April 09, 2015

Why Curtains Are So Expensive

When Kia said she would show me how to draw up and order curtains I thought it would be a piece of cake. I could not have been more wrong. There are so many different things to consider when choosing custom curtains which can make such an impact upon the finished look.

First thing to consider is the rail/track type.

There are plenty to choose from, some of which have various names. The main ones are as pictured below:

Hook rail:


source: John Lewis Source: John Lewis


Eyelet rail:


eyelet rail Source: Aspire Curtains & Blinds


Corded track:


Source: Curtain Rail Suppliers


Wave track:


wave track Source: S-GS


Lath & Fascias / Pelmet:


lath and fascias or pelmet Source: Merrick Day


There are a few things to consider before choosing your rail:

1. Weight of material

2. Depth of space

3. Heading type

4. Budget

The Next Step

Once you've chosen your rail/track type, you chose the position/length

This very much depends on the window/doors that you're covering. Most of the time the track/rail will be attached to the wall face, whereas if you were doing full length or recess curtains you may wish to attatch it to the ceiling. You also need to decide on whether the rail/pole will be visible or if the curtains while hide it, This must be taken into consideration when choosing heading type, position and length of material.


The length will normally extend past the window/door so that the curtains can be stacked away from it allowing the light in. Often 1 cm from the wall edge (if it is near a wall edge) is a sensible distance to give it a neat stack back. You also need to consider whether the curtains will stack back to one side or to both sides and this will effect whether you position it centrally.

Often tracks are telescopic and so each has a different range (eg. 200-300 cm). You can also buy curved tracks, however these tend to be more expensive due to custom requirements.


If you're installing two sets of curtains (for example sheers in addition to curtains) then you must remember the depth of the rail.


Moghul Interiors Source: Moghul Interiors


Choose the heading type

This is where the various different names for the same type of heading come into play. Each heading can create a very different impact and also varies in level of effort/skill to make, and amount of material required.


drapery connection
Source: Drapery Connection


Above are the various type of pleat that you can choose (there are 6 pages of these on the Drapery Connection website) Pleat headings tend to use the most material and are fuller than some of the alternatives.  The most common heading styles are shown in the image below:


curtain-headings - original interiors
Source: Original Interiors


Fullness is determined by a ratio (normally between 1.5-3). Say the Fullness was 2, this would mean that the amount of material needed was the length of the space to fill x 2 (1:2)


Window size: 2 m

Fullness: 2

Amount of material: 2 x 2 = 4 m

The hem allowance must then be added on which is usually 6 cm.  (2 x 2 = 4 m + 0.6 m = 4.6m)

And if you were to have floor to ceiling curtains, you would be buying material say 2.4 m x 4.6 m. 

This is why curtains can be extremely expensive!

Furthermore, when it comes to buying material, if they drop (height of curtain) is more than the width of the material, it is sewn together in panels so that there is not a horizontal seam. However, if the drop is less than the width of the material, it can be railroaded. This is when the pattern (if there is one) is rotated so that the width of the material can hang vertically. This creates a more seamless hang, so it is often worth looking for double width material if you can!

Stack back

When the curtain folds back against the wall, you must consider the space it requires to do this as it means furniture cannot be placed too close to the wall in some cases. In general, Eyelet and Wave fold back tightly and neatly.

Eyelet Stackback:


source: dune-mill Source: Dune Mill


Wave Stackback:


curtain rail suppliers Source: Curtain Rail Suppliers


Whereas pleated curtains tend to take up more space (both width and depth) and often require a tie back to allow enough light to come through the window when not in use.

French Pleat Stackback:


source: pretavivre Source: Pretavivre


The Material

kia curtain

Different racks can support different weights of material. Obviously there will be heavy duty variations of the weaker tracks, although these may not be as discrete and have a huge price tag.


Sheers work well with both wave and cord tracks and heavier materials work well with pleats.


Sheers & Curtains (Double Heading) in one of Kia's Projects:

Kia Designs - Baker Street






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