Curtains, The Need For Privacy And Warmth

The original idea of curtains was to keep the warmth within our homes and cold out. They were certainly a necessity, rather than for just decoration.

Curtains were once made from one piece of cloth which was then hung on a rod. The cloth had metal rings sewn to the top, which were then threaded onto the rod. The curtains were drawn from only one side of the window, unlike how they are commonly found these days. Back then, door curtains were far more common and made from thick tapestry. Bed curtains were also a common feature and again, were mainly used to keep you snug, warm and free from draughts. It did help of course that they looked quite pretty.

Nowadays the choice of curtain fabric is truly immense and long gone is the conventional way of thinking to dress windows. Anything goes, even those boring blinds that are so common these days.

paddle-curtain-designI recently saw an interesting design that featured an oar as the curtain pole. Certainly an innovative concept and fun to look at too. It’s nice to see some originality.

I wonder, do we still follow the tradition of changing from winter heavy weight to spring and summer light weight curtain fabrics? It was quite an occasion at the beginning of spring, taking down those dark, heavy curtains and replacing them with the light and bright floral curtains.

Washing those thick heavy winter curtains was certainly a task, but with the nicer weather on the horizon, we could finally be able to dry them outside! Or in the case of chenille fabric, having them dry cleaned. I remember my mother would always spoil the nice clean smell of our curtains by storing them away with moth balls (yuk)!

That nice clean smell would of course be long gone by October, when it was time to rehang them, ready for those cold winter nights.

Picking the Right Upholstery Fabric for a Busy Home

You are proudly inspecting the redone home décor and the new silk cushion covers are clearly the showstoppers.

Looks like you’ve earned boasting rights in the neighbourhood and you are itching to show it off to your friends. But there’s one thing that you didn’t account for, your child’s favourite Yoghurt tube.

There it is; a fist-sized stain right in the middle of the cushion. Oh wait, there’s more. Marvin, your pet Siamese has tracked in the best dirt of the yard into your home and right onto the cushion.

Your heart sinks as you see it and realise that no amount of paper-towel scrubbing is going to get rid of that.

The fact is that silk, despite its luxurious appearance is not the best of choices for everyday use especially if you have kids or pets in the house.

What you need is a resilient upholstery fabric that’s going to withstand an onslaught of staining liquids, dirt, dust, scratches and just about anything else that children or pets can subject it to.

Contrary to what most people believe, you do not need to compromise on the aesthetics.

Engineered vs. Natural Upholstery Fabric

For a long time, there were a limited number of resilient upholstery fabric choices which were mainly natural fabrics like cotton and jute. That’s no longer the case.

Today, engineered fabrics are a much better choice for everyday use and they are designed to mimic the appearance of their natural brethren. So there’s no tradeoff in aesthetics either.

They are waterproof, do not fade even when used in the sun and stains can be washed right off.

Does that sound like outdoor fabrics?

Well, you are not entirely wrong, because outdoor fabrics are slowly making their presence felt in living rooms.

We are not talking about the hard and waxy Sunbrella range of fabrics, though.

Viscose, polyester and solution-dyed acrylics are some of the upholstery fabrics in this category with polyester being the cheapest of them all.

One of the newer additions is Sensuede, an eco-friendly fabric made from recycled fibres that are almost impervious to wear and tear. So is vinyl which is so easy to clean no matter what you spill on it.

If you wish to go the natural fabric way, then leather is your best choice.

However, it does require frequent upkeep that may include conditioning using a leather conditioner at least once or twice a year. Scratches can be a problem if you are using leather upholstery with a smooth finish. Distressed leather is a better bet because small scratches will blend right into the natural crevices that are formed on it.

Also, it acquires a natural patina with time which accentuates the look of the fabric.

Styling

With an endless array of colours, textures and patterns to choose from, no matter what upholstery fabric you pick, styling should be the least of your concerns. However, it does pay to spend some time making wise colour choices because you will be living with it every day, possibly for a long time.

Trendy colours are voguish and will most likely look dated in a year from now. So, unless you plan to redo the cushion covers again next year, stick to timeless colours. Neutrals are the safest of them all. They are versatile and can be used anywhere in the house and have a pleasing and positive vibe about them.

Giving your Home a Makeover with Cushion Covers

I read an interesting blog post the other week about changing your home décor to match the seasons. While the world around you transitions from a dull and drab winter to a bounty of colours each spring, why not spruce up your home to match it?

That sounds like a wonderful concept. But it’s the practicality and the economics that make most homeowners think twice before attempting such an exercise.

The question is, ‘Can you do that each year without breaking the bank?’

Well, giving your home a seasonal makeover does not necessarily mean that you have to do redo the furniture. The idea is to play around with colours and textures to reflect the changes that are happening around you.

And one of the best ways to do that is to switch around your cushion covers.

Cushion covers are the most underrated décor piece in the house.

It can instantly add colour and depth to an otherwise outdated furniture piece, be it a couch or an accent chair, you can mix and match them, you can switch them around the house and they are available in an endless number of designs.

Yet, if this is the first time that you are shopping for decorative cushion covers, there are a few aspects that need to be thought out well before you swipe the card.

The Style

Cushion covers are no longer limited to those mundane single-colored ungainly slip covers that strangely, were so popular. Today, you can pick trendy and casual designs to match or juxtapose your décor. Traditional seamless designs are passé. So, covers with decorative trims, tufting, ruffles, art prints, glitter or patterns make for a much better idea for that contemporary look. You can always add them to formal furniture pieces too.  When it comes to the fit, you have the option to pick one that hugs the cushion or one that loosely covers it and tucks around the back.

The Fabric

The style will largely be defined by the type of fabric that it is made of. It’s a given that everyday use will subject it to some amount of wear and tear. If you have kids or pets at home, that ‘some’ can turn into a ‘lot’. So, along with the aesthetics, you also need to keep durability in mind while selecting a cushion cover fabric. Luxurious fabric choices are silk, linen, velvet, chenille and even leather. But these are also pricier and will require frequent upkeep. Cotton, canvas and polyester are more suited for use in the living room or for floor cushions. These are easy to maintain and are inexpensive too.

Usage

You’ll need covers that are easy to remove, be it for maintenance or for swapping them around the house. The easiest one to use is the zippered cover where the zip is usually concealed under a piping. The other option is an envelope cover that has two layers of fabric on the back of the cushion that overlap each other and is typically Velcro covered. These are easier to remove as compared to zips but are generally used for occasional furniture pieces.

Last but not the least; always compare prices when you buy cushion covers. With some research, you should be able to redecorate your home in no time.