Window dressing is an essential part of any room scheme but is often given the least thought, writes Jeni Madden of Bromley-based interior design consultancy JMdesign.

There are numerous options from curtains to blinds through to shutters and a myriad of possibilities within each of these categories, but not all will be practical for your room, or your budget.

Curtains are the most obvious choice as they soften the window, help keep the cold out and bring an extra element of colour, texture and pattern to the room.

Patterns can create a bold contemporary statement but work best if furniture is quite plain.
Curtains can be very expensive so a plainer, textured fabric may be more appropriate if you them to last.

The next consideration is long or short – this will be dictated by the size and position of the window and surrounding fixtures.

Generally, long curtains make more impact but if there is a radiator under the window or a deep sill then stick with short. 

Window poles create drama in a casement window but tracks are generally more practical in a bay.

The curtain heading also affects the look of the curtains and the stack back (How much space the curtains take up when drawn back). The simplest and cheapest is a pencil pleat but this is also the least attractive.

If you can afford it a French pleat or wave heading will give neater folds and a better stackback.

If your budget is very tight and you have space for a pole, eyelet curtains are worth considering as they use less fabric so will be cheaper and look contemporary.

For a lounge or bedroom, Roman blinds are a good option if you are on a tight budget, as they are considerably cheaper than curtains. All curtains and blinds will last longer and hang better if they are lined and interlined.

Finally shutters look very modern and are great if privacy during the day is an issue. However in winter may feel cold and give a less cosy feel.

Jeni Madden, owner of JMdesign provides affordable interior design consultancy, and can be contacted at, or 020 8462 1572.