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Curtain Mistakes To Avoid – Six Ways to Ensure the Perfect Look and Fit

Considering curtains? From miscalculations to misunderstandings, here’s how to guarantee you get window treatments right from the start.

Windowscaping is the one of most important design considerations you’ll make when refreshing or redecorating a room. The decorative statement, the control of light levels, the privacy benefits and the opportunity to reduce household running costs are the noteworthy plus points in favour of curtains as the go-to window treatment.  

As with all important decor decisions, the fear factor of getting curtains wrong can be top of mind. A bit like a door, you’re going to be opening and closing your curtains every single day so you want them to be functional and well as beautiful.  

Here we take a look at the six key blunders people make when choosing drapes so that you don’t fall for the same mistakes…  

1. Forgetting to order samples 

Bespoke curtain buying online is easier than ever. The one drawback is that what you perceive on your phone or laptop can sometimes not be what you see in the light of your own home. This is particularly true when it comes to the colour, weight and texture of a fabric.  

‘That’s why ordering samples is so important,’ says Curtains 2go expert Alison Gore. ‘Our sample service is totally free, posted first class on the same day as ordered and you can choose up to 10 samples.’  

When the textiles arrive, take the opportunity to live with them for a while. Tape them to the wall next to the window or pin them to the existing curtains. It will help you to imagine what they will look like in situ and if they will work with your existing or new colour scheme.   

curtain headings explained
William Morris Golden Lily Dusk Curtains

2. Not having your pole or track in place

The practicalities of how you are actually going to hang your curtains often gets overlooked in the excitement of dreamy patterns and perfect palettes. If you are investing in a new track or pole, it’s always best to choose, buy, and fix it to the wall in advance of ordering your curtains. This makes the measuring process simpler and less likely to go awry. The width of the pole also allows you to consider the ‘stack back’ of the curtain when fully open. 

3. Rushing the measurements

Measuring for curtains carefully is the single most important step in the curtains-buying journey. Surprisingly, many people rush the process and can end up with ill-fitting drapes.  

Give yourself a good amount of time, use a step ladder and take a full set of measurements of the window itself and the surrounding area. ‘I recommend that you use a metal tape measure,’ says interiors expert Rhoda Parry, ‘and make it a two-person job so you achieve an accurate reading.’ 

It’s a sensible idea to grab a piece of blank paper and draw out a diagram of the wall area. Measure everything and add to the plan. If you have an existing track or pole, measure its length and then consider the drop carefully (see below). If you are curtain-buying for more than one window in a room, don’t assume they’re the same size. 

Arlo Modern Grey Wave Curtains and Leone Voile Pinstripe Curtains

4. Getting the length wrong

How long the curtains are is a pivotal design decision that makes or breaks the look and feel of your room scheme. It’s often referred to as the drop. 

‘The general design rules for a curtain’s length are that they can be hung either to the floor, to the sill or to below the sill,’ says Alison. As a guide, curtains finish either: 1.5cm above the floor; 15-20cm below the sill (or 2-3cm above the radiator); or 1.5cm above the sill. This small amount of space at the bottom of the curtains means that they don’t drag, mark or fray.  

On the whole, interior professionals err on the side of full-length curtains for a decorative scheme as sill length can lack impact.  

5. Forgoing curtain linings 

Know the old saying ‘out of sight is out of mind’? Many homeowners don’t appreciate the special role linings play in the look and effectiveness of a curtain. Thermal linings on living room curtains, for instance, will keep the space warmer in winter, while blackout linings in bedroom curtains will induce a better and longer night’s sleep. Linings even play a part in reducing noise pollution.  

People often decide against linings when a tight budget is a factor, but the benefits often outweigh the initial investment.  

‘My advice would be to think of the long term when pricing up curtains,’ says Rhoda Parry. ‘Consider the cost over a 10-year period, the average lifetime for a pair of drapes.’ 

6. Disregarding curtain fullness

Skimping on fabric is the surefire way to kill a room scheme. The magic of curtains is their ability to make a decor scheme come alive and the generosity of fabric plays a big part in how the curtain hangs. 

The quantity of fabric is dictated by the curtain heading. For instance, Pencil Pleat and Pinch Pleat curtains are made to 2x fullness (double fullness); Eyelet curtains are made to 1.5x fullness (one and a half times fullness); Wave curtains are made to 1.5x fullness (one and a half times fullness) plus an additional 20cm per curtain.  

More fabric brings a more luxurious weight to the overall look so think carefully about how ample and abundant you would prefer your curtains to look when they are hung. 

Blinds 2go offer a wide variety of made-to-measure curtains with a range of fabrics, designs and colours available. Shop our range today.