The rules of window dressing
Net curtains are being reinvented by avant-garde designers. What will the neighbours say?
By Kate Watson-Smyth
* To create the layered look, it is worth asking if you can buy a returnable sample. This will be bigger than the free samples and will give you a better idea of how your colours will work together.
* Remember that you will need as many poles as you plan to have layers, so make sure that you have room for more than one curtain pole.
* Using a Perspex pole and finials will give the impression that your curtains are floating in mid air.
* Curtains should always reach the floor and puddle slightly at the bottom. Otherwise, it looks as if you couldn't afford enough fabric. If you have radiators under the window, then either have them moved or make sure that the curtains aren't so thick that they block all the heat.
* If you have a small window, try hanging the pole either very high above or out to the sides, which will give the impression of height and also allow you to pull them further back to the sides and stop you losing light.
* Don't forget: silk fades but velvet will never go out of fashion.
* Finally, cheap nets sugest that if you have spent a lot of money on a pair of really beautiful curtains, make sure you light them in the evening. "When you enter a room, the first thing you look at is the lightest thing. Either position a downlighter above your curtains or put a lamp there so they can become a feature of the room."