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What are the best curtains and blinds for your windows?


So, you’ve made the decision to replace your old windows with something more energy efficient, but now you’ve got to decide which windows you actually want in your home. There’s a lot to think about when it comes to selecting the best window type for your property. When making your decision, you’ll want to take both design and functionality into account.

This being said, it’s difficult to know where to start, so here are our answers to some frequently asked questions.

What are the best curtains and blinds for your windows?

What are the best curtains and blinds for your windows?

You’ve managed to choose between the different window designs; casement, sash, French, tilt and turn and bay and bow. Then, you picked your frame material and colour, selected a reputable installer and set the date. Now, the dust has settled and your new windows are installed — mission accomplished.

Having new windows and doors fitted is almost always a good thing, but – like repainting white walls – it can lead to a whole lot of other work around the house. Suddenly, your old sofa needs to be moved to a different wall, that coffee table looks a little out of place — or you need new curtains or blinds!

We’ve found that many of our customers like to fit new curtains and blinds to go with their new windows. Just like a set of windows, they can improve a room’s looks, liveability and insulation. As such, here’s our short guide to choosing the best curtains or blinds for your windows, old or new.

Which are best: Curtains or Blinds?

Ultimately, this is a question of personal preference, whether that’s functional or aesthetic. In terms of looks, blinds offer a more minimalist, simple look. They’re ergonomic and easy to keep clean, but that doesn’t mean they can’t be beautiful. You can go for stylish bamboo blinds and patterned fabric if you prefer a softer, more natural feel. Fully-closed blackout blinds completely block out sunlight and insulate well, but some find them to be too modern or plain for their taste.

Curtains are arguably the more traditional choice, especially in this country. Whether they’re floor-to-ceiling or just fall across the window, thick or thin, plain or gaudy, it’s always satisfying to throw open a pair of curtains. When fully closed and made out of good, thick material, they’re seriously insulating and keep the light out. However, they do always leave a part of the window obscured, even when they’re fully open.

Can you put curtains on windows with blinds?

Unsure? A combination of the two is increasingly popular! You can fit a thin blind – that you can angle to allow your ideal amount of light in – coupled with a pair of curtains. In the day, the blind will preserve your privacy and prevent annoying screen glare while the combination of the two at night keeps the heat in and the dawn rays firmly at bay.

Similarly, you might couple a pair of light curtains with a blackout blind. The delicate curtains offer privacy and diffused light, and the blind can give you full darkness inside, whether for a movie night or just a good night’s sleep.

Choosing blinds and curtains is a personal choice. While it depends heavily on the quality of your glazing and the materials used, it’s probably the case that this “belt-and-braces” is the most insulative way of dressing your windows.

Curtains for bay and bow windows

Finding the right coverings for bay and bow windows is a little bit more complicated. It’s probably best not to opt for blinds — each of the individual windows would require its own blind, making it quite the job to pull them all down in the evening. Nor can you run a straight curtain rail across the top of the window.

Instead, you’ll either need a specialised bay window curtain rail that bends neatly along the wall above the window frame, or a bendable metal or plastic track for each curtain to run along. You’ll have to decide whether you want to open your curtains with a cord or by hand. The latter might work well for smaller bays, but for very large windows you might prefer the ease of using a cord-pull mechanism.

Don’t get carried away dressing a bay or bow — giving each individual window a curtain is unwieldy in practice. Two large curtains will do nicely. 

Bay windows can be quite the aesthetic statement, so you might like to go all out — floor-length curtains and an attractive colour or print will look stately. If you’re overlooked or the window is close to a street, you might want to opt for a set of very thin or “voile” curtains to sit behind your main ones to stop nosy passers-by peeking in!

Are blinds as warm as curtains?

This is a tricky question — the answer depends on a host of different factors. What kind of material will your curtains be made of, and what kind of blind would you prefer? Venetian blinds will be naturally less insulative than thick fabric curtains – it’s a lot warmer in Venice, after all. However, a thick fabric blackout blind will be warmer than a thinner set of curtains. 

The right answer for you also relates to the type of window you have. For instance, those with thin glazing or draughty windows should watch out. Even a small gap in the curtains can produce chilly draughts where a blackout blind with full window coverage won’t. 

For those with well-fitted, modern windows however, the precise curtain or blind you use will be less important. A quality window will do most of the hard thermal legwork for you, leaving you the freedom to choose curtains based on your personal style preferences.

Should every window have curtains?

It might sound unusual, but not all windows do require a covering. It’s a matter of personal preference, but it isn’t unusual to forgo a covering on a small triple-glazed bathroom window made of frosted glass, for instance.

Let’s give another example. Window coverings are around for three main reasons — to keep out light, to preserve privacy and to insulate your home. Going through that list for a skylight window mounted above a landing we can see: there’s no need to keep out light, little chance of worries over privacy and (if it’s a good window) not much heat being lost. As such, there isn’t much reason to fit a curtain or covering.

Start with the windows

Whether you’re looking to fit out a new set of windows or simply jazz-up your current ones, we hope this article has given you food for thought. We don’t know everything about interior design, but we’re always happy to answer any and all questions about glazing, doors and conservatories. Why not give us a call?

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