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Curtain Header: How to choose the right header for your window

By August 20, 2021August 24th, 2021Knowledge & Tips
Soft, neutral living room with two large windows, single pinch pleat curtain header + midcentury-modern furniture. Renovation by Absolute Project Management.

When designing your window dressing, there are certain details that can define the overall finished look. With bespoke dressings, there are many aspects to consider throughout the process – arguably the most important (after the fabric of course!) is the curtain header. If you are new to the curtain scene, a curtain header can be defined as:

  • The designated section at the top of the curtain, which is pleated or sewn in a style which impacts how the fabric drapes and hangs.
  • The curtain header also defines how the fabric stacks back and structured when drawn across the designated window/door.

There is no doubt that whilst the smallest aspect of the curtain in terms of appearance and depth across the whole width of a curtain, the header can define the define how the curtain impacts the look and feel of the interior.

Soft, neutral living room with two large windows, single pinch pleat curtain header + a feature wall hanging. Renovation by Absolute Project Management.

When choosing the right header for your space, is imperative to emulate the style that you are trying to convey across your interior decoration. But like all aspects of design, there are many header options available. The following are our favourites at APM and what we believe to be the most relevant headers for any residential space:

  • Double Pinch Pleat: One of the more traditional headers, the double pinch pleat gives formal structure to the drape of a curtain. It creates uniformed pleats that run throughout the whole drop of the curtain – see an example of this in the image below.
  • Triple Pinch Pleat: The triple is a more formal header to the double, as the fabric is manipulated into a tight unforgiving pleat that control the positioning of the overall drop of the fabric and its placement when drawn.
  • Pencil Pleat: This is the most widely used header in residential and ready-made curtains. The header is only structured by a three or six inch tape which is pulled and gathered to make informal pleating. Due to its lack of structure and rigid placement, pencil pleat heading is commonly used when placing curtains under pelmets.
  • Goblet: Again, the goblet is a traditional header, typically used in stately homes and regal settings. It was designed to make the header a feature of the curtain opposed to being a function (the goblet design makes the curtains hard to stack neatly due to creating large bounce back of fabric)- however it does create prominent pleating.
  • Eyelet: Another header that is widely used throughout modern homes. Eyelets create a clean stack and uniformed look that doesn’t oppress an interior- simple wave like pleats are created for a more minimalistic outcome.
  • Wave: The latest header on the scene, wave is known for its contemporary aesthetic and minimalistic finish. It is designed to create informal style pleats that stack tightly making it the ideal curtain for both small and large windows. Learn more about this trend in a previous blog of ours here.
Double-pinch pleat curtain header in soft grey acting as a room separator with a feature Crittal panel. Renovation by Absolute Project Management.

So what header do you go for? Here are our top tips for everyday spaces:

  • Contemporary space with bi-fold doors: The Wave header, great for spanning across large windows, whilst also stacking neatly against small wall space.
  • Victorian townhouse with ornate window frames: Either double or triple pinch pleat works on traditional window settings. Consider if you are looking to modernise the space, choose a double pinch pleat as it is more relaxed in it’s drop. If you are wanting to emulate the traditional aesthetic- triple is more fitting owing to its tight structure.
  • Bay window: Our current ‘go to’ header for a bay window at APM is the double pinch pleat on a motorised track- both structural and a centre piece. But if you are on a smaller budget, you can consider a pencil pleat header with a curved modern pelmet- simple and functional.
Stunning double-pinch pleat curtain header fitting behind some beautiful ceiling moulding at a bay window. Beautiful feature floor lamp by Tom Raffield. Renovation by Absolute Project Management.

Next time you are choosing your window dressings for your interior, consider that the curtain header is a key element to the aesthetic you are trying to achieve.

With thanks to Rascal & Roses who made & installed the lovely curtains shown in the photos above!

If you need help with your renovation in London or Brighton, don’t hesitate to contact us now.

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