Lace curtains might look gorgeous. But it can get annoying when you want to sleep in afternoon when the sunlight comes in. So while choosing your curtains, the fabric and the style need to be kept in mind.
They are also known as triple pleated curtains. American pleated curtains consist of three pinched pleats at a regular spacing. By pinching the pleats at the bottom, the effect is that they fan out elegantly at the top of the drape. They give your living room an elegant look. American pleats fall well with light weight, free-flowing fabrics like silk taffeta and jacquard. You can have the curtains made with lace too. These curtains look perfect in plain colours, prints and floral patterns too.
Because of the pleats, you will require double the amount of fabric. For example, fabric with a width of 48 inches will shrink to 22 inches with the pleats.
Box pleated curtains, although pleated, are different from the rest as there is no space between the pleats and the pleats are big. They have a very neat appearance and are ideal for study areas.
They fall better in heavier, stiffer fabrics like polyesters and velvets. They look best in plain colours. But prints work well too. Also, a windowsill length is preferable.
Though they don't have the same sophisticated appearance as that of American pleats, they require much less fabric.
Pencil pleated curtains consist of many fine pleats. The name is because of neat tiny pleats that look like a row of pencils.
These curtains too look neat and are ideal for windows with a medium sized frame. They require less material than American pleated curtains but more than box pleated curtains.
Though very stiff fabrics are not a good idea for these curtains, you could try polyesters and lightweight raw silks too. Printed patterns, florals as well as plain colours look lovely.
This style is good for small windows. They are good in the kitchen as there is no danger of the curtains flying in the breeze. With gathered curtains, the gathers are created simply by using extra fabric (i.e. about one and a half times the width of the window). The stitching is much simpler as compared to pleated styles.
Gathered curtains look pretty in both, light or medium weight fabrics like satin silks and organza. Avoid heavy fabrics though.
They are economical and offer enough privacy without losing out on light and breeze.
If you find that the curtain isn't falling too well, then attach a rod just above your window sill too. Pass the lower end of the curtain through this rod, so it stays stiff. Then tie up the curtain at the centre to give it that hourglass shape.
Hour Glass Curtains
They are usually on rods or curtain wires that are attached to the middle of the window sill as well as the bottom. Hour glass curtains use the same principle as gathered curtains except that it can be the full length of a window pane. They are tied at the middle to give them an hour glass shape. These are popular for French windows.
Loop curtains have been in for a while and are extremely popular with cotton materials. There are loops above the curtain through which the rod is passed.
The style imparts a degree of informality and can be used in bedrooms or the study. Try them in checks, stripes, geometric prints or even plain colours. Avoid floral prints. They are the best choice for kiddie rooms and for teenagers too.
The loops can also be buttoned down with attention being given to the buttons, which will add to the charm. Wooden beads work well with plain tab top curtains. However, these curtains cannot move easily on the poles.
These are of the simplest style. Here, the curtain rod passes directly through the fabric. Small round steel eyelets are fitted along the top of the curtain fabric. The rod is then passed through the eyelets. This ensures the smooth movement of the curtain on the rod. However, the stitching costs much more as compared to the other curtain styles.
Use soft, flowing fabrics for a better fall. They are available in many materials, Cotton, Silk dupion and chiffon fabrics are ideal materials for these curtains. Try them in plain colours for a richer look. Be sure of the quality of the eyelet since inferior materials will lead to rust stains.
On the Fringes
Add a little style to the simple fabric of the curtain.
Use attractive powder coated curtain rods and matching curtain rings. You could even use flimsy shimmering fabric and drape it artistically around the curtain rod.
Use pelmets to cover up an ugly aluminium curtain rod or discoloured plastic rings.
Silk thread fringes or soft tassels compliment raw silk or satin silk curtains. A lovely cord made from a mix of cotton and silk is a beautiful way to tie up the curtains during the day. You can even tie them up with satin ribbon.
You could even have decorative valances in scallops, gathers or pleats with lace trimmings along the top of the curtain. This is particularly beautiful for long flowing curtains.
TIPS FOR BUYING
For the Spacious Look
If you have narrow windows, try extending the curtain rod about 4 to 5 inches on either side of the window frame. It make your windows look wider.
For windows that are not very tall, place the curtain rod about half a foot above the actual window frame. Full length (which extend up to the floor) and medium length (which end between the window sill and the floor) curtains also have the similar effect.
With thinner lightweight fabrics; sunlight will stream in and can be quite disturbing. Always use a lining for curtains that will be put on windows that face the sun. The same goes for bedroom curtains.
Silks and other delicate fabrics fade in harsh sunlight. If these curtains are backed with a lining it helps protect the fabric.