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How do I Choose the Best Net Curtains?

Elizabeth West
Elizabeth West

Sheer net curtains can add a pretty touch to a window and provide a finished appearance to a room. They allow you to lighten up a room while protecting your privacy, and they can complement your home's personal style. Discount and department stores both carry them, as do online retailers. To choose the best net curtains, consider your privacy needs, the style of the room where they will hang and the cost and care involved.

Privacy is a primary consideration when choosing net curtains. Fabric window dressings are rarely flat; they almost always hang in gathered folds. The fuller the material, the more the curtains will obscure the view of anyone outside the window. Typically, two to three times the window width will provide enough folds to screen the activities inside from outside viewers.

Woman holding a book
Woman holding a book

First, decide what kind of net curtains best suit the theme of the room. They can be lacy or embroidered and plain white, cream or colored. The most popular sizes are floor- and sill-length panels for a more formal look or cafe-style half curtains that afford privacy but are still quite casual. Ready-made curtains are often less expensive than custom ones.

Measurements are next. Stretch a metal tape measure across the window from the outside of the side moldings and from the top to where you want the curtains to end. Round off your numbers. This should give you a rough approximation of the size you need. For example, manufactured floor-length panels are generally 40 inches (101.6 cm) wide by 84 inches (213.4 cm) long and fit standard windows installed at a uniform distance from the floor.

Make sure you measure every window you wish to cover; some older homes might not have standard sizes. More fabric is better than less. A too-small net curtain will not provide adequate screening and appears skimpy.

If the window already has draperies, you will need a second rod on which to hang the net curtains. A tension rod inside the window frame works well, as does an adjustable rod hooked to clips fastened to the frame. Most retailers that sell net curtains and draperies also carry rods.

Modern net curtains are mostly machine-washable polyester and easy to care for. Embroidered panels or fragile net might need to be hand washed with a detergent that has been formulated for delicate fabrics. Rinse thoroughly, wring them out gently and hang them to dry in the bathtub to catch drips. If you must put them in the dryer, use the air setting and hang them up while they are still slightly damp.

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