To admit the maximum amount of daylight, select a style that can be drawn well clear of the window during the day. If privacy – or draughts – are not an issue, think about a single dress curtain pulled to one side of the window reveal, caught with an unusual tie back. Avoid heavy pelmets, half-drawn blinds or top-hung shutters since around two thirds of light enters through the top third of the window.
Choose a fabric that complements the room’s style, colour scheme and décor, yet which hangs well and looks cosy. This year’s trend towards natural materials opens up a range of possible fabrics, hessian being one of the least expensive yet stylish options. Opt for a mid-price hessian (cheaper types may look fine but it is almost impossible to rid them of their sacking smell) which has a firm weave, helping it drape easily and hold its shape. Since natural fabrics like hessian tend to shrink, it’s advisable to wash it before making up into curtains.
Think about hanging a travel rug or large throw as a curtain. Use heavy duty curtain clips to attach to a curtain pole and catch back with a thick rope to make a design statement.
Pat Elliott, The Borders Design House. Visit our website for design services, courses and workshops. Start a new career as a Homestyle Advisor or learn to ‘Be Your Own Designer’ with our distance-learning interior design courses (07765 057 409, thebordersdesignhouse.co.uk)