Clients looking for a new pair of curtains typically ask us:
How to Buy Perfect Curtains
Have I chosen the right fabric?
What heading shall I have?
Will I keep all the light coming through the window?
Will they be the right length?
There are three key areas where we can help you in obtaining perfect curtains that ‘dress up’ your windows.
1. The fabric and trim. How it will hang and what scale the pattern is and colour.
2. The curtain’s design and style. For example, how a traditional fabric can be made to look more contemporary with a trim or modern heading and vice versa.
3. Quality of making. Curtain making is a hand-made art and there is a great deal of difference between an average and an exceptional curtain finish.
The olive border on the leading edge of each side, is emulated in the paler green border on the blinds in the opposite bay window.
The blue ribbon border on this sheer Roman blind picks out the colours from the Pierre Frey wallpaper
This simple curtain is anchored by a strong metal pole in antique bronze
1. The Fabric and Trim
The most important thing is to see and feel the fabric in person. That’s why we have invested in:
Full length display fabrics from luxury fabric houses from all over the world, including Pierre Frey (France), Fabricut (USA), C&C Milano (Italy), GP&J Baker (UK).
Thousands of other fabrics in pattern books and our red boxes. Each red box is a treasure trove of fabrics in one colour, so that you can easily find the right fabric for your home.
Equally important is trying to understand what fabric will work best to bring out what you are trying to achieve:
A light and fresh look, something dramatic, warm and inviting?
Do you want to use layering, with a second curtain or blind behind? A second curtain can be used as the functional draw curtain for statement dress curtains, or can be a sheer fabric, when you would like a little softening of light or some privacy.
Display fabrics at 15 Richmond Hill
Layering curtains with a four poster bed in the foreground
How does the fabric tie into the rest of the room’s design scheme?
When using multiple fabrics in a room there are several keys things to consider:
Trying to make fabrics ‘coordinate’ can be the spell of a dull and contrived scheme. Using lots of small patterns have the risk of clashing. A large pattern against a small pattern allows each fabric to be seen clearly.
A curtain fabric will change the light in the room, particularly when partially closed. A weight of material will affect how the curtain hangs and feels. Linens are a good choice because they feel relaxed, wool has an elegant straight down hanging. Velvets are cosy.
Choosing a trim has a huge impact on the overall look and success of a curtain scheme.
They come in several broad types:
Braids - which are often hand-sewn to the leading edge of a curtain, but can also be used along the bottom. This can be a standalone piece or you can use another fabric. They come in different thicknesses, styles and colours.
Tassels or pom poms - these dance beautifully in the light and range from the ultra-traditional French tassels in silk or viscose (there are advantages in modern viscose because they hold their colour better in sunlight), to more modern pom balls or even beads.
Finally, there are more unusual but really quite exciting trims, and they include bullion fringes and ruches which really have a wow factor. They work very well when mixing together a scheme so it doesn’t look old fashioned.
Dramatic silk curtains with triple pleat heading and double tassel tiebacks.
2. The Curtain's Design & Style
When it comes to the design of a curtain, you have the obvious challenge of proportions. Sometimes the windows are not very well placed (not symmetric) or they are bay windows or don’t have much room to place the pole or curtains.
We typically employ the following rules:
Hang the curtains as high as possible, up to the cornice.
Tall and slender is good. We often hang the curtain over the pole for extra height.
We have the curtains come fully off the window when open, usually 30-40cm to each side of the window, to retain maximum light.
Normally we allow for a 4cm break. This is a very small amount of fabric that drops on the floor, causing an elegant drapery.
Then you have the heading. The heading choice has a direct impact on how the curtain and fabric will look and feel. Here are several of the most important:
Calm layered curtains with a chic leading edge border
The traditional French double or triple pleat are likely to be familiar to you. The triple requires more fabric and will look heavier. It is popular because it hangs the fabric neatly and fully.
A modern twist of the French pleat is a tailored pleat, where the fabric is cut at the pinch of the French pleat like a pointed arch.
The cartridge heading allows for a simple understated look. Great for showing off the fabric.
A goblet heading has more drama, and uses a lot of fabric with deeper folds. This is for generous curtains in entertaining areas. You can also add a button to the heading.
A simple gather can be used for sheer curtains or where a less formal approach is needed, such as in guest bedrooms or a loft.
Then there is a cape heading. Some can be very elaborate, but we prefer a simple ruffle. This is romantic and less usual than most headings.
3. Quality of Making. Hand-made Curtains
It is essential that a curtain is hand-made. The quality of finish hand stitching provides is very visible in the way a curtain feels and hangs. It looks tailored to your home. There are several special instructions that we instruct that make our curtains better than others:
Firstly, we choose the right amount of fullness to the proportions and style you’d like to achieve. This includes using the right lining and a good interlining.
We almost always ensure there is a deep leading edge hem to our curtains, where the face fabric wraps around to the back. This ensures you always touch the main fabric and not the lining.
The trims are hand sewn with discrete threads.
Then, when the curtain is ready, there is the installation and dressing. Normally we will have already fitted the curtain pole in advance, so the curtain can be hung as soon as it is ready. The curtain fitter will attend to hang the curtain, and they will steam it and fold it into neat pleats. These are then left for several days to hang into the curtain. Ready for the unveiling.
Your home will feel 'dressed up' at last
Easily request an appointment today
or call us on
020 7971 1313 to discuss your perfect curtains
We make hand-made Roman blinds for most of our projects. They are particularly useful for smaller windows, or for providing shade, privacy, blackout or additional interest to a scheme.
Roman Blind Projects
A sheer roman blind with deep red border
A blackout linen blind in a dressing area
A blackout blind with a window seat below in the City of London
Silk Roman Blind in a dark blue bedroom
An embroidered sheer Roman blind with black grosgrain ribbon border
A statement Roman blind scheme with staggered heights and two bespoke antique mirrors in a bay window. The blinds were hung above the window architraves to allow maximum light into the room. The antique mirrors throw light opposite. More images of this project can be found in London Restoration.
Download our Roman Blinds Guide here: