When we set about choosing curtains for our home, the curtain pleats are often not the first consideration. In fact, sometimes curtain pleats aren’t a consideration at all, and might only become part of the conversation once you get talking with a custom curtain Design Consultant. We get caught up in fabric choices, colours and patterns, but curtain pleats somehow aren’t on the radar. Which is odd, because curtain pleats can have an enormous impact on the overall look of your curtains and the tone of the room – modern or formal, soft or imposing.
Before we explore the many styles of curtain pleats available, it’s worth noting that the first issue to decide is…that you’d like a choice! If you are choosing off-the-rack ready-made curtains, the bad news is that you generally won’t get the luxury of choosing the style of your curtain pleats. And if you realise exactly what curtain pleats can bring to the look of your interior décor, you’ll understand that having no choice is a real disadvantage. And then there are the inevitable curtain ‘specialists’ who’ll offer you a choice of two or three pleat styles “because these are the popular pleats at the moment”. Or are they simply the only styles they stock? Don’t be limited. A good custom curtain specialist should be able to discuss a wide variety of curtain pleat styles with you, and advise you on the various advantages that each type delivers.
Pinch pleating can be applied to conventional or sheer curtains. Which of the three pleat types is applied will depend to some degree on your choice of fabric. Pinch pleated curtain pleats are an evergreen favourite, working well with a wide variety of hanging systems. Pinch pleating results in a very even and uniformly stacked fold, for those who feel the need for more structure than what’s delivered by informal, gathered curtain headings. As a rule of thumb, the tighter the pinch pleat, the more formal the look.
Pencil pleats, sometimes referred to as ‘gathered’ curtain pleats, get their name from their tightly sewn narrow pleats, each pleat only around the width of a pencil, as the name suggests. Perhaps surprisingly, the overall look that pencil pleats achieve is casual; perfect for open living areas. One advantage of pencil pleats is their versatility. Pencil pleating is a heading style that can be applied beautifully to plain or patterned fabrics. It’s also equally applicable to conventional or sheer curtains.
If a streamlined look is what you crave, the inverted box pleat might be the style for you. It’s simple and quite structured. The design of these curtain pleats results in the inverted pleats lying flat underneath the curtain rod. This style of curtain pleats looks amazing in rooms where it will be closed almost all of the time, such as media rooms or home theatre rooms. However, it’s not as well suited as some other styles to tight stacking, because the flat pleats resist this. Perfect in precisely the right situation, inverted box pleating is a style suited to very specific applications.
Simple and neat, the knife pleat can work well with both lined curtains and sheers, too. It’s especially well suited to applications where you plan to hang sheers behind your lined curtains, as knife pleating stacks in a very compact manner when open, never getting in the way. Homeowners seeking a modern and informal look often choose knife pleating, particularly when opting for the versatility that comes with sheers installed behind lined curtains.
Room by room, your choice of curtain pleats will affect the mood and look of your home. With this in mind, it’s a great idea to speak with a custom curtain Design Consultant when you’re considering which styles would best suit your rooms. There’s no substitute for solid, expert advice on the various looks and practical advantages of each style. What’s more, visiting a Design Consultant will give you the opportunity to see each style for yourself and understand how it works with various fabric types.