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Curtains Buying Guide

From different styles and fittings to materials and measurements, there is a lot to think about when it comes to choosing and hanging new curtains. Read our easy-to-follow guide to buying and hanging your new curtains for instant know-how of track types, fabric styles, buying the right curtains for the right purpose as well as looking at the wide range of curtains BHS has to offer. 

Curtains

Curtain Styles

What type of curtain do I need?

When buying new curtains, there are three things you need to consider...

Are my curtains going to be hung on a track or pole?

What heading type do you need or want?

What style of curtains do you want for your home?

You need to decide whether you want your curtains to hang from a track or pole, you may have your preferred choice already be in place.

Curtain pole

Curtain pole

Curtain track

curtain track

There are two types of curtain headings, pencil pleat and eyelet headings.

Pencil Pleat Curtain Headings

Pencil pleat curtain heading

 

A pencil pleat heading is the standard heading style you will find on most traditional curtains. 3" ( 7.5cm ) rufflette tape is used with three hook positions to suit all types of track and pole. 

Curtains are supplied un-gathered, and when you are happy with your choice of curtain you can pull up the tape strings to gather and fit your curtains to the required window width yourself. Be sure to knot one end of the tape strings first.**

Eyelet Curtain Headings

Eyelet curtain heading

If you're looking for a more modern style for use with curtains poles, then eyelet headings may be for you. Eyelets have an internal diameter of 40mm - suitable for curtain poles up to 30mm in diameter. 

Important things to remember:

• Eyelet headings are not suitable for curtain tracks, bay windows (without a special pole), or valances. 

• When measuring the curtain drop for eyelet curtains, always measure from the top of the pole to where you wish the bottom of the curtain to finish and add 4cm. 

• **Ensure your tape header curtain is entirely to your choice of style and colour, as when you pull up the tapes to shorten the width your curtains can no longer be returned (unless faulty). 

BHS curtains

When deciding what style of curtains you want, ask your self the following questions:

What colour will fit your rooms scheme? 

• What fabric will complement the feeling of the room?

Essential Curtains

Our curtains are all fully lined and offer a wide variety of styles to suit all the different needs of your home. The current range includes:

Faux Silk Curtains: Now available in our best quality yet with an improved fabric weight, our faux silk curtains are versatile and can be used upstairs and downstairs for a little added luxe to any room. Our faux silk styles come with eyelet headers.

Faux silk curtains

Jacquard Curtains: A woven curtain, our Jacquard range adds a textural interest without a bold pattern. This design comes with a more traditional pencil pleat header.

Jacquard natural curtains

Peach Effect Curtains: A low pile fabric of medium weight, offering a soft 'peach skin'  or faux-suede feel and appearance and slightly more thermal than the lighter weight curtains. These also come with eyelet headings.

 Peach effect curtains

Chenille Curtains: Our Chenille range is made from a pile fabric that is a medium weight pile fabric . This range comes in a wide palette of colour options designed to either match or co-ordinate with our chenille cushion range. The Chenille curtains come with eyelet headings. 

Chenille curtains

 

Modern Living Curtains

Traditional Curtains: We offer to a range of traditional curtains to suit all areas of the home from two-tone jacquards to rich Chenille Patchworks.

Traditional curtains

Contemporary Curtains: We offer a contemporary range of fabrics and designs which include interesting textures, top boarders and modern designs.

 

Shop Curtains and Accessories

How to Measure For Ready Made Curtains

Measuring for your new ready-made curtains sounds like it should be relatively simple job, but there are variables that need to be considered to ensure you have the best fit.

1. We recommend using a wooden ruler or metal tape measure for accuracy as cloth or plastic tape measures may stretch.

2. Ensure that the track or pole is fitted evenly before any measurements are taken.

3. Always measure the curtain pole or track width rather than the window opening.

Getting the right measurements

Two measurements are required for each window, the width and the drop (The drop is the length measurement from the track or pole to the desired point - floor/below sill/to sill).

 

Measuring the width and drop of your window

It is important to decide where you want your curtains to finish - popular choices include just above the sill, below the sill, 2cm above a radiator or 1cm above the carpet. We recommend you take at least 3 measurements across the window width, as floor and sill levels are rarely level, then use the shortest of the 3 measurements. 

How to measure the drop

Measuring for a pole

Measuring pole curtains

Pole: For 3” Pencil Pleat Tape measure from the bottom of the ornamental ring to desired drop.

Measuring a plain curtain rail

Plain curtains

Plain Rails: Measure from the top of the rail.

Measuring a Girder rail

Girder rail

Girder Rails: Measure from the top of the rail.

Measuring an eyelet heading

Measuring for an eyelet heading
Eyelet Heading: Measure from the top of the pole to the desired finish drop. Then add 4cm to allow for the fabric to sit above the pole.

Note: Eyelet headings are not suitable for curtain tracks, bay windows (without a special pole), or valances. 


How to Measure the width

Measuring overlapping curtain tracks

 

Measuring overlapping tracks

Overlapping track: Measure the full width of both tracks and add them together.

Measuring standard curtain tracks

Measuring curtain tracks

Curtain track: Measure the full width of the track.

Measuring a curtain pole

Measuring a curtain pole

Curtain Pole: Measure between the decorative ends of your curtain pole. 

How To Hang Curtains

Follow our step-by-step guide to hanging your new curtains. 

How do I hang pencil pleat curtains?

1.) If you have pencil pleat styles, don’t forget to knot together the draw cords at both ends of the heading tape before you gather your curtains. (Ensure your tape header curtain is entirely to your choice of style and colour, as when you pull up the tapes to shorten the width your curtains can no longer be returned (unless faulty).

2) All tied? Good. Now you need to fix your curtains at the same width they will be when closed. Don’t worry; it’s really easy to do. Just take one end of the curtains, hold the tie cord firmly in one hand while gently pushing the curtains heading evenly along the cord, and then draw the curtain to the desired width. 

3) You can make sure the width is right by holding each curtain up to the pole or track. 
Tip: We suggest making sure there is a slight overlap of about an inch where the curtains meet so they fully close. 

4) If you’re happy with the width, tie off the surplus cord string at the outer edge of the curtain. (Never cut off the excess cord or tie to tightly as you will need to undo it when it comes to cleaning. It can easily be hidden behind the tape).

5) Inserting hooks: Divide the rings or glider hooks evenly to each side of the pole or track. Once this is done, insert the curtain hook evenly along the header tape to match with the number of rings of glider hooks you have.
Track users please note
: Don’t forget to count the fixed end stop if you are using a track. 

6.) Tape height: Pencil pleat curtain tape has three rows to determine height setting. 

If you’re using tracks, insert the hooks into the lower rows so that the heading covers the track.

If your using pole style curtains, insert the hooks into the top row of the pockets so that the curtain hangs below the pole. 

7) The final step is to attach each hook to a glider ring. Once this is done, pull the curtains back, making sure the spaces between the curtains hooks are even. Then, starting from the top, gently smooth each pleat for the folds to form neatly.

8.) All curtains will need some time to settle in and for any creases to drop out. We recommend using a strip of fabric or ribbon and loosely tying it around each curtain to keep the pleats in place while the curtains settle. Leave like this for a minimum of 48 hours. This will allow your curtain to develop distinct and even pleats.

 

How do I hang eyelet-heading curtains?

1. Eyelet curtains are designed for use with poles only, so there is no need for hooks or rings so remove them before you begin.

2.) To start the folding, hold the curtain with the face of the fabric towards you. Then fold the first eyelet away from you and thread onto the curtain pole. 

3.) In order to avoid the whole curtain sliding into the middle of the window when you close the curtains, you should position the first eyelet on the outside edge of the pole bracket. This will secure the outside edge of the curtain at the end of the curtain pole. 

4.) Continue folding the eyelets towards and away from you in a concertina style until the entire curtain has been added to the pole. 

5.) Repeat this process with the second curtain.

6.) Dressing your curtains: All curtains need time to settle and it may take a few weeks for any creasing to drop out and the folds to fall correctly. 

Tip: To achieve a professional look, pull the curtains back, the curtain fabric will naturally fall into pleats. Starting from the top gently smooth each of these pleats. Next take a strip of fabric, ribbon or cord and loosely tie around each curtain to keep the pleats in place. Keep the curtains tied in position for a min of 48 hours. This will allow your curtain to develop distinct and even pleats.

Caring For Your Curtains

When you unpack your new curtains there may be some creases or pressure marks from when they have been folded and stored, but never fear, most creases will fall out quickly after hanging for a period of time in a warm room.  For those stubborn creases, you can lightly iron your curtains with a warm dry iron on the reverse. But never steam your curtains! This can cause stretching or shrinkage, give the curtains time to settle.  

Future Care

Even though curtains take such a central role in a room, they’re often the first thing we forget about when it comes to our usual spring clean. We do recommend you monitor the appearance of your curtains and fully clean them once a year to freshen up the fabric, in order to clean and brighten the colours.

Thing to consider:

1. We almost always recommend your dry clean your curtains, please read the care instruction carefully as these will help you to look after your curtains. 

2. Ensure that drawstrings are loosened and all hooks are removed. 

3. Hems and sides should never be pressed, as this will distort the curtains.

Shrinkage

It is a good thing to note that some fabrics are liable to a small percentage of shrinkage during dry cleaning. So take this into consideration when you first purchase your curtains to ensure you have a slightly longer drop (length).