Before booking a free in-home consultation with one of our Harrisons experts, plenty of you like to do your research about styles, designs and current fashions.
And although our website has examples of hundreds of fabrics to choose from for curtains and roman blinds as well as a full range of venetians, vertical blinds, roller blinds and shutters, there are always plenty of questions that you have specific to your home and your lifestyle.
This is the main reason why, at Harrisons, we offer that personal, in-home service – but to help you get started on choosing the right window dressings for rooms in your house, we’ve asked product manager Melissa Goodege and interior designer Anita Shirley to answer some of your more frequently asked questions.
What is the best way to insure good insulation for our windows?
In terms of blinds, our honeycomb or cellular range offer fantastic insulation – with the air trapped in the pleated pockets designed to act as a barrier against the cold windows in the same way as a lined curtain traps air between the window and the fabric. When it comes to drapery and fabrics for curtains and roman blinds, we have two choices – either a thermal coated fabric which has a suede coating fused to the polycotton face cloth, or a triple weave fabric so that your insulation, anti-mildew and light block-out properties are woven into the fabric. As an added bonus, triple weave is also totally washable.
An advantage of curtains over blinds when it comes to insulation is that a blind fitted to the inside of a window frame is likely to leave a very slight gap whereas we’d ideally take a curtain track 10% wider on either side and let it drop full length to the floor so the curtain offers more insulation. Full length curtains are also aesthetically far more pleasing!
I’ve got some strangely shaped windows and some very large windows, can your curtains, blinds and shutters definitely fit them all?
This is the question that comes up most of all from clients – and very occasionally we may come across a 5m high window next to a staircase which does offer us up some issues. But, on the whole, we can find a solution to any window you have.
Curtains can run as wide as necessary, and although blinds tend to be no wider than 3m (depending on their drop) but can be designed and configured to run together in tandem and can be operated both individually or together.
Bay windows may seem to be an issue for some homeowners but curtain tracks can be curved and blinds can be configured to sit tightly inside the bend.
Depending on how accessible they are and what functionality you require, skylights can be fitted with honeycomb blinds as they run on tension wires and can be opened and closed using a pole or shutters are a good option as the louvres are also opened and shut using a pole.
For any architecturally designed windows or strange shapes such as arches, shutters are also a great option and the shutter can be cut to exactly match and fit each window. We will take a template of your window and send that through to our factory to ensure the perfect fit.
Are all your products washable and how do I best look after them?
The difficulty with curtains isn’t whether the fabric is washable because all our drapery fabrics are washable – the issue is how you physically take down these masses of pleated fabrics to do it yourself. We always advise using a professional – in Auckland and Christchurch, for example, Curtain Clinic will remove, clean and reinstall curtains and blinds.
The main advice we give, though, is to keep your curtains and blinds well maintained – wipe down the rollers and venetians to avoid any dust buildup, and when you’re vacuuming, use those other attachments on your drapery.
It will always come down to individual homes – how damp or dusty they may be – but if you keep good airflow and prevent dust and dirt building up you shouldn’t have any issues and only need to have them cleaned every five years or so.
Do you have specific ranges for children’s rooms?
We do have a lovely range coming very soon, so watch this space! But our general advice for children’s rooms is to look to keep curtains or blinds quite plain and accessorise with colour via duvets or throws or even wallpaper because you’ll be able to change those out more frequently and easily as the child grows and develops their own tastes.
When thinking about design inside a child’s bedroom, it’s really important to think about access and space. So, for example, roman blinds are a good choice because they offer good insulation to keep the room at a healthy temperature, and you don’t need the stacking room on either side like a curtain and you can utilise the space below the window for drawers or furniture. Also, when thinking about which side you put a control chain for blinds, think about the layout of furniture in the room – you don’t want to be walking around everything every time you want to open or shut the blinds.
When fitting blinds, all our products come with child safety locks to avoid the potential hazards of loose hanging control chains and cords. By considering how and where you fit these, you can ensure that your child stays safe.
Can I double up different curtains and blinds?
The simple answer is yes, of course! But the reasons behind choosing a combination of window dressings range from the fashionable (using a double track to layer a sheer or semi-sheer fabric such as linen or organza with a lining at the back gives a modern, natural look) to the practical (doubling sunscreens that can filter 98% of UV light and come with a 10-year guarantee for use during the day with a roman blind, roller or curtains for use during the day gives you the benefits of privacy, insulation and protection from New Zealand’s harsh sun).
New Zealand’s variable climate means we’re forever having to consider and design our homes to cope with fierce UV light throughout the year, hot summers and damp conditions and occasionally plunging temperatures during winters. Being able to choose combinations of our curtains, blinds and shutters can help our homes adjust to these differing and difficult situations.
Is there anything I can do to prepare for a consultation – do I have to know anything about measuring and fitting?
You don’t have to lift a finger – just open the front door and we’ll do the rest! Our Harrisons experts will have a huge range of options for each room in your house and we’ll look at how you need them to function, what your home and lifestyle is like and what type of style suits you and how you live.
In terms of preparation, have a look through our website to see the various styles and fabrics on offer so you can let us know any preferences – and get stuck in to a few magazines and even home renovation reality TV shows like The Block to give you inspiration!
For more information about our custom-made window furnishings or to book an in-home consultation with one of our experts, contact us on 0800 102 004 or via our website.