East Midlands interior design

The Do’s and Don’ts of Choosing Curtains and Blinds

With such a wide variety of window treatments now available, making the right choice for your home can be confusing. Here are a few guidelines to help you make your decision when choosing curtains and blinds Leicestershire.

DO think about whether curtains or blinds would work best with your interior scheme. By using an interior designer you’ll get the best advice and be sure that your chosen treatment fits seamlessly with the rest of your room. This may mean using colours which complement your wall treatment or could mean using stand out contrast colours. If you have patterned walls, you could opt for a plain fabric in a colour which tones with shades elsewhere in the room, or continue the pattern ‘theme’ of the walls into your curtains or blinds.

DO think about the size of your room too. Choosing a large pattern, particularly in a room with patterned walls, will make the room appear smaller.

DO let your curtains reach the floor. If you have a radiator beneath the window, think about using a roman blind but still framing the window with floor length curtains for an elegant finish.

DO think about the practicalities of curtains versus blinds when redecorating a child’s room. Safety rods are now standard on blinds but repeated ‘enthusiastic’ pulling may mean blinds have a shorter life than curtains. Look for washable fabrics and consider blackout lining if your child finds getting to sleep difficult.

DO make sure, when calculating your costings that you allow for extras such as wall fixings, curtain rods etc. If your new window treatment is part of a refurbishment project, a professional interior design company, such as Craven & Hargreaves, will make sure that everything has been thought about and included, as part of their project management service.

DON’T be afraid to combine two window treatments. For example, hanging curtains over a roller blind gives a luxury ‘layered’ look. In a room with a sunny aspect, consider having sheer voile curtains for the summer and replacing them with a heavier fabric for winter. Don’t forget to include both choices in your budget.

DON’T go for the cheapest option when choosing curtain or blind fabric. Remember that your curtains will be pulled at least twice daily – more often if the room faces south or west and attracts strong sunlight – so you need a strong fabric. Consider using cords to operate the curtains, to reduce wear.

DON’T forget to check the care instructions for your new curtains or blinds. Most curtains will need to be dry cleaned, while blinds will need regular dusting or hoovering with an upholstery attachment and may need sponging to remove stains.

Selecting the right curtains and blinds will complete any interior scheme, offering good looks as well as sound insulation and privacy and will last for many years, so enjoy choosing the most beautiful and practical window treatment solution for your home.

Finding the Perfect Home Accessory Gift Ideas for Christmas

As Christmas approaches and the shops get busier, we’re spoilt for choice with gift ideas for friends and family. Yet, while keeping the children happy is rarely a problem, every year it seems to get more difficult to choose that something special for relatives or friends we don’t see very often but who’ve invited us to their Christmas party or to drop in over the festive season.

Instead of choosing wine, chocolates or flowers, why not pick something that will last longer and look beautiful in your hosts’ home? Save yourself both time and parking problems by looking online. Craven & Hargreaves, an interior design company in Leicester, have a beautiful collection of home accessories to suit any interior design scheme.

Home accessories make a very ‘individual’ gift, but don’t simply choose the things you’d like for your own home. You need to have some idea of the recipients’ tastes so they’ll be happy to display or use their present.

If you know their home well, you’ll probably be able to visualize somewhere for a pretty votive or etched glass bottle: either or which would work well in a living room, conservatory or even a bedroom. Do they have a fireplace? If so, think single or paired candlesticks or an attractive photo frame.

Metallic finishes are currently very popular for interiors and you’ll find them everywhere: from photo frames to pretty hearts for wall hanging, to vintage product themed clocks and signs for the kitchen.

Many people are on the lookout for ways to streamline busy lives. Craven & Hargreaves have a delightful selection of pinboards which would look good in a hallway, home office or kitchen and, with a range of colours and themes, you’re giving something that’s both practical and attractive.

Side tables are invaluable in a living area, especially during the party season, so why not give a set of coasters or a pretty glass or metallic bowl or box? Fill with brightly wrapped sweets or a seasonal potpourri as an extra treat.

If your relatives or friends have recently completed some home renovation work, you could choose something special for their new room. Pretty jars, a cake stand or a recipe book stand would be good choices for a new kitchen, with perhaps an unusual wall hanging for an ensuite or cloakroom.

Of course, you don’t have to restrict giving home accessories as a gift to Christmas time. When you’re looking for a housewarming present, take the time to choose something individual before your first visit and you’re sure to be invited back! As you won’t know what the design, layout and colours are like, or what changes your friends or family want to make to their new home, find something with a neutral colour or finish. Glass scores highly here and you’ll find there’s a good choice of accessories to give any room a lift.

Giving someone a gift for their home shows thoughtfulness and allows you to express your creativity too. Enjoy your home accessories Christmas shopping!

Planning Ahead For Your 2015 Interiors

While December is a busy month with plans for Christmas brightening the darker days, it’s also a good time to review your home and think ahead for 2015.

If you’ve got guests staying, have you got enough room or, perhaps with a growing family, would 2015 be the year to extend and add an ensuite? Maybe you don’t want or need to get to that level, but perhaps you just want to update your décor? Here’s a preview of some of the colours expected to be featuring in interiors during 2015. If you use the services of a company experienced in East Midlands interior design, such as Craven & Hargreaves, you’ll get some great ideas for interpreting the trends in ways which will suit your home and family perfectly and, by offering a comprehensive service, possibly save you money too.

Whether you like bright or muted colours, there are colour palettes for you. Subdued shades such as olive or dusty mint green, aubergine and rust add depth to a room and work well teamed with brighter shades of the same colour, or neutrals to provide contrast. A sitting room or dining room in a period house would take these shades well in alcoves paired with striped or lightly patterned wallpaper for a classic look.

Stripes always look elegant for wallpaper and immediately add height to small rooms. The stripes can be very subtle: in silver or gold, for example, but they will catch the light and add interest without overpowering the room. You could use striped paper on one wall only, contrasting with a plain finish on the others.

If you’d rather go vibrant, look for vivid shades of blue which, teamed with white, bring a room to life. Yellow and grey are also on trend partners for blue and, used for upholstery or accessories, such as cushions, will balance your scheme well. There are so many shades of blue that your interior designer will be able to suggest the ones which would work best as layers within your scheme.

Another upcoming colour palette for Spring 2015 is pastels. If you have rooms which are flooded with light, particularly if they link to the outdoors, you can have fun creating the carefree feel of a holiday home which you live in permanently! Working equally well in living areas or the kitchen, look for aqua blue or flamingo pink for your walls. Paired with brilliant white paintwork and shutters, real wooden flooring with a bleached finish or a natural fibre like coir or sisal, and well chosen accessories, you’ll always have a room to put you in the holiday mood.

Now is a great time to be thinking about ways to introduce the latest colours into your home. Start looking at interior design blogs and magazines for inspiration then ask an East Midlands interior design company to prepare a mood board based on your preferences. 2015 could be the smartest year ever for your home!

Spoilt For Choice With Carpet

Not many years ago, the choice of carpet as floor covering in a sitting room would have been almost automatic. That’s no longer the case, as there is a wide choice of natural floor coverings such as natural wood and stone, which can be maintained quickly and easily.

However, there’s no denying that carpet provides a luxurious touch to a room. It gives a feeling of comfort and warmth as well as a cushioned surface for young children – or even precious ornaments! – To fall on and, if you live in an apartment, you’ll find it acts as a great noise insulator too.

Choose your carpet well, perhaps taking the advice of Craven & Hargreaves, interior designers in East Midlands and you can add a strong element to your interior design scheme. If it’s some time since you’ve needed to buy carpet, you’ll be surprised at the colour and pattern choices you have now.

For some years, neutral colours for walls and floors have been popular and, if you’ve recently moved into a new property, a neutral carpet will certainly work with your furniture, whatever its style, until you have the budget to replace it. However, if you look at interiors blogs or browse interiors magazines, you’ll notice that deeper shades and striking patterns are now becoming popular.

If your furnishings are highly patterned, it’s best to stick to a plain carpet, to prevent the room looking too ‘busy’ and smaller than it really is. Jewel colours bring richness to a room and work especially well in period homes.

But if you’ve got plain upholstery and curtains or blinds, and you want a contemporary look, you can go bolder on patterns.

Stripes and geometrics are popular options and can look amazing in large rooms. However, if your floor space is covered with furniture, the small parts of a large pattern which remain visible will look disjointed and would make a small room look crowded. Monochrome stripes against a pale grey background laid into the room from the doorway would draw the eye in with a smart, classic look. If you like the idea of pattern but don’t have space, choose a plain carpet and top it with a rug either in a vibrant tone or standout pattern.

Do you have, or want to create, a retro theme? Then choose carpet or rugs in bold colours and patterns. You’ll find information online about retailers specialising in retro/vintage carpet.  Bear in mind that a highly patterned design may not be to everyone’s taste and, if you intend to move before long, try and think about appealing to the widest market possible.

Carpet is available in a wide range of price brackets but opt for the best spec you can afford while considering practicality: a 100% wool carpet in a plain, pale colour may not be the best option if you have a young family.

Take advice from your interior designer whose experience of various options will ensure you choose the perfect base for your room.

Framing the View: Choosing Window Treatments

Whatever room you’re designing or redecorating, you’ll want your window treatment to complement your colours and theme. An interior design company will be able to give lots of advice on curtains and blinds Leicestershire and show you photos and fabric samples to help you choose.

Simplicity is the key to interiors at the moment so gone are long, heavy flounces and tiebacks, in favour of a cleaner look, letting more light into the room.

Before thinking about fabric and style, take a moment to consider the room’s orientation: how much natural light does it get and at what time of day do you mostly use it? In a north facing room, lighter, sheer fabrics make the most of the available light, while in a south facing room you may want to choose something to reduce temperature and glare.

In a period home where the windows are an architectural feature, choose a bright, stand out patterned fabric to contrast with plain walls, drawing the eye towards them. However, if you have unexceptional modern windows, you may prefer to concentrate colour on the walls and upholstery fabrics and go for neutral curtains or blinds. Make sure you see samples on site and at various times of day so you make sure the colour and weight of the fabric is right. Remember that you can add blackout linings to your curtains or blinds: a useful option if you have a street lamp outside a bedroom!

If you have a bay window, using separate solid curtain poles on each section can look disjointed, though flexible poles are available. Have four, rather than two curtains, but make sure the curtains aren’t too bulky for the angles where the windows meet. If you have space, why not have a built in seating unit for use during the day and have curtains closing straight across the bay?

Roman blinds look smart in a contemporary home and use less fabric than other options, so you can upscale your fabric choice while staying within budget. If you’ve looked through interiors magazines or blogs recently, you’ll know that layering features strongly. So, choose the fabric for a blind, which you can close over the window when needed, then frame with matching curtains.

If you’ve used different shades of one colour for your walls, have lightweight curtains in one of the shades during the summer and replace them with a heavier set using another shade for winter to give your room a fresh new feeling at the start of each season.

Measuring for curtains or blinds is best left to expert suppliers or interior designers, who will offer advice and make sure that you get exactly the finished length, lining and heading you, want. Check the care instructions for both overall cleaning and spot stain removal.

Well made curtains or blinds should last many years, so take time to make your choice and you’ll be just as happy looking at your windows as at the view beyond.

Bringing Hotel Chic Home

It’s always a pleasure to take a break from routine and stay in a luxury hotel. How many times have you returned refreshed, but wondering how to incorporate some of the hotels design ideas into your home? Even if you’ve not been away recently, looking at luxury hotel websites will give you plenty of ideas to copy.

While your living room, bedroom or ensuite might not have hotel dimensions, with some planning and the advice of an East Midlands interior design company, you can adapt what you’ve seen to create your own luxury hotel experience.

For the refurbishment of a bathroom or ensuite, look for polished wall and (non slip) floor tiles in cool colours, stone or marble vanity units – ‘his’ and ‘hers’ basins if you have the space – the largest mirror you can find and recessed down lighting. Opt for a walk-in shower with a contemporary round, flat head and rain shower flow. Add glass shelves for storage, piled with fluffy towels and you’ve got a luxurious start every day.

In the bedroom, think grey, silver or light gold wallpaper, a high bed head in a toning colour and a luxury bed with mattress topper, heaped with cushions. This look is sleek and sophisticated, so use an ottoman for storage to reduce clutter. Furnish with metallic or Perspex side and dressing tables, adding a pretty French style chair. If the room’s large enough, why not have a day bed?

If you’re redesigning your living area, you could remove a wall to create a larger space, and continuing your chosen flooring from the hallway into other rooms also helps. Position your seating away from the walls and with a sofa and armchair, or armchairs at ninety degrees round a coffee table with an occasional table between them, you’ve got a cosy ‘conversation’ group. If you have space, create more than one: perhaps opposite windows or doors looking into the garden?

Go for the deepest chairs and best quality upholstery your budget allows. Pile cushions and throws in toning colours to create a cosy feel, especially for winter months. If you have an open fire or burner, add log baskets to the hearth.

In keeping with the luxury hotel theme, add your own bar area to your living space. A cabinet, with double doors for hanging glasses, fitted with shelves and a small fridge would really surprise and impress guests, or fit a bar top in an alcove or corner and add a couple of stools for a budget friendly option.

Think about lighting and accessories carefully. Table lamps create soft pools of light but make sure they’re powerful enough to read by. Look for one large, eye catching artwork or group several smaller pieces in matching frames together and collect new or good quality secondhand large format books to display on a coffee table.

Whatever you decide, choose carefully and your problem won’t be finding enough guests, but asking them politely to leave once they’ve admired your style.

Bring Your Home Alive With Colour

If you like browsing interiors magazines, blogs and websites, but aren’t sure how to bring the ideas you like into your own home, you’ll find that an interior designer Leicestershire will have all the skills and experience necessary to adapt what’s currently trending and making it exactly right for your home.

A current key trend is colour blocking. This can be interpreted in several ways and how you do it and the colours you choose will depend on the size of your room, possibly the amount of natural light, and any pieces of furniture you want included.

You could choose to have all four walls painted in the same shade. A deep blue, plum red or green, for example, would work well paired with leather or velvet upholstery and cushions in a similar shade if you want to create a cosy feel for a study or living room. The effect might be to make a small room appear smaller, but this can be countered with the use of mirrors and well positioned lamps.

For a brighter look, and if your room has good natural light, try using toning colours such as sunshine yellow and blue (which would combine well in a sunny kitchen), shades of the same colour, or use grey, which you’ll have noticed appearing everywhere recently, as a on trend contrast neutral. If you have an open plan area, think about using different colours to define sitting, dining and kitchen areas, for example.

Once you’ve chosen your base colour or colours (go as bold as you like – think fuschia, lime green, electric blue) – you’re ready to start layering. Collect pictures from those magazines, bookmark your favourite interiors blogs, get some fabric samples and create your own actual or digital mood board. If you’re using an interior designer, they’ll be able to create a professional one for you following a site visit.

If you’re confident with colour and find bright colours energizing, try teaming a really bright wall with an equally bright sofa in a different ‘pop out’ colour. Keep a clear space between the sofa and the wall, a neutral floor, perhaps with a rug in the same shade as your walls, and choose your accessories carefully to really make your colours the focus of attention. Try white, silver, glass or retro wood for a living area, while for a luxurious study, some well chosen antique pieces would suit the look perfectly.

When you first see your bright colour on the wall, it may seem a step too far, especially if you’re used to neutrals, but think of it as a backdrop. Look for one large piece of stunning wall art which will be framed perfectly by the wall colour, or fix a collection of monochrome photo frames in a tight arrangement in one area to give an alternative focus.

Whatever you decide on, be bold. Repaint whenever you want a colour change so your look stays fresh and let colour blocking brings your home alive.

Designing From the Floor Upwards

When thinking about redesigning a room, it’s easy to get excited about colours and fabrics for walls and upholstery, new furniture and accessories, yet the floor covering  sometimes gets overlooked, especially if your room is small and not much of the floor shows. But that doesn’t have to be the case and, by choosing carefully, your floor can make a design statement of its own.

While in recent years, interior schemes have tended to neutrals rather than colours, the current trend for all things retro has seen increased interest in bright colours and patterns.

If you’re planning a new scheme for a small room, and you’ve chosen a patterned wall covering, a plain colour for your floors will make sure that the space doesn’t look too cluttered and make the room appear larger. But while you may go for a plain colour, you’ll have a wide choice of finishes: carpet, real wood, stone or porcelain tiles, for example. Choosing real wood or stone will also give you textural interest because of their natural variations.

If your walls are plain, a well chosen patterned floor covering  – whether carpet, real wood, tiles or laminate  – would be an excellent base for your design ideas.Before you choose your pattern though, think about where your furniture will go: if the pattern is a large one, much of it may be hidden in a small room. Should this be the case, why not use a plain floor covered with brightly patterned rugs in key areas? If you’re interested in upcycling, you’ll find quirky bright rugs made from all kinds of materials including recycled plastic carrier bags! A great way to make an individual style statement.

In a hallway, try continuing your floor covering into adjacent rooms and up the stairs. You don’t necessarily have to cover the entire stair. A look which would work especially well in a period home would have carpet, laminate, or a natural fibre such as jute, in the centre of each step, with the rest of the step painted. To make even more of a statement, simply paint the whole staircase, either in one colour, a different colour for alternate stairs or each step in a different colour.

If you’re redesigning your bedroom, using an interior design company in Leicester will help turn your ideas into reality. When it comes to the flooring, carpet would be a good choice if you’d like to step onto a warm surface on cold mornings. Blue is trending and a bright blue or softer mauve tone in a velvet finish offers luxury and an early morning mood lifter. If your room is large enough, a large geometric pattern would be an on trend statement option, while a wooden floor painted in a pale colour wash and covered in toning rugs would give you the continually popular ‘New England’ style.

Whichever rooms you’re redesigning, don’t forget that your floor isn’t just for walking on; let it make a design statement of its own too.

Advantages of Using an Interior Designer

If you’re planning to upgrade one or more rooms in your home, you’ll probably have a good idea of what you’d like the final effect to be. However, you may feel you just don’t have the space or the budget for everything you’d like included. That’s where an interior designer Leicestershire can help.

The designer will look at the space you have available, what you want to use the room or rooms for and then help you achieve the maximum possible within your budget.

It’s useful to have some idea of any ‘theme’ or colours you want to use before meeting your interior designer – maybe you’ll have collected a few paint, wallpaper or fabric samples – but your designer is uniquely placed to be both up to date on the latest trends and able to interpret elements of them in the most cost effective way for your home.

While you may buy the occasional ‘interiors’ magazine, a professional interior designer will constantly be researching current ideas in interiors through magazines, the internet and trade exhibitions and will also have a portfolio of work with previous clients for you to browse. They will help you tailor your vision to what is feasible and most appropriate for the style of your home. If you’re prepared to have an open mind and trust your designer, you may find that you achieve a stunning new look for your home in a totally different way to how you’d imagined. Your designer will also be able to bring a range of pattern books and samples which you can look at in a variety of lighting conditions and alongside any furniture or furnishings you’re keeping, before making a decision.

If any structural work needs to be done, your designer will probably be able to recommend highly qualified professionals they’ve worked with before and will manage their input so that all the elements of the scheme are completed in the correct order and with minimal disruption to your home and normal routine.

As well as advising on the key elements such as colours, finishes, furniture and lighting, an experienced interior designer will also be able to help you choose those all important accessories such as lamps, wall art and storage solutions which will give your new space an individual look, whether you’re looking for the glamorous or simply the practical.

With autumn now here, fresh new colour schemes using pastels with accent bright colours, metallics and monochrome shades are featuring heavily in interiors and, if you decide you’d like to incorporate some of these trends into your new rooms, your designer will offer plenty of suggestions on picking the ideas which will the most suitable, whether for a modern or a period property.

Redesigning part of your home is exciting but it’s worth taking time to do your research and planning first, so that the investment you make will satisfy you for years to come.

Treat Your Staircase to an Upgrade

At one time a staircase was simply a means of getting from one level of your home to another; not any more though. Now a staircase can make a design statement too. Whether you want to update your staircase as part of a refurbishment or renovation project or are having a new staircase installed in an extension, East Midlands interior design companies will offer advice on a range of treatments and help you find the best look for your interior and your budget.

If you’re renovating a period property, professionals will be able to replace either just damaged and worn sections, or all non structural sections of the staircase – such as the steps or banister spindles – in wood, coloured and turned to match the original, or wrought iron.

In a home with a contemporary style, you’ll find lots of design options including the use of glass with light coloured woods to bring a welcoming sense of light and space to your hallway, stairs and landing. You may decide to keep the leave the treads uncarpeted to show off the natural beauty of the wood. If you would rather use carpet to minimise noise, consider just laying it over the centre of each tread with the natural wood showing at the margins. Using a plain carpet will give a better appearance than a large design, which can appear disjointed.

Another option for updating to an on trend look is to combine materials such as glass and metal, which fit well with a ‘loft’ living/industrial vibe. You could replace the risers with glass, which gives the impression that the staircase is floating and makes the hall area lighter too. If you’re having a new staircase built, you might be able to have one which is cantilevered from a supporting wall and, though you will need a balustrade to comply with building regulations, this could be glass and therefore wouldn’t spoil the effect.

Many of the latest staircase treatments open up the whole area and, if you live in an older property with an under stairs cupboard, removing the cupboard wall and replacing a wooden balustrade with glass, would really update the hallway. If you need the storage space, you’ll find units available to fit under stairs or you could commission a bespoke system from an experienced interior design company. If the area is large enough, you could have it fitted as a home office.

When deciding on what changes to make to your staircase, consider the safety aspects carefully. Older people become less confident at using stairs and may dislike glass risers or banisters and, together with young children, may feel particularly unsafe on a spiral staircase.

Having a staircase renovated – or a new one built – is not a project to undertake lightly but by taking expert advice, you can make an investment that will be an eye catching addition to your home for years to come.

Bringing the Highlands Home

The Commonwealth Games, held recently in Glasgow, seem to have sparked interest in all things Scottish. While learning to speak Gaelic or dance a Scottish Reel might be too much of an ask, you can easily introduce Scottish patterns into your home for a cozy, traditional look.

Start with tartan, probably the most recognizable element of Scottish culture. If you know anything about your family history, you might be able to link to a specific tartan but if not, it comes in such a huge variety of colourways, that finding one to kick start your interior scheme shouldn’t be a problem. You’ll find warm, rich reds and purples, cool blues and greens, even neutral oatmeal shades.

In a large room, you could start from the floor upwards, adding layers to the scheme with upholstery and curtains, but a tartan carpet could overwhelm so, if that’s not for you, think tartan upholstered chairs and curtains against a carpet in a plain colour chosen from the background of the tartan.

If you live in a period property with large rooms, you could have framed tartan wall panels on a large plain wall or use tartan wallpaper above or below a dado rail, used with a contrast colour. These options will stop the pattern becoming too overwhelming. In a smaller space, one or two walls in your chosen plaid should be enough.

If you’re updating, rather than redesigning a room, you can still introduce the Highland look through upholstery on chairs, footstools or curtains. If you’ve got a plain colour scheme, take the base colour, pick a tartan which has that colour and use it for cushions or throws piled onto your seats. Go for as many as you can to create a luxurious space for relaxing in. Try and look at your fabric or wallpaper samples in both natural and artificial light. What gives a warm, cosy feeling in winter may be too dark for a bright summer’s day.

If your styling is eclectic, interior designers in East Midlands will have plenty of design ideas and might suggest you could choose a number of different tartans and mix them up. Vintage, up cycling and crafts are all trending now, so look out for an old footstool to recover, make a drought excluder or curtain tiebacks from tartan remnants, add tartan frames to pictures or mirrors, make a display of tartan china or kitsch souvenirs from Scotland; the only limit is your imagination.

But if you’re not a fan of tartan? Then just base your scheme on the lovely muted tones of the Scottish countryside: greens, soft browns, heather’s, greys. Pair plain and lightly checked fabrics, contrast with cream or oatmeal, and you’ll have a look that’s as refreshing as the Highland air.

Whether you decide to go for all out tartan or just a few Scottish touches, you can have a lot of fun creating a highland look that’s perfect for your home.

Making the Most of Window Treatments

Whether you’re redesigning or just redecorating a room, there are so many elements to consider: flooring, wall coverings, furniture, lighting and, of course, window treatment. Curtains and blinds can play a huge part in adding to the atmosphere and you’ll be spoilt for choice in the range of window treatments available.

If you have a living room which opens onto, or simply looks onto a garden, use curtains to ‘frame’ the view. Using some of the latest sheers under fabric curtains, will allow light in and lead your eyes through the window into the space beyond. In the brightest of lights, the sheer curtains mean you can leave the windows or doors open in summer for ventilation, while reducing heat and the effect of sunlight on your carpets and furniture.

In the winter, curtains – particularly if they are floor length and lined – provide warmth and a sense of cosiness. However, unless you have a period home and are designing to match a historic architectural style, gone are the days of heavy fabrics with deep valances and elaborate ties.

Today’s look for a modern home is simpler and less cluttered. If you have patterned carpet, walls or furniture, think plain blocks of colour at the windows to tone with shades used elsewhere in the room. Greys are on trend and work well with blues, greens and yellows. If you have a large room, try a coloured fabric blind behind curtains in a toning shade but be aware that this layering could make a smaller room seem even smaller.

If you like patterned curtains and the rest of the room is plain, go for a bold motif picking up on a key colour from your scheme, or try one of the many geometric designs available this autumn and winter. Ideally, let your curtains touch the floor and choose a deep box pleat as a modern heading treatment.

Depending on your budget, blinds might be a better solution than curtains. Roman blinds, for example, use less fabric than curtains as they generally only cover the window recess rather than extending down to the floor. Stripes on plain coloured heavy cotton, for example, would give a great look for a smart bedroom, study or home office.

Measuring for fabric to make curtains and blinds needs to be done accurately and is best left to a designer or curtain expert, as mistakes can be costly. Agree where any necessary joins will be made so that these can be as well hidden as possible. Consider what lining you’ll need: for a bedroom facing a busy road, you might want blackout lining to prevent glare from street lights or traffic. Check how your curtains or blinds should be cleaned and what you can use as a spot treatment for accidental stains.

Don’t regard curtains and blinds as an add-on to a design scheme. Once closed, they’re part of the ‘wall’ where the windows are and a key element to creating an inviting, welcoming space.