Curtains and blinds offer window of opportunity
If you’re changing your home’s curtains or blinds, there are lots of different options, but some are easier to do yourself than others – here’s where to start.
1. Slatted shutters are a practical and attractive addition to a room – they provide privacy if the slats are angled the right way, and are a good way to disguise ugly windows (from the inside at least). The main downside of shutters is how much they cost – some manufacturers measure up the windows and fit the shutters for you, but you can often save money by choosing “no-frills” shutters where you measure up and fit them yourself, which is great as long as your DIY skills are up to it. If they’re not, you could end up making an expensive mistake.
2. If you’re shopping for curtain poles, a 19mm diameter pole should be fine for very lightweight curtains. Choose a 28mm diameter pole for mid-weight curtains, and a 35mm diameter pole for heavy curtains. Ed Cullen from window-dressing expert Swish (www.swish.co.uk) said: “When measuring for a new curtain pole, a good rule of thumb is to add an extra 30cm on to the width of your window. This extra 15cm either side will allow the curtains to stack back. If you have finite space either side of the window, you’ll need to factor this in to be sure that your finials fit comfortably in the space available.”
3. Fitting a curtain pole to a bay window can seem difficult too, but there are DIY solutions. To create a bay curtain pole, cut a piece of pole to fit above each of the windows in the bay and use special angled/ flexible connectors to join them together. An easier solution is to fit a straight curtain pole across the front of the bay instead, but this makes the room feel smaller when the curtains are closed.
4. If you’re measuring up for a blind inside a window recess, take accurate measurements (in millimetres) from several points in the recess because it won’t necessarily be square, especially in an old building. If you have one, use a digital laser measurer to measure (quickly and accurately) at the top, middle and bottom of the recess, and the left, middle and right. Use the smallest measurements – round them down for the width, but you could add to the drop, depending on the type of blind. Take into account any protruding window furniture that may get in the way of operating the blind when it’s fitted. Sometimes blinds and curtains work well together – a blind inside the recess and curtains outside, for example.
5. Ensure that the surface of the shutter, blind or curtain pole will be fixed to can take the weight – wooden Venetian blinds can be very heavy, for example – and that you can get good fixings. Quality power tools make this job so much easier.
Getting the measure of home blinds