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Everything You Should Know About Buying Curtains

guide to buying curtains

Buying curtains is a huge investment, one that you want to get right from the start. Curtains are a fashion statement that can add style and personality to any room. If you’ve asked around, you know how expensive curtains are. Not forgetting the countless varieties available from the fabric, length and colour.  

Here is a simple guide to help you buy curtains for your home.  

1. Ready-Made vs Custom-Made Curtains

curtain prints

The decision to buy ready-made or custom-made curtains depends on a lot of factors. 

How fast do you want them? 

If you are pressed for time, for instance, if you are moving out or want to host some friends over, then buying ready-made curtains is the way to go. Before going to a curtain shop, measure your windows to make it easier for the attendant to recommend a size that will work perfectly in your house. 

With custom-made curtains, you will take time selecting the fabric, choosing the colour and finding a tailor. And you never know how long it will take for the tailor to complete stitching them. 

Are you hellbent on a specific curtain?

Ready-made curtains come in different fabrics, styles, lengths and sizes. If you know exactly what you are looking for, then this route can work for you. The only drawback is that they might not fit your windows and would require some alterations. This would affect the quality of your curtains if you don’t find a good tailor.  

However, if you are picky and can’t find what you want in the store, you have the freedom of choosing everything, down to the stitching and personalizing it to suit your needs. Keep in mind that they are more costly because you will have to buy fabric and pay the tailor. 

2. Difference Between Curtains and Drapes

Many people use these words interchangeably not knowing they both have different meanings. 

Curtains are light and sometimes have a sheer fabric. They will prevent some light from getting into your house but not all of it and are perfect for sitting rooms and kitchens.

On the other hand, drapes have a thicker material that blocks out all the light coming in from outside. Drapes work perfectly in bedrooms making it easier to sleep. 

3. Picking the Right Fabric

sample fabrics to select when buying curtains

Before you settle on fabric, you should consider:

  • The transparency of the curtain
  • The decor style of the room
  • The fabric colour which will complement each room

There are various types of fabrics and each has its advantages and drawbacks. Here are some of the common ones that most people look for when buying curtains. 

Cotton: This is the most common type of fabric because it is affordable and easy to wash. Cotton curtains look good in a traditional or modern-styled home. The lining increases the curtain’s length which determines which part of the house you want to hang the curtain.  

Cotton curtains are perfect for the dining area or in a home office. Avoid using them in the kitchen because they pick up odours and can catch fire easily.  

Silk: It is a luxurious fabric that most people buy for aesthetic appeal and not necessarily functionality.  They usually need heavy lining to block out sunlight. 

Linen: It is lightweight and brings in a warm and soft light into your home. One major disadvantage is that it tends to crease easily if you don’t hang it immediately. 

Velvet: These won’t need any lining on them because of the heavy material. If you want this type of fabric, keep in mind that it collects dust very easily.  Meaning it is not ideal if you live in an area prone to dust.  

Sheer: This is a light fabric that is used together with another fabric for the curtain. They are used to let light into your home and to avoid having bare windows. They don’t provide lots of privacy due to their lightness. 

4. Determining the Curtain Length

curtains reaching the floor

The length of your curtains determines the decor style of your house and the synergy with every decor piece. The size of your window will determine the length of your curtain and these are the different lengths to look out for.

Floor curtains: As the name suggests, these curtains fall to the floor, “kissing” the floor. To get the exact measurements, start from the rod at the top all the way to the floor. 

Float curtains: These curtains hang a few inches above the floor barely touching it. 

Puddle curtains: These curtains reach the floor with the remaining fabric “puddling”. They are perfect for areas of the house with minimal movement which will prevent someone from tripping over them. 

5. Type of Curtain Rods

curtain hang with rings

If you own your home, you have the flexibility to decide which type of rods to install. But if it’s a rental, you need to know which rods are available before buying the curtains. Some of the rods to look out for include: 

Single curtain rod: This is usually a bar placed above the window which you insert into the curtain through the rings. Most bars will either be straight or curve at a 90-degree angle leaving no spaces on the edge when you hang the curtain. 

Double curtain rod: This is similar to the single one but comes with two bars, one for the sheers and the other one for the curtain. 

Curtain rings: Some curtains won’t have pockets where the rod passes through. You will need to use rings to hang the curtain. 

6. How to measure curtains

Whether you are buying ready-made curtains or tailor-made ones, you need to have your window measurements in hand. You can use a tape measure for this step.  

The length of the curtain is all about how long you want them to be, from top to bottom. Start by measuring from the curtain rod down to your preferred length. 

For the width, measure the length of the curtain rod together with the width of the window itself. If you want the curtain to have pleats and give the illusion of fullness, you can add two to three more inches to your measurements. 

In summary,

You can transform your house by simply buying curtains that will blend in with your interior decor style. If you feel like you are not confident enough to make the right decision, tag a friend to help you pick fabric and colour. 

Don’t forget to check out another helpful article on how to buy furniture and what you should consider. 

Subscribe to our newsletter today and get practical, modern decor tips to style your home. 

WRITTEN BY
Maureen Mbithe
Content Writer at BuyRentKenya
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