All about window dressing

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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!

Image: goldsaint /


4 thoughts on “All about window dressing

    Virginia said:
    12 March, 2011 at 10:52 am

    You can use tension rods to put up curtains,wall hangings, door curtains, etc., without drilling. All you need is two walls/wall and a window frame facing one another, or a window alcove/door alcove.

      Sandra Bradley responded:
      15 March, 2011 at 11:14 pm

      This is indeed true and a good tip. A bit of double sided sticky tape strategically placed will help secure them as well, as will Blu Tack.

    Jackie said:
    12 March, 2011 at 11:19 am

    Loving the blog – it’s great! Can I ask a question that’s not about window dressing, but is about windows, please? Any idea how to quell the ladybird invasion that’s re-surfacing right now? The windows at the back of the house have tons of the little blighters, and I don’t know how to stop them getting into the window frames, and then into the house, if you open the windows. Thanks.

      Sandra Bradley responded:
      15 March, 2011 at 11:12 pm

      That’s a difficult one, and they aren’t all bad as they will supress the nastier insects that attack your garden later in the summer. The harsh winter had a lot to do with insect populations being different from usual, according to the New Scientist magazine this week. I think if I was really overwhelmed and tearing my hair out, I would resort to hoovering them off the windows, even though that’s an animal rights violation of sorts. I have been known to do this with ants when we are really invaded. Sometimes it is the only thing that works. However a lot of the time, I leave nature alone when I can.

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