decision.

Words by Yohei Guy

Style is a great place to start

As just mentioned, most of us will have some idea what we’re after when it comes to style making it a great place to start. What we don’t often realise is that there is quite a range of styles to choose from when it comes to curtains.

For example, a popular choice in Australia is flat panel curtains. These are curtains that don’t have any folds when they are pulled across your windows, achieving a completely smooth appearance. This style of curtain is great for highlighting the pattern or material of your curtains.

Another popular style is pleated panel curtains. These are considered a more traditional, formal, and luxurious type of curtain with more folds in its panels when they are opened.

There are a number of other choices available to explore and discover and making that decision early will make the decisions that follow, that much easier.

Pure Linen Drapery by Zepel

Materials are very important

Another important thing to consider when you are choosing curtains is the material that you want. It impacts many things in terms of texture, feel, longevity and, quite crucially, the amount of light that can pass through your curtains.

If you want a lot of natural light in your living room, you should consider sheer or cotton fabrics. This will allow a lot of light to shine through the curtains while still providing ample shade.

To block out a greater amount of light, you may want to choose a heavier material, like velvet. These are denser and will keep your room darker and more private. A step further would be to invest in blackout curtains, which have an additional lining to block sunlight.

Finally, you can choose something like linen curtains to achieve an even balance. This will block out some light but not all of it. Meeting with your local curtain fabricators is a great way to learn more about the different subtleties between materials.

Related article: How to create beautifully gathered curtains

Rhyme Drapery by Zepel

Colour or pattern or both?

When you are choosing living room curtains, the colours and patterns you choose will play a big part in the interior design of your living room.

Before you can choose the colour and pattern, you need to look at the rest of the decor in your home. If everything else in your room is solid coloured, having curtains with a pattern will be a great contrast and point of difference.

Similarly, you need to make sure the colour of your curtains fits with the rest of the furniture. While you don't necessarily want your curtains to match exactly, it is important to choose drapes with a colour that complements other features in your room.

For example, you may want to choose an undertone from your rug or furniture to match your curtains. Coloured curtains that match other design elements will make your living room feel more cohesive and well-designed.

La Palma* by Catherine Martin by Mokum

Get the measuring tapes out

Next, you need to consider the length of your curtains. This will play a big role in how the curtains look in your living room. Curtain lengths are calculated by measuring the length between the rod pocket, where your curtains hang down from your curtain rod, to the bottom of where you want your curtain to finish. Typically, there are four different lengths that people go for.

Tier curtains - These are the shortest length of curtains and only cover a small part of the window, like the top foot.

Apron curtains - These are longer than tier curtains but are still considered short curtains. Apron curtains hang just below the bottom of the window.

Floor curtains - These are curtains that reach the floor but do not bunch up on the ground. Instead, they barely brush the carpet.

Puddle curtains - These reach far past the floor, with the fabric bunching together at the bottom, forming a puddle of fabric.

Finally, you need to consider the width of your curtains. This will depend on the width of your window and its frame. The easiest way to find the correct width of your curtains is to measure the window frame and multiply it by two.

This way you will have enough fabric to create a look of gathered curtains, meaning you can tie your curtains together nicely when open, making your home look more expensive.

Related article - 6 exquisite types of curtains for your home

Double height curtains at the Noonan Residence

Consider Functionality

Another essential factor to consider when you are buying curtains for your home is whether or not they will be functional. While curtains can significantly improve your interior design, you also need to find curtains that do their job.

First, you need to pick between lined and unlined curtains. This will depend on how much light gets into your living room in the first place and how much light you want to block out. If you want more natural light in your home, you may want to choose unlined curtains or curtains made from linen.

You can also choose to use opaque curtains to provide more privacy. If you want to be able to choose the amount of privacy you want, you may consider layering sheer curtains with opaque curtains.

You’ll also want to think about ongoing maintenance and care. While something like velvet curtains may look and feel fantastic, they do require a bit more attention and effort when cleaning them compared with alternatives like cotton.

Delft Velvet Noir Fabrics by Designers Guild

Your first steps towards your dream curtains

Choosing the right curtains is a process that should be carefully considered but one you can have a lot of fun with too. By knowing what elements are important to you, you’ll be best placed to make informed decisions which will ultimately lead you to curtains that will do all and everything that you need.

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