Furnishings : Curtains, Tracks & Poles
Curtains buying guide
Our ready-made curtains are available in a variety of widths, weights and designs, ensuring a look that’s right for any kind of room. If you’re looking for something different, we also supply made-to-order curtains in just 7 days. And if you`re looking for something even more individual, then the custom service in our shops can make virtually any window dressing you want in any suitable fabric available to us.
Curtain styles and headings
We stock curtains with two basic types of heading. Pencil pleat is a traditional style, while eyelet curtains give a more contemporary look.
These are folds, gathered closely together to resemble a row of pencils laid side by side. They are created by pulling the cords on the heading tape and winding them around a cord tidy to keep the pleats in place. They can be used on curtain poles or tracks.
These are suitable only for use with curtain poles and have a row of eyelets, usually metal, which can vary in diameter. They give a much softer, wider fold. A range of other heading types is available through our made-to-order service.
Measuring for curtains
To be sure of the best possible fit, take time to measure your window carefully. We suggest using a metal tape measure for accuracy. The first step is to decide whether you want your curtains to hang from a track or pole, both of which should be positioned 15cm (6 inches) above the window and extend 15-20cm (6-8 inches) either side. Fit the track or pole before taking measurements.
Measure the total width of the track or pole (excluding the finials) – do not measure the window unless it is wall-to-wall. Don’t forget to allow for overlap – this is an additional measurement, normally 2.5cm (1 inch) that allows the hanging curtains to overlap in the middle when they are closed.
Before measuring the length, decide whether you want your curtains to fall to the sill, below the sill or to the floor. We suggest that: Sill length curtains finish 1.25cm (1/2 inch) above the sill. Curtains that fall below the sill finish 15cm (6 inches) below. Floor length curtains finish 1.5cm (1/2 inch) from the floor (although you can create a romantic, Bohemian look by having them longer so that they actually trail on the floor).
Measuring curtains for tracks
Measure from the top of the track.
Measuring curtains for poles
Pencil pleat curtains: Measure from the eye – the small metal ring at the bottom of each curtain ring. This will prevent the pole or rings from being obscured by the curtain. Tab top and eyelet curtains: Measure from the very top of the pole.
While our curtains are sold in pairs, the dimensions on the pack refer to each individual curtain. The total width of both curtains should be two to two and a half times the width of the track or pole. We can supply made-to-order curtains in a wide range of fabrics; these will usually be delivered in 7 working days from the date of your order.
Fitting pencil pleat curtains to a track or pole
Pencil pleat curtain tape has three rows for height setting.
To get the right height:
For tracks: insert the hooks into the lower rows so that the heading covers the track
For poles: insert the hooks into the top row of the pockets so that the curtain hangs below the pole. – Check that you have the same number of hooks in each curtain as you have gliders on your track or rings on your pole. Don’t forget to count the fixed end stop if you are using a track. – Attach each hook to a glider or ring – Gently bring the flat area between each pleat to sit neatly in folds. Width Before you hang your curtains, you need to fix them at the width they will be when they are closed. To do this: – Tie the strings in the heading tape at one end of the curtain. – Draw the curtain to the required width.
Tie the surplus strings at the outer edges of the curtains around the cord tidy supplied. Do not tie them too tightly, as they will need to be loosened for cleaning, and never cut the ends.
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.
All curtains hang better if they are lined. Linings also enhance the appearance of colours and patterns, protect against strong sunlight and improve insulation when it’s cold.
General care advice – Hang curtains away from the window pane so they do not come into contact with condensation. – Don’t worry if your newly-hung velvet curtains show crease and pressure marks; these will disappear as the pile lifts and the lustre of the fabric returns. – Run your fingers along the natural folds of the curtain to tease the pleats into position. – To avoid marking velvet through handling, we recommend you fit tracks with a cord or use draw rods to open and close the curtains.
Before you clean curtains, loosen the draw-strings and remove hooks, weights and any other metal fittings. Lined curtains should always be dry cleaned.
Washable fabrics – Always hand wash when recommended and rinse thoroughly. – If you use a powder detergent for hand washing, make sure that it is fully dissolved before putting the fabric in the water. – Squeeze the fabric gently and avoid rubbing actions. – Treat machine-washable fabrics with care – never wash or spin them for longer than necessary and do not wash at a higher temperature than recommended. – To retain the clarity of dyed and printed fabrics, use a colour care detergent as these have no optical brighteners. – After spin drying, the fabric should retain enough moisture to smooth itself out, regain its shape and minimize shrinkage.
Cotton lace – Cotton lace curtains can be hand washed or machine washed up to a maximum temperature of 40°C as long as they are placed inside a pillowcase or laundry bag to prevent damage. – For white cotton lace use a detergent and for cream, soap powder or a colour care detergent. – Stretch curtains gently before they dry completely to help them regain their shape. – Press lightly using a cool iron. Do not use steam.
Nets and Voiles – Nets and voiles should usually be hand washed. Check the washing instructions on the product. – Before washing, gently shake out any dust, then immerse the curtains in lukewarm water that contains soap or detergent. – Net curtain whitener will help restore net curtains to their original brightness. Do not use a bleaching agent. – Rinse thoroughly and drip dry. – Most creases will drop out during drying but press lightly using a cool iron on the reverse if needed.
Made-to-order curtains measuring guide
Curtains provide a room with that “finished look” as well as keeping out bright sunshine, preventing upholstered furniture from fading and keeping in warmth during winter. Our made to to order curtain service offers you a wide choice of headings, fabrics and styles so that you can have a really special window dressing. All you need to do is supply your window measurements.
Measuring for curtains
To be sure of the best possible fit, take time to measure your window carefully. We suggest using a metal tape measure for accuracy. The first step is to decide whether you want your curtains to hang from a track or pole, both of which should be positioned 15cm (6 inches) above the window and extend 15-20cm (6-8 inches) either side.
Fit the track or pole before taking measurements.
Measuring width and length
Measure the total width of the track or pole (excluding the finials) – do not measure the window unless it is wall-to-wall. Don`t forget to allow for overlap – this is an additional measurement, normally 2.5cm (1 inch) that allows the hanging curtains to overlap in the middle when they are closed.
Before measuring the length, decide whether you want your curtains to fall to the sill, below the sill or to the floor. We suggest that: – Sill length curtains finish 1.25cm (1/2 inch) above the sill. – Curtains that fall below the sill finish 15cm (6 inches) below. – Floor length curtains finish 1.5cm (1/2 inch) from the floor (although you can create a romantic, Bohemian look by having them longer so that they actually trail on the floor).
Measuring curtains for poles
Pencil pleat curtains: Measure from the eye – the small metal ring at the bottom of each curtain ring. This will prevent the pole or rings from being obscured by the curtain.
Tab top and eyelet curtains:
Measure from the very top of the pole.
Measuring curtains for tracks:
Measure from the top of the track.
Curtain tracks buying guide
The right curtain track, correctly fitted, will make a big difference to the hang of your curtains and the whole look of your room. Types of curtain track To begin with, ensure that the track is suitable for the weight of the curtains which will hang from them. PVC is inexpensive, flexible and suitable for light and medium weight curtains. A corded option is not available with this type of track. Aluminium is more expensive but stronger and more durable, as well as being bendable. It is also suitable for light and medium weight fabric and gives you smoother drawing curtains. Corded and uncorded options are available with this type of track. We also sell Dormer and Valance tracks. Steel is suitable for heavy weight curtains. This type of track is not bendable and is always corded.
Corded and uncorded tracks
Corded tracks are threaded with nylon cord at the back which connects to a system of gliders and pulleys. You open and close the curtains by using a pull-cord, without having to handle the curtain, protecting more delicate fabrics from damage. Corded tracks are also useful for heavy curtains and for tall windows, making drawing your curtains easier. Corded tracks over 3m (9 feet 10 inches ) in length will have cords at both ends rather than just one (see diagram).
Window shapes and measuring up
Outside recesses When measuring, allow a minimum of 15cm ( 6 inches ) each side of the window to let in the maximum amount of daylight. For very full curtains allow even greater width. Again, PVC and aluminium tracks can be cut to fit.
An extendable steel track can be used where you are unsure of the exact measurements. Narrow windows can be made to appear wider by extending the track on either size (see diagram).
To fit a curtain track inside a recess, the overall length of the track should be slightly shorter than the actual width of the recess. Standard size PVC or slim aluminum tracks can be cut to fit using a hacksaw. When measuring, allow for bends. The gentler the bend, the more smoothly your curtains will run. Most PVC or aluminum track can be bent to fit. If the track is heavy duty aluminium you will need to order it ready . Cutting and bending tracks PVC PVC tracks are easy to cut with a hacksaw. When bending, work with care and make sure the track is at room temperature. Follow the pack instructions which will tell you the angle of bend you can achieve. Aluminium Aluminium tracks are also easy to cut with a hacksaw. Aluminium can be made into tighter bends but you will need to work carefully since, once bent, an aluminium track will not spring back. Follow the pack instructions and bend in stages, regularly checking the angle of the bend against the shape of the window. Steel Steel tracks cannot be bent. Fitting tracks
Brackets: Most tracks come with universal brackets that can be fixed either to the wall or ceiling. Wall fixing: Fix the track to a wooden batten above the window frame, or fix to brickwork using long screws and raw plugs. Ceiling fixing: Attach track to ceiling joists or, if joists are not in the right positions, to a wooden batten.
We have a range of accessories to fit, fix and maintain curtain tracks: – Spares: Tracks come complete with all fittings apart from curtain hooks but we stock additional gliders, end stops and brackets. – Extension brackets: These can be used with deep windows or radiators to bring the curtains further out from the wall. – Draw rods: For drawing curtains on uncorded tracks – Header tape: We stock a selection of Rufflette tapes and hooks.
Occasional cleaning will improve the performance of your track and help prolong its life. Wash with a household detergent, allow to dry, and then spray with a silicone based lubricant.
Curtain poles buying guide
Curtain poles are not only functional, but can also enhance the appearance of a room in their own right. Unlike tracks, they allow you to choose from a wide range of curtain headings such as tab top and eyelet for a modern look and pencil pleat if you prefer something more traditional. Buying individual poles and accessories
We have everything you need to select your own components for an individual look and to get around the problem of oddly shaped or differently sized windows. Follow the guidelines below for help in deciding how best to achieve your own style successfully:
Select a pole: These come in 3 lengths: 120, 150 or 180cm. Choose one that’s long enough to allow your curtains to stack back to the sides of the windows. Poles can be cut to size or joined with a connector if made from metal. Wood poles come with a double end screw to join them. You`ll need an extra centre bracket for poles over 180cm in length. Choose your curtain rings: Its best to have 1 ring for every 10cm of pole.
Choose your brackets: All poles will need 2x side brackets and those over 180cm long will also need a centre bracket and connector. For bay windows you will need to use flexible bay corners in conjunction with passing brackets. These brackets give intermediate support and, with the open ended passing rings, allow the curtains to move across them freely. We also sell double brackets to hang poles of 19mm and 25mm together.
Finials and holdbacks: This is where you really have the opportunity to add individual style, with the choice of adding something understated if you want your window treatment to blend into the overall look of a room or dramatic or unusual if you want to make a real feature of your windows.
Measuring for curtain poles
- Decide where the pole is to be positioned. This can be either on the window frame or above it on the wall.
- Measure the required width (A), taking into account the space needed for the curtains to be drawn back either side of the window (B).
- Ensure there is space for your chosen finial at either end of the pole. Where space is tight, we can supply stud ends or recess brackets.
Attaching the curtains
- For pencil pleat curtains, fit the curtain hooks into the “eyes” on the bottom part of the curtain rings. The curtain should hang below the eyes, not cover them. If the rings are partly covered, they will push the heading forward, making the curtain stick out rather than lying flush.
- Place the end ring between the bracket and the finial to keep the end of the curtain in place when the curtains are closed.
- Tab top and eyelet curtains fit directly onto the pole. Place the end eyelet or tab between the finial and bracket.
If you prefer to use a track rather than a pole you may find our curtain tracks buying guide useful.