The secret to updating your windows

From blinds to shutters, stickers to panels

It is a myth put about by grandmothers everywhere that you should never buy velvet curtains, as they will never wear out and you will never have an excuse to replace them.

But in times of thrift, the idea of spending a little bit more on something that will really last isn't such a bad idea. After all, what could be more cost-effective than something of quality that lasts for years and years?

Window dressings (these days it's no longer just a simple matter of hanging curtains) can really make a room. You need to consider, not just the colour, but how they will look pulled back in the daytime, or drawn in the evening, complementing the lighting. Do you want blinds for privacy but curtains to soften the look?

Assuming you don't want net curtains, perhaps some opaque self-adhesive stickers would be the way to keep prying eyes out. Or you might want some good heavy curtains to keep the warmth in on those dark winter evenings. But if velvet and suede are too heavy for the summer, you can always change them when spring comes and create a fresher look for your room. Summer curtains can be light muslin in soft colours that needn't cost the earth and can totally revamp a room with minimal effort.

Shutters are great for privacy and create a cool modern look. The New England Shutter Company has just launched a range of leather or fabric-covered shutters which, while not cheap, could make a great statement as well as giving maximum privacy and allowing the natural light in.

Nick Stanier, director of New House Textiles, which was founded in 1921 and is a leading blind manufacturer, says: "One trend is away from small fussy prints towards bold, strong colours and clear graphic designs, which will move towards stronger colours including black, charcoal and inky blue. Translucent whites are also very popular incorporating textured weaves and white on white patterns."


Prices start at £365 per square metre for a fabric-covered panel, and you will have to supply your own material, but it's an unusual way to co-ordinate with the rest of the room and is a softer alternative to wood. If you want to really blow the budget, consider leather or faux suede. The New England Shutter Company:; 020-8675 1099


Blinds work well with contemporary décor and this company has a range for everything from French doors and picture windows. They've got loads choose from, and all the cotton is from US producers who minimise the use of chemicals, recycle where possible and use wood from accredited sources. New House Textiles:; 01989 740684


With spring round the corner, it might be time to think about taking down the heavy winter curtains and replacing them with sheer panels which maintain privacy without cutting light. Made from 100 per cent linen, they give a fresh airy look to the room. Expect to pay around £200. The Natural Curtain Company:; 0845 5000 400


A sound move if you live on a busy street and want to keep prying eyes out. They're easily removable and come in a range of colours so you could co-ordinate with curtains or blinds. From around £30. Supernice:; 020-7613 3890

Discover more property articles at Homes and Property
Property search
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Opilio Recruitment: Product Development Manager

£40k - 45k per year + Benefits: Opilio Recruitment: We are currently recruit...

Ashdown Group: IT Support Analyst - Chessington

£25000 per annum: Ashdown Group: IT Service Desk Analyst - Chessington, Surrey...

Recruitment Genius: Domestic Gas Breakdown Engineers

£28000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Domestic Gas Breakdown Engineer...

Sheridan Maine: Regulatory Reporting Accountant

Up to £65,000 per annum + benefits: Sheridan Maine: Are you a qualified accoun...

Day In a Page

Homeless Veterans appeal: 'You look for someone who's an inspiration and try to be like them'

Homeless Veterans appeal

In 2010, Sgt Gary Jamieson stepped on an IED in Afghanistan and lost his legs and an arm. He reveals what, and who, helped him to make a remarkable recovery
Could cannabis oil reverse the effects of cancer?

Could cannabis oil reverse effects of cancer?

As a film following six patients receiving the controversial treatment is released, Kate Hilpern uncovers a very slippery issue
The Interview movie review: You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here

The Interview movie review

You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here
Serial mania has propelled podcasts into the cultural mainstream

How podcasts became mainstream

People have consumed gripping armchair investigation Serial with a relish typically reserved for box-set binges
Jesus Christ has become an unlikely pin-up for hipster marketing companies

Jesus Christ has become an unlikely pin-up

Kevin Lee Light, aka "Jesus", is the newest client of creative agency Mother while rival agency Anomaly has launched Sexy Jesus, depicting the Messiah in a series of Athena-style poses
Rosetta space mission voted most important scientific breakthrough of 2014

A memorable year for science – if not for mice

The most important scientific breakthroughs of 2014
Christmas cocktails to make you merry: From eggnog to Brown Betty and Rum Bumpo

Christmas cocktails to make you merry

Mulled wine is an essential seasonal treat. But now drinkers are rediscovering other traditional festive tipples. Angela Clutton raises a glass to Christmas cocktails
5 best activity trackers

Fitness technology: 5 best activity trackers

Up the ante in your regimen and change the habits of a lifetime with this wearable tech
Paul Scholes column: It's a little-known fact, but I have played one of the seven dwarves

Paul Scholes column

It's a little-known fact, but I have played one of the seven dwarves
Fifa's travelling circus once again steals limelight from real stars

Fifa's travelling circus once again steals limelight from real stars

Club World Cup kicked into the long grass by the continued farce surrounding Blatter, Garcia, Russia and Qatar
Frank Warren column: 2014 – boxing is back and winning new fans

Frank Warren: Boxing is back and winning new fans

2014 proves it's now one of sport's biggest hitters again
Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton: The power dynamics of the two first families

Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton

Karen Tumulty explores the power dynamics of the two first families
Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley with a hotbed of technology start-ups

Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley

The Swedish capital is home to two of the most popular video games in the world, as well as thousands of technology start-ups worth hundreds of millions of pounds – and it's all happened since 2009
Did Japanese workers really get their symbols mixed up and display Santa on a crucifix?

Crucified Santa: Urban myth refuses to die

The story goes that Japanese store workers created a life-size effigy of a smiling "Father Kurisumasu" attached to a facsimile of Our Lord's final instrument of torture
Jennifer Saunders and Kate Moss join David Walliams on set for TV adaptation of The Boy in the Dress

The Boy in the Dress: On set with the stars

Walliams' story about a boy who goes to school in a dress will be shown this Christmas