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Choose Curtains for a Living Room – Our Best Tips

You’re on a great project – selecting curtains for your living room. Curtains and drapes make a very important visual statement – often more than any other design element. They can’t be hidden and they can’t be missed. Your choices will set a mood and tone for the whole house or apartment. And there are so many looks to choose from – so many different fabrics, colours, textures, treatments, details… The list goes on and on. How do you sort through all the possibilities and find the ones you want to focus on? We’re here to help! Let’s look at how to choose curtains for a living room.

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What’s your style?

The first question to answer is – what general style are you working with? Light and airy? Bold and modern? Traditional and decorative? This is probably being expressed by design pieces you’ve already chosen for the space. Whether you do your own research and shopping or work with a consultant, knowing this answer shows you the path ahead, and reduces some of the noise from alternative solutions that may be attractive in their own right but don’t fit with your theme. Focus is everything in a world full of choices.

Curtains or Drapes?

There are shades of difference, and knowing what you’re looking for will make your search easier and speed communications with those in the business. Curtains are large panels of flat cloth intended to move readily on a curtain rod, to control light and provide privacy, to a greater or lesser degree depending primarily on the chosen fabric. Drapes are typically of heavier weight, may be highly decorative, and are meant primarily to block out sunlight. A combination of the two may often be used to achieve both purposes.

Curtains may be light-blocking and decorative – they may be substantial, but they are lighter weight than drapes, and they are usually meant to be opened and closed more frequently during the day as light and privacy control may require. Drapes are notably heavier and usually more ornate than curtains – sometimes with significant design details such as gathers and fringes and swags – and in any case, drapes are meant to be light-blocking, and they are usually open all day and closed at night.

There are also curtain linings to be considered. There is some overlap between curtains and linings – a lightweight curtain could also be considered a lining in some cases. In general, linings are simpler and plainer than curtains – they may be solid or translucent, and they’re used to slow down fading of curtains and drapes, always important in our strong Australian sunshine.

Choosing Fabric

The design theme you’re working with will help narrow down fabric choices. Generally speaking, heavier fabrics with more pattern and design go well in traditional rooms, and the streamlined look of simple fabric finishes are at their best in modern spaces. The way curtains hang is very important, because they’ll be seen at their full length, and they will be seen in different ways – pleated when open, and then spread out when closed. Not all curtains will act the same all the time, and this is not something you can determine from a fabric sample. You’ll need to see your curtains of interest actually installed – in a good showroom, or possibly in a very good photo.

Choosing Colour

In most cases, the dominant colour chosen for curtains should complement the other major design elements in the room – furniture, rugs or carpet, and wall colours. In addition, design theme will play a part in colour choice. By cultural association, we all tend to associate bright solid colours with the sleek minimalist look of Nordic design, paler floral colours with traditional interiors, and darker shades with rustic environments. However, if curtains are to be a strong design statement, then colours that contrast with the surroundings could be very effective.

Pattern and Design

Look to the rest of the room to get an idea of what might work best on curtains. If the furnishings are mostly in solid colours, then curtains with a lively print will often do quite well. It the rest of the room is what catches the eye, with texture and pattern, then the curtains will probably work best in a supporting role, with a simpler visual presentation based on solid colours and trimmed-down detailing.

The Right Length

Most of the time, curtains for the living room will go all the way to the floor – but consider whether your case may be an exception. Slightly shorter curtains may be needed if there is something near the window that must not be blocked – for example, low heating ducts that are found in some homes – or if children will be present. On the other hand, you could go for a dramatic effect with curtains that are longer than floor-length and will drape gracefully onto the floor. Curtains that reach the floor often make a room seem visually taller – in most rooms this will be an advantage. Curtains that end just below the window sill are usually associated with more informal and utilitarian spaces, but in the right design theme, perhaps minimalist or rustic, they can also work in a living room.

Getting The Right Width

Thinking about how to choose curtains for a living room turns out to have a lot of depth. Time for a break from design issues. Whatever decor theme you choose, you’ll need accurate measurements of window width – to the outside of the window opening including any framing. Curtains should be at least twice that wide to allow for an attractive look when closed, and generous pleating when open. Curtains that are two-and-a-half times the window width will give an extra luxurious look.


Contact Us for More Information

We hope this is of help as you consider how to choose curtains for a living room. Our experienced, knowledgeable staff at U Blinds Australia will answer many more questions and show you beautiful window curtains that will work and show to advantage in your home. Find your perfect look, and take advantage of our free fitting and quotes. Call us on 1300 303 391, and visit our showrooms in Brisbane, Sydney, Melbourne, Adelaide and Hobart.


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