Recently we spent an afternoon at a friend’s house, up on the Northern Beaches of Sydney. It had stunning views, sweeping up the coast, and the whole place was designed to take advantage of the cross breezes while enjoying the sights and sounds of the ocean. It was magical, with huge full height glass doors that opened almost the entire front to the outdoors. A great example of the Australian ability to create outdoor ‘rooms’ and living. 

The view was amazing, but what we noticed was what framed that view. 

This home had soaring ceilings, and each of the 4 sets of glass doors that created this wonderful indoor/outdoor experience was framed by subtle, beautiful sheer linen curtains accentuating the height of the room, but also softening the doorways, especially when picked up by the breeze. 

Window furnishings are so important to creating the overall feel and style of your home. They serve a practical purpose, like managing light, heat or cold, but also an aesthetic purpose by enhancing the overall style of your home. 

Whether your style is contemporary, coastal, country, urban, chic, mid-century, industrial or skandi, your window treatments will either add, or detract, from your décor.

We love the look of sheer curtains, and a key decision is what length do you choose? Do you puddle, or don’t you puddle?

The right length for curtains can make a big difference. If the dimensions are right then the whole room will look well put together, but if they are too long the room can look sloppy, and too short will make your curtains just look like a mistake. 

It has been popular to have curtains puddle on the grounds. This creates a soft elegance in bedrooms, opulence in dining and living areas, or a casual and relaxed vibe in your boho loft. The whole idea is to ensure it doesn’t look fussy and is integral to your interior. You need to consider a few things. 

As always, we suggest you first think about function. What is the room and who is going to use it? Curtains that puddle on the ground might be your dream, however this might not work in a house with lots of foot traffic with children and pets, because eventually someone is going to trip over those beautifully puddle curtains! Also consider how often you are going to open and close the curtains…. puddling might not be the thing for you if you’ll end up dragging them back and forth day after day. 

Also consider the other fabrics and textures used in your room. Will Belgian linen curtains that puddle on the ground enhance your décor, or just stick out and clash with your formal living room. 

So now to the technicalities. To make your room, window or door look higher or bigger, make sure your curtains are hung from just below the cornice, or as high as you reasonably can and they go to the floor. By making your curtains wider than the window, extending them beyond the window frame, you create an illusion of a bigger window, and this creates an optical illusion that the room is larger. 

Now, make sure you allow enough length to create a good puddle effect. It you leave too little the curtains will just look wrong, and too much will look messy. For a moderate puddle allow between 7 and 10cm of extra length. Depending upon your décor and fabric choice you can leave a raw edge hem, have a more formal hem, or even use a rope hem to create a ‘structured’ puddle effect. 

If puddling is not your thing, make sure your curtains are the right length, so they don’t detract from your interior. Floor length is the most popular length and are a lot more functional to open and close, and for cleanliness (no fabric gathered on the floor collecting dust), but make sure it is floor length. Curtains that are too short are like trousers that are too short…. it’s just wrong! 

Window treatments aren’t an afterthought. Done well and with consideration of your entire décor they will be both practical and beautiful. They will provide insulation, light-management, frame a view or add luxury and warmth to a room. 

June 15, 2022 — Mark McKie

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