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6 steps to great looking curtains

Written by Debbie Buchanon from Auburn Soft Furnishings

Intro by Abigail Willis from Willis Bloom... Deborah has written this really useful blog on '6 steps to great looking curtains'. It's so so much more than just choosing the right fabric. It's all about making the right choices, seeking advice and craftmanship too. Curtains are an investment for your home, and mistakes can be a painful expense. This is why it's worth having a read. If you can get it right with poles, tracks, linings, weight, drape and finish then a good pair of curtains can last years and years, or at least until you want a change. If you're not confident to do all of this yourself then work with an expert to achieve your goals, much as you would commission an architect, lawyer or carpenter. We are lucky to work with a talented group of trade partners all of whom are soft furnishings expert and we are delighted to welcome Auburn Soft Furnishgings as our newest stockist. Here's their advice for making curtains perfect...

What makes a curtain look great?

Curtains are a large part of interior design and when implemented correctly, can really transform a room.

There are so many beautiful fabrics and poles to choose; from tactile velvets to bespoke printed cottons and decorative poles.

Getting the right advice can really take the anxiety out of renovating your room.


There are many reasons why curtains just don’t hang correctly; the wrong track, wrong lining, incorrect fixing height and length of curtain and poor workmanship.

Curtains make or break a good interior and getting it right is so important. Looking at unpleasant window dressings can really impact on your lifestyle and mood – or is it just me?! After all, the window area is a large part of a room so why would you hang something that doesn’t please you?


1. Choose the right track/pole

Using an inadequate curtain track or pole can not only be frustrating but also an expensive spend. Bay window dressings for instance, aren’t going to function properly with the wrong fixing. Off the shelf tracks/poles certainly aren’t capable of drawing curtains on bays; they snag on the bends or ‘pass over’ rings on poles just slip off. Similarly plastic tracks haven’t the strength to hold anything heavier than cotton fabric with cotton lining. Look at the room as a whole if you have multiple windows and doors to dress. Line the tracks/poles up at an identical height no matter how different the sizes are; work to the highest window and follow this line around the room. Full length curtains are always preferable unless a sill or radiator protrudes further than the track/pole brackets allow; the curtains should always hang vertically and freely without obstacles.

2. Choose the correct place to fix your track/pole


To achieve the right light management you need the correct lining and position of the track/pole. Choosing a pole for instance will, for certain create more light ‘bleed’ than a track. Poles project further away from the wall causing a light gap over the top of the curtains. Positioning the track just under the ceiling will minimise light bleed and give a low ceiling the illusion it is taller. Returning curtain edges back to the wall and using pelmets will encase the windows light also.

3. Choose the correct lining


There are many linings for different usages; cotton sateen lining is the standard lining but comes in very different qualities. A good quality sateen cotton lining can provide a better backing than it’s cheaper counterpart and the price isn’t a lot more and will protect your fabric. Interlining provides both insulation and thickness to the curtain which in turn provides warmth and a luxurious look. This is sewn between the fabric and lining and comes in a variety of thicknesses and weight. It had been used many years ago for draft purposes due to single glazed windows however today it’s used mainly for aesthetic reasons; providing a superior, lush look. Blackout lining continues to grow in popularity in recent times due to more home owners working shifts. It has improved over the years from being very stiff and rigid to now manufacturing a softer, supple drape. Most recent versions include the bonded lining which provides blackout lining with

a wadded backing; many using this to interline roman blinds due to its sharper, crisp properties it provides.

4. Choose the right weight of fabric

Fabrics are manufactured for many different uses and styles. Some lightweight and fresh mainly used for curtains or scatter cushions and some heavier, durable fabrics for upholstery. Different textures provide depth to the interior; velvet for example has a soft sheen and a variable colour blend, whereas a linen provides a flat, natural element. Too much of either in one room can look bland or overpowering. Decide which base cloth you prefer for the curtains and then use cushions and furniture coverings to add another element. Mix it up!

5. Choose the right curtain heading

Curtain headings don’t stop at pencil tape and pinch pleated. If using pelmets, valances or swags & tails, a properly dressed pencil tape will suffice as the tape and track is hidden. Pinch pleats are often used on poles mainly because they can sit under the pole (known as underslung) and the rings run freely along the pole once drawn. Always polish your track or pole regularly to preserve a smooth running of rings and runners. It’s like everything; maintain your tools and they will work efficiently for longer. Have a read of my other blog ‘Which heading is right?’ for more information on other heading types.

6. Choose the right maker

A good curtain maker will advise which fabric drapes best and which needs interlining. They will interlock side hems and seams to prevent the fabric and lining fighting against each other and ‘bellowing’. Ready made curtains will have been ‘bagged’ in which is a method where the fabric and lining are machine sewn together inside out and then turned. This method causes twisting and inevitably the lining will creep around to the front edges of the curtains which looks dreadful. Also made worse when pulling the curtains by hand instead of using a cord or wand. A great maker or fitted can make even the worst made curtains look many times better by just ‘dressing’ the curtains but a badly made curtain will always creep back out of position.


I’m looking forward to hearing about your curtain projects and hope this has helped you create the most beautiful windows ❤️ .


You can contact Auburn Soft Furnishings by clicking here : Auburn Soft Furnishings

You can contact Auburn Soft Furnishings by clicking here : Auburn Soft Furnishings


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