WHEN it comes to dressing your windows, there's a multitude of different styles and an endless choice of fabric options, but today we're going to focus on the best cheap curtains.
There are a few decisions you need to make before buying curtains and we're here to help you pick the best set for your windows while sticking to your budget.
Let’s start with headings. This is what’s at the top of the curtains so they can glide along the pole as you open and draw them.
Pencil pleats are close-together folds of fabric that gather as the curtains are drawn.
They are attached to rings on the curtain pole and give a full look. Pinch-pleat headings are sewn-in pleats that give a neat, decorative appearance.
When drawn, they completely cover the curtain pole for a smart finish.
Eyelet headings are created by adding metal rings around holes cut into the top section of the curtains; the curtain pole is then threaded through the eyelet holes.
The folds of the curtain will hang in a uniform way when opened – choose this option if you want an unfussy look.
Finally, tab-top headings and strips of fabric sewn along the top section of the curtains to form a loop; the loops are then threaded on to the curtain pole.
This is the simplest look and is best suited to country-style decor.
Next up, the linings. Most curtains come with a standard lining that is usually made of cotton.
It’s a good all-round option for dulling the effect of bright light on a sunny day, stopping too much heat from escaping on a cold day or entering on a hot day, and it drapes in a natural way.
Blackout lining is designed to block almost all light from entering a room and protect fabrics from fading in sunlight – ideal for kids’ bedrooms or if your windows overlook street lights, for example.
Some curtains come with a thermal lining, which is designed to keep heat from escaping a room and therefore heavier than standard lining.
It’s a good bet if your home has single-glazed windows, but this lining will bump up the price. If you go for sheer or voile curtains, these will not be lined.
You also need to think about the size. Curtains can either sit inside the wall surround that contains the window, or be positioned above and outside the wall.
For bay windows, it’s common for the curtains to sit inside the bay.
The next thing to think about is length (or drop) – go for curtains that drop just below the bottom of the window to keep costs down and give a lighter, less-cluttered feel.
Full-length curtains will drop down to the floor and are the best option for a luxurious look and to keep the maximum amount of heat in a room.
And don't forget about the fabrics.
This is obviously down to personal choice, but as a general rule, voiles and sheer linens are best for creating a light and airy feel, heavily patterned damask fabrics are luxurious and will bring a traditional feel to a room, while patterned or coloured cotton curtains work with all kinds of decor.
If you need to add height to a room, consider a vertical-stripe pattern to draw the eye up and down to give the illusion of higher ceilings.
Remember, too, that bigger patterns, such as oversized florals, work best on curtains covering bigger windows, otherwise the scale of the pattern can be lost.
All set to shop? Then cast your eyes on these six price-busting designs we’ve found for you.
1. Lenda Curtains with Tie-backs in Bright Blue
- Lenda Curtains with Tie-backs in Bright Blue (W140cm x L250cm), £25, Ikea – buy here
These full-length cotton tab-top curtains are fantastic value at just £25, which also includes the tiebacks.
Pop them in a country scheme or pair with French-style decor for a rustic look.
2. Orla Kiely Multi Stem Eyelet Curtains
- Orla Kiely Multi Stem Eyelet Curtains (W117cm x L183cm), £51.20, Amara – buy here
Want designer good looks on a budget?
Few signature styles are as recognisable as Orla Kiely’s, and thanks to Amara’s sale it’s possible to get the gorgeous eyelet curtains in one of her most iconic prints for just over £50.
These ones are perfect if you want a hit of pattern in a retro or mid-century-style room.
3. Morris & Co. Strawberry Thief Pair Lined Pencil Pleat
- Morris & Co. Strawberry Thief Pair Lined Pencil Pleat Curtains in Duck Egg (W117cm x L137cm), £56, John Lewis – buy here
Lined pencil-pleat curtains made in a pattern by one of the most famous fabric-makers in the world for less than £60?
These wonderfully detailed Morris & Co curtains are 100 per cent cotton with a cotton and polyester-mix lining – and they’re currently 20 per cent off at John Lewis.
4. Sheer Voile Panel
- Sheer Voile Panel (W140cm x L229cm), £19.50, M&S – buy here
This simple and elegant voile panel is the width of most standard windows, so you’ll only need one.
And it’s super-long too, at over 220cm, which means you can leave it to cascade on the floor for a relaxed look.
It’s perfect for a back door in a kitchen.
5. Solar Blackout Pencil Pleat Curtains in Stone
- Solar Blackout Pencil Pleat Curtains in Stone (W168cm x L274cm), £60, Dunelm – buy here
If you’re after blackout curtains, head to Dunelm, which has 20 per cent off all its blackout designs right now.
These versatile pencil-pleat curtains are available in a variety of sizes and plain colours yet still only cost £60 for the longest drop, making them excellent value.
6. Geo Jacquard Curtains
- Geo Jacquard Curtains (W117cm x L137cm), £60, Next – buy here
Inefficient windows or single glazing creating draughts in your room?
If you can’t afford to shell out huge sums for new windows, make the best of a bad situation with a pair of thermal curtains – worth paying a little more for as you’ll be saving on energy bills.
These Super Thermal eyelet ones are lined and filled with wadding to keep heat in your room and draughts out. They’re also machine washable.
If you're looking to revamp your bedroom, take a look at our guide to the best bedside tables.
Enjoyed our roundup of the best cheap curtains? We've also selected the best bedside lamps – from touch to trinket holders and traditional styles.
If you are looking for more home recommendations, check out our dedicated home section.
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