Zaha Sunrise Curtains fitted to a tall door window in a dining room with blue coloured walls

The ultimate curtains buying guide

Emily Booth one of the writers at Hillarys

by Emily Booth

In-home Advice Expert

Published: 28/02/2017

Updated: 19/07/2023

How to choose the perfect curtains for your home

All our curtains are made-to-measure so will fit your window perfectly. Your advisor will talk to you about the best option for your particular window and of course you may have some personal preferences. In this handy guide, we'll take you through the different header types and their benefits plus specialist fabrics and linings to help you choose the right solution for your home.

1. What header types are available?

Eyelet heading

Eyelet curtain headings are threaded on to a pole through metal rings, with the curtains hanging in deep, uniform folds from the top to the bottom. This heading type is very fashionable in modern homes.

View eyelet curtains

Pencil pleat heading

Pencil pleat curtain headings gather the fabric into semi-cylindrical rolls that resemble a line of pencils. The curtains will tumble freely to the floor. It’s a classic heading that goes with poles or tracks.

View pencil pleat

Pinch pleat heading

Pinch pleat curtain headings draw together lots of fabric, which is gathered in bunches and stitched to create a highly decorative finish featuring elegant folds flowing to the floor. You can have pinch pleat headings with either a pole or a track.

View pinch pleat curtains

Wave heading

Wave curtain headings are perfect for an informal, relaxed feel. The curtain falls in soft, wave-like rippling folds allowing more of the fabric to be seen. Wave curtains are fitted to a slim track.  

View wave curtains

2. What different curtain materials can I choose from?

Luxe velvets

When it comes to tactile textures, nothing beats invitingly soft velvet. Glamorous and luxurious, our range of sumptuous velvet curtains and Roman blinds combines tactile softness with a unique textured appearance that creates a chic and cosy effect at your window.

Velvet is up there with some of the cosiest of fabrics, making it a great choice for your windows. The thick, heavy nature of this luxurious material not only blocks out light but makes it perfect for insulation too.

 

Explore velvet curtains

Serene sheers

Sensationally sheer and simple, Voile curtains offer a stylish way to control the light and provide daytime privacy.

These lightweight textiles are perfect for creating an understated feel at the window. They also pair beautifully with curtains for a statement look that gives you flexible control over light and privacy plus an extra layer of insulation when you need it most.

 

View Voile curtains

Bouclé is back

From Coco Chanel’s world-famous jacket in the 1950s to curtains and blinds in the 2020s - bouclé is back.

In our Abigail Ahern collection, this nubby, teddy-bear like fabric hits the sweet spot between soft and hard-wearing, to give your room a cocooning vibe.

 

Explore the collection

Sustainable choices

The need for sustainable design is more important than ever and we’re really proud to offer a growing range of eco-friendly fabrics for curtains and blinds.

Our naturally sustainable fabrics include brushed cotton and 100% recycled polyester. Look out for our ‘sustainable choice’ logo to discover our range of fabrics that are kinder to the environment.

 

Discover more

Playful patterns

Alongside beautiful plains and touchable textures, our collection is bursting with patterns that pop.

Take a break from the digital world by injecting nature and greenery into your décor with beautiful floral and botanical prints, or choose comforting, curvaceous shapes that keep the mood modern.

From bold geometric shapes to Matisse style cutouts, our trendy designs add subtle drama to your space.

 

Explore patterns

3. What lining is best for my curtains?

Performance linings

All our curtains come with a standard sateen twill fabric lining. Not only does this make your curtains appear fuller, it helps prevent fading, reduces light and provides extra privacy. You also have the option to choose a thermal curtain lining which will help insulate the home, or a thermal blackout curtain lining to help prevent outside light creeping in.

Thermal linings

Thermal lining for curtains is created using a thicker sateen twill fabric, which helps reduce the loss of heat through your windows.

Thermal blackout linings

A thermal blackout lining on your curtain is ideal to keep the light out. Two layers of sateen twill fabric are bonded around a black membrane to provide a complete blackout function.

Coloured linings

Elevate your curtains with our range of coloured linings. Choose from six beautiful shades, so your curtains look as good on the outside as they do on the inside.

From the deep black threads of the Chimney lining for a dark and dramatic finish, to the luxurious and subtle feel of Mineral, a coloured lining is sure to give your home great curb appeal.

4. What different ways can I style my curtains?

Think about curtain fullness

Different header types require different levels of fullness. Likewise, a thin sheer fabric may require more fabric – a greater fullness – than a thicker material to achieve a similar look.

At Hillarys, all our curtains are made-to-measure and our experts will take the measurements for you making sure the curtain fullness is right for the combination of header and fabric you choose.

 

View curtains

Choose how high to hang your curtains

To add to your room’s sense of height, have your curtains fixed several inches above the top of the window frame. You can also take into consideration if there is a radiator near the window which can mean altering the curtain length. You expert advisor will talk you through your options at your in home appointment.

 

See how our service works

Layer curtains with other window dressings

For added effect, you can layer other products with curtains at your window. This could be for aesthetic or practical reasons.

Layering blinds or shutters with curtains is a great way to combine fabrics at a window to create a sense of depth by playing on textures and patterns. Or you might choose a blind to layer with curtains to increase the blackout effect or to enhance sound or heat insulation.

 

View our blinds range

5. Where do curtains look best?

Curtains for doors

Whether you've got French, sliding, patio or bifold, fully-lined curtains are a lovely option for providing a snug and cosy atmosphere at your doors. Heat escapes from many homes via the front or back doors, so drawing curtains over these areas will help prevent any draughts. They’re also a great blackout solution if your doors are letting in too much light.

If you’ve limited space to hang curtains either side of a door, try having a single, wider curtain that pulls completely to one side.

It’ll create clear access to the outdoors during the day, and when closed give you a wall of warmth at night.

Discover more

Curtains for bay windows

Impressive features to any room, beautiful bay windows allow you to enjoy panoramic views and flood your home with natural light. But when it comes to dressing, bays can be a tricky shape to work with.

Acting as a frame for your window, curtains are a brilliant choice whether you want to go bright and bold or contemporary and understated with your décor.

We offer a range of stylish curtain poles and tracks specially designed for bay windows, and all our fabrics are available with blackout and thermal linings so you can keep draughts at bay as well as block out sunlight.

Take a look

6. What accessories can I choose?

Poles and tracks

Our range of poles and tracks is available when you buy any pair of curtains. Choose a beautiful curtain pole in metal, wood and painted finishes, or a discreet curtain track for a minimal look.

If you’re not sure about the best option for your home, your advisor will help you decide during your appointment. Fitting by our experts is included in the price.

 

Discover poles and tracks

Finishing touches

Did you know, all our curtain fabrics are available as cushion covers and tie backs?

Perfect for creating a co-ordinated feel, tie backs will give your curtains a neat and tidy look when they’re open.

For a unique finish that subtly flows through your whole room, choose from a range of cushion sizes and edging options to complement the fabric at you window.

7. How do I keep my curtains clean?

Cleaning tips and tricks

It's really easy to keep your curtains looking fresh. Our handy guide gives you plenty of advice on how to keep them in tip top condition, from choosing the right cleaning attachment for your vacuum to using the right technique for tackling tough stains. Follow along with the video to find plenty of easy ways to keep your curtains in pristine condition all year round.

Read our guide

Ready to book?

Request an appointment

Questions? Call our Irish based call centre

1800 882 917

We've got lots more practical advice and tips for styling curtains

Take a look