by Amanda Mears
Picking out the best window coverings for your home may not be rocket science, but that doesn't mean you shouldn't put some consideration into what you choose. Instead of buying curtains based strictly on looks, think about the way you want the curtains to hang and the amount of privacy you want them to provide. Keep these tips in mind as you shop for new curtains or drapes.
Take measurements. You can easily estimate the right length and width of your window and find curtains that work, but getting a precise measurement for the curtains you're picking out is what makes a home look polished. For the width, measure your window and double or triple it. This method is pretty standard and ensures that curtains or drapes come together in the middle with no gaping. Length, however, will depend on the style of drapes you want.
Decide on a style. The fabric you choose will determine how your curtains hang and the length they should be. Silk and taffeta offer a sheen that is more appropriate for formal spaces, and they are typically made to hang longer for a dramatic effect. Cotton or linen curtains are more laid-back and look best when just barely touching the floor. Besides looking at the fabric of a curtain panel, you should also pay attention to how they are hung. Standard curtain with a pocket for the rod look fancier, while tab-top and grommet curtains are more casual and show off unique curtain rods.
Explore functionality. In addition to framing your windows, curtains and drapes can also be functional. Instead of covering windows with blinds, put up a pair of light-blocking curtains that are insulated and energy-efficient. Insulated curtains reduce drafty winds or keep your house cool by preventing cool air from escaping. Sheer curtains are strictly decorative, but if you like the look and still want something that will block the light, look for panel sets with one set of drapes and a sheer panel. You can also create the same effect by layering thermal-backed panels in back of sheer curtains on a double curtain rod.