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Ask the Expert: Katherine Clare Interiors

We sat down with interior designer Kat Wightman, founder of Katherine Clare Interiors, to get all the top tips on choosing fabric for different interior styles and deciding between curtains or blinds. Take a look at Kat’s top tips and get all the insider knowledge…

Kat Wightman Interior Designer modern bedroom styling

How do you pick the perfect fabric for curtains and blinds?

Firstly, identifying the use of the room is a natural place to start; who is using the room and what’s the purpose? This will ultimately lead to the required function of the curtains. Once the technical part has been established you can get on with the fun part - choosing fabrics! A popular choice for townhouses, especially my London clients, is to have a double track in the front rooms of the houses which are usually master bedrooms and family rooms. This allows for delicate linen sheers to offer privacy and sun protection during the day and then in the evenings a thicker, heavier curtain can be drawn to keep in the warmth and the street lights out!

For more top tips on picking the perfect fabric, take a look here.

Kat chose The Nudes in Herringbone Wheat. Image below: Sheer White Linen curtains layered with The Nudes Ticking Champagne, styled by @design_at_nineteen.

What are your top tips for choosing between curtains and blinds?

With curtains I always encourage my clients to use the space around their window to the maximum - take the pole as high as the ceiling and, if space allows, go for an extra 15-20 cm on either side. This will elevate the window and make your room look taller and ultimately bigger. Stitched has a very helpful measuring guide on the website making it very easy to get it right.

With Roman blinds, you have 2 choices of how to fit them: the first being ‘inside recess’ which could be for a smaller bathroom window where the blind can fit exactly in the window recess or ‘outside recess’ when you have space on the wall to hang the blind with 10/15 cm either side.

Depending on the room, the lining is important to consider whether it’s a blackout or thermal - I always advise both for the bedroom and now more than ever clients are focused on keeping the cold out and any heat in. An unlined floor-to-ceiling Linen curtain would be gorgeous in front of full-height plantation shutters to add softness to the room, while a fully lined pinch pleat Flax curtain in a formal drawing room is an instant elegant addition.

See all of our lining options here.

Images below: Flax in Wave / Wool in Dew

blue flax bedroom curtains lined bedroom curtains

When choosing curtains and blinds, how do you prepare your home for winter and summer?

With the focus being how to reduce our energy bills this coming winter, curtains are an excellent way to keep the heat in and the draughts out. Older houses without double glazing lose so much heat through the thin glass and wooden frames, floor length thermal lined curtains are a surefire way to combat this, as well as looking stylish they are working hard for you. During the summer months in south-facing rooms, the sunlight can fade rugs and furniture so a double track with sheer linen curtains is a good idea, and when the days get shorter, you have a lined curtain in front to draw against the elements. You can also create this layered look with a transparent roller blind if space is a bit tighter.

Why choose made-to-measure over readymade?

Stitched is the perfect way to get beautifully handmade, made to measure curtains from the comfort of your own home without the designer price tag. The sampling service is so easy and quick and there is always someone on the end of the phone or email to answer any questions. They are bespoke to your needs and will fit exactly to your home and the quality is exceptional - far exceeding any shop-bought curtains that most of the time need a little alteration.

Image below: White Transparent Roller Blind layered with Silk in Blue Moon.

What are the key investments to make in your home?

My opinion is that curtains are in the top five areas of where to invest in your home as they are not something you want to upgrade too often. There are many ways to cut costs such as trade paints and porcelain tiles, but details such as curtains and blinds will finish a room, taking it to another level and is an investment you use every day.

Top tips for styling small spaces

For smaller rooms or awkward windows, blinds are an excellent choice. Roman blinds give a softer look while roller blinds are excellent for modern spaces where window treatments need to take a backstage seat. Rooms of classic architecture and high ceilings, floor-to-ceiling curtains are a natural choice, taking the eye up to cornices and highlighting the room’s assets.

For more help deciding between curtains or blinds, we’ve got a helpful blog here.

Images below: The Nudes Natural White styled by Anna Barnett / Roller Blind in Ink

neutral bedroom roman blinds navy bedroom roller blind

Quickfire questions…

What started your path into interiors? I was always interested as a child, helping my mother with bathroom renovations, dragging old sofas into the shed to create (freezing!) dens, and even decorating my bedroom in my pyjamas one weekend, so it was a natural path. Professionally I started working for a developer before moving to Abu Dhabi where I set up my own design studio 11 years ago. I’ve been back in London for 1 year now and am adjusting to the different interior styles and needs.

Can you tell us about your home and interior style? My home is a collection of gathered items along the way from our travels and living in Abu Dhabi, and inherited pieces of furniture - so quite a medley! I have an equal love for mid-century furniture and classic pieces as well as a bit of an addiction to chairs so there’s never a problem with where to sit! It’s certainly a lived-in look with children and dogs but a comfortable and welcoming style is what I strive for, using natural materials and warm colours.

A favourite corner of your home? I’ve recently painted our TV room all the same colours, woodwork, cornices and shelving resulting in a giant hug-like cocoon, we’re all quite enjoying this new space. But you’ll often find me standing in front of my AGA warming up!

What do you do to get your home ready for guests as we go into the Festive season? One word: lights! I adore anything that will take fairy lights with strings of them, little lanterns on timers spring into action as the nights draw in and candles are constantly lit from around 3pm on the weekends.

Kat’s top fabric picks

When I discovered Stitched I was delighted to see a little section of fabrics from Ian Mankin. The coastal stripes on such tactile linen are a wonderful go-to for blinds and curtains in bedrooms and kitchens. The Sheer linen is also a favourite of mine as it’s so versatile. While for luxury and more structure, the Flax range is my go-to. Relaxed linen is also a bedroom staple.