Light work: should I choose curtains or blinds?

 

Weigh up the pros and cons of the age-old debate between curtains or blinds.

 

Window treatments are an often overlooked element in home style, but choosing the right look is vital to creating a functional and beautiful space. Deciding between curtains and blinds comes down to practical considerations, as well as personal taste.

 

Curtains:

Pros

With a greater range of fabric choices, styles and textures, your design possibilities are endless. They can also come with you to your next home.

Thick block-out curtains will keep out more light than blinds.

The fabric will retain more warmth, reducing power bills in winter.

 

Cons

They tend to be more expensive than blinds.

Curtains are harder to clean.

The fabric can be more susceptible to damage, mould and fading than regular blinds.

 

 

Blinds:

Pros

Blinds tend to be a more affordable option.

They are easier to clean than curtains.

Blinds offer greater control over light levels and privacy.

Their streamlined form ensures less visual clutter, and can fold away completely, which is ideal if you don’t want them to be a feature.

 

Cons

Fewer design options, with limited materials, colours and styles.

Less able to adapt to a new home/window shape than curtains.

Blinds aren’t as energy efficient as curtains, but they can reflect radiant heat.

 

The cost will often be the deciding factor in the decision-making process, however, leaving window treatments as an afterthought will result in a space that is less cohesive. Price can range dramatically depending on the materials - such as linen versus polyester, plastic versus timber - and installation costs can also increase the end price. Curtains have the ability to provide softness and texture. When full length, they can elongate a room and add a sense of grandeur, while also providing symmetry over mismatched windows. If well chosen, curtains and blinds are an investment in your home, in terms of both resale and protecting your furniture from sun damage.

 

Traditional home styles will naturally suit curtains over blinds due to their classic look. Minimalist spaces can suit both, but blinds may work better due to their ability to fold or roll away. In living zones, TV rooms and bedrooms, curtains will tend to win out due to their cosy aesthetic, light-blocking properties and heat-retaining ability. Blinds are more suitable for kitchens and bathrooms due to curtains’ greater potential for water damage and fire hazards.

 

How to clean curtains and blinds:

Always read the label, but often you’ll be able to take curtains down to wash in the machine - just hang them immediately to prevent wrinkles. Otherwise a professional dry-cleaning service will be able to take care of them for you. Blinds should be dusted and wiped down with a damp cloth regularly, being careful not to bend or stretch the slats too far out of shape. A rubber sponge will be useful for removing grime, dirt and dust.