Decorating Dictionary: Voile

What is the definition of Voile?

Have you ever heard someone mention the term Voile and wondered what on earth it meant? Well, now you have to wonder no longer – we will define Voile for you! Here is the latest addition to our Decorating Dictionary

Voile:  is a soft, sheer, lightweight fabric, usually made of 100% cotton or cotton/synthetic blends. The term derives from French, meaning veil. Available in a range of patterns, colours and different thicknesses and textures, voiles are often used as curtaining. Sheer voiles are frequently paired with heavier curtains as it lets in natural light whilst retaining privacy but can also be used on its own for a lighter summery feel.

Images via Curtains Made Simple

Quick Tips - Decor Diva - The Design Tabloid

Quick Tip #10: Roman Blind Maintenance

Coming out of the recent reader discussions and suggestions on our article on Roman Blinds we decided that this useful comment on cleaning and maintaining your blinds should definitely be added to our Quick Tips:

10#   Extend the life of your Roman Blinds by having the fabric treated before hand with a stain repellent (like Scotchgard) and then giving it a regular vacuum to prevent dust from accumulating. Also remember, like with any mechanism, when drawing the roman shades up and down each day to do it with caution to avert unnecessary wear-and-tear on the cords.

Image via: www.handsonihc.com

Décor Dictionary: Roman Blind

Roman Blinds

To accompany yesterday’s Décor Diva article on Roman Blinds, here is the corresponding décor term:

Roman Blind:  is a window treatment consisting of a length of material which, when drawn up by eyelet-channelled cords, gathers into horizontal folds from the bottom. This form of window shade also provides an uncluttered appearance can be customed to fit either a contemporary or more traditional interior.

The beautiful contemporary Roman Blinds above are from Luxaflex

Window Treatments 101: Roman Blinds

We recently kicked off the series “Window Treatments“, painting a bit of a historical background picture, just to set the scene for the future articles.

For those of us living in the Southern Hemisphere spring is making way for those hot summer days. Our interior lifestyle begins to swing with it, as we go about the business of creating cool spaces to rattle around in.

Speaking for myself, I find that the seasons definitely impact on my window treatments. In winter all I want to do is hibernate indoors, pull shut the heavy draped curtains to block out all consciousness of the bleak cold and wet weather. The “bear-effect“.

Sheer Voile Curtains
Sheer curtains are a must for summer!

In summer just as we strip away the layers of clothing, so I feel like I want to strip away the layers on the windows in order to create more of that feeling of “openness”. Light-weight sheer fabrics for curtains – unlined naturally – that hang from a silver metal pole, so that when the breeze comes up, it gently lifts the curtain and plays with it.

The other ‘”less is more” option in terms of dressing a window are blinds that are either fitted into the window recess or externally if on installed on a door opening.

Roman Blinds
Some pretty plain-fabric Roman Blinds - perfect in bathroom setup. Image via: Urbaneblinds.co.uk

The varieties of blinds available today are just amazing. Today I will open up one of the old favourites:

ROMAN BLINDS:   These are normally made using a fabric and they are lined with a plain white or cream fabric as a rule. However, that does not mean that you are restricted to plain fabric linings.  The only reason that a plain sateen fabric is used for lining is due to the fact that this is the fabric that will be visible from outside the house.  The rule of thumb is to have all the curtains lined with the same fabric to retain a coherent exterior view when the curtains or blinds are drawn. It does begin to look a bit like a patchwork quilt if there are a variety of fabrics seen from the outside.

The other purpose of a lining is that it protects the main fabric from dust and dirt that penetrates through open windows. It also serves to protect the front fabric from the fading that happens with exposure to ultra-violet light.

Roman Blinds
You will find a lot of easy DIY Roman Blind tutorials on the net. Like this one from the Adventures in Dressmaking blog.

I cannot possibly go into the details of how these blinds are put together in the workshop, as that is just not my thing. If that is where your interest lies, I would suggest that a good google session will help you out there.

Suffice to say that these blinds are drawn up and down by means of a group of string cords thread through plastic eyelets.

The Roman Blind can itself be treated in a decorative way – such a having different shapes at the bottom, which can also be finished (or trimmed as we call it in the trade) with a piping cord. This piping cord can be covered either using the same fabric, or a contrasting colour.

Rebated Curtain Rail
A rebated curtain rod / pole. The curtain rail or blind baton is then fixed into the recess. This is a neat and elegant way of dealing with those unsightly curtain rails.

For a good many years now, the top of the roman blind (which is attached to a wooden or metal baton) can have the added feature of a covered wooden pole (either in same or contrast fabric). Or it can be painted to work in with the main body of colour in the fabric. This wooden pole has a small rebate cut out in it, into which the top of the blind fits. Very neat.

I like this finish as it completes the picture somewhat, making the blind look as if it is falling from under the pole.

Roman Blinds
Choose a nice funky and simplistic fabric design for a contemporary Roman Blind. Avoid a busy or "cluttered" pattern. These pretty blinds are via JohnLewis.com

In the 1980’s and first half of the 1990’s when the Laura Ashley country style was very popular we saw the resurgence of this blind as a window treatment. Here in South Africa Biggie Best adopted the same décor style and roman blinds were everywhere to be found.

As the “less is more” style moved in, the younger generation were less inclined to adopt their mom’s country style. Today although roman blinds are still to be found, the popularity has dwindled – like most trends.

The advantage of the Roman Blind is that you can have the fabric of your choice made up to fit the window in a less fussy manner to that of a curtain. Certain windows like those in kitchens, bathrooms, hallways, staircases, smaller and narrower windows are more suitable to blinds and this is where the roman blind can work well.

Sheer Roman Blinds
These stunning sheer Roman Blinds allows for privacy without loosing too much light. Image via Blinds by Bayliss

The disadvantage of Roman Blinds is that fabrics need to be washed.  That can be quite a little exercise when you have to take the blind down and then re-install. Invariably you will need the assistance of a professional curtain installer. Other disadvantages – when the eyelets perish and break – the cording system is affected.  You will find you have a wobbly and lopsided blind when drawn up.

Naturally as a decorator you work with the likes and dislikes of your client, but I have to admit that I have moved away from the Roman Blind window treatment. My preference now – “less fuss is best”.

Next time we will look at the rest of the wide variety of blinds as window treatments…

Images via:
Sheer Curtains: left  &  right
Bathroom Blinds: here
DIY Roman Blind: here
Curtain Pole: left  &  right
Funky Roman Blinds: here
Sheer Roman Blinds: here
  

Décor Dictionary: Window Treatment

Window Treatment:   To “dress” or “cover” a window opening.  It is interchangeable with the term “Window Coverings”  (only difference is that it sounds posh and professional). Window coverings can be custom designed to specific measurements and styles.  It can be either functional or decorative, or both. Window coverings / treatments includes blinds, curtains, shutters, drapes, fabrics, hardware and tiebacks applied to the window opening and adjoining wall space.

Image via Anthropologie