Roman and Austrian, Japanese and French, with lambrequins, imperial and pleated – that’s all about curtains. Our article will help you understand all the intricacies and find a good option for your windows. We will talk about what types of curtains there are, how they differ, and where which models are appropriate.
Harmoniously designed windows are what apartments and houses so often lack. Sometimes it is enough to replace the curtains to transform the interior. At the same time, if everyone chooses the decoration and furniture with passion, then they usually do not make special demands on the curtains and buy the classics – straight canvases that move to the sides. In the meantime, there are so many different types of curtains that it is definitely worth taking the time to study them and find the ones that suit your home.
Such curtains hang down from the cornice on which they are attached freely, and can be moved to the sides. This is a classic window design option. It is suitable for all rooms: living room, bedroom, nursery and even kitchen. Many people are sure that they know everything about these curtains: what types there are, how they differ, where they are suitable. But this group is by no means limited to the usual style: there are also Japanese panels, thread curtains, “cafe” models, and others.
A timeless classic – one, two, or several rectangular canvases that reach the floor or are shortened (covering window sills).
As a rule, they are 1.5-2 times wider than the window opening, so even when closed they form soft vertical waves. Depending on the color and material, such curtains can play a very different role. Brocade ones in noble shades will decorate a room for receiving guests, opaque dark ones will create suitable conditions for sleeping in the bedroom, and thin ones with a pattern will complement the interior of a baby’s room or will organically fit into the kitchen environment.
Curtains are easy to combine both with each other (when dense and heavy fabric is complemented with light tulle curtains ) and with other types of curtains (for example, with roller or Roman curtains).
They differ from the previous ones in that the canvases are fixed on the cornice not side by side, but together, as if overlapping each other.
The lower parts are spread apart and secured at the edges of the window with tiebacks. For curtains, a light translucent material is used, which creates partial shade in the room, protecting it from the scorching sun. Hence the scope of application: they can be hung in any room, but mainly as an addition to thicker and heavier curtains. What does this style of curtains give to the interior? Grace, frivolity, and a French accent, which are appropriate in a house in a classic style, Provence style, shabby chic, empire style, etc.
A lambrequin is a piece of elegantly shaped fabric that is attached to a cornice, completely covering it. It can complement curtains or be used independently.
For example, it softens the utilitarian look of Roman curtains and makes the look of classic curtains more complete and holistic. These decorative elements are made from the same fabric as the main curtains. They can be semicircular in shape with soft horizontal folds, beveled (hung along the edges), acute-angled (placed in the center of the windows), etc.
This type of mini-curtain used to be often seen in cafes, as well as on trains.
They are made in two main versions: the fabric sheet is fixed to two cornices at once – at the top and bottom of the window, or a cornice is made in the middle of the window opening, and a shortened curtain is fixed on it. From the name, it is clear that it is best to hang these types of curtains in the kitchen or dining room. There is also a place for them in the bathroom, on a closed veranda, or in the hallway of a private house. They are not suitable for a bedroom, children’s room, or living room, since they will not darken the room enough.
One of the most demanding types for the interior.
They do not tolerate mistakes and mistakes: everything in the room must correspond to their strict and laconic appearance. They are flat sheets of fabric stretched over rectangular frames, which slide to the sides along guides installed on the ceiling (and sometimes on the floor). Their operating principle is reminiscent of screens in Japanese houses, hence their name. For the same reason, the material for them is usually thin, translucent, and almost always light, reminiscent of rice paper.
Such curtains can often be seen in office spaces and executive offices. In residential buildings, they are installed on terraces, in bedrooms, and in living rooms. They look very beautiful with panoramic windows.
Curtains made of threads with beads were once very popular, but today they are appropriate, as a rule, only in the style of boho-chic, glamor, and some others, and even there they must be used with great care.
They can be hung not only on windows but also in doorways and even zoned a room with their help. A modernized version is a muslin: long strands of synthetic threads or thin ribbons are attached to the braid, which almost does not get tangled and does not lose their aesthetic appearance over time. Threads made from thin metal chains look original and unusual.
It’s a simple, albeit controversial, way to bring something unique to your setting that others don’t have.
You can transfer almost any design to fabric – from abstraction to a photograph of your favorite cat. With such curtains the interior becomes individual. The design must be selected very carefully, and it is better to involve a designer in this, since not every image looks adequate on the curtains, especially when they are moved to the edges of the windows during the day.
It would be a good idea to hang such canvases in the nursery, putting on them pictures with your favorite cartoon or fairy tale characters. In other rooms, neutral photo themes are more appropriate, which will help create the right atmosphere: in the bedroom of a young family, it can be floral motifs, in the study – geometric shapes, in the living room – landscapes and city views. You can print only on the upper half of the curtains, then they will look more organic.
And yet it is better to avoid such a solution for windows: photo curtains are definitely not on the list of current design ideas.
The curtains of this group do not move apart but rise. This is convenient where there is little free space: such curtains do not take up space on the sides of the window. In addition, their adjustment is quick and simple, you can raise or lower the blade with one hand, so these models are often used in kitchens and children’s rooms, where functionality and ease of use come first.
These are Austrian, English (London), and French curtains.
The principle of their operation is the same: cords (two or more) are inserted vertically into a rectangular sheet at a distance from each other. The fabric moves upward along the cords, forming soft horizontal waves.
How do these types of curtains differ (photo below)? The location of the folds. When the curtain is completely lowered, the French one will have them along the entire length, the Austrian one will have them only in the lower part, and the English one will not have them at all. In addition, the French version is usually made of thin and light fabrics without a pattern, the Austrian one is made of translucent material with or without padding, and the English curtains are the densest and heaviest, almost always decorated with ornaments, checks, stripes or other patterns.
This window design is in harmony with classicism, as well as the Empire and Baroque styles, which are now rarely found.
The simplicity, functionality, and aesthetics that distinguish all types of Roman blinds have made them an absolute favorite among both designers and their clients.
Stiffening ribs are installed horizontally at regular intervals in a rectangular piece of dense fabric. When you pull the cord, the material rises, forming uniform, even folds. This window design is applicable everywhere: it looks good in the kitchen, in the nursery, and in the study. Such curtains will give a complete look to a living room in a minimalist style; in a bedroom, they will protect you from bright sunlight and the views of your neighbors. You can combine them with regular sliding curtains. This duo is not only fashionable but also comfortable: Roman blinds will provide isolation from the outside world when necessary, while classic blinds will soften their utilitarian character and decorate the room.
Curtains from this group are rolled up.
There are standard types of roller blinds: traditional, mini, UNI system, and “day-night”.
- Traditional roller blinds are equipped with a weight strip along the bottom edge, which stretches them, making them smooth and even; the fabric is not secured at all on the sides.
- Mini-curtains are attached directly to the window sashes, this is convenient if you have wide windows: the light transmission of each of them can be adjusted separately.
- UNI is a system in which the rolled fabric is hidden in a box, and when pulled out of it, it follows guides installed along the window slopes.
- “Day-Night” is a solution for those who want to precisely regulate the level of illumination: usually, this is a bedroom, bathroom, or creative workshop. These curtains are made of two fabrics, on which wide stripes of light transparent fabric and dense opaque fabric alternate. When you pull the cord, the fabric moves, and the gap between the dark, impenetrable areas increases or decreases.
Bamboo roller blinds stand apart. They are made of thin wooden twigs or slats and are rolled up in the same way. They are usually bought for apartments in eco- and ethnic styles.
All these solutions are more practical than beautiful, so they are applicable where convenience is paramount: in the kitchen, in the bathroom, and in utility rooms in a suburban area. They are often chosen for a children’s room, as they are easy to adjust even for a child. In addition, it is impossible to get tangled in them, as in long drapes or thread curtains. In the living room and dining room it is better to combine them with other types of curtains.
This type of curtain can be called a stylish alternative to blinds.
If you’re happy with everything about blinds except their unassuming appearance, pleated curtains are sure to please you. They are made from stiff fabric that holds its shape well. When they are raised, they fold like an even accordion; when they are lowered, the folds sag under their own weight, slightly leveling out, but the canvas never becomes completely smooth: triangular waves always remain on it.
These types of curtains are good for plastic windows installed at an angle or which are often opened in a folding mode: pleated curtains can be fixed not only in the upper part of the opening, but also in the lower part, and also add guides along the edges so that the fabric of the canvas is guaranteed not to sag.
If the curtains are fixed to the curtain rod, they are called stationary. There are three main types of such curtains: imperial, “Bishop’s sleeve” and Italian. The latter are still found in modern interiors, but the first two options have practically become obsolete due to excessive pretentiousness (nowadays they are almost never seen in residential buildings – only in restaurants or theaters, where deliberate luxury is welcomed).
This is a variation of ordinary classic curtains: the only difference is that they are fixed on the eaves, and in order to let light into the house, their lower parts are spread to the sides and secured with cords, ribbons, or magnetic hooks.
Window glass with them is always partially closed, so they are bought only for very large windows or are sewn from translucent fabrics that minimally block light. Often, window decoration with such curtains implies pomp and layering: straight curtains made of tulle or lace are added to them, decorated with fringe or tassels, complemented with lambrequins, etc. Obviously, only spacious living rooms, dining rooms, and sometimes bedrooms can be decorated on such a grand scale: this is definitely not suitable for kitchens, playrooms, and small apartments.
In a house with pompous furnishings, high ceilings, and antique furniture, you can consider these curtains.
In all other cases, they will look foreign. These are static, heavily draped curtains made of expensive fabrics: brocade, taffeta, silk, etc. Their role is completely decorative: they do not move at all – just as they were hung, they will hang until they are replaced with new ones.
Another rare window design option.
We can say that this is a subspecies of the previous curtains: they do not move in the same way, they are needed only for beauty, and will only make friends with a deliberately luxurious, “palace” interior. Each such curtain consists of a vertical fabric with one or several overlaps (puffs). The “bishop’s sleeve” rarely appears alone; it is usually complemented by imperial or Italian curtains, as well as lambrequins.
Where else can you hang curtains?
Curtains are not just about windows. They are used to decorate doorways and glass doors, divide space into zones, decorate sleeping areas, etc.
Are you wondering what types of curtains you can hang at the entrance to the room? Choose classic straight and thread ones: they will not interfere with your passage. If you don’t have enough personal space in a small apartment, isolate yourself from everyone with thick sound-absorbing curtains. If you have transparent doors and you don’t have enough privacy behind them, order the “cafe” style: there are variations specifically for such cases. Do you want to decorate your sleeping area? The studio will sew you a weightless canopy. The range of applications for curtains is much wider than you might think – they can be hung almost anywhere you want.
The variety of fabrics can baffle the inexperienced person.
When you start leafing through a catalog, it’s easy to get lost and choose something completely wrong. Often, when a person sees a design he likes, he forgets to check whether the material is suitable for his curtains and whether it is appropriate in the room where the curtains will hang. The table below will help simplify your choice.
|Fabric type||Advantages||Which curtains are best suited for?|
|Cotton, linen, matting||Hypoallergenic, environmentally friendly||Classic, cafe, Japanese, Roman, English, Austrian|
|Blackout (polyester)||Heat and sound insulation, durability||Classic, Roman, roll|
|Taffeta, velvet, jacquard, silk, satin||Durability, luxurious look||Classic, English, Roman, Italian, Imperial, Bishop’s Sleeve|
|Voile, organza, chiffon||Easily drape, let in maximum light||Classic, Austrian, French, cafe, roll, Italian, Japanese|
|Viscose, acrylic, soft||Easy to care for, not electrified, pliable texture||Classic, Italian, English, Roman|
|Mixed||Wear resistance, fade resistance, do not wrinkle||Classic, pleated, rolled, Roman, Japanese, cafe|
In the children’s room and bedroom, they usually use completely natural fabrics or with minimal addition of synthetic fibers, since they are guaranteed not to harm health. In other rooms, the composition of the material plays a lesser role.
What types of window curtains are right for your home?
Buying curtains will be successful if you take into account the main nuances when choosing them.
Before purchasing, be sure to check whether the model you choose is suitable for the following points:
- Room size. The smaller it is, the lighter the window design should be. Dark curtains are appropriate only in spacious rooms. The exception is the bedroom, where colors close to black are needed for complete darkness at night.
- Room type. In the kitchen, curtains quickly become dirty and have to be washed frequently. The same goes for the children’s room: kids can paint them and try to test their strength. Therefore, in both cases, the material is needed to be easy to clean and strong. In the bedroom, thick curtains that completely cover the windows will be relevant, absorbing sounds and not allowing light to pass through. More expensive models are selected for the living room, and they must be combined with the rest of the interior. In the office, extremely simple curtains without unnecessary details will be good, so that nothing distracts from work.
- Window shape. If they are extended upward, avoid vertical stripes on the canvases; wide and low window openings, on the contrary, should not be decorated with horizontal stripes. For roof windows you need your own type of curtains; as a rule, roller curtains are chosen.
- Side of the world. In rooms with windows facing south or west, curtains are hung in cold colors, while those facing north and east – in warm colors.
- Ceiling height. The higher they are, the denser and heavier the fabric can be. For low ceilings, only light fabrics are acceptable.
- Location of windows. The lower they are, the higher the cornice is hung and the longer the curtains are made.
- Features of the floor. If the floor is uneven, the curtains should be made either 3-4 cm higher than it, or add 20-30 cm to the length so that the canvases lie in beautiful draperies. If the floor is flat, then the curtains should end 1-2 cm from it.
All models can be combined to create unique solutions and achieve both functional and beautiful window designs. The classic combination is thick curtains and transparent tulle. But you can go further and complement light-patterned curtains with neutral roller blinds that provide protection from the bright sun. Soft straight models are good in a duet with both opaque Roman and draped curtains. And muslin can easily replace transparent organza.
The shade of the curtains is chosen in accordance with the color scheme of the room. There are different ways to harmoniously fit them into the interior: for example, they can be in common colors with decoration or furniture, echo home textiles or carpet, and they can also be matched to decorative accessories, paintings, and other objects of art decorating the room.
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