How I dressed my own bay windows
7 min read
Published 4 Apr 2019
Following on from my last blog post about the challenges of dressing a bay window, (which you can read here) I wanted to show you how I decided to dress my own bay windows, why I chose to do it that way, and how much it cost me.
When we moved in to the house the window dressings were left behind by the previous owners, and looked like this (please excuse the photo as it’s taken from the estate agent’s details - for some reason taking pictures when we’d just moved house with a 2 year old and a 9 month old wasn’t a top priority!)
The curtains were from Ikea (nothing wrong with that, but they didn’t fit) and were made from an unlined off white fabric in a tab top style (meaning they had loops of fabric which slotted on to the curtain pole). The problem with putting this style of curtain heading on to a pole in a bay window is that they can’t be drawn along the pole very easily, or go around the corners, so the curtains had to pretty much stay put. The looked lovely and very floaty, but because they couldn’t be closed and the thin fabric didn’t keep the heat in, they weren’t very practical. We had the same curtains and blinds in both the living room and our bedroom, so I had to think about how I could dress both of these big windows (there are worse problems to have, I know).
The blinds were also not right for us either - they were the bamboo roll up type (the type that all student flats in the early ‘90s had) and not only did they give no privacy when rolled up, they blocked out the light when rolled down, and could be seen through at night when the light was on - remember we couldn’t close the curtains, so not great for a bedroom!
So, what should we do? As my house has high ceilings and large (draughty) windows, I felt that full length curtains would be the best option. When closed, the curtain fabric would create a kind of barrier to stop the cold air coming straight into the room, and the almost floor to ceiling fabric would be in proportion to the height of the room. I also decided to have my curtains lined with blackout fabric as opposed to the usual cotton sateen - blackout fabric has thermal properties and so would keep out the cold even more (as anyone who’s lived in a draughty old house will know, every little helps).
Full length curtains decided, my next problem was allowing the heat in! My bedroom bay window has a radiator underneath it, which meant that when closing the curtains for privacy, they’d cover up the radiator and stop some of the heat from coming into the room. So, I had to choose a secondary window dressing which didn’t cover the radiator and would stop the neighbours from seeing me in my pyjamas when the curtains were open. I chose Venetian blinds because they are so versatile and can be fully closed, fully opened, or the slats can be angled to control the light. Now, metal Venetian blinds make me think of offices and pop videos from the 1980s, so I opted for painted wooden blinds. I also chose one of the wider slat sizes (50mm) as when the slats are open, you get more daylight coming in, and can see more of the view outside. I also think they kind of look like shutters, but are a lot less expensive.
My next issue was the curtain poles. The previous owners of the house had obviously struggled with this too, as they’d bought straight wooden curtain poles and cut them at an angle on the bay corners, then joined the pieces together. Because it wasn’t one continuous pole, there had to be support brackets either side of the joins, so curtains (with any type of heading) couldn’t be pulled over the brackets. This meant that I had to put up four curtains (as they had). We couldn’t afford to change the poles when we moved in, so I made four curtains for each window as a temporary measure.
You can see even in this dark picture that the pole isn’t really working, and the curtains are coming off the hooks because they’re not being supported properly.
Here are the temporary curtains I made for my living room using inexpensive fabrics (the fabric looked good 13 years ago, I promise - and at £10 per metre, who could fault it?). Later on, when I decided to repaint the walls of the living room in Farrow & Ball's Oval Room Blue, the colours didn't really work together and I knew it was time to find a more permanent solution.
Eventually, I bit the bullet and paid for good quality, bespoke poles, and decided on my dream curtain fabrics. The fabric I chose for my living room windows is made by Harlequin and is called Cupola from their Momentum Volume 8 collection. It costs £53 per metre, so is relatively inexpensive compared to some fabrics.
As you can imagine, I spent a lot of time thinking about which fabric I wanted as I knew these curtains would be at my windows for a long time, and I didn’t want to grow tired of them. Because I’m a designer I see new fabrics all the time and didn’t want to settle on a fabric only to change my mind a couple of months later when a new collection came out! But I really liked the geometric shapes on this fabric, and the colour was perfect with my walls and sofa colour, so I knew it was the one.
I then chose these clever curtain poles from a company called Bradley, who make the poles to fit the exact angle of your bay window, and have C shaped ‘passing rings’ to allow the curtain rings to be pulled over the brackets. Each pole cost just under £600 retail - they were quite pricey, but I felt they were a good investment as we don’t plan to leave this house anytime soon.
I also had to pay for made to measure blinds as my windows are tall and off the shelf blinds just aren’t long enough. Made to measure blinds can be really expensive, but if you can measure and fit them yourself, they become a lot cheaper. I chose my blinds from Blinds 2 Go, and went for a painted white finish with white tapes which cover the holes where the strings (or ladders) holding the blinds together go, as I think they look more stylish. The blinds for my living room cost just over £380 for all four, and slightly less for the bedroom ones as the windows are a bit shorter.
Then, even though I chose a relatively inexpensive fabric for the curtains, because the windows are large, lots and lots of fabric was needed - this added up to £850 for the fabric and lining! To keep costs down, I decided to re-use the curtains I already had in the bedroom, and join them together to make two curtains instead of four.
Once my new pole was made and fitted, the curtains could be hung. Now, this might sound a bit strange, but when you first hang new curtains, it really helps if you tie them up to help them ‘remember’ their folds. First, open the curtains, then place all the folds or pleats evenly, and then tie the curtains in place with either plastic or string. I like to use an offcut of the curtain fabric as it’s soft and won’t leave any unwanted indentations.
Leave the curtain like this for 48 hours, and then when you use them they will naturally fold back in these pleats and look great when open or closed. Here’s my finished living room bay window, beautifully dressed, with and I’m so pleased with how they look (and how they work too).
Now, there are many ways you can dress a bay window and I’ll admit that this wasn’t the most inexpensive way to do it, but I waited long enough and really thought about how I wanted these windows to look. I knew that whatever solution I chose would be up at my windows for a very long time, so decided to go for it, and am really pleased with the results.
Welcome to my design blog, where you'll see posts about anything from my current interiors obsession, to the latest fabric and wallpaper collections, and 'how to' guides for all things interiors related. I love colour and pattern, architecture and old buildings, and I especially love the moment when you see something so beautiful it makes you take a sharp intake of breath. Happy reading, and if you have any questions, or would like to chat about anything interiors related, please use the contact form to get in touch. Thank you, Louise
It's all about soft yellows
28 Jul 2021
|I was watching an Instagram live post from The Little Greene Paint Company last week, and they were discussing a comeback for yellow. Now, as you know, I don't think you have to follow the trends but yellow hasn't been fashionable for a long time, so this sunny, uplifting shade is often overlooked. A warm yellow like Little Green's Carys (above) is perfect for cheering us all up, and you can buy it here.|
The cushion that gives back
28 Jun 2021
|Introducing the cushion that gives back, from homewares company Oka. They have produced this cushion in partnership with The Trussell Trust who support two thirds of the UK's food banks, and 100% of the proceeds from sales of this lovely green velvet cushion will be donated by Oka to The Trussell Trust. It comes in a range of other colours too, and you can buy the cushion here.|
A beautiful new tile collection inspired by the National Trust
28 May 2021
|Just launched, Ca Pietra a new tile collection in collaboration with the National Trust. Every tile has been inspired by one of the historic properties, gardens or coastlines looked after by the Trust, and a minimum of £10,000 from sales of the tiles will be given to the National Trust to help them continue their important work. You can see the collection here.|
Yummy new switch & socket colours
28 Apr 2021
|Did you ever think that your light switches were good enough to eat? I'm guessing the answer is no, until now. You can now buy switches and sockets in these gorgeous colours from the new Dowsing & Reynolds Cafe Culture collection. They come in luscious shades like Cinnamon, Caramel Latte and Whipped Cream, so you can tone, coordinate or contrast with your wall colours and make every part of your interior scheme look delicious. You can buy the gorgeousness from here.|
A sustainable fabric choice
29 Mar 2021
|A beautiful new sustainable fabric range from Clarke and Clarke has just been launched. It's made entirely from recycled materials so you can refresh your home with a clear conscience. You can have a look at the fabric here. Get in touch with me if you'd like to buy any of this fabric.|
Sought & Styled - Preloved items given new life
28 Feb 2021
|This month I want to highlight a business run by a very talented lady I met a few years ago (remember when we could meet people?) Not only is she a creative interior designer, she also runs an online shop where she reuses and repurposes anything from soft furnishings to larger furniture items. Everything sold is bespoke and unique, and is effortlessly waste conscious because it's being used again. You can visit her shop here.|
Do kitchen worktops bore you?
27 Jan 2021
|Thanks to a genius idea from kings of pattern Blackpop, you can now have one of their colourful designs on your kitchen worktop. They will put any of their funky fabric or wallpaper designs onto waterproof MDF to make you a unique worktop, or they can even make a design just for you. Chopping will never look the same again! You can buy the worktops from their website here.|
A Fresh Take - Cardiff Life feature
18 Dec 2020
|This month's issue of Cardiff Life Magazine is out today, and features an interiors special, because one thing this past year has made us do is take a new look at our homes and how we'd like to live in them. To see what I and other local interiors experts have to say on the subject, including a round up of the trends for 2021, have a flick through the digital mag here.|
An enchanting inaugural wallpaper collection from Tom Baker
26 Nov 2020
|This opulent and atmospheric wallpaper from Tom Baker immerses you in a world of tropical flora, fauna and exotic animals. With soft cool tones and hints of pink floral detailing, this is the perfect wallpaper to add a relaxing and exciting edge to your home. Find this enchanting collection here.|
A new shady collaboration between Matthew Williamson and Pooky
20 Oct 2020
|The humble lampshade is often overlooked, but with the new collaboration between Pooky and Matthew Williamson they won't be for much longer! Matthew Williamson has applied his talent to design a new range of Pooky lampshades. Whatever your taste, colour scheme or budget you will find the perfect lampshade for your home in this new collection which is now available. This spectacular new collection can be found here.|
Felt covered curtain poles
17 Sep 2020
Now you can add some texture to your window dressing with these Walcot House felt covered poles. The pure wool coverings come with a option for bronze or steel fittings and wide spans up to six metres. The curtain track is cleverly hidden within the wooden curtain pole and there's a choice of nearly 50 colours and textures. You can find out more here.
Please vote for my blog
11 Aug 2020
|I'm really thrilled to have been nominated for an Amara Interiors Blog Award this year! If you enjoy reading my blog and would like to vote for me, I'm nominated in the Best Interior Designer Blog category, and you can vote for me here.|
Upcoming interiors trends from Love Rugs
10 Jul 2020
|Love Rugs, the people who know about all things rugs have just published a feature on the upcoming interiors trends for 2020. They asked six of the UK's top interior designers (including me!) to tell them what the upcoming trends are, and in particular the changes we will be making to their homes. The article can be read here, and if you'd like to have a look at the huge range of rugs they offer, click here.|
A new fabric collection from Linwood Fabrics
15 Jun 2020
|I love Linwood fabrics - they have a fab way of mixing colour and pattern into something really special, producing fabrics and wallpapers that make me want to coo. This new collection, available at the end of June, is just as gorgeous. It's called Kami, with the pattern inspired by a 19th Century document. The collection is a range of printed velvets, so perfect for upholstery and accessories like cushions.|
An easy way to update your kitchen
16 Apr 2020
|If you are looking to update your existing Ikea kitchen rather than replace it, Stockholm based company Superfront are here to help. They sell a range of fronts, handles, legs and tops to fit not just the Faktum kitchen range but also the Besta, Metod and Pax ranges - so you can customise anything from your sideboard to your wardrobe. These super cute round handles are part of their new birch collection, and the whole range can be found here|
Move over boring taps - colour is the new black
13 Mar 2020
|Colour has been taking over our kitchens and bathrooms for a while now (yay!), and has slowly been creeping into sanitaryware and fittings. These perfectly coloured mint green and pastel pink taps from the new Miami Colour Pop Collection from amazing homeware brand Dowsing & Reynolds are spot on and would look gorgeous in any kitchen or bathroom to add a shot of colour without overwhelming with sugary sweetness. You can learn more about this new collection here.|
Who knew a door stop could look this good?
19 Feb 2020
|Door stops are one of those little annoying things that we all need, but are not the prettiest to look at. Now London based Buster & Punch have turned their attention to the problem and transformed the humble door stop into something cool and covetable. They might cost more than your average one from a DIY store, but as you're going to see it every day, why not look at something beautiful? here.|
Wallpaper made of cork?
29 Oct 2019
|Sustainability and concern for our environment are key in the interiors world right now (as they should be). So when I saw that Monkey Puzzle Tree (a brand I admire for their sense of style and creativity) had produced this wallpaper made of cork, I was blown away. Cork is great for so many reasons - it can be harvested every nine years without harming the tree, is grown without the need for pesticides or fertilisers, has excellent sound and heat insulation properties, and is naturally antimicrobial and antifungal. This wallpaper has an A+ rating for emissions so it creates a healthy environment wherever it is hung. Add to this that the design was produced in collaboration with the talented Drew Millward who lives in my home county of West Yorkshire, and that it's called 'Hit The North', I was bound to fall in love with it. You can buy the wallpaper here.|
I'm in Cardiff Life magazine - again!
17 Sep 2019
Now that the summer is officially over and our thoughts turn to cosying up our homes for winter, I'm here to help. If you're in need of some inspiration, you can read all about the interiors trends for Autumn and how to work them into your home in this month's Cardiff Life magazine. Hear what I and other interiors experts have to say on pages 18-22. You can read the digital version of the magazine here.
I've been nominated for an Amara Interiors blog award!
6 Sep 2019
|Exciting news! My little blog (Design Insider) has been nominated for an Amara Interiors Blog award! I'm so chuffed to be included at all, and not expecting to win, but if you enjoy reading my blog posts then please vote for me. I'm nominated for the Best Interior Designer blog category. Voting is open until the 11th of September and you can vote for me here.|
My kitchen project featured on the Artifact Lighting blog!
1 Aug 2019
When I designed the contemporary copper kitchen, I wanted to use some copper elements to add warmth and also to tone in with the pink walls and pale grey units. I found these pendant lights from a company called Artifact Lighting, and they are perfect because they add to the 'warm glow' I wanted to acheive. They also have a vintage look which contrasts nicely with the sleek look of the kitchen units. When the kitchen was finished I sent some pictures to Artifact Lighting, and they liked the kitchen so much they featured it on the blog page of their website.
You can read the blog page here
House of Hackney's first outdoor fabric
26 Jun 2019
One of my favourite interiors brands, House of Hackney, who are known for their daring and quirky prints, have just released a new fabric which is suitable for our door use. They took one of their designs, Palmeral, and reimagined it in a fresh colour palette of off white and green. This colour fast and water resistant fabric can be used for anything from outdoor cushions to furnishing yachts (if you are lucky enough to have one!)
My thoughts on the colour Living Coral in Cardiff Life Magazine
31 May 2019
|Hear what I and my fellow designers have got to say about Pantone's colour of the year, Living Coral, and how to use it, in this month's Cardiff Life magazine. The article is on pages 84-86, and you can read it here. Do you think you could use it in your home?|
Sustainability in furniture design
7 May 2019
|Sustainability is something that is becoming more and more important in interior design - not just where we buy items from and how far they've travelled to get to us, but also the materials that they are made from. Kartell, one of Italy's best known design brands, have just released the world's first piece of furniture made from a bioplastic called Bio-On. It's a fully sustainable version of one of their best selling items - the Componibili modular unit, and it comes in four delicious pastel shades. They may be 100% sustainable, but they are also super cute and bang on trend with this seasons colours. You can buy them here|
The latest trend in shutters
24 Feb 2019
Forget painted shutters - the new style direction for window shutters is bare wood. These full height shutters made from sustainably sourced ash are the newest product from California Shutters, and are set to be big this year.
My new favourite tile!
7 Feb 2019
I was searching for some tiles for a client's splashback recently and came across these beauties from Topps Tiles. There's long been a trend for patterned tiles, with lots of geometric shapes and bold colours going on, but I've begun to see more and more tiles with a pattern in the surface of the tile itself. These ones are a lovely example, and the deep blue colour is just stunning. To get a closer look at them, follow the link below.
Pantone announce their colour of the year 2019
11 Dec 2018
Leading colour experts Pantone have annouced the shade which they think will be the colour of the year for next year - Coral pink. It might look very bright and scary, but it's actually quite easy to use. I wouldn't suggest painting a whole room in it, as that might be a bit overwhelming, but I would use it in small doses, such as on cushions or in artwork, to liven up a shceme. Pantone say that the colour is meant to 'embrace us with warmth and nourishment and provide comfort and bouyancy in our continually shifting envirnoment', which basically means it's a happy, uplifting colour, and might just cheer us all up!
My work featured on Homify
8 Oct 2018
My work has been featured in an article on Homify - one of the leading online ideas platforms for all things interiors. My project is in an article on how to avoid common mistakes when designing a bedroom. The article mentions how important it is to block out light for a good nights sleep - something I addressed by adding blackout lining to the curtains and adding an extra layer of window dressing with the wooden Venetian blinds. To see the article, please use the link below.