Blinds (and curtains) Online

Would you be happy to live naked, completely exposed to the world at all times?
What about a sheet? Would you be happy to wear a sheet in lieu of a beautiful frock?
Of course not!

Then why do we leave our windows stark naked and expose our lives to the whole world with no privacy?
Then we decide we need privacy ….. so we staple ugly old sheets up on our windows, is that look you are trying to achieve?
In my case the ugly sheets may have been a better option, I inherited these putrid pink curtains with our new house, I say putrid not because of the colour but because I’m pretty sure they had been hanging there for 20+ years, and I’m pretty sure they had never been cleaned, they were PUTRID! They were also very heavy and dark and I had no option to control the light in the room other than open or closed. They made the room feel dark, dated and dirty.

Some of us live with our current situation because window coverings can be tricky, the options are endless and confusing and we don’t know where to start. Or maybe you decided to take the plunge and got a a local curtain maker around for a quote and were blown away by the price. Or maybe you got savvy and decided to order them online but the process of ordering and hanging them yourself was a little overwhelming.

I’ve done the research, got the quotes and made the mistakes, now I’m here to share all my tips for getting the perfect window treatment at the best price without the hassles and headaches.

Your first step is deciding what type of window covering you would like in your space.
You need to consider both practical and functional elements, as well as the decorative factors of how it will make your room look and feel.

Lets talk about practicality and functionality.
Think about your natural sunlight or light from other sources like street lights or adjacent building. How much you do you want to control it? Do you need a full blockout, or do you want to filter the light? Also consider which way the window is facing, the sun can be harsh in Australia and choosing the right lining can help you with heat and energy efficiency.

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Sunscreen Roller Blind

Often a bedroom will require a sheer for privacy and a blockout for sleeping, this can’t always be achieved with one layer and you might need to consider a blockout blind with a sheer curtain, or a blockout curtain and a sheer curtain, or a double blind.

Double Roller Blind

What other elements do you need to consider in this space? If it is a bathroom you might need to consider water and condensation and choose a material that can withstand the moisture.

Honeycomb Blind

Next, think about your furniture placement. Are you putting a piece of furniture under a window? In that case I would choose a blind, curtains never fall nicely if they are tucked behind a piece of furniture, and sill length curtains don’t give you the same impact a beautifully made roman blind or classic plantation shutters will.

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Roman Blind

Lastly, where are you going to hang your window coverings and/or stack them? Do you have room to hang a curtain rod above your window? If you don’t have room above your window, can you hang curtains from the ceiling, or can you fit a blind recessed inside your window architrave? Do you have space to stack your curtains to the side? If you chose a plantation shutter, have you got room to open it to access the window?

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Plantation Shutters

Now lets talk about the look you want to achieve and how to choose fabrics and colours.
What is your decor style? Do you want your space to feel casual and relaxed or would you prefer a more tailored and formal look? Some types of window coverings work better with certain styles than others, for example, a floral curtain would be perfect in a cottage, but probably not in a sleek and modern highrise with minimalist style. It would take me days to go through all the different styles and options available, I would suggest popping on to Pinterest and finding your style, then have a look at the window treatments that are used in the rooms you love.

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Pinch Pleat Curtains

Often larger rooms with large windows look beautiful with curtains and smaller rooms benefit from the more streamlined look of blinds, but this isn’t always the case and each room needs to be considered individually. Maybe you have an tiny window with an amazing outlook, curtains are a great way to frame your view.

Curtains framing a small window

When you are choosing your fabric and colours consider what other elements are already in the room, things like floor coverings, paint colours or wallpaper and existing furniture. Remember, you don’t have to create a matchy matchy space, but you want all your colours and patterns to compliment each other. If in doubt, choose a beautiful sheer curtain or neutral fabric, they are timeless and won’t date.

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S-Fold Sheer Curtain

Lastly, don’t forget to consider what your house will look like from the outside? You might prefer all your window coverings to be the same colour from the front of your home, or it might not matter to you at all.

When I finished my research and I was confident I would make the right decisions, I took the plunge and ordered my curtains and blinds for my living room from Blinds Online.

Here’s the thought process I had for my space.
It’s a tricky bay window, very large and high with multiple 135 degree angles and minimal space at the sides to stack my curtains.

BEFORE – the putrid pink curtains!

I wanted to filter the light, and would usually choose a sheer but I ruled this out as I didn’t want to block the view. The window faces East and gets the morning sun for a short period of time, I decided a roman blind would be perfect as I can lower them enough to block the sun but not close of the window entirely. We also have a fireplace in this room and I wanted it to feel cosy in the winter, so I added a curtain to layer over the blinds. Having two layers gives me the ultimate choice to control the light from partly blocked with the roman blind to nearly full blockout if I close both the blind and curtains. You can choose from S-fold, Eyelet, Pencil Pleat or Pinch Pleated curtain headings, I chose the pinch pleat for this room for it’s classic and tailored look.
I chose to recess fit the roman blinds as the windows are very high and it will only block the light I want it to block.
The curtains will be ceiling hung on a simple rod I had bent to mimic the shape of my window as this gives me the cleanest, most streamlined look and doesn’t detract from the beautiful roman blinds. I know I’m ignoring my own advice as I don’t have space at the sides to stack the curtains back on the walls, but as I also said, each room is individual and some rules need to be broken, especially when you are dealing with a tricky window.

Roman Blind – V&A William Morris Fruit, Autumn

As for fabric choices, I knew I wanted something fun, but also timeless and I wanted to add colour without it being too bright or overwhelming. I saw the Blinds Online  collaboration with V&A featuring the range of William Morris fabrics and I knew this was something I would like. I popped online and had a browse. I instantly fell in love with a fabric called Fruit (AKA as Pomegranate) in the Autumn colour palette. I knew I had to use it, but things often look different on your computer screen than what they do it person, so I ordered a few samples. You can order up to 10 samples for free to help you choose at home from Blinds Online. I knew I was having a roman blind and a curtain so I also ordered a few plain fabric samples for the roman blind that I thought would coordinate well with one of the patterned fabrics I chose.

Once my samples arrived I placed them in my space and observed how they looked throughout the day with the changing daylight. I still loved the Fruit fabric and had to use it. I knew that the curtains wouldn’t get closed often in this room and certainly not during the day, but I really wanted to appreciate the full pattern of this fabric so I decided to switch up my original plan and use it as the roman blind where I could enjoy the full design more often.
Then I chose a plain Oatmeal linen blend for the curtains, It compliments the Fruit fabric and is beautifully classic and timeless.

Curtains – Bijou Oatmeal Linen

Now I knew what type of window coverings I wanted and I’d chosen my fabrics, it was time to measure up and order online. I know this sounds scary, but it really isn’t hard at all. Before you start measuring, here’s a few things to consider –
* Even if your windows are all different, try to have your window coverings all at the same height.
* Place your curtain rods high above your window and extend it out past the window so your curtains stack on the wall not on the window, but be careful not to expose any wall between the window and curtains. This will make your windows look larger and grander. It will not reduce any daylight, but it will provide a better blockout when they are closed.
* When determining the length, nearly touching the floor is ideal, Blinds Online suggest 15mm above the floor. I know we’ve all seen the images of curtains puddled on the floor on Pinterest, it looks so luxurious and glamorous, it’s hardly practical if you have kids and pets, but if you have a space it will work in, go for it!

To measure up you will need a tape measure, something to write your measurements down on and possibly a stool if you need to reach your ceiling. I also found it handy to have another person to help me hold the tape measure in place since my window was so big.
Tip : Please don’t try and use a ruler and shimmy it along to measure a large window, you want these measurements to be as accurate as possible.
Bigger Tip : Follow the measuring instructions online from Blind Online, they are the experts who have been doing this for for 46 years, and online for more than 14 years. They know what they are doing. If you take the time to read the instructions and follow them closely, you will be fine. They are written in easy to understand language with lots of pictures and diagrams to help you. They have separate instructions for blinds, shutters and curtains.

Once you’ve placed your order you can track it here.

As soon as I’ve got mine ready to go, I’ll show you how to hang them and the before and after photos.
I can’t wait, are you as excited as me?

Happy Shopping!

Hayley x

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Redis-Cover your Sofa!

It seems I’m not the only one interested in giving my sofa a facelift!
I shared a little peek of my project on my Instagram over the weekend and my message box exploded with questions. I thought I would give you all the details here instead of repeating myself 3,758 times.
Here’s the most common questions I got asked ….

Your Sofa is an Ikea Stocksund, but do they do covers for other sofas?

YES! Not only Ikea sofas, although they do nearly every Ikea sofa currently and previously on the market, but also sofas from Pottery Barn, West Elm, Restoration Hardware and more.

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My Sofa – IKEA Stocksund

What if my sofa isn’t from any of these brands?

They do a made-to-measure range where you can select the sofa that is the closest style to your own depending on the arm style and shape, then measure it yourself. They have a handy video on their website and you are encouraged to send in a photo of your sofa so they can help you find the best fit.

Did you say you are having ‘skirted’ slip covers?

YES! Many of the sofas have the option to choose a skirted or non skirted option. There is also options for plain seams, piping or contrast piping. You really do the ability to customise your cover just the way you want it.

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The Ikea Stocksund with a Comfort Works skirted cover in Kino Denim.

Do they make slipcovers for other things too?

YES! They also do covers for armchairs, dining chairs, barstools, ottomans and sofa beds.

How do you choose the fabric?

I ordered some sample fabrics first. Often fabrics look different in person, it’s aways a good idea to touch and feel the fibres and see the colour in your own space before making your final selection.
They also suggest that you rub it against your skin, give it a wash, really put it to the test before you place your order.

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Kino Frost and Kino Denim

Is it expensive?

NO! I was pleasantly surprised at the prices! It’s much more affordable than buying a new sofa and the fact that the covers are machine washable at home saves you on professional cleaning fees down the track.

Do they ship to Australia?

YES! They ship to Australia and nearly the whole world including most of Europe, Asia and America. See here for a full list.

Where do I get them?

From Comfort Works … right here!

OK, I think I’ve answered the most popular questions, if you have any more please don’t hesitate to send me a message!

Happy Shopping!

Hayley x

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My window has better clothes than I do!

It’s true!
My window has the most amazing new dress and I just had to share it with y’all.
She’s been naked for quite a while now and every time I looked at her I felt embarrassed by her exposed frames and glass.  Winter has been approaching and the lack of any window coverings made the house feel even colder and open to the cold winter nights.

BEFORE & AFTER
BEFORE & AFTER

Finally I decided to do something about it.
Choosing curtains can be such a pain, having those pushy sales people around to your house with their little folders of fabric and unwanted opinions. I have done this exercise so many times and I was not looking forward to wasting hours getting multiple quotes and still gasping with shock every time I finally received one back.

This time I decided to try an online service, I am using online shopping more and more these days so I thought it was worth a try. I looked at a few different sites and read lots of reviews and settled on Pret-a-Portiere. They supply made to measure curtains and drapes that are easy to buy and install yourself. They also supply to interior stylist and decorators worldwide.

I popped over to their website armed with my window dimensions and Pinterest ideas.
I knew I wanted linen, I am currently having a love affair with anything and everything linen and they have a whole section dedicated to linen drapery, I was happy to see so many options available. It was a hard decision, there is so many styles to choose from, but I decided to go with the Soho design with the double bottom banding. I have seen this type of curtain a few times in my favourite designer spaces and was excited when I realised I could achieve this look in my own home.

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Next step is to choose your header style and colours, again, such a hard decision as there is so many different combinations to choose from. I went with a Double Pinch Pleat and 2.5 x fullness. I chose Snow and Mountain Blue as my colours.

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When you have made all your selections you will be given a quote right then and there, none of this – ‘give us all your details and then we’ll e-mail you stuff’, they give you a quote immediately.
You can chose to ‘add to cart’ and get your curtains underway or you can go back and try a different selection.

They only took a few weeks to arrive and I was completely blown away by the quality. I have had custom curtains made before, but these are amazing. I’m not sure if it’s the beautiful weight of the linen, the precise workmanship or the fact that they are just gorgeous, but I am totally in love with them.

 I put hubby to work hanging them, which is really quite easy and I probably could have done it myself, but he was home and I know how much he loves me ordering him around.
My window is no longer naked, her linen dress is much more fabulous than anything in my wardrobe and the whole space finally feels finished and cosy.

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What do you think?
Curtains make such difference to a space, they make it feel complete. I love closing them at night to keep the warmth in and I’m sure they will be great in summer to keep the afternoon sun out. And who doesn’t love the glow of filtered light through linen curtains, it’s just dreamy!

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If you want to have a play with some options for your own home, grab a tape measure and head over to Pret-a Portiere and get some instant ideas, advice and prices!

But here’s the bit you’ve all been waiting for ….
I have some curtains to giveaway to one very lucky home!!!
You may choose from the Soho (same as mine) or Madison range in any colour combination up to the value of $1100, I know … you don’t want to miss this one!!!
We’d love it if you follow Pret-a-Portiere and myself on Instagram here and here, and please come and make friends on my blog mailing list.
Leave a comment here or on Instagram telling us where you need new curtains.
EASY PEASY!

Check back here next week to see if you’re the winner, and don’t worry if you’re not because I will have something special for you anyway – a code to receive 20% off your purchase from Pret-a-Portiere!

HERE IT IS – MLL20 for 20% off!!!

There’s no need for naked windows anymore!

Happy Shopping!

Hayley x

*Competition is open worldwide. Entries close at 11:59pm on Friday 28th July 2017. Winner will be announced Sunday 30th July 2017. No purchase is required. Entrant must answer the question, the winner will be chosen by Pret-a-Portiere.

** UPDATE – WE HAVE A WINNER!!! As chosen by Alice from Pret-a-Portiere the winner is Michele.J. CONGRATULATIONS! Alice from Pret-a-Portiere will be in contact to organise your prize.

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The thrill of the find!

One man’s trash is another man’s treasure … I couldn’t have said it better myself. I am constantly amazed at what some people are selling and often at crazy prices!

As much as I love to wander around an antique shop looking for vintage treasures, when you are after a specific piece nothing beats searching an online marketplace for exactly what you want. You can search for the specific model number, colour, size, quantity or any other detail you require. Then you can narrow your search to find one near you, or in your price range, etc…
It couldn’t be easier to find what you want these days.

My favourite place to find myself a bargain is Gumtree. I have the app on my phone and am guilty of lying in bed and scrolling for hours looking for that elusive piece of Spode or perfect piece of rattan furniture.
Those of you that have followed me for a while might remember my amazing Xavier Cayman drawers that I nabbed a few years ago, or my cane outdoor swing that I picked up for a song more recently.

When Gumtree contacted me and offered to help me with the purchase of something for our home renovations I jumped at the chance.

I desperately needed new counter stools for my kitchen breakfast bar. My problem was due to the design of the island bench I had very specific dimensions to work with. The kitchen bench has an ‘apron’ running around the perimeter that hangs down 10cm from the 4cm marble bench top. Ultimately this ‘apron’ is limiting the leg space under the bench. A standard counter stool is about 65cm high, which only gave me 11cm to squeeze your legs underneath, unless your really skinny, this is just not enough.
So, I looked high and low and even though I found a few that might have worked they were all over $500 per stool and I needed 4. That was not in my budget!

I decided to hunt for some on Gumtree. There are over 2.5 million listings on Gumtree, I thought surely somebody had what I needed!
I wanted something that, if needed, could be cut down to the right height, so the design had to allow for that. I also wanted something that was made from wood because I love the warmth of timber, but also wanted to be able to paint them in the same white as the kitchen, or another colour if I changed my mind (which I often do). I also preferred something that was upholstered and could be slip covered because I have 3 kids and need to be able to wash them.
Oh, and lastly, I didn’t want to spend a fortune.
I know, big ask!

What I found after a couple of weeks hunting was 4 Ikea stools. I had considered buying these from Ikea when I started hunting, but they have a lighter wood finish than I would have liked, and they are currently only available with a white slipcover, really … white? In a kitchen with 3 grubby kids, I swear I would have to wash them everyday!

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But … for $60 per stool on Gumtree, I decided to get them, paint the legs and have new slipcovers made. They were in pretty good condition, but a couple of the slipcovers were stained and yukky, which was really unfortunate because they had a gorgeous blue and white ticking cover originally. I chucked them out and bought a new set from Ikea to get me by until I got a new set made.

I am completely chuffed with them, they fit my brief exactly and after a quick makeover they will give me a  completely customised look for an absolutely incredible price.

Here they are with the white covers, literally 2 days after I put them on they had tomato sauce and milo on them.

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I dyed them in my washing machine with a cheap and effective home dye kit, and for now the green is much more practical.

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I am planning a full makeover of these including pretty new blue covers and a new leg colour, I’m not sure whether I will paint them white or sand them back and stain them darker. Stay tuned and I’ll keep you updated.

In the meantime ….

I have been pretty successful with my Gumtree finds, I often get people telling me they never find anything and I’m so lucky. While I do think luck has a little bit to do with luck, there are also some tips that Gumtree suggests to help you find your perfect piece. I thought y’all might be interested in these and you know I’m a sharer, so here you go …

  1. Do your research: Dedicate time to researching what’s out there, what kind of style you’re looking for as well as the full retail price of similar items (so you can see the savings you can make by buying on Gumtree)
  2. Plan ahead: If you’re overhauling a whole room, or an entire house, make a list of all the key items you need and decide which ones you could save money on. Consider investing more in lounges and dining tables and save on home décor items like plants, throws and cushions
  3. Set your budget: If you’re on a tight budget, research the average price of similar items on Gumtree and set your budget accordingly
  4. Filter by price: If you do need to stick to a budget, Gumtree’s search results allow you to filter by price – so you’re not tempted buy any items out of your price range
  5. Save your searches: If you’re after a specific item or brand, say a Scandinavian style sofa or a certain make of wine fridge, the saved searches tool is ideal. Each time you save a specific keyword and location search, you’ll receive an email update whenever a matching item is listed. You can decide how frequently you want to be informed; either immediately, daily or weekly
  6. Expand your search region: If you can’t find the item you’re looking for in your immediate local area, try expanding your search to include a wider area. Instead of looking just in Newtown, search in Inner Sydney or Sydney region. You may have to travel to pick up an item, but by expanding your search region you’re sure to find even more gems
  7. Use your imagination: Sometimes it does take a little imagination to see an item’s full potential. There may be some signs of wear and tear on the outside, but with a touch up and a coat of paint, it could become a key piece in your home and you’ll forever be able to tell the tale of how you lovingly restored it
  8. Ask questions: While most sellers will include key information, don’t be afraid to contact the seller to ask questions. It’s always worth asking about the condition of the item, why it’s for sale, the dimensions and if there are any receipts or warranties available. It’s easy to contact a seller via the Gumtree My Messages feature.
  9. Negotiate: Don’t be afraid to negotiate a price you think is fair but don’t go too low – nobody likes an unrealistic offer!
  10. Meet in person: We always encourage you to meet face-to-face with the seller so you can inspect the item, with an in-person payment made once the goods have been seen. We have some lovely Gumtree sellers who have plenty of stories to tell you about the item you’re buying. You never know which piece of history you might find on Gumtree.

Ok, now you’re armed with all the tips and tricks, go and find yourself a bargain and don’t forget to tag me on FB or IG so I can marvel at your find!
You can shop here or download the app here for Apple or here for Google Play.

Happy Shopping!

Hayley x

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