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The majority of homes across the country have some sort of window dressing. It may be the traditional curtain or blind or even just simple nets. The curtain offers a protection against nosey eyes and provides security that you cannot be seen when relaxing in whatever pass time you choose. 

 

Curtains were originally used to help keep rooms warm. The rooms may have been dark but a heavy curtain will help a room retain a surprising amount of heat. Of course, modern society has central heating systems and double glazing so this is generally no longer relevant.

The first curtains

Curtains have not just been used to cover windows; they have also been used to create private spaces and even to define a space. History shows the first curtains to have been simple designs made from animal hides, these were generally placed over doorways although hide is stiff and did not drape well.

Ancient Egypt

The Egyptians used curtains made of linen and flax; these later became more delicate and flowing as they were made from wool, cotton and even silk. Curtains were a common feature during this period and provided warmth as well as privacy.

The Middle Ages

There is little documentary evidence from this period of history to support theories of curtain usage in this time.  It is fairly safe to assume that woven textiles would have been used to cover doors and windows in castles and the homes of the more wealthy people.  It is known that tapestries and cloths were hung on the wall to help insulate and retain warmth in a building.  The tapestries draped across the windows would have served to keep the heat from the large fires in the rooms but they would also have made for dark, smoky spaces.  It was only in the 13th century that the process of glass making was perfected; this made it viable to have actual windows!

The Renaissance

With the advent of glass this period has become known as the start of houses as we know them today. Large windows never contained whole sheets of glass but did have many small pieces of glass separated by pieces of wood and were very effective at preventing drafts from entering the rooms. Shutters and fabrics were still draped over the windows but this was now to protect the privacy of those inside.

The Crusades

The interaction of the west with China, India and Persia meant that the west became aware of the finely woven textiles. This period saw their introduction into Europe and the consequent development of fine tapestries in Europe. The ideas were taken from the East but they had a western feel to them.

The 18th and 19th century

In the 1840’s machines were developed that could produce clothing and other materials easily. The machines were far quicker at producing items than any person could be. This was the start of contemporary fashion, as it is now known. Suddenly clothes could be mass produced and even the poorest households could afford them. By the 1850’s these machines were being utilised to produce decorative drapes and these were now being used for privacy in the majority of the houses across the country. Many of the curtains of this period are ornate and elaborate; this is in keeping with the clothing of that period.

The World Wars

With two world wars there was a profound shift in the style of drapes being used. Most houses could no longer afford anything elaborate and the main aim was something which would not allow light out or in. If was only after both the wars had finished that curtains, as they are known today, came into existence. They started to match the architectural style of a building and sometimes even matched the interior style! At this point the predominant curtain was a simple, plain piece of material without any elaborate extras.

 

Curtains are now made in a huge variety of styles and lengths, and they be found everywhere on the web if you type curtain fabric online on Google; this makes them usable in almost any home and any colour scheme. The material can be used to match an existing colour scheme and will successfully frame a window allowing the optimal amount of light to come in. The choice really is yours!