Curtain Conundrum – Rods & Rails

by on Friday, March 1, 2013
Curtain Rods

Having a lovely set of curtains without curtain rods is like owning a sports car and not being able to drive. Understanding how and where to hang your drapes is one of the most important steps when considering a refit or purchase.

Let’s take a look at some popular curtain rod styles to help you make that all important decision!

Wooden Curtain Rods

Wooden Rods

Most certainly filed under the ‘traditional’ category, wooden curtain rods bring warmth into a living space. Darker finishes are better suited for theming a room, where lighter finishes are more discreet options for hanging your curtains.

Sometimes manufacturers offer a rope/chord to accompany your end-stops, adding to that authentic and undeniably rustic curtain theme.

Wooden rods and end-stops are often found in antique shops and boutiques so get rummaging!

Iron Curtain RodsIron Rails

Ironmongers are the usual suspects for iron rail & end-stop production, many of which resemble a contemporary style to compliment a minimal theme.

White walls and colder rooms are ideal living spaces for these metallic masterpieces, and with finishes ranging from smooth and soft to sharp and shiny these really are a great choice for contemporary curtains.

On a serious note, one must consider the practicalities of heavy iron rails. Make sure your end-stoppers are secure and keep them pointing sideways!

If you would like more information about choosing the right curtain rods or are simply in need of some practical advice, please get in touch with the Oxford Curtain Consultant.

Curtains versus window blinds

by on Friday, January 25, 2013

Curtain OxfordAlthough it may seem a straightforward conundrum, there are many factors which determine the suitability of curtains, drapes and blinds.

We are now in 2013 and at the turn of a new year we ask the same question – what will be most prevalent this year, blinds or curtains?

Whilst there are a number of aesthetic considerations, what questions should you ask yourself when choosing bewteen curtains or blinds?

Purpose

An important factor in the decision between curtains and blinds is purpose and suitability. Blinds are best suited for rooms where lighting and light management is a priority; bedrooms often make good use of black-out blinds as shutting out light is important to help us sleep.

Curtains, on the other hand, are better suited for living spaces where considerable time is spent working and resting. Curtains are flexible by nature and flexibility is paramount for multi-purpose spaces.

Fashion

Fashionability is a crucial factor, especially when committed to new years resolutions and redecorating plans. Fashionable curtains and blinds not only transform your living space, bedroom or conservatory but they can often be the icing on the cake – the last piece of the decorating puzzle.

Curtains with soft, droopy aesthetics are particularly well suited to create ambience in living areas. Conversely, blinds and shutters are used to add practicality in living spaces such as a loft conversion or balcony window.

Get in touch

If you would like to discuss your own curtains versus blinds conundrum, why not give the Oxford Curtain Consultant a call?

How to Choose Fabrics for Outdoor Use

by on Tuesday, July 10, 2012

choosing a fabric for outdoor use

Choosing Fabrics for Outdoor Use

Good outdoor fabrics are easier to come by than they were a few years ago but it’s important to make the right decision. Make sure you look for the following properties in your fabric to make a choice that’ll last for years to come:

Anti-bacterial/anti-fungal

Mold and mildew will thrive in any environment that is moist and warm so it’s important that your fabric is able to prevent this sort of growth (one key way of doing so is choosing a waterproof fabric but this will be discussed below) and you look after your fabrics appropriately.

An important preventative measure is to store your fabrics in as dry a condition as possible, which means not leaving them out in the rain, and taking them inside to a dry location when not in use. As a further measure, you can choose fabrics which have an anti-bacterial/anti-fungal coating or are mildew resistant.

Mildew resistant fabrics haven’t undergone any treatment, but are designed using fibres which limit the growth of bacterial. Anti-bacterial coatings are chemical finishes which are intended to kill or limit the growth of bacteria that begins to find a home in your fabric.

Waterproof

Waterproof fabrics are those that can withstand an ordinary amount of water (almost no fabric can resist water with 100% success). Waterproof fabrics tend to fall into three categories: tightly woven, microporous coated and hydrophilic coated.

Tightly woven fabric is just that: the fabric is woven so tightly that water has a difficult time penetrating the surface. The advantages of this type of fabric are that they aren’t treated with chemicals and they are breathable. Being breathable means that while water has a tough time getting in, the fabric is still permeable to air. One disadvantage is that water not only has a tough time getting in, it has a tough time getting out! If left out long enough for water to slowly make its way into the fabric, it can take a very long time to dry.

Similar to tightly woven fabrics, fabrics with a microporous coating have a surface that is hard for water to penetrate. However, this surface is artificial (usually made out of some sort of polymer) and contains pores that are even smaller. The pores are thousands of times smaller than the size of a water droplet but big enough for air and water vapour molecules to pass through, allowing the fabric to be similarly breathable but even more waterproof. These fabrics have the same disadvantage as tightly wovens ones however but should only become a problem when the fabric is left out for a significant amount of time.

Hydrophilic coated fabrics are made using a hydrophilic (literally meaning ‘water loving’) coating that is non-porous. At first you may wonder why using a waterproof coating that attracts water molecules is beneficial but the coating uses the chemical properties of water to its advantage. The hydrophilic coating actually allows water to spread easily across the surface, facilitating the movement of the water droplets off the fabric. These fabric are even less penetrable to water than microporous coatings but are less breathable.

Fire retardant

It is important for any fabric (whether used indoors or outdoors) to be fire retardant, meaning it reduces the flammability of fuels (or delays their combustion). Fabrics used outdoors may be more likely to catch fire due to the conditions of the environment they’re used in (near barbeques or patio heaters for example).

Fabrics are made fire retardant either by the use of chemical treatment or manufactured fireproof fibres. The flame retardancy can wear off over time when a chemical treatment is used because repeated washings can slowly remove the coating – it is therefore important to be aware of the suggested ‘lifespan’ of the fabric and to wash it only to the manufacturer’s suggestions.

Stain resistant

With outdoors fabrics being well exposed to the elements, it is important that they do not stain easily and are easy to clean. Some fabrics are more or less stain-resistant naturally while some fabrics are specially treated to resist stains.

There are a number of ways manufacturers can produce fabrics that are especially stain-resistant. One increasingly popular way is using nanotechnology to replicate natural examples of ‘stain-resistance’, as found in fruits such as peaches.

Peaches contain tiny hairs on their surface which causes water to bead up and roll off again (with the water never properly touching the peaches skin). Nanotechnology is able to replicate this by producing fabrics with millions of nanoscopic hairs which work to move fluids off the surface of the fabric.

The advantage of this style of stain-resistance is that it doesn’t wear off over time as chemically treated fabrics do – chemical layers are slowly lost over repeated washings but nano-treated fabrics last as long as the tiny hairs on their surface do.

 

Please see our curtain consultancy and styling services or contact us to find out more!

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Improved Sleep Leads to Improved Productivity

by on Thursday, June 7, 2012

We all know a good night’s sleep can make all the difference. If that’s the case, how can we ensure a great night’s sleep each and every time? Certain colours and textures evoke a more relaxed state and there are steps you can take to make your bedroom an environment better conducive to rest.

The important of a good night’s rest

Sleep plays an important role for your memory – thoughts, knowledge, experiences and your short-term memory get solidified into your long-term memory when you are sleeping. There is evidence that a lack of sleep can impact your health too: increased risk of obesity, reduced response to vaccines, pre-diabetic conditions and changes to cardiovascular functions.

Choosing the right colours

The colour scheme you choose to use in your room can have an impact on your rest. Light blue is often considered to be one of the better colours for your sleep – some research has shown that people in rooms coloured light blue fall asleep more quickly and have more refreshing sleeps (wake up feeling like their sleep was undisturbed and deep) as well. Alternatively, yellow is said to be a good colour for people who cannot wake up easily in the morning – the colour makes them more happy to wake in the morning! Whilst one of the more romantic colours, red is apparently one of the worst for your sleep – although perhaps not a problem if romance is what’s on your mind!

Reduce the light coming into your room

Depending on the position of your house and your bedroom, more or less light might be leaking into your room. Even during the evening when the sun isn’t out, annoyingly placed street lamps can bask your room in sleep-disturbing light. For this reason, it’s important to choose the right curtains or blinds for your needs, particularly if you’re sensitive to light!

Get in touch to see what we can do for you and provide a better night’s sleep!

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