Smart ideas for windows

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  • Take down those dusty drapes and give your windows a fresh new look for spring

    One of the easiest ways to give a room a new look is to update the window treatment.

    Whether it’s a colourful sweep of floral fabric that brightens up a wintry room come springtime, or statement-making shutters in a unexpected colour choice, it can make the world of difference to a room. Before you consider materials, set aside the style options and think first about the practicalities: the size and shape of the windows; how much light and privacy you will need; and how much you can afford to spend.

    With these essentials in mind, deciding on a style, pattern and colour will fall into place more easily. We’ve come up with some bright new ideas and practical advice to help you, so you can create the look you want with ease.

    Try a single panel

    You don’t have to use two curtains when one will do in a tight space. Use a single curtain panel that can be closed at night but swept back out of the way to maximise light during the day.

    Constance Blue linen fabric, £65 per m, Cabbages & Roses.

    Make a statement

    Use colour as an eye-catching alternative to traditional white or wooden shutters, and create a striking feature in a neutral room. Add accessories in the same colour to pull the look together.

    Blue louvred shutters, from £290 per sq m for standard colours, or £320 per sq m for custom finishes, Shutterly Fabulous.

    IDEA: Try full-height shutters as an alternative to curtains at floor-to-ceiling or French windows.

    A lace panel provides privacy, diffuses the light and gives a hint of vintage glam.

    For similar curtains try the Alvine Spets, £10 per pair, Ikea.

    “Make narrow windows seem wider by extending the curtain pole past the window (around 30cm each side) Pull back curtains to leave most of the glass exposed.”

    Lisa Fazzani, Shopping Editor, Ideal Home

    Customise ready-mades or give old curtains a new lease of life by sewing on a cheery trim or fringing.

    For a similar pompom trim, try the selection at Dunelm.

    Create symmetry

    Unify a pair of side-by-side windows by dressing them identically. For a grand, sumptuous effect, double up with roman blinds teamed with floor-length curtains hung from poles- a formal treatment that suits tall, narrow windows in period properties.

    Curtains in Harewood Dijon fabric, from £235 for a W100 x L160cm curtain; blinds in Sion Mimosa fabric, from £166 for a W60 x L60cm blind; both Style Studio.

    Add pattern to glazing

    A more stylish option that frosted or textured glass, decorative film can help you maintain privacy without sacrificing natural light in
    your room. Perfect for street-facing windows or kitchens and bathrooms where floaty voiles or curtains might get in the way, laser-cut patterns like this dotty design add decorative touch.

    Frostbite FB041 film, from £21 for 50cm sq panel, The Window Film Company.

    IDEA: Order window film pre-cut to your own specifications, so you can apply it yourself with ease.

    “For a neat effect, hang blinds inside the window recess if there is one, or outside the window frame if there is no recess”

    Michela Colling, Style Editor, Ideal Home

    Choose a medium-format pattern for a blind in a small room

    Roman blind in Athyrium, from £46.45 for a W50cm x L50cm blind, Tuiss.

    Go for café chic

    Brighten up a kitchen window with a cheery café-style curtain- perfect if you need a little privacy at an overlooked window, without blocking out too much light. Make your own with a short length of fabric- just hem the bottom and sew a channel slot at the top the slip onto a telescopic curtain rod.

    Telescopic tension rods, from £3.30 for a L60-100cm rod, Wilko.

    Make a seasonal swap

    It’s a good idea to swap heavy winter drapes for something lighter and airier in spring. Make it a doddle with easy-to-sew tie-top curtains in a lightweight fabric. They’ll need no linings, rings or tapes- you simply tie them into place on your curtain pole, job done.

    Delphine fabrics in Charcoal F0428/01, £19 per m, Clarisse collection, Clarke & Clarke.

    “Don’t skimp on the length of curtains- they should always touch the floor. With ready-mades, buy longer and hem them”

    Holly Catford, Acting Style & Decorating Assistant, Ideal Home

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