Stylish Insulated Curtains for a Cooler Summer and a Warmer Winter

The best multi-lined curtains for keeping your home climate controlled no matter what the season

Curtains that offer insulation are the best types of drapery for most homes — large or small, drafty or stuffy — because they keep hot air out during the summer and cold air out during the winter. According to the United States Department of Energy in their brief “Update or Replace Windows,” “heat gain and heat loss through windows are responsible for 25%–30% of residential heating and cooling energy use,” making insulated curtains that effectively aid in sealing windows the most energy efficient.
Given that replacing either windows or their frames is expensive — from the materials involved to the complex installation required — choosing insulated curtains as a way of keeping your home climate controlled is a superior option for budget-conscious households. Thankfully, a number of attractive, on-trend options for multi-lined drapes exist on the market, making it fairly easy to update both your home’s energy efficiency and interior decor at the same time.

For Warm Months

For hot summer months, one should consider blackout curtains, which banish both light and heat from a room. Filtering out ultraviolet, visible, and infrared right from a room through blackout curtains is one of the most effective ways to maintain a cool space during oppressively hot, overly bright summer days. Consider pairing the blackout curtains with a sheer lining if natural light is important to you; as long as the blackout curtains cover the edges of the windows (both the sides and the upper and lower corners), much of the heat that could escape from the outdoors into the home will be kept at bay. However, Con Edison spokesperson Allan Drury, quoted by Mary Farrel in her article “Beat the Summer Heat With Window Coverings” for Consumer Reports, recommends keeping blackout curtains closed whenever possible “on the side of the house or apartment where the sun is coming in.”

Avoid sheer Roman or roller shades as they will not effectively cover the sides of the windows unless they are quilted. In her article for Consumer Reports, Mary Farrel does endorse “Quilted roller shades and Roman shades with several layers of fiber batting,” however, as when properly insulated and completely opaque, they can be just as or more “effective than other soft window treatments.” DrapeStyle offers custom Roman shades, which can be optimized for energy efficiency with “optional blackout linings.” Heavy blackout curtains will be held against the sides by their own weight, capturing the heat that leaks in through unsealed frames. Adding a valance to each window atop the curtain rod is an extra step that will complement the sealing effect provided by blackout curtains. If possible, consider pale-colored curtains that will not attract heat, as they will communicate that heat into the room over time.

For Cold Months

For cold months, multi-lined curtains or curtains paired with a separate lining are best; those with flannel linings are ideal because they effectively retain heat. Flannel is also the most commonly recommended fabric for cold weather clothing. Flannel is fairly loosely woven, which one might think would be less effective at retaining heat due to the open spaces through which air might pass, but a loose weave is actually quite necessary to locking in warmth. As Bryan Horn notes in his article “Why Flannel Clothing is a Winter Wardrobe Staple” for OverUnderClothing.com, the “loose weave [in flannel fabric] creates air pockets between fabric fibers…[and because] air is a great insulator… the many air pockets in flannel fabric” are what help retain heat against the body and indoors when it is cold outside.

Furthermore, according to the article “The Best Energy Efficient Curtains & Blinds” by TinyHouseHugeIdeas.com, which focuses on energy efficiency in small spaces, thermal, flannel-lined curtains can “reduce heat loss by as much as 25%.” The site continues, explaining that thermal curtains are “special draperies that are fitted with a dense lining, the material [of which] is heavy and its density makes it perfect for blocking unwanted noise and sunlight and also retaining heat.”

The best thermal curtains have several layers of lining, notes Andrea Hannah, interiors writer for Bustle, and are darker in color, the opposite of what you would want when trying to keep a room cool. Consider DrapeStyle’s Parker Drapes for a living or bedroom, as they are both stylish, with a trendy but classic color-blocked lateral stripe along the bottom, and practical with their “thermal flannel interlining which can reduce energy costs by 33%.” If you cannot find a pair of thermal drapes with flannel insulation that fit your decor, consider purchasing a lining and set of curtains separately. While it may feel a bit bulkier and take up more space, the effect will be fairly similar.

Fitting Curtains for Best Results

Experts agree that curtains should be fitted closely if energy efficiency is the goal, especially in homes that have poorly fitting windows or loose frames. Curtains should be hung close to the ceiling, far above the top of the window frame, and should fall close to or along the floor, pooling if necessary. This will prevent the cold or heat from entering the home through weak points in the window frame by completely encapsulating it. Keep in mind that most thermal or multi-lined curtains are far heavier and denser than other curtains, making them more difficult to remove and clean. However, many are machine washable if the unit is large enough to accommodate at least one of the panels at a time.
No matter where you live or the size or shape of your windows, blackout or thermal curtains will work hard to improve your home’s energy efficiency, keeping you cool all summer long and warm throughout the winter.

GETTING GUEST ROOM READY WITH SARAH RICHARDSON

Reposted from Kravet

RICHARDSON SHARES HER MUST-HAVES FOR A COZY GUEST RETREAT THAT WILL MAKE YOUR OVERNIGHT VISITORS FEEL EXTRA SPECIAL.

Nothing says “welcome to your home-away-from-home” quite like a comfortable, stylish and well-equipped guest room. I chose unique pieces that are both relaxed and stylish so that family and friends are guaranteed to have a memorable stay this holiday season.

Tips from Sarah Richardson:

  1. The Perfect Table Lamp – The large-scale look of the McCool Table Lamp offers maximum impact and lights the whole room. Set between two twin beds for example, the light effortlessly provides ample illumination for both guests.
  2. Pillows Aplenty – I’m fussy about pillows and assume my guests are the same, so I make every bed with one polyester pillow and one soft down (or down alternative) pillow so guests can pile up on as many or as few pillows as they like.
  3. Storage Space – A bedside table with a drawer, a large-top surface and a cubby or shelf for storage will help guests spread out and unpack a bit. Try to limit personal accessories and keep clutter to a minimum so the room feels finished but not too busy.
  4. Soft Carpet Underfoot – A carpet that’s soft underfoot and big enough that bare feet will land on the rug when they wake up is a must-have. Adding a rug also helps to stifle sound and floor creaks in older houses, so guests can walk without tiptoeing.
  5. Consistent Color Scheme – Your guest room doesn’t needs to resemble the presidential suite, but it shouldn’t look like the land of castoffs either. Try to make everything cohesive so it’s inviting to spend time in and your guests feel you’re happy they’ve arrived.
  6. Comfy Chair – If space permits, I always add a chair or two to bedrooms. Some guests like to have a bit of quiet time.  A comfortable chair gives them the perfect spot to sit and read or get some work done, if they so please.

100% Cotton Sheets – A freshly made bed (especially by someone else, no less) is always a treat!  It’s easy to make your guests feel like they’ve just checked into a hotel by putting a bit of thought and care into the amenities.

Layers On The Bed – We all run on different temperatures, so layer up the bed with an extra quilt or blanket for options.  If you don’t put it on the bed as a decorative layer, make sure you tell your guests where to find additional bedding in case it’s needed in the night.  I can’t sleep if I’m cold and always want to help my guests get some good zzz’s!

Take A Test Drive – My number one rule for every guest room is that you need to have tried it out and feel confident that it is actually well-equipped and comfortable.  I learned this the hard way.  In my guest room at the farm, I didn’t realize that the board supporting the mattress wasn’t attached to the frame of the bed until we had a visitor and heard a big crash late one night when the plywood slipped off the frame after being nudged every time the bed was made. Trying to reassemble a bed in your PJ’s is not what good hosting is all about…talk about a wake-up call!

Drapery Seams Happen

Designer Drape in Schumacher Amboise Linen Zinc, pattern matched
Designer Drape in Schumacher Amboise Linen Zinc, pattern matched

 

 

 

 

Seams happen.

But that’s ok, we can deal with seams beautifully and make it so you don’t even know they’re there and still create beautiful custom drapes.

 

 

Most of our fabrics start out at 54″. Then once you start sewing the pleats and side hems, the solid colored fabric will measure 26″ wide at the top of the drape when completed. This is 1 “width” of fabric. This is fine if your custom drapes are going to be decorative, meaning that they will be stationary and you don’t plan on opening and closing them. But what if you have a wide window or your need to  close your drapes? Then we start to sew together “widths” of fabric to meet your specifications.  If you need a drape that is 80″ wide, you would order a 3 width drape. And our seamstresses are so talented, that they will hide the seams in the back of the pleats so that you don’t see them. This goes for patterns and striped fabrics too. Check out our measuring guide for more information.

How to cut fabric when matching a pattern
How to cut fabric when matching a pattern

Seams for Roman shades will be a little more obvious, but we have a solution for that too. We order enough fabric so that we can match up the pattern on all of your Roman shades. Does everyone do that? Not really, which is why you should do your homework before purchasing custom window treatments.

Contemporary Cotton Gate Black/White, Flat Roman Shade
Contemporary Cotton Gate Black/White, Flat Roman Shade

Flat Roman SHade, Stripes are pattern matched
Flat Roman Shade, stripes are pattern matched

 

Seams can’t really be avoided but they can look good. Your custom made drapes should have details like bottom weights, drapery pins, double bottom hems and headers and premium linings.

Striped Silk Veranda 3, French pleat, Stainless Steel Hardware
Striped Silk Veranda 3, French Pleat, Stainless Steel Hardware

The DrapeStyle way of making custom drapery takes a little more time and costs a little more money but we think it’s worth it. All of our products are made from the highest quality materials right here in the USA. For more information or questions, please contact us.

Striped Silk Veranda 3, Inverted Pleat, Classic Iron Hardware

Sleeping in a Dark Room: How Important is it?

 

Our bodies must rest and recharge in order to keep operating at full capacity. It doesn’t really matter whether we like this or not, there are many important and necessary processes of regeneration that happen at night and this is what good night’s sleep serves for.

How does our modern lifestyle affect our sleep?

For many people, it is completely irrelevant when they go to bed, when they work and when they turn off the lights. Are you glued to your phone or laptop right until you hit the pillow (and maybe even after)? Or maybe, even with the best intentions, streetlights and city lights flood your bedroom. What we all need to understand is that darkness is a necessity for our beauty sleep.

What are the benefits of sleeping in complete darkness.

Still think beauty sleep is just for your good looks? At night our bodies produce melatonin, which allows us to fall asleep, and stay asleep. We produce this hormone the most between 11pm and 3am, and even the slightest ray of sunlight or artificial light interrupts the secretion of this important hormone. Less melatonin in the blood causes fatigue, bad mood, anxiety, hormonal imbalance, poor concentration and many other problems.

Melatonin supports the immune system and protects us from ailments such as heart attacks triggered by stress, Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s disease, and many other neurological damages and bacterial and viral infections. When you sleep in complete darkness you can expect your levels of melatonin to increase. Proper and regular secretion of this hormone will even slow down the aging process.

How to create complete darkness

We should accept the fact that we are living in a bright world, which means that we need to take some measures to create darkness. For instance, we can turn off the TV and put down our phones well before bedtime and most importantly wear an eye mask to sleep. High-quality eye masks like can provide complete darkness for you to sleep better, no matter where you sleep.

First, we’ll go over why using artificial lighting too close to bed can damage your health. Melatonin helps us to relax and get ready to sleep, but the blue light from smartphones and tablets actually suppresses this hormone. Melatonin lowers blood pressure, glucose levels, and body temperature, which help us to prepare for a restful sleep.

With the proper amount of melatonin in your system, your cortisol levels will also remain relatively low, allowing you to relax and get to sleep. However, artificial lighting actually raises your stress hormones at night, and frequent exposure can cause a plethora of health problems, including excess body fat, weight gain, inflammation, insulin resistance, and heart problems. It can also contribute to insomnia and even affect hormones responsible for the regulation of your appetite.

So, by keeping your room dark at night, you not only will get to sleep faster and wake up feeling more rested, but you’ll also have a lesser risk of developing health problems due to excess nighttime light exposure.

A good rule of thumb is to simply turn off electronics a few hours before bed, and dim the lights in your room. Make it a relaxing environment for sleep so that when bedtime comes, you actually feel like falling asleep.

Even dim light at night can causes issues, though. Chronic exposure to dim light in the evening leads to depressive symptoms in hamsters, such as drinking less sugar water that they normally would have interest in. When researchers took away the dim lights at night, they found the depression went away.

If you have night lights on, lights from your computer or phone, or even a street lamp outside, consider covering them with a blanket or getting black-out curtains for your windows.

 

 

 

DrapeStyle can help by making custom drapes or curtains featuring blackout lining. Our high quality blackout lining, made by Hanes, can block out 99% of the light. Let us make custom drapes for you, with your choice of fabric, pleat style, and lining. Using curtains and drapes with blackout effects and help you obtain better sleep. Contact us for more information or to order fabric samples.