In terms of window furnishings, it boils down to two main types in Singapore: curtains and blinds. Which to go for depends on what you are looking for in a window furnishing.
We explore some of the factors here to help you make a decision.
Choose curtains if you want to add a warmer, softer edge
Unlike the rigidity of blinds, curtains offer a softer touch, both visual and tactile-wise.
In a home dominated by lines and planes, curtains will help you take the edge off.
This makes them particularly suited for bedrooms and nurseries, places where you want a softer, more relaxing tone.
Curtains also lend a sense of warmth and cosiness, useful if you need to warm up a colour palette that leans towards cool undertones.
Choose blinds if you want to install over a wet zone
Blinds are most commonly made from materials like aluminium and vinyl (PVC). These work great for wet zones in the home like the bathroom, kitchen, service yard and balcony.
Blinds made from these materials don’t rust or cause mould or mildew problems down the road. Curtains, on the other hand, aren’t mould- and mildew-proof.
Bamboo blinds are a popular option for window openings exposed to the outdoors. While not waterproof, they are extremely moisture resistant.
Window furnishing companies here also provide the option of adding a PVC backing to your bamboo blinds if you want that extra protection.
Ziptrak blinds are also gaining traction for outdoor use.
These are operated using a motorised track guided system that can allow the blinds to remain in place without rattling even in strong winds.
Choose curtains if you want to make a bigger visual impact
Curtains offer a sense of grandeur, making them ideal for more opulent interior design themes.
They come in a wider array of colours, materials, textures and designs, allowing you to complement any sort of décor.
Conversely, blinds are more limited in design choice, and they tend to feel and look more functional and practical.
Choose blinds if you don’t have a lot of space
Blinds take up less room visually and physically, owing to their minimalist form and the fact that they are often built close to the windows, usually covering only the opening.
Those are important points to think about if you have a really small home.
Unless you are going for light sheer curtains, curtains tend to be more physically intrusive and their pleats and fabric can feel overwhelming in a small space.
Choose blinds for more daytime privacy
Venetian blinds and rainbow (combi/Korean) blinds are the best types of blinds for daytime privacy, where you still want light to filter in without sacrificing privacy.
Venetian blinds feature slats that can be adjusted to let in the amount of light you want into a room.
Rainbow blinds look like roller blinds, but they comprise two striped layers — one of which is made of polyester and the other of a sheer or perforated material.
The striped layers can be adjusted to determine the desired level of light in your space.
Top-down bottom-up blinds such as Altex Top Down Bottom Up Blinds from mc.2 (compatible with Google Home and Amazon Alexa) will work great for larger expanse of windows or glass doors.
You can raise the blinds up and down, in both directions — top and bottom — giving you maximum control over the amount of light through and privacy.
Choose either curtains or blinds for absolute darkness
If you need a completely dark room to ease into sleep or you want the best picture quality in your home theatre, then blackout curtains and block-out blinds are your best bet.
They are also a great solution for a baby’s nursery or your toddler’s bedroom, where naps are taken during the day.
Conventional blinds tend to leave gaps at the sides, causing sunlight to still stream through, but not so the Altex Block-Out Blinds by mc.2, which are made with frames that can completely eliminate the intrusion of light.
They are also fully motorised, so they can be controlled via a remote control, through a smartphone app or via voice command.
Choose the right type of curtains or blinds for easier maintenance
The level of upkeep depends on the type of curtains or blinds you choose. Because of their material, roller blinds and rainbow blinds don’t accumulate a lot of dust on their surfaces.
For maintenance, they can be regularly wiped down with a clean cloth. Venetian blinds are a bit more tedious to clean, as dust can settle in on the individual slats. You will need to vacuum it more regularly.
Expensive, custom-made curtains or curtains with intricate pleats or special materials like velvet or silk are better off professionally cleaned if you want them to last.
They can either be steam cleaned or dry cleaned, depending on their material.
Curtains made from cotton or linen can be easily thrown in the washer every month or so.
Place them on a gentle cycle and hang them up before they dry completely to avoid creases.
Choose curtains if you have a noisy home
Both curtains and blinds cannot block out noise from the outside e.g. MRT running on tracks, traffic sounds from main roads, etc., completely.
However, curtains with multiple layers or ones made from thick and dense materials can help in reducing some noise as they get absorbed in the fabric.
Blinds with their penchant for leaving gaps at the sides aren’t the best choice to serve as a noise buffer.
Choose blinds if you want to enjoy the view
Finally, if you want a completely unobstructed vista of the view outside your window, opt for blinds that can be rolled all the way up (or all the way down in top-down bottom-up blinds).
Curtains can only be pushed to the side, and even then, your view is often partially blocked by them.
This article was first published in Renonation.