How to Choose Curtains for Your Home
Whether you want to remodel your entire home or freshen up a single room, new window treatments offer the perfect opportunity to reshape your space. At Primitive Star Quilt Shop, we know that choosing the right curtains can sometimes seem like daunting task. We spend a lot of time talking to our customers about window sizes, curtain fullness and what styles of curtains they prefer. We hear our customers say "How do I know how many curtains to order so I get the right amount of fullness on the window?", "Can you help me decide what curtains will look best with the windows I have in my living room?" or "My windows are an odd size, what curtains do I need?" and "I have large rods, will these curtains work?" In fact, while I was composing this article, I got two customer calls in a matter of 15 minutes asking for advice to know which curtains to choose for their home. We have compiled some answers to common questions you might have when picking the right curtains for your home and we have created a little video as well.
When it comes to choosing the right curtains, I think there are probably as many opinions as there are people. How you choose to dress up your windows is really very much up to your personal preference and there are so many variables to consider. I would almost go as far as to say there is no wrong way to choose and hang curtains - but that is probably an exaggeration.
Consider Window Size
There are hundreds of different window sizes! It always makes me laugh inside when I ask a customer what size window they are working with and they reply with “well I’m not sure exactly, but it is a normal size window. You know what I mean?” Unfortunately, it's really not that simple as there is no 'normal size' for most windows. The only way to really know what size your window is, is to actually measure it.
So, that’s where you need to start. How many windows do you have and what size are they? Do you like to see how things look on paper? We created a little worksheet to help. You can print your copy below. Measure each of your windows and write the measurements on your worksheet. I added a few possible window shapes to help you visualize it all.
What Curtain Style Do You Like Best?
Next, think about what style of window curtains you prefer. For the most part, the size of your window will help to dictate what style of curtain you choose. There are lots of options available. We have panel curtains, valances, tiers, prairie curtains, and swags. Typically, you will choose the style of curtain based on window size. For example, if you have a shorter window that is only 36” tall, you can choose to use swags or a valance and tiers. However, you might also choose to hang long panels over a small window. In our video below, you will see that I used panel curtains on the small window in our great room to coordinate with another larger window. This can also create the illusion of a taller window in a small space. It all depends on the look you want and if you want to cover your window trim.
Here are some of our curtains style options:
What About That Trim?
For me, I usually try to keep the window trim free of curtains as much as possible. Our home is much older, aside from a “great room” we added on back in 2003, most of our home is over 125 years old with 10 ½ foot ceilings. The majority of the woodwork and window trim is cherry butternut oak and very unique. My husband and I love antiques, and so I guess I see our wide decorative window trim and unusually tall baseboards as a cherished antique. It is something that I want to accentuate and enjoy. I think it would be so fun if that wide wood trim could tell me stories of years gone by. If somehow the baseboards could recount how previous families have been able to enjoy our home in the past. I would just love to know that history. So, since I like my woodwork to show, what I often do is hang my curtains inside the windows using little tension rods.
Jot down some of your favorite curtain styles on your worksheet thinking also about what you want to do with your trim – to cover or not to cover.
Getting The Right Amount of Gathered Fullness
The number one concern our customers have when shopping for new curtains is trying to figure out how many they need to order achieve a desired fullness. We talk a lot about this topic in our video where we will take you on a little home tour with a few of us from Primitive Star Quilt Shop. In the video, you’ll see various size windows and curtain styles with various amounts of gathered fullness. A good rule of thumb to follow is at least 2 times the width of the window. Many people prefer even more fullness and choose to fill in with valances or an extra set of panels.
If you are filling out the worksheet and you wrote down your window measurements, go ahead and calculate what 2 times the width of your window is. If you know you might like a fuller option you can also calculate 2 ½ or even 3 times your width and write those numbers down. This will come in handy when you get ready to order new curtains.
What Size Rod to Use?
Something else to consider is your hardware. What rod thickness do you want? Most of our curtains have a 3 ¼ rod pocket but that doesn’t mean that you have to have a large rod for it to look ok. I have used everything from the wide flat curtain rods to small tension rods. In our video you will see the rod I used in the office is a very small tension rod compared to the flat rod Maura used for the window above her bed. In my experience, each size works well, it’s really just a matter of personal preference. Make a note of what hardware you have and determine if you need to purchase anything.
Plaid, Checks, Stripes and Solids
Trying to decide what curtain pattern and color you want is usually the biggest decision when it comes to getting new curtains. I usually ask customers what else they have going on in the room. What are the wall and flooring colors? Is the trim painted or wood? What other patterns are in the couch, bedding or pillows? What main color do they want to bring out in the curtains? Taking a look at all of these things can help you narrow down what would look best for your space.
Let Us Be Your One Stop Shop For Curtains
At Primitive Star Quilt Shop, we service a very niche primitive country market. Our customers tend to love prairie curtains in plaids and checks. They really like to use swags or valances for smaller windows. The majority of the curtains we offer have been especially designed for our primitive country lovers and those who enjoy rustic lodge and the farmhouse look.
So, you might be wondering -- what type of curtains do most of our customers choose to use in their bedroom when they get new bedding? Survey says? Panel curtains! When our customers purchase a quilt collection, panel curtains are the number one curtains added to the order. Second would probably be valances and then prairie curtains.
The bottom line is that you have to decide what style and look you are going for and what you are comfortable with. If you get stuck, we are here for you! If we can talk you through your window shape and size or the color and style that will best fit your room, send us an email or give us a call. We will be happy to help.
Primitive Star Quilt Shop offers a wide range of window treatments including valances, tier curtains, panel curtains, prairie swag curtains and more. Take a look at our online store and find the right curtains along with primitive country bedding and quilted throws today.
If this has been helpful for you as you consider what curtains you need for your home, we invite you to let us help you discover How to Create a Primitive Country Bedroom Makeover Plan in 6 Easy Steps. Not only do we discuss curtains, but also atmosphere, paint colors, quilts, lighting and much more to help you create the bedroom you've always wanted.