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How to Pick Curtains

by Theresa Leschmann

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Living room blackout curtains

Curtains can add a distinct feel or the finishing touch to a room. Whether the room is undergoing a complete remodel or just needs sprucing up, the selection of window curtains can add or distract from the desired outcome. Things to consider before selecting curtains are the room they will hang in, color, style and design elements such as curtain hardware and embellishments. Consider whether the curtains are more functional or ornamental in use.

Picking Curtains:

  1. Measure horizontally. Measure the window horizontally from the outer edge of one side of the window frame to the outer edge of the other side of the window frame. Add 6 inches to each side to allow for the curtains to stack when opened.

  2. Measure vertically. Measure the window vertically from the outer edge of the top of the window frame to the outer edge of the bottom of the window frame or to the floor depending on your preference. Add 4 to 6 inches to the overall length to account for placement of the rod or track at the top of the window.

  3. Color. Consider the color of the overall room, including any patterns in wallpaper or furniture. For a soft look, choose colors that blend in with existing colors. To make the curtains stand out, choose colors that contrast and complement the colors of the walls and furnishings.

  4. Length. For kitchen and bathroom windows, you may want to select short window curtains or a simple valance. For bedrooms, living rooms and dining rooms mid- or floor-length curtains may be more appropriate.

  5. Style. For a country or feminine look, select ruffled, lacy or sheer curtains. For a sophisticated or streamlined look, choose layered, pleated or blackout curtains.

  6. Curtain hardware. Pick curtain hardware that enhances the style of your curtains by adding a dimension to the overall effect. Match the curtain rod to other fixtures or hardware in the room. Select wrought iron for an old-world look, wood for a country or casual look and bamboo or chrome for a modern look. Attach design elements such as decorative tiebacks, valances, shades or blinds as appropriate to the decor.

Tip for Selecting Curtains:

  1. Select fabrics that will meet your needs whether you desire privacy, insulation or a touch of elegance. Understand any care considerations, such as dry cleaning, before finalizing your choice.

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