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Curtains buying guide

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Choosing your curtains

Curtains have the potential to truly transform a room, adding the finishing touches to help create your perfect interior scheme.

Here you can find a comprehensive range of beautiful ready-made curtains in a range of styles, widths, lengths and designs. We also offer a full made-to-measure curtain service, so you’re certain to find something to match your home perfectly.

Find out more about how to choose the right curtains with help from our expert buyer’s guide.

1. What are the different types of curtain?

When it comes to curtains, you’re spoilt for choice. There’s a wealth of different styles available, and something to suit every home:

Ready-made curtains

Designed to fit a wide variety of standard windows, ready-made curtains are available in an extensive range of styles, colours and patterns. Choose from hundreds of ready-made curtains at Homebase.

Made to measure curtains

Made to measure curtains are perfect if you've got an oversized window, special requirements, or just want something unique. Choose from a huge range of colours, styles and designs, with the heading of your choice.

Children’s curtains

Brighten up your kids’ rooms with colourful and fun children’s curtains, available in a range of eye-catching designs. Browse through our range of children’s curtains.

Voiles

Voiles are elegant, lightweight and translucent curtains that let in soft light, whilst providing a level of privacy. 

Tab-top curtains

Tab-top curtains feature evenly spaced loops of fabric at the top, which hook over a curtain pole. They are very easy to hang, fitting directly onto a curtain pole.

Eyelet curtains

Eyelet curtains feature a row of holes in the fabric at the top, complete with metal eyelets. They are easy to hang, with a curtain pole fitting through the eyelets.

Pencil pleat curtains

With pencil pleat curtains, the folds in the fabric come together, to resemble a row of pencils standing side by side. Pencil pleat curtains can be fitted to either a curtain pole or tracks.

Pinch pleat curtains

Pinch pleat curtains feature permanent folds in the fabric for a more decorative, luxurious look. They are suitable for both tracks and poles. 

2. How do I measure up for curtains?

Correctly measuring up before buying your curtains is vital. There’s little worse than getting your new curtains home and finding they’re too short, or that they don’t fully close.

Here are our top tips to ensure that you get the perfect fit:

  • When measuring the width, use the pole or track, and not the window (unless it’s wall to wall). Add 1” (2.5 cm) to your measurement to allow the curtains to overlap when closed.
  • To measure your curtain drop, first decide whether you want your curtains to reach the windowsill, or go right down to the floor, and measure accordingly.
  • Remember, if you’re going for made to measure curtains, you’ll need to add at least 8” (20 cm) to the length of the fabric you’re buying, to allow for hemming.

Get more detailed, step-by-step advice in our expert guide to measuring for curtains.

3. What should I consider when buying curtains?

Before you make a purchase, it’s a good idea to ask yourself the following questions:

How do I choose the best curtain pattern?

This depends completely on your room scheme, and the design you’re trying to achieve. Curtains come in a huge range of styles, from simple, single colours, to elaborate patterns.

Bold colours and bright patterns can be used to create a design feature from your curtains, or you can choose something that blends in with the rest of the room.

Colour-wise, you want something that works well with your existing scheme.

It’s worth remembering that if you've already got patterned walls or carpets, a patterned carpet may make the room look too busy. In these cases, it may be better to go for something more simple and understated.

Do I need curtain linings?

Whilst curtain linings aren't essential, they do provide a number of benefits. The first is that your curtains will hang better, and look more luxurious. Lining also has more practical benefits - your curtains will provide better insulation, keeping your home cooler in summer and warmer in winter.

You can buy ready-made curtains that are already lined, and specify it as an option with made to measure curtains from Homebase.

Should I go for blackout curtains?

Blackout curtains are manufactured with a special lining that’s designed to completely block out the light. They are a great option for bedrooms (especially children’s bedrooms), and for those who work unconventional shifts, or at night.

Which curtain accessories do I need?

In addition to your curtains, there are also a few other things you’ll need. The essentials are a curtain pole/track, and some fittings. You may also want to consider hooks and tiebacks or hold backs to keep your curtains looking neat and tidy.

How much curtain fabric do I need?

If you’re going for made to measure curtains, then you’ll need to think about the quantities of fabric you require. Measure the width of your window space, and double it (at least), to ensure you've got enough for your finished curtains to hang properly.

Should I go for a curtain pole or a track?

This comes down to preference, and the style of curtains you’re going for. If you want to go for tab-top or eyelet curtains, you’ll need to go for a pole. Pencil pleat and pinch pleat curtains can be hung on both tracks and poles.

Poles can be used as a design feature in their own right, and there are a huge number of different styles available. Curtain tracks will be hidden behind the curtains when closed.

Find out more about choosing curtain poles and tracks in our detailed buying guide.

4. What’s the best way to clean my curtains?

Like any fabric, curtains need cleaning from time to time.

Lots of ready-made curtains are machine washable. Lined curtains and made to measure curtains made from delicate fabrics often require specialist dry cleaning.

Every pair of curtains is different, so it’s important to check the label or instructions before cleaning. Failure to do so can damage the fabric and colours, and shrink your curtains.

5. Safety Advice

How do I hang curtains safely?

Curtains can be heavy, and have the potential to cause damage and injury of not properly installed.

The key consideration here is making sure that the curtain rail or pole is securely fixed to the wall before you hang your curtains. You’ll need a drill, some wall plugs, and some sturdy screws. Wear safety goggles to protect yourself from dust, and make sure you’ve got someone else with you if you’re using a ladder.

Unless it’s a very small window, it’s best to get some help – hanging curtains is quicker, easier and safer with 2. 

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