WIN­DOW COV­ER­INGS such as cur­tains, shut­ters and blinds serve both a prac­ti­cal pur­pose – seal­ing in heat and of­fer­ing pri­vacy – and an aes­thetic one in com­plet­ing your in­te­rior scheme. Here is ev­ery­thing you need to know about choos­ing the right dressings for your home.

sun di­rec­tion

Look at the way your win­dow is fac­ing and con­sider what sort of light it will re­ceive – and how much you want to let in. West– and to a lesser ex­tent, east–fac­ing win­dows are a night­mare for let­ting in roast­ing hot sun­light and re­ally need some sort of win­dow-cov­er­ing so­lu­tion. Also, keep in mind how sun­light af­fects your cov­ers. “Have an aware­ness of the ma­te­ri­al­ity of your cur­tains or blinds, and whether it may fade due to the ori­en­ta­tion of the room,” says in­te­rior de­signer Si­mone Haag.

Out­side awnings are use­ful. “Ex­ter­nal shad­ing re­duces heat trans­fer through win­dows by up to 90 per cent and a whop­ping 88 per cent of a home’s heat gain in sum­mer oc­curs through win­dows,” says na­tional mar­ket­ing man­ager Jenny Brown of Lux­aflex. In­ter­nally, in­su­lat­ing blinds can be used to con­trol heat trans­fer. On the flip­side, south-fac­ing win­dows are gloomy in win­ter – not the sort of ef­fect you’d want to add to with heavy drapes! In­stead, opt for floaty sheers or light-hued shut­ters or blinds, which bounce light off the blades to brighten a room. To cre­ate a lighter look, Si­mone Haag sug­gests go­ing easy on the amount of fab­ric you use. “I would say the days of cur­tains pool­ing on the floor are over,” she says. “Just a kiss of fab­ric on the floor is best.”

ma­te­rial choice

Care­fully con­sider the lo­ca­tion you’re dress­ing. “Avoid heavy fab­ric cur­tains in rooms that have high hu­mid­ity, such as kitchens and bath­rooms,” ad­vises Jenny Brown. “Over time, they may be­come damp and start mould­ing.” In­stead, think prac­ti­cal­ity. “The ‘wet zones’ of the home re­quire mois­ture-re­sis­tant blinds such as those made with PVC or polyester – per­fect for any ar­eas ex­posed to water and steam,” says na­tional buyer Alice Bur­ney of Bun­nings Ware­house. Sim­i­larly, wooden shut­ters can warp or peel in damp en­vi­ron­ments – polyresin shut­ters are a good so­lu­tion in such prob­lem­atic spa­ces.

“Win­dows are a ma­jor source of heat loss, so the right blinds could even save you on your en­ergy bill” ~ Alice Bur­ney, Na­tional Buyer, Bun­nings Ware­house

Colour Ways

“Con­sis­tency among rooms is key,” says in­te­rior de­signer Si­mone Haag. “This is not to say all cov­er­ings have to be the same, they just have to be co­he­sive.” So, you could have plain blinds in one room in a sin­gle colour, which could be the base hue for a cur­tain pat­tern in an­other room. For a so­phis­ti­cated, re­strained look try tai­lor­ing the colour of your cur­tains or blinds to the shade of your walls, and if you have more than one win­dow treat­ment, look to co­or­di­nate them so the ef­fect isn’t a hot mess; blinds soft­ened by sheers in a sim­i­lar tone is a pop­u­lar style that looks won­der­ful in liv­ing rooms and bed­rooms.

smart Tech­nol­ogy

Plan­ning a fu­ture-proof smart home? Then the lat­est trends in win­dow cov­er­ings will be right up your al­ley. Mo­torised blinds al­low you to open and close them at the touch of a but­ton, which is a great party trick, but more im­por­tantly, they al­low you to sched­ule the blinds to open and close while you’re out and about, in­creas­ing the home’s en­ergy efficiency. “Sched­ul­ing the win­dow cov­er­ings in an east or west-fac­ing room first thing in the morn­ing will pre­vent the heat of the day from en­ter­ing, and help re­tain the coolest tem­per­a­tures from overnight,” ex­plains na­tional mar­ket­ing man­ager Jenny Brown of Lux­aflex. If bud­get is an is­sue, pri­ori­tise mo­torised blinds in the rooms where so­lar gain is an is­sue. Or you could go old-school in south and north-fac­ing rooms and en­joy the rit­ual of draw­ing the blinds by hand. “There is some­thing very homely about draw­ing them closed,” says in­te­rior de­signer Si­mone Haag.

Draped cur­tains cre­ate a sense of ro­mance and el­e­gance as well as pri­vacy.

Win­dow place­ment is an im­por­tant factor when choos­ing cov­er­ings.

Ex­ter­nal awnings re­duce the heat, both in­side and out.

Shut­ters are a great so­lu­tion in the kitchen. They look great and are easy to clean.

For an eclec­tic ef­fect, don’t be afraid to mix and match win­dow cov­er­ings in a room or opt for sim­plic­ity, be­low.

Cre­ate an open in­door-out­door zone by adding awnings, shut­ters and blinds, so you can ex­tend and close off the area de­pend­ing on the weather.

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