Eyelet Curtain Guide for Apartments
by ABBY LU
So, you have finally settled into your bare apartment that is littered with unopened boxes. “What next?,” you ask. Or you may have lived there for some time now but certain things are starting to get to you. The fact that your neighbour can peer directly into your living room, for instance. Or the squealing and screaming that comes from a nearby playground.
Living in apartments can be tricky because it means that you are sharing the grounds with a lot of other people. And the way some apartments are designed — placement of windows, balconies, walkways, etc. — can make it hard for you to maintain your privacy while ensuring that spaces are generously lit during the day. Additionally, there is also a need to ensure proper air circulation, particularly if you cook in the apartment.
To solve problems that are related to privacy, lighting, and air circulation, your choice of curtains will help a fair bit. Additionally, curtains can also serve to keep the heat out and minimise the sounds that come from outdoors. The latter is a priority if you live near a busy road or highway — the sounds of traffic can be particularly bothersome if you or any members of your family are light sleepers.
Most curtains will generally help with the issues that have been mentioned above. For now, however, we will delve into the eyelet curtain, which is the choice of many modern homeowners for its clean, simple look and relatively easy maintenance.
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What are eyelet curtains
An eyelet is a type of curtain heading, so named because it is perforated with small holes at the top. These are covered with metal rings, with brass being the most common material. To hang the curtain, these eyelets are threaded through a rod, which creates deep, uniform folds in the fabric.
It is similar to a grommet curtain -- eyelet and grommet are sometimes used interchangeably to refer to a similar kind of curtain. Both have holes that are reinforced with metal rings. However, eyelets are typically meant for lighter fabrics and smaller objects. A hat, for instance, may have ribbons or cords that are woven through its eyelets to reinforce the shape.
On the other hand, grommets are typically used for curtains due to the fact that it is more suited for heavier and larger pieces of fabric. For the purpose of this article, however, we will not differentiate between eyelets and grommets. This distinction is only useful if you intend to sew the curtains yourself because you will have to be very specific about things such as the metal hardware and dimension of the holes.
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If you were to flip through the pages of an interior design magazine, there is a high chance that you will see homes featuring eyelet curtains. As mentioned earlier, it is a relatively modern, simple, and unfussy choice.
How so? Well, think about the conventional curtains that go on a track. You will need a lining tape so that separate hooks can be attached to them. And depending on the type or volume of the curtain, a motorised track or a curtain pull/drapery wand may be necessary. So, as you can see, there are a lot of extra elements to deal with.
Hooks, in particular, can be cumbersome: In order to wash the curtains, they have to be removed one by one and reattached by hand when you are ready to hang the curtains again. If you happen to lose one hook, your curtains cannot be hung or it can, albeit wonkily. Some cheap metal hooks may also rust over time and you may have to replace all of it. Although these are at the back of the curtain and cannot be seen from the front, it is generally a healthy practice to remove rusty items from the home.
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By comparison, you will encounter none of those problems if you are using an eyelet curtain. No additional apparatuses are necessary. Eyelet curtains are usually drawn by hand — sliding it across the rod is easy. And the only thing that you may have to consider are the metal rings that may suffer wear and tear over time.
The less items you have to deal with translates to ease of maintenance over time. If you are living in an apartment, you would understand the hassle of transporting household items (or even groceries) from your car to your apartment. If you do not want to lug heavy curtains to your car each time you need to send it for a wash, eyelet curtains are definitely easier than, say, French pleat curtains.
Choosing the right rod and accessories for eyelet curtains
Eyelet curtains hang exclusively off visible curtain rods. This means that the selection of hardware — rings, finials, rods — will be a rather important task as well. These offer an additional decorative element and it would be helpful to pick the ones that fit your home decor.
This can be rather fun because you get to choose between different materials such as wood and metal; colours; and matte or glossy finishes. Additionally, you also get to play around with finials, an ornamental object that is attached to the end of the rod to prevent the curtain from slipping off the rod.
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There is an amazing number of finials that are available in the marketplace. And you can choose one that matches your personal style and/or interior scheme. There are glittery baubles in pink and purple that you can use for your daughter’s room. If you are looking for something classy and formal, gold-plated or crystal ball finials will add a touch of class to your period-style living or dining areas.
Before getting your rods, however, you will have to decide if you are going to layer your curtains. In apartments, the most practical choice will be a solid over sheer configuration. We will get to why in a moment but if this is your choice, go for a double rod.
As its name suggests, there will be two rods with one that is projected slightly further away than the other. They share a single bracket and this is one of the easiest options to achieve a layered look with some depth.
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The recommended length of a curtain rod is to add approximately 12 inches on either side of the window or 6 inches on both sides. This is so that you can open your curtains to fully reveal the window or door.
However, this may not be feasible in most apartments as spaces can be tight. Still, if you have a grand sliding door to a balcony with a view to kill for, you may want to consider following this rule of thumb so that the view can be completely unhindered.
The most efficient layering style for eyelet curtains in the apartment
As mentioned earlier, the solid over sheer style is one of the most pragmatic and easiest options to go for. In an apartment, the placement of windows or location of rooms can make it hard to ensure rooms are adequately lit while keeping it safe from prying eyes.
One negates the other: If you keep your curtains closed, your space will be completely private but you will lose the luxury of natural lighting. And if you keep your curtains open, there will be light but no guarantees that your activities will stay hidden from sight.
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Therefore, in scenarios in which your window faces a corridor, a neighbour’s window, or a walkway, a solid over sheer configuration will be best. During the day, the solid curtain can be drawn open, leaving you with sheers to cover the windows.
Although how transparent or light your sheers are will still be a factor, it still offers a degree of privacy during the day. It is usually brighter outside, which means it will be hard to look into a darker, indoor space. And when nightime comes, just draw the solid curtain over the sheers and you will be able to go about your activities without fear of being seen by your neighbours.
Additionally, another advantage to having two layers of curtains is that it will be more effective in keeping sounds and heat out as fabric also has a degree of insulating properties.
However, the only exception is if the room is being used as a storage area or wardrobe. If the items being stored there are sensitive to light and may be damaged by it, a sheer layer may not be necessary. The solid curtain can still be opened from time to time to air the room or let some light in.
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Nevertheless, the solid over sheer style is only one style. If you would like a greater variety and do not want every room to look the same, you may consider a sheer over solid option. Pragmatically, it works the same way (being able to draw the solid curtain over your window at night and opening it during the day). But the style offers an elegant draping effect when the sheers are pulled back to the side.
And here is the option for those of us who do not want to fuss over additional rods or layers: Layered curtains. As its name suggests, the curtain is one single piece, but with layers sewn on.
For this option, it would be best to consult with a curtain consultant or interior designer to select the most appropriate fabrics and ways to drape or pull back your curtains for the best effect.
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Best type of fabrics for eyelet curtains in the apartment
An eyelet curtain is an extremely versatile choice as it can be made using almost any fabric ranging from light to medium weight materials. And because so many types of fabrics can be used there is a vast choice of prints, weaves, patterns, etc. to choose from.The only thing that you have to be mindful of is that heavier fabrics will require thicker and sturdier curtain rods or it may cause an unsightly sag after a while.
Blackout fabrics are, as always, recommended for bedrooms to promote better sleep hygiene. This is important because outside light can cause sleepless nights, which will impact your health and day-to-day functioning.
Also, due to the fact that blackout fabrics are inevitably thicker, it may provide a degree of sound and heat insulation as well. For that reason, you may also want to consider using blackout fabrics in rooms or areas where the sunlight is harsh or if sound pollution is a concern.
If you are adding a sheer layer, the best fabrics for sheers include linen, voile, cotton or chiffon. As a general note, the stiffer fabrics are better for styles that require creases such as pleated curtains. For eyelet sheers, you may want to consider lighter materials to provide that soft, silky, and billowy look.
Of course, eyelet curtains are but one type of curtain that you can use to dress the windows or sliding doors in your apartment. It is a good choice but it is not the best choice. That is because the best choice does not exist — a lot will still depend on what you like or your needs.
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Carroll, L. (Unknown). What Is the Best Fabric to Make Drapery Sheers?. SFGATE.
Unknown. (2020, December 5). 12 Best Fabrics For Curtains [Sheer & Opaque]. Home Decor Bliss.
Kumar, M. (2017, August 1). Difference Between Eyelet and Grommet. Difference Between Similar Terms and Objects.
De Castella, T. (2014, June 4). The Plague of Light in our Bedrooms. BBC News Magazine.
Unknown. (Unknown). How to Hang Grommet Curtains & Drapes. Country Door.
Unknown. (2020, October 23). How To Layer Curtains And Sheers [6 Suggestions].
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