Baby, it’s cold outside

Despite the Indian Summer experienced in much of England this autumn, I am afraid to say that winter’s icy grasp is beginning to take hold. But don’t let the cold, dark nights get you down, take some inspiration from the autumnal palette and think of all those opportunities to create warm and cosy interiors.

A good place to start when thinking about increasing the heat in a home is to replace those light summery curtains or blinds with long, thick, multi layered fabric that will help to insulate and prevent drafts, but also naturally create a feeling of warmth through its colour and texture.

A study by the Glasgow Caledonian University in 2008 showed that a pair of thick curtains reduces heat loss through a single pane window by 14% and the combination of double glazing and curtains by a huge 66%.

Winter curtains are usually made up of at least two layers. The face fabric (chosen for its colour/pattern) and back lining layer, which can be made of plain, thermal or a blackout cotton material. A plain lining will offer small amounts of thermal insulation but primarily help the curtains to hang nicely and protect the face fabric from sunlight damage.  A thermal lining is a coated cotton lining that will provide more insulation.  A blackout lining will prevent the most heat loss of the three but also prevents any light from passing through the curtain material; ideal for bedrooms where ambient street lights might disturb a good sleep.

For the ultimate insulation however, a three layer curtain is required. These curtains have an extra cotton wool like interlining layer sandwiched between the front and back layers – I’m sweating just thinking about it.

But it’s not just curtains that can help keep in the heat. For a more minimalist alternative, energy saving blinds can be used. There are a wide variety available, ranging from roller blinds made with a metallic fibre woven into the fabric, to clever honeycomb designs that trap warm pockets of air.

Regardless of which window treatment best suits you or your clients, being able to create your own curtains, blinds and other soft furnishings is a very useful skill that can add value and save money.  For an affordable and flexible place to learn how to create your own soft furnishings, you need look no further than with the National Design Academy’s Diploma in Professional Curtain Making and Soft Furnishings course. For more information,  have a look at the website www.nda.ac.uk

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