I’m going to tell you a little secret now. A good friend of mine has a Victorian house, beautifully restored, but not a single curtain in the whole place. It’s drafty, noisy and echoey, but I am too polite to tell her. Life doesn’t have to be like that, even if you are on a budget. If you want to dress your windows attractively, but at minimal cost, there are a few austerity secrets you can bear in mind. Downstairs, it makes sense to have a translucent white blind at each window, and upstairs, a white black out blind, as these are comparatively cheap to acquire, especially if you are able to brandish a pair of scissors and a hacksaw and trim them to size yourself. They can then be pulled for privacy or to keep the heat of the day out in summer, protecting your fabrics, plus they also look quite sophisticated. If you would like to have curtains in addition to these, which is a good idea if you also want to insulate your house well in winter, they are fairly easy to make and advice is readily found in sewing books or from any of the older ladies still populating the haberdashery departments of large stores. In terms of buying the fabric, allow roughly twice the width of the window, and the length plus 20cm, and you won’t go too far wrong (retailers can always help you calculate what is needed if you ask nicely). If you are daunted by the thought of making your own curtains, there is a cunning plan you can adopt. Buy ready made cream calico ones with tab tops and stitch a panel of the most gorgeous fabric you can bear to buy onto the front, so it co-ordinates with your room, or sew it on as a square panel and then use decorative metal clips to attach it to curtain rings. Remember you can also use door curtains to reduce heat loss if necessary, and this will also help you reduce energy consumption. These can be mounted on special rails so they open with the door, and large department stores once again will be able to sell you these. There seems to be a curtain technology for everything. Long live curtains!
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