10 Important Tips to Choose Curtains that are Perfect

In this article we talk about how to choose curtains that are perfect for your home.  Curtains can be a great finishing touch to your decor and I want you to be prepared for your curtain shopping.

Curtains can certainly be a budget buster!  Believe me I understand.

I have just recently become a big fan of curtains.  I’ve always had the attitude that I didn’t need them so why bother. (We live outside the city)

But oh my goodness, they add so much beauty and polish to a room.

A curtain can be a frame to the beauty inside or it can protect us from the weather outside.

If your weather is anything like ours it can be too hot or too cold.  Sometimes it can be both of those things in the same day!

When you’re shopping for curtains you might have found a beautiful pattern that you love or you might be starting from scratch and have no idea where to even start.

So here are my tips to help you get started shopping for curtains.

Know what to shop for when choosing curtains MySimpaticoLife.com
via Ballard Designs (which has a great selection)

Things to Consider When You’re Choosing Curtains

There are so many things to consider when you get started shopping.  What room are they going in?  What is the right color?  The right length?  Can I purchase them off the shelf?

Let’s start with any easy question.

Why do you want curtains?

Curtains can be a beautiful addition to any room. They can provide a beautiful frame for your window and decorative accent to your room.  They can also:

  • make your space appear more polished or finished
  • give the illusion that your windows are larger
  • make your ceiling appear taller

So the first question to answer is why do you want curtains?

Do you need curtains to block out the sun or the view of your neighbors side yard?

Do need to choose curtains that will provide privacy or light control?  Or do you just want curtains to add a little pretty to your room?

These are some of the first things to consider when you start shopping curtains.

Know what to look for when you're shopping for curtains MySimpaticoLife.com
via Target

How to Choose Curtains Fabric

If your curtains are just going to hang around looking pretty you can generally use any kind of fabric.  If you’re looking for light blocking curtains, or curtains to block out the cold or heat, you may want to consider some heavier fabrics or liners.

In our house we rarely close the curtains.  They are part of the decor of a room so I’m not as particular about the weight of the fabric if I find a pattern or color that I think will add something to our overall decor.

I’ve avoided adding curtains for quite some time because I love our views, but I’m finding that a curtain just seems to frame the view and add a little extra finish to a room.

We don’t have neighbors so I’ve never needed them for privacy, but I am liking the wow factor.  So now I’m hunting down curtains for a few other rooms in our house.

When it comes to choose curtains materials linen, silk, faux silk and velvet are among the top choices to use for window treatments.  The weight of these fabrics makes them hang nicely as a curtain.

Some fabrics are better at keeping out the cold or the heat. Suedes, velvets and tapestry’s are heavier weight and that helps them to block out light and temperatures.

The lining also makes a difference in how your curtains hang and function.  It can add weight and formality to a space and help filter or block out light.  It can also give structure to a lighter fabric and make it hang a little heavier.

Interlining is an additional piece of fabric is put between your pretty fabric and the lining to help with temperature’s.

Curtains can be formal or informal depending on how they're made MySimpaticoLife.com
via Etsy

How to Choose Curtains Style

Selecting the best curtains for your style means recognizing what you are personally drawn to when it comes to home d├ęcor.

I will always recommend that you spend some time looking at magazines, catalogs and Pinterest before you start shopping for curtains.

If you haven’t already, you should definitely check out How To Use Pinterest for decorating.

There are so many options available and this is your chance to be brace and add a little color or pattern to your room.  This one small touch can add a lot of dimension to your space.

Are your rooms casual or formal?

Are you curtains part of the supporting cast of your decor or are they there to make a statement?

Your style will probably help determine the fabric that you choose.  Velvet and silk are going to be dressier curtains while cotton and linens will be a lighter weight and more casual.

Even the most casual material can become formal if it’s lined and pleated.

The tops of your curtains are also a spot where you can show some personality and there are no end to the choices here.  Tab top, pinch pleats, rod pocket, rings.

There are an endless amount of options and some of these will give a more formal or more casual feel to your curtains.

Adding rings to the top of your curtains is a great way to add a few more inches of height to them, or to show off a beautiful piece of hardware.

Rod-pickets, grommets and tab tops tend to be more casual or contemporary in style.  They add a cost saving since they don’t require extra rings for hanging.

Pleats and double pleats are considered more traditional.

Top tips for choosing curtains for your home MySimpaticoLife.com
via Etsy

What’s Your Budget?

Custom drapes can be an expensive option for any room but that doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t consider them.  You can customize the dimensions to your windows and create a beautiful tailored look to them.

The most important thing to consider when you choose curtains is the look that you are trying to achieve in your space so that you can decide what the best way to get that look is.

You know that we’re all about the DIY around here so I love being able to find a beautiful fabric and have them sewn for me.

That’s not to say that you can’t get a great look off the shelf too – it may just take a little more time and research to find exactly what you’re looking for.

There are so many options for custom curtains these days.  You can usually find some great deals on Etsy.  If you’re struggling to find a certain color or length, it’s a great place to check.

Do you want Color or Pattern?

Neutrals are always a safe bet when you’re choosing curtains, but I say take a chance here. You’ve got the chance to add some personality to your space.

It’s also important to note that strong light will likely fade your curtains after a period of time.

Nope, it doesn’t matter that you’ve got those fancy windows, it can still happen.

So if you like really bold colors you may need to replace them more often.

Tip:  Lining can be a great way to help overcome fading.

Hanging Your curtains closer to the ceiling will give your room the appearance of being taller.  MySimpaticoLife.com
via Pinterest

How High to Hang Your Curtains

Shorter curtains are made to brush the sill of your window and are perfect in eating areas and bathrooms.  For most other windows you are likely to want full length curtains.

Curtain height and width is something many people struggle with.

Hanging  curtains at ceiling height makes your room appear taller.  It also makes your windows appear grander.

You’ll need to measure how high you’re planning to hang your curtains and I’m always going to recommend ceiling height if your ceilings are 9ft or lower.  When you get into cathedral ceilings and double height rooms you’ve got some other things to consider.

If you live in an older home whose floors aren’t perfectly even, you may want to have a few extra inches on the bottom of your curtain and let them pool on the floor.  This makes the uneven length less noticeable.

Always, always, always check your rod and curtains before you hang them.

Even if you ordered them a certain length the hardware can make them seem shorter or longer.  If you’re using tab tops they may seem shorter and if you add rings they may be a bit longer.

The best way to determine the length is to hold them up and mark where you want your rod to go.  Or lay them on a long table and do some calculating!

The Best Width for your curtains

Aside from moving your curtains up higher than the window frame, you’ll also want them to sit on the outside of the window frame when they’re open.  Your curtains should not block the natural light unless they are closed.

The width should generally be about 1 1/2 to 2 times the width of the window.  If you’re going to be using your curtains you’ll want them to look nice when they’re closed as well as when they’re open so they need to be wide enough to cover the entire expanse.

When you’re purchasing ready made curtains you may need to add additional panels to get the fullness and coverage that you need.

If your window treatments are purely decorative it’s more about how full they look.  You don’t want a single panel hanging next to an extremely wide window because it’s likely to look skimpy.  You’ll want to opt for some extra fullness.

Choosing curtains can be stressful, check out these tips.  MySimpaticoLife.com

How to Clean Your Curtains

Some curtains are going to be fine just throwing them in the washing machine and other fabrics will require dry cleaning.  Be sure to factor this into your future expense because a long length of material is going to factor into the price of dry cleaning.

You definitely don’t want to ruin expensive curtains by trying to wash them yourself if they are dry clean only.

And cleaning them once in awhile is a maintenance requirement to keep them looking amazing.

Those are my tips for How to Choose Curtains

Of course deciding between fabrics and styles is definitely going to take some time but I know you can do it!

Here are a few more resources to help you along the way:

How to Create a Digital Design Board
How to Use Pinterest
How to set a Realistic Decor Budget

Pick the perfect curtains for every room  MySimpaticoLife.com

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