A simple and cost-effective home transformation
Back when we were students, a batik bedspread might have sufficed as a window covering, but now we’re all grown up, the right curtains, blinds and shutters are the mark of a complete and considered interior scheme, offering privacy, environmental protection and potentially loads of aesthetic appeal. “Window furnishings complete the interior design and appearance of the room,” says Marcus Alexander of Windoware.
New window dressings are a relatively simple and cost-effective way to make a big change in your home. Each option brings practical benefits and style, with the potential to transform your interiors.
Curtains can provide a variety of functions, from heavy blockout shades to sheers that provide privacy without inhibiting airflow or light. Choose from simple eyelet or tab curtains to elaborate, triple-pleated styles. “In more traditional properties, curtains are often used as a feature of the room, adding colour and design by utilising different rods and curtains,” says Marcus. “Modern interior designs tend to have a simpler view, using hidden tracks and lighter fabrics for a more seamless appearance.”
Clever curtain hanging can visually expand small windows and give height to low ceilings. Go high to draw the eye upwards, and wide so the open curtains don’t obscure the window. Also consider the length: do you want curtains puddling on the floor, or at sill height so they’re out of the way of small hands and playful pets? Generally, curtains should have some fullness to them when drawn, and not be stretched tightly across the window. Steer clear of curtains anywhere near a cooktop in the kitchen, where fabric blowing in the breeze could be a fire hazard.
A slick and simple window furnishing solution, blinds, whether your preference is for Venetian, Roman, vertical or roller, offer control of light and ventilation, as well as privacy. They have a cool, modern feel, and are a great option in rooms where full curtains may not be practical, such as a kitchen, laundry or bathroom. Of the four main types, Venetians are made up of narrow horizontal slats and come in different materials such as metal, and natural or painted timber for a contemporary look. Roman styles are comprised of fabric panels that fold up for a softer look – great for bedrooms and living rooms – and are available in different fabric grades, from transparent to blockout. Roller blinds also come in a range of fabrics, and can disappear almost completely into a pelmet above the window to give maximum window visibility. Vertical blinds – a series of hanging panels – can be custom made, and work particularly well with large windows and sliding doors, as they can stack at one end.
Blinds can be installed either within the window opening or on the wall just above. Fixing it to the wall allows for a little more flexibility, as you won’t need to get a blind that fits the window exactly. Cleats are essential for winding up excess cord, making them safer for children and pets; there are also a number of cordless blind options available. Some types of blinds can be trimmed to size yourself, while certain models by Riva can be ordered in custom sizes; ask at the Special Orders Desk for details.
Their breezy, beach-casual vibe has made plantation shutters a perennial favourite and an ideal match for the ever-popular Hamptons interior style. Shutters are perfect for not only letting in light, they can also enhance it, as sunlight bounces off the blades. They are easy to wipe clean, and are simply opened and closed with a touch of the hand. In the past, the cost of custom-fitted shutters was somewhat prohibitive, but those designed for DIY installation, such as the Easy As range, make it possible to get the look for a much more reasonable price today.
“You simply assemble the frame, insert it into the window opening, then adjust using an Allen key. Your measurements don’t need to be perfect, as we’ve built in room for adjustment,” says Martin Wilson of Easy As. “I’m the world’s most unpractical person and I can do it.” The shutters come in 25 standard sizes that work for approximately 80 per cent of Australian windows, and can also be ordered in custom sizes.
Find the right rod
A decorative rod can give your curtains a hearty visual boost. They could be simple poles with fabric hung on rings or threaded with eyelet or tab curtains, or double rods that let you hang sheers and blockout or thermal curtains together. When you measure for your curtain rod or track, extend beyond the window frame so curtains don’t obscure the glazing and block natural light. A general guide is around 10-15cm beyond the frame.
Curtains can be heavy, so make sure the track is attached securely. Curtain rod brackets can be attached directly to the top of a timber frame with the rod placed on them, secured with a set screw. To hang a rod above the window, or if there is no timber frame, brackets can be attached to the wall. Drill in wall anchors, then screw the brackets into those.
Non-standard windows? Custom could be the answer; ask at the Special Orders Desk in-store
for more details.
Take your interior décor up a notch
Get started on updating your window furnishings by picking up all the necessary tools and materials needed at your local Bunnings.