Cochrane Design Victorian Villa, ClaphamVictorian Living Room, London
Paul Craig ©Paul Craig 2014 All Rights Reserved. Interior Design - Cochrane Design
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Double upIf leaving the top half of the window uncovered after dark feels too exposing, try combining the café-style shutters that give you daytime peace of mind with curtains for night-time concealment – as in this living space. Like the elegance of draped fabric, but don’t need to draw the curtains? Choose dress versions instead. Sized to hang in place rather than pull across, they’ll add another dimension to your window treatment. With less fabric required, you might also want to treat yourself to a more luxurious material than you would for full curtains.
Look back inCreating kerb appeal may need adjustments from the inside as well as out. Look at your window dressings from the street. Curtains should be hanging without sag or, worse, a glimpse of deteriorating lining, and blinds should look tidily aligned. These details may be apparent in the agent’s photos, but, more crucially, with precise locations often given in online listings, drive- or walk-by viewers will get an instant impression of the condition and style of your place.Catch up with our Renovation diary: How do we create a characterful bathroom?
Mix it upA combination of window dressings is great if you want them to serve multiple purposes. Here, the homeowners have created the drama of ceiling-to-floor curtains, but added shutters for flexibility and privacy during the day.There are many combinations you could go for, such as a patterned roller blind behind some sheer voile curtains, or plain roller blinds teamed with drapes in a luxurious fabric. TELL US…Are your windows naked or dressed? Share your photos in the Comments below.
Layered curtainsCombining different layers of window coverings allows you to control light, add extra privacy and cut your energy bills.‘We often get asked if curtains and blinds work together,’ says Quilliam. ‘For the most part, the answer is “yes”. When paired, the two can provide a perfect balance of function and style. The blind generally does the job of light control and privacy and the curtains add softness and a greater design element. ‘Although rollers, Venetians or Romans are most commonly layered with curtains, we are starting to see a rise in people opting for a curtains/shutters combo,’ adds Quilliam. ‘The curtains are a way to soften the look of shutters and bring warmth and cosiness to a room.’
Bays without window seatsThe symmetry and proportion of this bay window is classically elegant. These look like working curtains that can be drawn, but a similar effect could be achieved with less full drapes, called dress curtains, which are purely for decoration. This arrangement of four curtains makes an interesting change from a single pair drawn to either side of the bay, and emphasises the shape of the windows. The café-style shutters provide privacy and balance out the height of the windows. Shutters are made to fit, so can be ideal for unusual-shaped windows, including curved ones.Get expert advice on choosing shutters for your windows
Café-style shuttersBecause they only cover the bottom half of a window, café-style shutters are a cost-effective solution. ‘They create privacy at the lower level, while letting lots of lovely daylight flood in through the top,’ says Lucas. ‘They have a stylish, continental feel that looks great in kitchens and living areas, and which can work well when layered with other types of window dressings, such as curtains and Roman blinds – a trend we are seeing more of.’Pros Cheaper than full shutters and they let in more light. Cons Less draught proofing than full shutters. More a decorative feature than practical.Best for Privacy in urban areas.
Discover the orientationIt can be helpful to understand which way the house faces before you visit. ‘Heavy curtains may be blocking the light or shutters may be closed when you go in, making it look dark,’ says James, ‘but if you know the room is south-facing, you can guess how much brighter it would be if you fitted different window treatments and painted the walls white.’
Thick silk curtains in the same grey as the furniture were made bespoke. Eleanor also added plantation shutters. ‘These rooms are at street level, so you don’t want people looking in,’ she says. However, she designed them as half – or café – shutters, so light still floods in.
Enjoy the best of both worlds with shutters and curtainsWhy have shutters or curtains when you can have both? The shutters allow for privacy when it’s needed, and the curtains add warmth and a frame for the window. This dressing is great for those with ground-floor rooms with a pavement outside, as it provides privacy without compromising on style.