Curtains & blinds buying guide
Curtains and blinds round off an interior – they can tie a room together with colour and texture, make a statement, or simply blend in. More often than not, how to dress your windows is one of the last decisions to be made, a finishing touch, but that doesn’t make it any less important.
It’s something to get right because not only do curtains and blinds help keep a room warmer in winter and cooler in summer, they protect your furniture from fading and offer privacy from neighbours and the street.
Whether for a living room, kitchen, master-suite or child’s bedroom, we’re here to help you consider all the important points with this curtains and blinds buying guide, so you can be sure that you’re on the right track.
It may seem obvious, but the first decision is whether you want to have curtains or blinds, and that depends on what you’re trying to achieve with the room.
Curtains work well for:
- Creating a dramatic effect – they can make a feature out of a window
- Protecting upholstery from direct sunlight
- Keeping a room as warm as possible by covering draughty windows
- Offering total privacy
Blind work well for
- Saving space, because there are no holdbacks or poles
- A clean, subtle look
- Flexibility on how much light you would like to let in
- Rooms with moisture in the air, such as bathrooms and kitchens
Make a statement or blend in?
The next decision is whether you’d like your curtains or blinds to b le nd into the interior or to make a statement with a bol d print or colour. Curtains and blinds are long-lasting, so take time to colour-match with your existing pieces, or use this as an opportunity to think about an overhaul of your space with a completely new look.
Measuring your windows
Measuring will depend on whether you've settled on curtains or blinds because they fit your window in completely different ways, so require different sets of measurements.
Think about where you want your curtains to sit in relation to the window.
Make sure to measure both inside the window frame and out. Curtains will either hang from a track or a pole, and this will dictate the length of curtain you need. Be sure to measure the full length of the track and add on any overlapping area.
Habitat curtains are available in a selection of drop lengths: 170cm, 230cm, 260cm and 280cm. Make sure to check the size available in your chosen option.
For curtains hanging from a pole, measure from the top of the frame to the floor to get the full drop (ideally they will be 2cm from the floor when hung).
The curtain pole should be wider than your windows by approximately 15-20cm either side, allowing for the material to be tied back when you'd like.
The current rule is that fabric width should be between 2 and 2.5 times the width of the window. So, for example, if your window is 1.5m wide, you need 3m width of curtain material.
Each of Habitat's curtain options are sold in pairs, so to explain a little further, if each curtain is 1.5m wide, equalling 3m in total, you'd have the perfect fit for a 1.5m window.
First of all, decide whether the blinds will sit inside or outside the window recess.
The inside recess gives a neater, tailored look but it's important to measure that it's deep enough to fit the blind into the gap.
All Habitat blinds are 170cm drop length, and the width can be cut to fit if necessary. Each style also has a chain mechanism and aluminium rod at the bottom to prevent movement from a breeze or draught, and is supplied with screws, brackets and a safety hook to keep the chain safely out of reach.
If you'd like to make your window appear larger, or can't be bothered with too much measuring, you could fit the blind on the outside recess. 10cm on either side stops light coming in, if that's your preferred effect.
When sizing up, take three measurements and use the narrowest for the width and the shortest for the drop. It's important to measure at three different points because not all windows are straight, especially in older homes.
Habitat currently carries full-length cotton curtains, and linen and polyester roller blinds in a range of colours and styles.
Our staff in store and on the phone can help if you are finding it tricky to decide what to to go for, and rest assured, all of our curtains and blinds can be returned in the event that they aren't quite right once you've got them home, just ensure you retain the original packaging and fittings.
Countries of origin
If machine washable, clean a pair of curtains together - but make sure to check each product's care instructions.
Habitat's cotton curtains need to be professionally dry cleaned, but linen curtains can be washed at 40 degrees and smoothed out with a medium iron. Polyester blinds can only be spot cleaned.
Curtains & blinds checklist
- Decide whether curtains or blinds work better for your space
- Coordinate options with existing furniture, or decide on a new scheme
- Measure the height and width of your windows
- Check you have the necessary tools for installation
- Buy in store, order online or call 0344 499 4686
- Sit back and await your delivery!