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Curtain Design Concept Part 17

Combining Curtains with your Interior Design Concept

In our last lesson we learned about Curtain Terms, and ordering and measuring custom made curtains, in today’s lesson we will learn about Combining Curtains with your Interior Design Concept.

You should be starting to feel a lot more confident about curtain design by now. Apart from a few practice projects you are probably now quite skilled. You now need to know how to use those curtain design skills with your interior decorating or design.

If you have read my articles about creating a color scheme then you will know that I suggest finding something of interest to work your scheme around, it could be a rug, piece of furniture, a painting or a simple cushion. So I am going to talk about combining curtains with your interior scheme from two different angles, the first is working on a renovation, or makeover, and the second it starting with a clean slate.

Here is your scenario, you have a client with a room that they want to makeover, they want to keep the carpet, furniture and paintings, and just want new colors for the walls and new curtains or drapery.

Fantastic, this is easy, only a few things to select… problem. Until you go out and start looking for fabrics to use. Argh, you then realize that you actually have a lot of existing elements to think about, you can’t just choose a beautiful fabric and say they will work, you need to sort through loads and loads to find just the thing.

So it is best to narrow down a few things before you start. think about the style of curtain that will work in the room, is it going to be the focal point, or just a subtle backdrop to other room features?

That will dictate the type of curtain, if it is going to be the focal point then it can be an elaborate design, or simple in design but more “punchy”in the fabric selection, the tracks or rods can be decorative, the accessories more prominent and contrasting or detailed.

If the curtain is to be a backdrop and more of a functional use then the choice of curtain track can be more simple, the fabric color subtle, perhaps a textured fabric, simple headings.

So you can see instantly that if I then visit the fabric store, I have cut down my choices by literally thousands, and I am more focused in my search and not easily distracted. You also need to have in the back of your mind the existing finishes that you are working with or what is really handy is a couple of photographs, so you can look at the furniture and visualize the curtains in the room. (Don’t worry, this comes with practice.) If you have a scrolled arm sofa, then picking out a soft scroll in a fabric pattern can tie in the look, or using the scrolled finials. If you have chosen paint or wallpaper, it is useful to have the samples with you. Always think of the room as a whole, it has to look harmonious and you don’t want the curtains to jump out and bite you. Even if they are the feature.

If you are starting with a clean slate, It is wonderful if you can start with a fabric for the curtains, then choose the carpet, or floor coverings, wall color and furniture fabrics to go with it, then you really can choose the fabric and curtain to set the style of the room. This is the easier option as you are completely in control, you then just need to consider how the style and finishes will flow through the rest of the home.

General considerations for combining curtains into your overall interior design

If you want to make the room look smaller, then use dark warm colors on the walls with dark curtains and you will create a more intimate space, the opposite for making it light and airy, cool light colors on the walls and the same for the curtain fabric.

Large patterns will also make the room feel more enclosed, so keep this in mind if you have a lot of curtains in a room.

Vertical striped fabric curtains will give the impression of added height to a room and horizontal striped curtains will make the room look wider but make the ceiling look lower or the room more squat.

Remember that if you choose a patterned fabric, that the pattern will look different when the curtain is hung depending on the type of heading you use.

You will see more of the pattern if you use a simple heading like a tab top, or grommet top curtain as the curtain doesn’t get gathered up, but using a heading tape and having gathers and pleats does distort the fabric and lose the impact of the pattern design. (I know this from experience, I used an extremely expensive velvet with a large gold leaf art nouveau motif on it which was subtle but gorgeous, by the time I used a french pleat heading and they were hung over a 7 meter expanse, the subtle design got lost and the curtains didn’t have the same impact as I had expected.)

If you want to sit on the fence and create a pleasing to the eye and non offensive curtain design, then choose a plain fabric, perhaps a tone or two lighter or darker than the wall color and it will work every time. You can always jazz it up with a more elaborate curtain rod, or some decorative tiebacks or hold backs.

Sometimes it pays not to get too carried away with “matching”things, this can lead to a disaster, if everything is the same color or the same design, the concept and room can look terribly boring and lacking feeling or personal imput, so don’t just grab a book with coordinating fabrics and think it is the answer to everything, because you could look just like your neighbour down the street, and that is not what learning all this is about, it is about having the strenght and confidence to bring combinations together yourself and really create something original. Yeah.

Great you have just finished reading part seventeen. If you still have time, go and read your related articles, if not come back again and read them in your spare time. In three days time you will receive your next lesson curtain accessories, and if you don’t receive it then look in your spam email box, and if you just can’t wait for three days the you can find part eighteen here online.

Bye for now


Lee Brown

Curtain Design Ecourse Coordinator