Buying curtains seems like a no brainer. You do a little measuring, go into the store, pick out what you like, and you’re good to go. But unfortunately, it’s not that simple. Or at least is never has been for me. There are a lot of factors that go into the purchase of curtains and you have to get a lot of them right in order to choose a winner.
So if you’re thinking about buying curtains, keep these 12 things in mind:
1. Length. The length will depend on what else is near the curtain. If your bed is under a window, you might want shorter curtains so they don’t get in the way. If the curtains go behind a couch, maybe shorter is better, too. If it’s a curtain for the kitchen window over your sink, you’re obviously not going to want it to go to the floor!
2. Style. There are several different options and it pretty much just depends on the look you want for the room. If you’re wanting a light, airy look, you probably won’t want heavy drapes. If you have a privacy issue, you won’t want sheers.
3. Fabric. This is a really important point, especially if you have kids or pets. My family room/dining room curtains are silky and they’re hard to spot clean – not a great choice for the dining room. I didn’t think of that when I bought them. Maybe it would have been okay if it was just my husband and I but the grandkids are a bit messy and they like to grab the curtains or hide behind them – with dirty hands! See the problem?
4. Dry clean only or machine washable. I made a big mistake when I bought our family room curtains – I didn’t check the fabric content and they were dry clean only! When we first got them, each panel was horribly creased. But because they were dry clean only, I couldn’t throw them in the washer. I also couldn’t toss them in the dryer because they required low heat. So I ironed EACH AND EVERY PANEL – 12 of them in all – on a low heat setting. It took 30 minutes per panel! I will never do that again!
5. Rod. Keep in mind that curtain rods can eat up a big part of the budget. Sometimes the curtains themselves aren’t that expensive but the rods are the budget buster. The sheer curtains in my bedroom are on inexpensive café rods. The grommet top curtains in my living room are on a rod my husband made out of closet poles. Actually, the window is so wide we couldn’t find a rod we could afford which is why he made one. And the curtains in our family room/dining room are on curtain rods he made out of plumbing hardware. Very affordable compared to buying pre-made for six wider-than-usual windows.
6. Rod color. This isn’t necessarily a deal breaker unless you’re OCD, but if the grommets in your curtain are brass, you might want a brass rod. If all the metal in the room is chrome, you might want a chrome rod. It doesn’t bother everyone if the metals don’t match, but if they bother you, watch for that!
7. Cost. We’ve been lucky in that we’ve found most of our curtains on clearance. The family room curtains were only about $10 a panel. We got them at Bed, Bath & Beyond. But we did have to go to two stores to get enough. If you have the ability and time, you might be able to save money by making curtains yourself.
8. Tie Backs. If your curtains slide open, you’re good to go. But if want to tie them back, don’t forget to purchase tie backs or hold backs. Currently we just slide all ours back. It’s easier plus it doesn’t block our great view.
9. Additional window coverings. If you have blinds or shades, you can buy “cheater curtains” which cover the edge of the window and don’t actually close. Sometimes blinds look harsh and the cheater curtain can warm things up.
10. Window size. Don’t guess – ever! That rarely turns out well. Measure the width and the height of the windows.
11. Number of panels. When we bought our family room curtains, we tried to get by with two panels on the extra wide windows but that wasn’t enough. We went back and bought six more panels which is what we should have done in the first place. Most of the time you’ll need at least two panels per window.
12. Color. I was shopping for a comforter for the bedroom recently and missed on the color several times! If you can, take pictures of the room, including the colors you’ll be matching to, and take those with you. It helps you get it right the first time! One thing I hate more than shopping for curtains is taking the wrong curtains back!
See what I mean? There’s a lot to buying curtains if you want them to look great. So next time you’re curtain shopping, keep these things in mind and go pick out some killer curtains!
What’s on your windows?