Window Treatment Debacle: How to Choose the Right Curtains. Measuring, Selecting the Color, and Style

By | March 22, 2017

Buying curtains seems like a no brainer. You do a little measuring, go into the store, pick out what you like, and you’re good to go. But unfortunately, it’s not that simple. There are a lot of factors that go into the purchase of curtains and you have to get a lot of them right in order to choose a winner. So if you’re thinking about buying curtains, keep these things in mind:

The length will depend on what else is near the curtain. If your bed is under a window, you might want shorter curtains so they don’t get in the way. If the curtains go behind a couch, maybe shorter is better, too. If it’s a curtain for the kitchen window over your sink, you’re obviously not going to want it to go to the floor.

There are several different options and it pretty much just depends on the look you want for the room. If you’re wanting a light, airy look, you probably won’t want heavy drapes. If you have a privacy issue, you won’t want sheers. 

This is a really important point, especially if you have kids or pets. Silk curtains are very hard to spot clean, making them a poor choice for the dining room, or a child’s room, for example.

Dry clean only or machine washable
Do yourself a gigantic favor and check the fabric content of the curtains to see how they should be cleaned. Even if your curtains aren’t going to get dirty, if they say dry clean and they’re only creased, you’ve got to take them somewhere. You’ll have to iron each and every panel on a low heat setting, which will take you hours.

Keep in mind that curtain rods can eat up a big part of the budget. Sometimes the curtains themselves aren’t that expensive but the rods are the budget buster. However, you can easily DIY curtain rods for more than half the price it costs to buy them in-store. 

Rod color
This isn’t necessarily a deal breaker unless you’re obsessive compulsive, but if the grommets in your curtain are brass, you might want a brass rod. If all the metal in the room is chrome, you might want a chrome rod. It doesn’t bother everyone if the metals don’t match, but if they bother you, watch for that.

It’s not difficult to find curtains on clearance. Even stores like Pottery Barn have sales on their curtains. Bed Bath and Beyond is a great option for window treatments as well.

Tie Backs
If your curtains slide open, you’re good to go. But if want to tie them back, don’t forget to purchase tie backs or hold backs.

Additional window coverings
If you have blinds or shades, you can buy “cheater curtains” which cover the edge of the window and don’t actually close. Sometimes blinds look harsh and the cheater curtain can warm things up. 

Window size
Don’t guess, ever! That rarely turns out well. Measure the width and the height of the windows.

Number of panels
Most times, you are going to need two panels per window. If you are buying them at a retailer store, you may want to buy extra and return any you don’t use. That way, if you need more, they aren’t sold out, meaning you don’t have to change your entire window treatment plan.

If you can, take pictures of the room, including the colors you’ll be matching to, and take those with you. It helps you get it right the first time. You can return curtains to most stores, but its also a hassle (one that you can avoid). There’s a lot to buying curtains if you want them to look great. So next time you’re curtain shopping, keep these things in mind.

2 thoughts on “Window Treatment Debacle: How to Choose the Right Curtains. Measuring, Selecting the Color, and Style

  1. Ruthie

    I absolutely love two-toned curtains. Once I saw the most gorgeous pair in Charleston, South Carolina. They went from the ceiling, and puddled onto the floor. The top was chocolate brown, and the second tone at the bottom was salmon pink. They were silk. Ohh how I wish I had those in my house. But I do not have a historic home, so I feel like it would look a little silly in my house 🙁

  2. Leslie

    Charleston has the best home decor. I love the South, they really know how to decorate a home.


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