Design, Interiors & Lifestyle Blog
Design, Interiors & Lifestyle Blog

AD. How to choose curtains for your home?

That was the question and stumbling block for me when I wanted to get some for my home office.

Perhaps this question was easier to answer 25 years ago when curtains were more common as window dressings.

Gradually over time, they have become replaced by contemporary blinds or shutters.

I’m glad to say that I have now done some research on how to choose curtains for my home.

I wanted some curtains to shield my eyes from the afternoon sun glare but on the other hand didn’t want them to be too heavy or thick to make my room feel small and dark.

As you can see, my workspace is now adorned with some lovely ‘made to measure’ Designers Guild curtains called Brera Nastro Peony, complete with eyelets, from Couture Living.

Getting these made were super easy.

All I had to do was to select my fabric from the swatches they sent me in the post, measure up using their online guide, and then decide on the header type, need for lining and curtain design.

It took a couple of weeks to make, and then it was sent out to me in the post, all ready to hang. Anyway, back to the subject of how to choose curtains for your home.

I thought I’d share the information I have learned about them:

1.FABRIC

To help you decide on fabric, there are a few considerations:

a. Decorative – are the curtains there to just serve the function of decor? Will you be drawing them close often? This will help you decide on the pattern, colour and design.

You may want something bold, striking with visible design features if it is to just mainly stay drawn open as decor.

You may want a simpler design if the room is already full of patterns and decor.

b. Light control

The function of your room should determine the light control required from your curtains.

The thickness of the fabric will obviously determine the amount of light it lets through.

I would advise getting a large fabric swatch to check how much light it lets through and what the pattern or colour of the fabric looks like with light going through it.

You may still want light coming through but with less sun glare, in which case I would advise a sheer fabric.

If you want a glow effect in your room without blocking the light then cotton or linen is a great option, as I have in my workspace.

If you want total black out, then thick velvet or cotton with a lining may be an option.

One thing to keep in mind when going for  thick, dark or heavily patterned curtains is that it can make a room feel much smaller.

Fabric colours and patterns can fade in the sun, so a lining to protect or fabrics with higher thread counts may be a good idea. c. Temperature control

Thicker and heavier fabrics will provide some insulation and a cosy feel.

Velvet, suede and wool blends for curtains are commonly used for this purpose .

However, do keep in mind that the thicker the fabric, then the less light there will be.

You could also just use an extra layer of curtain during the colder Winter months and then remove it in Summer.

Lighter fabrics create a fresh and airy feel to the space. I have decided to go for a lighter cottin fabric in my study space.

d. Privacy

Obviously thicker curtains will ensure privacy, but do test the swatch against light, as some fabrics can be see-through with bright indoor lights. 2.COLOURS AND DESIGN.

This is obviously a matter of personal choice.

I would first of all decide on the style of my room.In this room, it’s fun, light and colourful with pops of pink and yellow.

I’ve gone with the pink, and picked some light curtains with pink stripes.

It can be difficult to decide, so perhaps you could first decide on what your room style is or will be.

I’ve divided the styles of rooms into categories:

Casual vs Formal, Traditional vs modern, Bright colourful vs pared down, Patterns vs Discreet.

You can use any combination of these categories to define your room.

A formal or traditional space tend to have more opulent fabrics such as silk, suede or velvets. Prints also tend to be more ornate.

A more casual look would usually use cotton or linen curtains, with simpler patterns.

In terms of colour, it’s probably best to have a shade that unifies or matches the colours in the room. So perhaps pick a shade that matches your furniture or furnishings.

Vibrant colours in curtains can look great too, but you will need to decide where the focal point wopuld be in the room – the curtains or the furniture.

If the furniture or furnishings are as colourful as the curtains, it may become visually busy.

As a rule of thumb, I’d say if you want a set of vibrant curtains then tone down the colours in the space. Using small pops of accent colours in the room that matches the curtains could be a way forward.

Likewise, if you are flamboyant and colourful in your room decor, then you may want to have just solid coloured curtains with no patterns, to frame the room.

Setting up a moodboard for your room may be a way forward before committing to expensive curtains. 3.LENGTH OF CURTAINS

The length of the curtains you select can create an illusion of space and height in your room.

Floor to ceiling curtains in a low ceiling rooms create a better sense of space.

At minimum, the curtains should hang around 15cm above the window frame.

Curtains that fall flush with the floor or surface tend to create a contemporary look whereas longer curtains that extend slightly beyond the floor surface, an effect called “puddling”, creates a more dramatic, luxe and traditional look.

My  issues with curtains that puddle on the floor are that they can be a trip hazard, get dusty or dirty quickly and may not be a good idea if you have kids or pets.

The curtains in my workspace falls just above the radiator surface, hence they don’t block the heat coming out, nor will they appear to bulge out if the curtains were longer.

This way it looks neat and modern. 4.WIDTH OF CURTAINS

Extending your curtain rods or poles around 10 to 12 cm beyond the window frame on each side will make your window appear larger.

Moreover, the extension will ensure maximum lighting, as when the curtains are drawn, they will be set against the walls rather than blocking the light. 5.CURTAIN HEADER.

There are many different styles and types of curtain headers. The headers used will importantly determine the feel of a room.

Here are a few common ones:

a.Pleats ( pinch pleat or pencil pleat)

The curtain top is gathered in pleats from a drawstring ( pencil) or clusters of pleats separated by flat sections ( pinch) . Hooks can be attached to the pockets in the pleats.

These style of headers can be used on tracks or poles.

If you don’t like the look of the pleats, you can place it under a pelmet.

Pleats tend to create a more traditional look to a room. b.Eyelets on pole ( as seen here)

These are rings that fit around a curtain pole. This creates a more contemporary style. c.Track and gliders

Here you won’t see the hooks as they are hidden inside a track. The curtains take on a uniformly wavy look.

This style looks elegant and are also suitable for bay windows. 6.FINIALS

There are various styles of finials in a variety of materials, from wood to glass to metals, but the best way forward to selecting your curtain finials is to match the materials already present in your space.

The style and motif of the finials again can be selected depending on the patterns in the room to be decorated.

I’ve gone for something simple and non conspicuous to keep a calm modern feel. Finally, hope you have found this post informative, and hopefully you will feel confident on how to choose curtains for your home.

I must say, I was most impressed with the service I got from Couture Living.

The whole experience was seamless, and likewise the quality and craftsmanship superb. Therefore, I think it is highly likely that I’ll be returning for more soon.

( All photography are copyright of Little Big Bell. This how to choose curtains post is a paid partnership post with Couture Living).

I’ve just returned from an amazing trip to the imm Cologne 2020 furniture trade fair, with the Association of German Furniture industry.

This is a post of what I’ve spotted that I liked and what I see as potential NEW trends for 2020 and beyond.

Trends are trends, they can be a passing fancy. Hence I thought I’d show you what my favourite finds were first.

These are the things that I would buy and want to have in my home. ( Whether I can afford them, is a total different story. But one can dream right?)

FOR MY HOME. I think I’ve gone to pastel heaven here. This Vlinder sofa  designed by Helle Jongerius for vitra is just so me. I absolutely adore it. The overlay has been masterfully weaved in the prettiest of pastel hues and patterns. It’s super soft and comfortable too.

The beautiful workmanship explains the hefty price at nearly £7000. Totally out of my reach, but you never know, maybe one day. imm cologne 2020 schonbuch I’m not one for large heavy furniture. I want beautiful portable design that can be multifunctional.

This year, I’m planning on re-doing my daughter’s bedroom, and this minty green table and bench look perfect for the small dressing table that I have been seeking for her space.

It could be a little study desk too.

It’s by one of my favourite German furniture brands, Schönbuch. How cute is this little kitchen designed and decorated by Mut design, a Spanish design studio founded by the amazing designers, Alberto Sánchez and Eduardo Villalón.

What I particularly had my eye on was that dustpan and broom called ‘Cane’ by Northern, and designed by Gridy.

I love how it’s one unit together. No more hunting for that dustpan and picking up that broom that keeps falling over. imm cologne 2020 normann copenhagen wooden puffins Those who follow me over on Instagram, must know that I’m rather partial to home decor accessories.

Of course, not just any accessories. They have to be cute, timeless and a potential design classic.

What do you think of this wooden puffin designed by Sigurjón Pálsson for Normann Copenhagen?

I actually spotted real life puffins when I was out whale watching in Tofino, Canada during my last Summer holiday. They are so cute. Talking about whale watching, I absolutely love this wooden whale from vitra. It matches the puffin well, don’t you think? imm cologne 2020 salt and pepper lamps tobias grau You can never have too much mood lighting at home right?

These salt and pepper lamps by Tobias Grau provide such comfort lighting. From comfort lighting, to something more glamorous, I was absolutely transfixed by these stellar grape lights designed by Sebastian Herkner for Pulpo. Here’s a closer up view. Whilst we are on the topic of Pulpo products, I wouldn’t mind having this trio of glass coffee tables in my home.

They are called aspa tables and are designed for Pulpo by mut design. Here they are at the Das Haus exhibition at imm Cologne. Now, for a bit of practical, functional design.

I’ve been searching high and low for stylish shoe storage for my home.

Alas, I found something suitable, in this shoe cabinet by Tojo, a German furniture brand with expertise in storage solutions that can be multi-functional. Here’s a little taster of what Tojo is all about.

If you turned that rocking chair on the left over, it becomes a side table, and on another side it’s a child’s desk.

Anyway, hope you’ve enjoyed seeing my favourite finds. Now for the spotted trends at imm Cologne 2020.

THE NEW COLOURS – Mint, Pinks, Peach, Terracota, Rust and Browns. Pinks in dusky and peachy hues were prominent, as were soft brown shades and rusty terracota hues.

These wall storage units are by Schonbuch. Mint green is big news. Since it’s one of my favourite colours, it hasn’t ever gone out of fashion as far as I am concerned. These beautiful rattan chairs from Thonet sum up the pastel hues we will be seeing more of this season. Berry was also evident, although not really a colour to my liking. This Normann Copenhagen lounge illustrates the new rusty terracota brown colours of this season. I think mustard will be going out of trend, being replaced by these new shades.

After looking at all these colours, I’m going to go one step ahead to predict that peach and perhaps a light turquoise may be on the horizon in 2021.

COMFORT imm cologne 2020 No longer is it just design that is important, the discerning buyer want comfort. I often use the analogy to shoes – if you are going to pay for a Laboutin, it might as well be comfortable.

These chairs with removable washable covers are super comfortable and are by the German brand bruehl. imm cologne 2020 vitra sofa Which brings me back to this sofa by vitra. The price befits its comfort factor.

INTERACTION and DIGITAL DETOX It’s not untrue to say that our mobile phones have nowadays become an appendage of our arm.  Everywhere you look, people are staring at their screens, me included.

I’ve noticed a design movement to disrupt that habitual cycle. It’s all about rediscovering interaction and to talk to each other.

This Hemicycle range of sofa,by Phillipe Nigro for Ligne Roset, aims to encourage conversation. This is the Paradise bird chair by Wittmann. The designer, Luca Nichetto wanted the revolving chair to be a simple gesture for turning around to communicate with one another.

MIDCENTURY MODERN Although I’m only showing you one example here, there were many examples of midcentury modern furniture adaptations at the fair. I loved these chairs by Stouby.

UPCYCLED and SUSTAINABILITY imm cologne 2020 Perhaps this is not a new trend, but certainly an important one with all that climate change going on globally, so I’ll mention it in this post.

These wooden wall hooks are by Ton, an affiliated brand to Thonet. They are the offcuts from the furniture manufacturing processes. Such a clever idea to reuse and repurpose.

CRAFTSMANSHIP. Craftsmanship is so important in design. A beautifully made piece of furniture with more behind it. The carvings of this Mati chair by Herkner for Zanat, were inspired by the microscopic view of the cellular structure of wood.

Again, this makes an important point about sustainability. Another beautiful piece is this walnut veneer cabinet of drawers designed to celebrate Kettnaker’s 150th anniversary, using a combination of traditional craft and modern 3D laser technology.

MIRRORS imm cologne 2020 trends predictions I noticed at the fair that mirrors were taking a more flamboyant stance this year.

This yellow 3 dimensional mirror is by Shoenbuch. imm cologne 2020 ferm living Rather than a perfect circle, for example, there is a little assymetry, such as this mirror spotted at Ferm Living.

MODULAR and CUSTOMISABLE imm cologne 2020 interlubke shelving With urbanisation and space shortage, customisable modular furniture is becoming increasingly important to accommodate our changing living needs.

This elegant modular shelving is from Interlübke.

ZUHAUSESEIN imm cologne 2020 I thought I’d show you the winning photo entries being exhibited at imm cologne, of which I was one of the judges.

You can read more about them here.

Finally, I do hope you’ve enjoyed this trends post at imm Cologne 2020. I had so much fun spotting all the new furniture and designs that will soon be hitting our high streets. If you are interested in seeing the stands we visited on the Design tour, do take a look at this video. It also gives you a flavour of what imm Cologne looks like.

Have a lovely week.

( All photos are by Little Big Bell. This is a pais partnership post with the association of German furniture industry for imm Cologne 2020.).

laundry efficiently AD. How do I do laundry efficiently? I’ve been grappling with this problem for quite a while.

It seems to be an endless task in our home.

Every time I think I have conquered it, the clothing mountain grows again.

Does this strike a chord with you too?

When I say clothing mountain, I mean the piles of clothing before and after the wash.

This problem is compounded by the task of going up and down 5 floors between my laundry room in the basement and our shower room on the top floor, where laundry is constantly being generated.

I had one of those fabric laundry bags that would topple over when filled with clothes, and hence made my bathroom look messy.

I would lug that bag downstairs for the wash. If I forget to take it back up, then a new mountain of clothes would start to grow on the bathroom floor. Imagine the mess! The struggle is real.

After the wash, I would fold or iron the clothes downstairs in the laundry room and then carry separate piles up to the different rooms.

Although this is great exercise, it’s not what I want to do after a tiring 8 hour shift working at the hospital and definitely not doing the laundry efficiently. laundry efficiently I needed to be more efficient, and thanks to Curver and their Infinity Recycled laundry range, I now have a better system in place.

I’ve had the Infinity storage boxes, baskets and hampers for a few months. I wanted to test them out before writing about my experience.

Doing laundry is now so much more a pleasure.

I have 2 laundry baskets and 2 hampers. I tend to rotate the hampers.

When a wash is in, I would bring the filled hamper downstairs to queue for the next wash, and take the second empty one back up. laundry efficiently The baskets have been wonderful too. I would place my folded clothes into two baskets. There are two bedrooms on each floor, so I’ve allocated one basket for each floor.

No longer is there the chaotic running of up and down the stairs with different piles of clothes.

The baskets have amazing capacity too, and can house at least 3 full loads of folded laundry.

I’ve also used the infinity range storage boxes to organise smaller items of laundry such as small hand towels or folded pillow cases in my laundry cupboard. Last but not least, The Curver Infinity Recycled laundry range is made with 100% Recycled plastic.

Curver is one of the industry leaders in using recycled materials, and are aiming to further increase their use of such materials to 80%.

Their plastic products are designed for longevity, so no throwaway culture of single use plastic. So, what do you think? It’s wonderful how this range has helped me with my busy lifestyle.  I’m definitely doing my laundry in a more ordered fashion now.

How do you do your laundry efficiently? Do you have a system in place? I’d love to hear your thoughts.

Here’s to 2020 being a year of organisation and calm.

(paid partnership with Curver)

Search the blog