Curtains or Blinds? | Recommended Curtain Maker
One major renovation decision to make is the type of shade to put up at your windows. Choosing curtains or blinds considerably affects the house both in function and aesthetics.
About Curtains and Blinds
Nowadays, it’s common to install both day and night curtains. Day curtains are made of sheer fabric that’s lightweight and translucent. It allows light to come in while maintaining a certain level of privacy. It’s good in the day to shade strong sunlight while preventing peering eyes from close neighbouring blocks at night. If you don’t know about BTO flats, you can clearly see your neighbours’ rooms at the opposite block when night falls. Most of the time.
I mean you can use blackout night curtains to ensure complete privacy and darkness. But sometimes you just want to open up the curtains so that wind can blow in and your house to feel less gloomy. As compared to day curtains, night curtains are made of thicker and heavier fabric.
The thickness of night curtain determines how much light will filter through. The thicker and more “blackout” the curtains, the more expensive it is. Night curtain is also the one standing out with its design and colours as part of the house’s decor.
With many types of blinds in the market – roller blinds, venetian blinds, korean rainbow blinds, etc – you are not lacking of choices. Some of these blinds look modern and seemingly easier to clean than curtains.
I saw a friend with rainbow blinds and thought the mechanism is interesting. You can pull and adjust accordingly for varying degrees of light to enter. We wanted to get it from Taobao because it’s much cheaper than in Singapore, but we were not confident in measuring and installing it ourselves.
Apparently, the price difference is because rainbow blinds from Korea is of much better quality and hence commonly coined as the “Korea blinds”. Yet I have met vendors who sell these blinds at a much cheaper rate, although they are still more expensive than Taobao. However, when I asked about “Korea blinds”, they would always reply me with “rainbow blinds”. Soon I realised it’s because the blinds from these vendors are not the original blinds made in Korea. Theirs might even be of similar quality as the ones on Taobao.
Curtains or Blinds?
Our Initial Choices
Initially, we had these two combinations in mind:
- Curtains and Rainbow Blinds
- Living Room (“Living”) and Master Bedroom (“MBR”): Curtains (day and night)
- 2 Common Rooms (“Rooms”): Rainbow Blinds
- Curtains (mix of day and night)
- Living: Curtains (day and night)
- Rooms and MBR: Curtains (night)
However in the end, we installed day and night curtains for the living room and all 3 rooms.
Photo Credit: www.tcb.com.sg/blinds/rainbow-blinds
Why Not Blinds?
Light Filtering In
You’re flipping through the home decor magazine and you saw a beautiful black and white Venetian blinds. You decided to get it for that modern and sophisticated look. On your first night, you admired it and dozed off to sleep, only to be rudely awaken the next morning. Bright sun rays has filtered through the gaps of the blinds. Darn, it’s a weekend to sleep in. My friend recounted her regret in getting such blinds. However, if you are not the kind who are bothered by light, this is a possible choice.
So I thought rainbow blinds was a good alternative. With no horizontal slats, there will be no gaps for the light to come through. Or so I thought. Vendors we met admitted that sunlight will still enter the room from the sides – the gap in between the blinds and the wall. Moreover, the blinds still has pores for a small percentage of light to filter in. If you truly want a dark room like us, this will not make the cut.
Didn’t consider roller blinds because there’s not much privacy once you pull up the shade to allow the light in.
Halfway through my search, I remembered that I had blinds in my childhood room and it was noisy! The wind would make the blinds fly up and then down to hit the wall. Repeatedly. So there’s always the banging or knocking sound against the wall. One way I circumvented it was to roll up the blinds, but then there would be no shade and privacy shield. I mentioned this to a vendor, and he said I could attach weights to the ends of the blinds to minimise the knocking sound.
On contrary to popular belief, curtains these days are easier to clean than blinds. Dust collected on blinds will be more visible and hence you have to wipe it quite often. On the other hand, according to a vendor, you need only to wash the curtains once a year. If you are particular about cleanliness, you can simply use a handheld vacuum cleaner on the curtains once in a while.
We Chose Curtains
We were renovating while preparing for the baby’s arrival, hence we had her in mind when we made renovation decisions. A baby sleep training book recommends black out and silent environment for the baby’s room, and only curtains can achieve that effect. So in the end, we chose curtains instead of rainbow blinds for the two common rooms.
Dim Out vs Black Out Curtains
On the onset, we requested quotes for black out curtains. All the vendors we met recommended dim out instead of blackout curtains. If blackout curtains blocked 100% of the light, dim out is at about 90%. The latter makes the room dark enough, unless one is really sensitive to the light. Dim out is recommended because it’s less expensive and can be washed in our own washing machine, unlike blackout curtains, which has to be sent to the dry cleaners.
We didn’t even bother to ask about the cheaper thin curtains, with approx 60% black out effect. We used to have that in our ex-rented place and the light filtered through like it is with blinds. And that often woke us up prematurely from our weekend snooze, especially hubby. So it’s definitely dim out for MBR too!
Day and Night Curtains
We had to choose whether we want day curtains in addition to dim out night curtains. Day curtains are definite for the living room and master bedroom because of aesthetic reasons. We wanted to create a more luxurious look. But how about the 2 common rooms?
We got day curtains for them too, since it’s only about S$50 top up per room. Moreover, with both day and night curtains, we have a wider range to adjust for the light to come in.
Even if we regret, we can simply take away the day curtains. On the other hand, we can’t easily install day curtains because of the curtain track. Moreover, it’s good to have day curtains for some privacy at night and slight shade during the day!
Curtain Tracks Installation
To Hang Curtains from Ceiling or Window Beam?
Not many homeowners think about this question until the vendor’s time to ask. It is generally better to hang curtains from the ceiling than along the window (under the beam in our BTO flat, “beam”) because it makes your house looks bigger, and your ceiling higher.
But a few vendors would recommend hanging from the beam for small or BTO flats. Curtains hanging from the ceiling will protrude out more and takes up more space, although paradoxically it gives the illusion of a bigger area. The protrusion is as much as the thickness of the beam.
This posed a dilemma for us. If we install from ceiling, the curtain will “eat up” the seating area of our living room’s bay window. But if we install from the beam, our curtains would look fatter and stubbier. It’s of course nicer to have curtain ends flow to the ground, but we need the bay window storage. There’s no price difference to consider, as the price remains the same regardless of curtain length, since the vendor has no use for the excess fabric.
In the end, the decision turned out to be easy, if only the vendor told us this earlier. The vendor said if we want to install window grilles in future, it’s best to hang from ceiling. Because with two curtain tracks for day and night curtains, we wouldn’t have space for the grilles at the beam.
Since window grilles might be a possibility, we installed from the ceiling in the end. Glad we made that decision because on hindsight, the space “wasted” seemed quite minimal. With the night curtains drawn up most of the time, there’s no issue with our window bay seating area.
Other Parts of the Curtain
For curtain tie backs, we chose the classic type, that’s included in the pricing. It’s a simple rectangular strip that uses the same fabric as the curtain. We could top up for fancier ones, but didn’t see the need to.
Unlike in the past, curtains nowadays are hung up using plastic hooks, except for the first hook. The first hook is metal and it’s to keep the curtains in the middle as we fan out the ends (see my first photo). You can also choose to unhook and push all the curtains to the sides.
Vendor: Venus Curtainz Gallery
Choosing the Vendor
We went with the cheapest quotation, which is from Venus Curtainz Gallery (“Venus”). But their outdoor blinds didn’t seem safe to us and so we got our service yard’s blinds separately. Other than being cheap, Venus was also recommended by a friend who engaged them previously.
Venus is cheap mainly because it is a Malaysia company. According to this Straits Times article, “Curtain makers losing business to JB rivals“, Venus is not the only curtain maker from Malaysia doing business in Singapore. True, there’s a certain risk involved when you engage these companies, but even the local main contractor we engaged ran away with our money. And we found no feasible recourse with Case, Small Case Tribunals, or the police for this Singaporean and his Singapore registered office (Alex Leung of Valiancy).
Homeowners wouldn’t need to travel into Malaysia to view the samples. Venus’s salesmen will bring thick stacks of (material) samples to the clients in Singapore. For my BTO estate, they even organised a group showcase for the homeowners to view the samples and ask questions.
Venus will take measurements and quote based on it. This is the quotation for our 4 room flat:
Supply and Install Double Pleat Curtains:
- Living Room: Day and night curtain with double track.
- Master Bedroom: Day and night curtain with double track. Curved track in master bedroom (because of the L-shape window).
- 2 x Common rooms: Day and night with double track
Price: RM 2900 (less RM300 if we exclude day curtains with track in the 2 common rooms.)
The payment is in ringgit because Venus’s boss wants to avoid currency fluctuation loss.
Our Salesperson: Daniel Lim +65 9104 5596 (Through Phone Call or WhatsApp)
VC Curtain Gallery (Company Name as stated in invoice)
D-1-9 Pusat Komersial Bayu Tasek, Persiaran Southkey 1, Kota Southkey
80150, JB , Johor
Co reg. no. JM0762146-A
Venus was willing to accommodate our request and make two trips for curtain installation. We wanted to install the curtain tracks before we removed the floor’s protective covering to polish our parquet flooring. Turned out there wasn’t much debris to worry about. A small tip to share, paint the walls before you install curtain tracks. Basically, curtain installation should be one of the last few renovation items.
Curtain tracks installation was fairly quick, although one of the tracks was made wrongly based on wrong measurements. So we had to wait a while more for Venus to make a new one and come again to install that track. Thereafter, Venus made another trip to hang the curtains, which was about the time our furniture arrived.
Venus expedited our order because we were in a hurry, but who knows the rogue contractor ran away and we had to delay our renovation instead. Hence, Venus kept the curtains for so long that it’s crumpled when delivered. The curtains are usually straight.
Daniel told us the creases will disappear after the curtains are hung up for some time. Otherwise we can use a garment steamer to straighten the curtains out. The latter didn’t work much for us, probably our steamer wasn’t powerful enough. But after 11 months, creases are indeed slowly fading away.
There’s no issue with the curtain mechanism at the time of writing. Oh, Venus also gave us spare curtain hooks. The installer assure me that these are really just in case, the hooks don’t break easily.
That’s all! Do you have other curtain makers to recommend? Or are considering? Let me know in the comment box below. 🙂