French Pleat Curtains For The Bedroom
by ABBY LU
If you have any doubt about how important the bedroom is, let this fact sink in: According to a study involving 2,000 Americans, it turns out that we spend nearly half our lives laying in bed. That’s approximately 11 hours a day or, collectively, 36 years over our lifetime. Now, you may argue that Malaysians have different sleeping habits and that may be true. But even if it is just reduced to sleeping time alone, that is still probably an average of 8 hours a day.
Lighting is one of the most crucial elements in a home — and more so in the bedroom. This means that elements that control lighting quality (type of lights, window size, curtains) are particularly important in the bedroom. The ability to control lighting will likely determine your comfort level for all sorts of activities that take place in the bedroom. For example, if you are someone who likes to read at night, a bedside lamp or wall-mounted reading light will allow you to read comfortably without causing much disturbance for your partner.
When it comes to windows, however, some of us may not have much of a choice but to work with what we have. In apartments, for instance, it will not be possible to change your windows. So, that leaves you with the option of changing your curtains. This article will explore that in detail — what curtain designs are best for your bedroom and how to maximise the benefit of styles, colours, fabric choices, and design. In particular, we will discuss the best options for French pleat curtains in the bedroom.
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What are French pleats
Pleats are one of the most popular curtain headings (the top part that attaches to a rod or track) and are created by doubling fabric on itself and securing it in place. This creates a fold, which then affects how a curtain drapes, thereby, influencing its looks and style as well.
The French pleat — that is also known as the three-finger pleat — is a type of curtain heading that promises an elegant drape that is classic yet modern. This means that it is extremely versatile and can be used whether your home features a period interior style or a streamlined, Scandinavian scheme.
Compared to other pleats (pencil, box, single, etc.), the French pleat will create curtains that are “fuller” or more voluminous. Kept in place via sharp pleats that are spaced evenly across the curtains, it can look very neat and crisp.
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Rod or track? Which is the best for French pleat curtains?
You could hang your French pleat curtains from either a track or a rod. How do you choose between one or the other? Well, it is definitely a matter of preference but the clear difference between the two is that a rod will add another decorative element to your windows. Unlike a track, a rod is visible and you get to play with materials, colours, rings, and finials (the decorative end of the rod).
This additional option can give you another way to integrate your curtains into a decoration scheme that you like. For example, if you are going for a rustic, hipster-inspired look, you can consider a wooden rod. In this case, wrought iron rods with metal rings can also serve up that industrial chic look that is a huge element in hipster decor.
Plus, there is an amazing number of finials that you can use to complete any look. Going for a vintage French look? Pamplemousse finials can complement the style. Meanwhile, crystal ball or gold-plated finials will look great in a traditional or period-style home. Geometrical, flower- or plant-inspired, or even custom-made finials — there are endless choices to pick from.
So, a rod definitely opens up a number of aesthetic possibilities. But you also need to be aware of the practical considerations that come into play when making the decision between a track or a rod. A key consideration is the weight of your curtains.
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If your curtains are heavy, a rod may not be an ideal choice because it will be easier to utilise curtain pulls or a motorised track to draw or move the curtains. If you do intend to move your curtains a fair bit, doing it by hand may become tiring or tedious. Therefore, if your windows are particularly tall and/or large, using a track may be a better idea.
A rod will also require additional space: The recommended length of a rod is to add approximately 12 inches on either side of the window (or 6 inches on both sides). This will allow you to reveal your windows fully when you draw your curtains open. Again, this may be based on preference. There are some of us who prefer to leave the curtains closed at all times, particularly if a window is facing a busy area or if people can potentially look inside.
Finally, you need to consider if you are going to layer your curtains. In the case of French pleat curtains, the most ideal layer would be sheers. If you are using grommet or pocket rod headings, a rod may still be feasible. However, as French pleat curtains are attached to a rod using rings, the sheer curtain’s heading should be in another style. It would be too cluttered or messy to have both curtains hanging off visible rings. In this instance, it may be neater to just use tracks for both.
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Important considerations in the bedroom
Curtains in the bedroom play three crucial functions: First, it acts as light modulator, controlling how lit or dark the space becomes. This is particularly important — light at night has been linked to several things such as ill health and obesity, according to a BBC article that was ominously titled, “The plague of light in our bedrooms.”
In the piece, lighter curtains, among other things, were implicated for sleepless nights. In fact, up to a third of the participants in a 2007 survey by Harris Poll Europe Omnibus Survey attributed sleepless nights to light from outside their bedroom windows. As sleep is undeniably important for physical and mental wellbeing — things that are pivotal for daily functioning and long-term health — choosing the right curtains for the bedroom is not a matter to be taken lightly.
The most obvious solution to prevent light from entering the bedroom when you are sleeping is to use blackout curtains. This makes French pleat curtains another excellent choice because it can be made using almost every type of light to medium weight fabrics. Some heavy fabrics such as jacquard and brocade can also be used.
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Therefore, you have an abundance of choice when it comes to fabric selection. Almost any fabric can be lined with blackout material. Still, the easier choice would be to go for fabrics that are already pre-lined, which means that the blackout material is simply part of the fabric. And you do not have to worry about options: These days, blackout fabrics exist in a great number of styles be it colour, weaves, patterns, or prints.
Secondly, the other crucial function that curtains play in the bedroom is to ensure privacy. Most curtain styles can fulfil this important role. But some headings such as the single pleat work better with lighter fabrics. A French pleat curtain, as mentioned, can be made using almost any kind of light to medium weight fabrics. So, this means that you are free to choose the fabric that will best ensure your privacy while satisfying your aesthetic leanings at the same time.
Finally, the other important consideration is soundproofing. Sure, keeping the light out is very important but if you live along a busy street, sounds can also cause sleep disturbances. The additional benefit of choosing blackout fabrics is the fact that it will also, to a certain degree, block out some sounds owing to the denseness or thickness of the fabric.
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Colours and prints for French pleat curtains in the bedroom
Now that we have covered the practical elements of the French pleat curtain in the bedroom, let’s move on and go to the fun bit where we explore the decorative elements. Although these features really boil down to what you like or what style you prefer, there are some guidelines on what to use and what not to use.
The bedroom is a sanctuary. It is where we go to rest after a day spent working, taking care of the children, running errands, and so on. Suffice to say, people will want to feel relaxed and calm in the bedroom. Getting into these states will also help with sleep.
I am sure that many of you have seen a colour wheel somewhere or sometime in your life. Red, transitioning into orange, which transitions into yellow and then green, and so on. Did you know, however, that half of those colours are “warm” while colours on the opposite side are “cool”? And that is not all. According to colour psychology, warm or cool colours may affect how you feel.
Warm colours such as red, orange, or yellow are radiant colours that have an energising effect. The cool colours, on the other hand, are tranquil tones that are calming and relaxing. It does not require rocket science to guess which colours are best for the bedroom. Broadly, cool colours include purple, green, and blue. Of course, there are many different hues that fall in between and it is on this spectrum that colours most suited for the bedroom can be found.
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Blues and greens are particularly recommended for use in the bedroom because it brings about a feeling of peace and serenity. Some studies have linked the colour blue with lowered pulse rates and body temperatures. Green, on the other hand, is the colour of nature. This association is thought to evoke feelings of ease and calmness. Therefore, you may want to consider hues of either green or blue for curtains in your bedroom.
If neither of those colours appeal to you, another palette to consider may be neutral colours. In design vernacular, neutral simply means to be without colour. Examples of neutral colours include shades of white, gray, beige, taupe, and black. With the exception of black — which may be a little severe for the bedroom — most neutral shades are good choices.
And after you have an idea of what colour you would like your French pleat curtains to be in, you may consider prints in those colours. Nevertheless, the refrain here should be that plain fabrics often bring out the best in French pleats because it maintains the visual focus on the pleats and voluminous folds.
Still, if you would like prints, consider those that feature weaves or motifs. Complicated prints, geometric designs, and vertical stripes will look distorted due to the folds and should be avoided.
And there you have it, a comprehensive guide on how to make the best use of French pleat curtains in the bedroom. If you have further considerations such as a budget, fabric preferences, and maintenance, check out other articles on French pleat curtains here: Acacia Fabrics.
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Schmall, T. (2019, March 21). We Spend Nearly Half of our Lifetime Lying Around in Bed. The New York Post.
Schneider, R. (2018, Sept 14). What are French Pleat Curtains? Hipages.
Ro, L. (2020, Feb 6) The Best Curtain Rods, According to Interior Designers. The Strategist.
Erlam, L. (2021). How to Do a French Pleat Curtain. SFGATE.
Nafie, C. (2021, April 1). Neutral Colors Are the Best Canvas. The Spruce.
Unknown. (2021). Color Psychology: The Emotional Effects of Colors. Art Therapy.
De Castella, T. (2014, June 4). The Plague of Light in our Bedrooms. BBC News Magazine.
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