Any fabric – even those that are meant to be worn – can be whipped into wonderful curtains. Lining protects the fabric from daylight, gives extra weight and body and conceals all the hems. Curtains should blend in with the walls rather than announce themselves too emphatically. The demand is for slim and sheer drops that can never be too thin.
Curtains have a lot in common with evening gowns: they are more timeless and elegant if they are body-skimming, simple and elegant. (Think Cate Blanchette on the red carpet rather than Lindsay Lohan.) No unnecessary bustles or fussy details: the slimmer the silhouette, the better. Your room’s proportions are generally improved if you let them drop to the floor, too.
Learn how to use your curtains and don’t always rush to bring the outside in. Appreciate not just the beauty of window treatments but of interior light. And don’t underestimate the insulation qualities of curtains: they can cut your need for air-conditioning on a hot day, and warm things up in winter.
If you’re on a tight curtain budget, don’t skimp on the amount of fabric: pick out a generous quantity of muslin and do something with imagination and beautiful finishing.
You’ll be in good company here. Some of our most go-ahead, relevant architects and designers (Lynda Kerry, Nick Tobias, Andrew Parr, Heather Buttrose, Sarah Davison, Briony Fitzgerald are devotees). An efficient workroom produces bespoke beautiful slim, smooth drops of curtains with ultra-simple details for our biggest houses – in face, 40 percent of the business is devoted to just curtains.
They can whip up ripple fold numbers where the fabric ripples in an S-formation along an unobtrusive track, trad box-pleats, and more than a few flat panels drops in the fabrics you see in the best interiors in the world. Unit 69, 20-28 Maddox Street, Alexandria (02) 95574322,www.simplestudio.com.au
Chrissie Jeffery is the queen of curtains. She can do simple but modern, and relaxed. She started off as a dress designer, and brings a fashion sensibility to her window treatments. No wonder she has dressed the windows for everyone from Nicole Kidman to the Historic Houses Trust of NSW.
Choose from quality fabrics, in stacks of cotton and linen stripes, checks, plains and tickings in tried-and-tested colour combinations. You won’t go wrong here. Willoughby, Woollahra, Balmain, (02) 9386 4800, www.nochintz.com.au
Interiors Soft Furnishings
Suzana Adin oversees the making of to-die-for curtains that are for keeps. Expensive but exquisite work, much of it hand-finished: devotees include a number of overseas clients, as well as designers Thomas Hamel, Michael Love and Cameron Kimber, who zhoosh up our best interiors. She does curtains of all kinds. Bring your own fabric, or ask her to help source something suitable. Unit 10, 34-36 Lidco Street, Arndell Park (88148777).
Zara Home or Ikea
The chainstores have great pure linen and cotton great curtains in an oyster, putty, and ecrus that are ideal for bedrooms. From heavy to light weaves, mostly dead plain designs that are simply detailed. www.zarahome.com.au