No, we’re not suggesting funky artwork on your window; we’re talking about picking the perfect curtains! Jagruti Verma tells you how to keep your drapes in good shape
Whether you are trying to steal a few extra hours of sleep over the weekend, need a little privacy or simply want to shield yourself from the midday sun, a good set of drapes is the answer. They can keep you cosy on a rainy afternoon, let in a little breeze in the winter and keep your home cool in the summer — depending on the type and style that you pick, of course. But, are you picking the right type and maintaining them properly? Since some fabrics are more porous than others, it is important to pay attention to the kind of curtains you buy and then devote a little attention to make sure that they remain in the best shape. Here are a few simple tips and tricks to keep your curtains looking good.
PICK SOMETHING THAT SOOTHES YOU
You may be a fan of bold hues, but when it comes to curtains make sure to choose a colour that’s soothing. Since changing your curtains and furniture often isn’t very feasible, remember to pick a style and colour palette that will match any minor furnishing update.
GET THE PERFECT LENGTH & SIZE
Measure windows and doors and make sure you have an idea of exactly how you want your curtains to fall. Where you place your curtain holder, how you’re going to tie them back and whether the rod you pick can hold those thick drapes you want — everything needs to be considered quite carefully. Also remember that while very long curtains can be hemmed up, you can’t fix very short ones as easily. So, if you’re not sure, go with the larger option.
Pollutants in the air can get trapped in the curtains if the fabric is too porous. If it’s too thick, your room may feel suffocating. If they’re too thin, they will not serve the purpose of blocking out unwanted light. While the best option is to get two rods and a set of sheer as well as blackout curtains, you still have to pick the right fabric for each. Here’s a quick guide that may help.
Cotton curtains are the easiest to maintain as they can be machine-washed. If you are looking for curtains to hang in the kitchen, cotton is an excellent pick.
Linen curtains are a good choice for your bedrooms. They add a spacious feel to a bedroom and are easy to clean.
Silk curtains and drapes are a great option for living rooms as they add a luxurious feel to the space. However, they are expensive and require special care and attention.
Faux silk curtains are similar to silk ones but cheaper and more manageable. You can choose the fabric for living as well as bedroom spaces.
Polyester is a good pick for those who are looking for a durable option not prone to wrinkling and are machine washable. But, don’t hang these in the kitchen as they should be kept away from combustible sources.
Lace and sheer fabric can be used when you are trying to make partitions in the room or want to add some fabric in the room to decorate it. They’re also good options for a sheer layer behind a blackout curtain.
DO YOU NEED A CURTAIN OR A DRAPE?
While the terms curtains and drapes are used almost interchangeably when it comes to these matters, there are subtle differences between the two. The correct term for fabric pieces that are used to block out light, ensure privacy and cover windows and doors is drapes. Curtains are sheer and one can see through them in most cases.
Drapes can be thought of as thicker curtains that are lined and layered, which help keep out the sun. Make sure you know what you need before buying a curtain or a drape for a space. While a curtain can be a great choice to add to the aesthetics of the room, drapes should be used when a window needs to be covered for privacy. If your room gets direct sunlight and you don’t want a heavy drape, pick blackout curtains or a bolder hue in thick material. Remember that light colours fade over time, especially when they’re in contact with direct sunlight.
THINGS TO CONSIDER
Here are a few questions we suggest you ask yourself before you buy a new curtain set for your space.
Washing instructions: Should your curtain be hand-washed, put in a machine or dry-cleaned?
Cleaning frequency: How long can you let your curtains hang before they need cleaning?
Bleeding colours: Will the colours of the curtains bleed out if you wash or soak them in water with a cleaning agent such as a detergent?
Fabric weight: How heavy is the fabric of your curtain and what kind of support would it need to stay put?
Making creases: Is the material more likely to crease and wrinkle? What are your alternatives?
Fading colour: For how long would the colour of your curtains stay without fading? What can you do to help it stay bright for longer?
Costs for the future: When do you need to replace your curtains. Are they worth the price you are paying?
Volume and space issues: Would the curtains be too voluminous for the space? Do they need tie backs for easy maintenance?
Layering qualities: Do you need to layer curtains to get the design and fabric you want while ensuring that they serve the purpose? Should you pick curtains or drapes?
KEEP THEM CLEAN
Is it time to clean your curtains? Here are a few things to keep in mind.
Shake it out: Shake them (while they’re hanging) to remove the dust particles that may be stuck on the surface. Use a vacuum cleaner if the fabric is heavy.
Do not use the machine for everything: Make sure to check the washing instructions before throwing the curtain in the washing machine.
Blot stains: Don’t leave a stain on until it’s time to wash your curtains. The stain could sink in and make matters worse if you don’t blot it as soon as it appears on the fabric.
Dip into fabric cleaner: Don’t use harsh chemicals or detergents when you’re cleaning your curtains. Use a good fabric cleaner (if the fabric permits this), and soak them in a bucket for a while before washing.
Dry cleaning counts: If your curtains or drapes are made of expensive material and need dry cleaning, get this done without delay. However, ensure that this is a feasible option in the long run before you buy such fabric.
Consider steam cleaning: This is an expensive method and you will have to invest in a portable steam cleaner if you don’t want to get this done by a professional.