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).

It’s hard finding a gift for everyone right? I’ve thought long and hard, and have come up with 10 Christmas gifts for those who are hard to buy for.

I’m hoping this list would cover everyone in the family, so the whole age spectrum. That would be a major feat if it works.

Some of the items in these photos have previously been mentioned in another post and the list is here.

1.CUSTOM MADE WORD SIGN IN ANY DESIGN OR COLOUR

First up, is that cute pink “Sweetie Pie’ sign from Sign Hive. It was custom made for me, hand painted on aluminium and gilded with gold leaf.

Melissa, the owner of Sign Hive can make the signs in any variety of colours, fonts and designs for you.

It’s therefore a universal gift right? It can be custom made to suit someone’s taste.

2.A GIFT FOR COFFEE LOVERS

I don’t know what the proportion of coffee lovers are in the world, but I would anticipate that it is at least a third of the population right? ( Wild guess here, so don’t quote me).

Since the reach of coffee is so high, surely a coffee related gift may be the way forward, short of giving someone just coffee ( which is boring).

This coffee lover must have a sense of humour, and you’ll know what I mean if you direct your eyes to that black and white typography print about coffee from Cloud 2 print.

3.A personalised mug from Emma Bridgewater.

Spot my personalised mug? Yes it’s the LBB one.

Emma Bridgewater has an amazing collection of mug designs this festive season, guaranteed to suit all tastes and they can personalise them too.

They usually charge £1 per letter, but the great news is that between Wednesday 4th December to 11th December 2019, they can hand paint up to 10 letters for free. That’s £10 worth of letters!

4.Cool gifts for Hipsters.

Where do you go in London to find Hipsters? Yes, East London is the place. I absolutely love the series of books published by Hoxton Mini Press.

One of my favourites, is East London Homes by Sarah Bagner, featuring the super stylish, eclectic and very individual homes of 29 residents across East London. Here’s a sneak peek of one of the homes in the book. These opinionated guide books are a wonderful curation of amazing places to eat vegan food in London, and a general guide of the cool spots in East London.

These books cut away all that busy noise in London, and hone in on the hippest places to visit. Here’s a peek of what’s in the Vegan London book. 5.Personalised art prints

Katie, from Little Florence Art make unique personalised art of the family. I got her to make 2 prints of my children from photos I sent her, that capture their personalities.

You can see the prints she made me in that yellow shelf. They would be great gifts for grandparents, or family members or friends with kids, but also wonderful to have at home for yourself.

6.Unisex scent from Acqua di Parma.

I’ve always loved Acqua di Parma, especially their Colonia fragrance, which is so fresh and vibrant with citrus notes. It was featured in my gift guide last year.

This year the Colonia bottle has been designed by talented papercut artist Gio Pastori, who I had the pleasure of meeting recently at an event. 7.The travel lover.

Have you heard of Weekend Journals? They publish the most beautifully photographed and curated collection of travel guides, featuring boutique hotels, independent galleries, restaurants and shops. The Cornwall weekend journal was their first publication, and it has been a huge success and sold out. The great news is that they have now just published the 3rd edition, an updated version.

In this edition, there are exclusive interviews with Chefs and owners of some of the amazing curated hotels and eateries in Cornwall too.

I was lucky to get a copy of their Provence weekend journal too, as we have plans to visit Provence this Summer. Here’s what it looks like inside the Cornwall Weekend Journals book. 8. The Luxury lover.

You may have spotted on my desk this beautiful pink candle. It’s Jaipur Jewel by Matthew Williamson, the fashion designer famed for his colourful and creative designs that have adorned the rich and famous.

Doesn’t that ikat pattern jar with the pineapple peacock feather gold label look divine?

The scent is fabulous too, with vibrant notes of incense, spices, with hints of Juniper and Cinnamon. It totally transports me to a mystical land in Asia. 9.The Gin Lover.

I’ve totally fallen in love with Gin, especially flavoured Gin. Pinkster Gin is one of the original flavoured Gin brands. It’s triple distilled Gin with a smooth finish of raspberries.

You can now also purchase The Pinkster miniature gift set in the form of a Christmas cracker. Inside you’ll find a miniature bottle of Pinkster Gin and Gin Jam. All I can say is Cheers! 10. The baby of the family.

Last but not least, the baby of the family. To be honest, it’s not difficult finding gifts for babies is it? After all, they tend to be the least fussy ones when it comes to gifts. In fact, I think babies would be just as happy playing with a TV remote control.

Anyway, how about a stylish ‘peachy baby’ art print for the nursery or play room? I’ve actually kept it in my workspace. The peachy print is by Wonder and rah.

So, that concludes my gift guide.

Have I covered all the Christmas gifts for those who are hard to buy for? I hope so. If not, let me know.

Have a wonderful day all. I will be back soon with more festive posts.

( Some of the mentioned gifts were gifts, but there is no sponsored payment here. I’ve only featured gifts I like, that I would buy for myself).

Christmas gifts from Independent brands (AD) I thought it would be fun to curate a collection of Christmas gifts from Independent brands for the Home, that would appeal to colour lovers. 

I do love seeking out independent brands and supporting them at this time of the year. My criteria is that they have to be pieces that I would actively seek out myself and buy.

I’m no Marie Kondo, but my aim was to find the home decor that would spark joy.

So here they are, all in my workspace, in their pastel glory.

The desk is by nubie. You can read more about it here. Christmas gifts from Independent brands The Smile painted wood sign with a solid oak frame was specially created for me by Modo creative. 

I chose “Smile” because it’s a reminder to be happy for all that is good in our lives.

Isn’t it gorgeous and so striking? I love its minty green blue colour.

It’s definitely one of my favourite Christmas gifts from Independent brands. Christmas gifts from Independent brands I’ve always wanted a locker, like those you see in high school American films.

When I found out that you could get pink lockers at Rose and Grey interiors, I was over the moon.

Doesn’t that pink just fit so well with all the pastel hues in my study?

There’s a rail to hang clothes and lots of shelving for storage inside too.

The lockers come in a variety of other colours, so could suit all styles of decor. I’ve been coveting the ceramics from raawii, a Copenhagen based company for a while.

All their beautiful earthenware are made in Portugal.

I love the simplicity of the pieces, with their beautiful curvy contours, circular shapes and monochromatic hues.

The pieces reminded me of the pop art era that inspired the Memphis trend.

My pink jug and purple bowl are both from raawii’s Strøm collection. Now for a few finishing touches, a lovely Creative planner from Doodlemoo to plan out my work, sits nicely in my yellow shelf.

That super cool lips mirror on the wall is also from Doodlemoo.

I think I can sit here quite happily, browsing my new books.

On my desk currently is Rockett St. George’s latest book Extraordinary interiors in colour which is an inspirational book on colourful homes and decor, influenced by their experiences from travel, eating out and love of vintage design. This would make an amazing Christmas gift.

If you love the great outdoors and living amongst nature, with an aspiration to build your own cabin, then Cabin Porn is a great resource. I’ve been dreaming of how my cabin would look like since I read this book. So, what do you think of these potential Christmas gifts from Independent brands?

Hope they have given you some inspiration for decor too.

Have a lovely day all.

( All photography and styling are my own. Many of the mentioned brand products are gifts).

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