Curtains alter the personality of a room whereas blinds expertly keep the light out.
When it comes to window dressing, it could be hard to decide which to go for – curtains or blinds. Both do a neat job of shading the room from the harsh glare of the sun, which in this part of the world, could melt anything (even with the aircon on). Their wide varieties of designs and types also endear them to interior designers and home users who could pick or customise according to their home renovation requirements. It looks like a draw then with no obvious winners; if you’re a new home owner, don’t pull your hair out yet. Let’s look at some common types of curtains and blinds available and how your lifestyle needs might determine the decision for you.
There’re many different types of curtain rods and tracks available in the market. You can buy them off the shelf and install on your own or you can go to a curtain specialist shop to have them tailor made. Most importantly, you’ve to decide what type of rod or track you want. Most curtains however can fit on a rod or track with the right kind of accessories.
If you’ve installed a window rod, you might like grommet top or eyelet curtains – these are curtains with metal rings running across the top of the curtain that hang directly from the rod; Grommet top curtains give a flowing, natural vibe perhaps from the pleats formed when hung. Pretty common are also tab top curtains that come with extra loops on top of the curtain for attaching to the curtain rod.
There are also rods that come with eyelet rings with little loops at the bottom; these or curtain tracks too are useful for curtains sewn with curtain headings or tapes that when hung from the rod with hooks, give the curtains a pleated look. Then, there are curtain accessories like holdbacks (usually metal) that are installed at the side of the window to hold the curtains in place when open. Almost all curtains come with tiebacks, little fabric loops or tassels depending on the design of the curtain and fabric to hold the curtains at the sides.
Blinds can be aesthetic complements to your interior too. Forget the image of the PVC blinds at your office where you roll up and down every evening like clockwork to ward off the sun. Made of wood, bamboo (for the eco-conscious), vinyl, and PVC among others, blinds come in a wide variety of designs and are suited for many spaces and functions in your home.
Roller blinds are like the ones in your office; these are single window shades that are fixed on a roller and can be pulled down or up to turn off the glare. These come in various designs (plain or patterned) and they block out the light and heat effectively. Venetian blinds come with horizontal slats made from timber, aluminium or bamboo, and these overlap and roll up when the cord at the side is pulled.
Panel blinds are larger strips of blinds that when open are stacked or slide behind each other. These are contemporary looking and are perfect for decorating. They allow one to use his or her creativity; use different panel colours or patterns to create the mood you want. Roman blinds, when pulled up, display horizontal fabric pleats, lending a textural perspective to your interior. With so many options, how then do you choose one that works for you? You could perhaps take these factors into consideration:
Aesthetics and function
Consider how the choice would impact the interior. Most curtains depending on their colour, material and design, could blend into most interior concepts easily. So do blinds as these now come with many classy and modern designs. If you’re looking at a very specific concept such as French baroque or more traditional designs, then curtains that are elaborate and regal in appearance might be more appropriate. Moreover drapery curtains would definitely conjure a cosier mood in a bedroom rather than a blind whereas the latter might complement a study room (read “work”) ambience better.
Care is also needed to consider the functionality of these window dressers. If you pine for that sheer, neon fabric, you might like to reconsider when you intend for it to block out the morning sun. Or, perhaps you’ve the intention to use them as privacy shields from your neighbours from the next block especially the uncle with bird watching as a hobby. Blinds in this case might be more suitable if you like to block out light and still enjoy some privacy. Also some areas at home such as foyers and enclosed balconies might benefit from the look and function of blinds; these are considered more or less “open areas” and having blinds would enhance their rustic feel.
Cleaning and maintenance
Curtains can be either machine-washed or dry cleaned while blinds can be cleaned with vacuuming or spot cleaned with duster or damp cloth. And they should be cleaned regularly; blinds and curtains are known to collect dust if left neglected and uncleaned over time. Also, consider your housekeeping habits; do you find it a chore to dust the blinds every week or you prefer to wash the curtains every few months or so? Personally I prefer to wash the curtains every few months than cleaning the blinds every week so that I can have the time and life for other things; for those with maids or domestic help, well, I guess it doesn’t make a difference much? Regardless, it’s always good to get something that meets your lifestyle needs.
Many curtain specialist stores provide installation service when you buy the curtains, tracks, and rods from them. You can also choose the fabric and design you want directly and they would customise for you. If you feel more gung-ho, you can always install the rod and track on your own although it would require some handyman skills. Home furnishing stores like IKEA offers both DIY and installation service to suit every need.
Again, no winner is in sight. I think curtains and blinds should be chosen based on one’s interior style, and lifestyle and housekeeping habits. A combination of curtains and blinds would also make your house look more textural and with more character.