What hangs at the windows can make a huge difference to the look of a room – so which is best: curtains, blinds or shutters?
It really rather depends on what effect and purpose you want to achieve. Is privacy the main concern, keeping prying eyes out? Or do you want to let the light in and not care who can see into the room?
Of course, it also depends on the function the room serves. In a bathroom, for instance, heavy or fussy curtains would be impractical. In a bathroom, where privacy is key, it would be best to go for a blind or shutters. Look at www.thecaliforniacompany.co.uk for some interesting ideas. A very practical room like the kitchen also works best with a simple window treatment, unless of course, the kitchen décor is a country-style where light curtains might suit better.
For the more public rooms, such as the living room and dining room, a window treatment that allows plenty of light in will be a good idea. Venetian blinds or internal shutters would allow the daylight to be controlled while also make a stylish statement.
In a television or media room, and even a nursery, too much light can be a problem. A blackout curtain will ensure that sunlight does not fall across the television screen and ruin the picture, and a blackout curtain in a nursery will make it easier for a baby to fall asleep during the day. Also, a heavier, fuller blackout curtain in a television room will improve the acoustics.
Of course, there’s no reason why a window should be limited to only one or the other. Why not team blinds up with curtains? A plain blind with patterned curtains can create a stylish and not too bare look. There are different types of blind – the Roman, Venetian and the London. The Roman and the London are fabric blinds, and light is diffused through the cloth. A Roman or London blind can be a simpler alternative to curtains, as the fabric can be patterned, allowing the window some visual interest but appearing uncluttered. A fabric window dressing could also be tied in with the upholstery of the room’s furniture.
A Venetian blind is rather similar to a shutter and can be used to angle light or block it out altogether. Blinds also solve problem window shapes, as they can be hung separately, whereas an awkward bow-shaped window will probably need a customised curtain hanging rail. Blinds are also the best choice where there isn’t a lot of room either side of the window.
Window treatments are as susceptible to the current fashion as are clothes and food. For a more traditional property, and especially for those with high ceilings and tall windows, curtains will be more suitable, and in keeping with the room’s original features. For a modern room setting, blinds or internal shutters provide a functional, yet simple, option.
Interior shutters, particularly half-shutters, are a popular choice at the moment and provide the best of both worlds. They afford privacy, yet let a good amount of light in above eye-level.
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