A Bit About Curtains
( Originally Published Early 1900's )
Window curtains should be selected in accordance with the general principles of taste laid down in the article on DECORATION. According to their several purposes, and the nature of the apartments, the quality of the materials and the manner of hanging them must be determined. In this country particularly, window curtains are necessary to exclude the cold air which presses in from the windows in winter when the fires are burning, however closely the sashes may be fitted. But there is another cause for this which is not generally thought of. The warm air in a room, which always occupies the upper part near the ceiling, coming into contact with the glass, is cooled by it, and, descending immediately in consequence, diffuses itself through the lower part of the room and is felt as a cold current coming from the windows, though no outside air may actually have entered them. Curtains check this partly by preventing the warm air from reaching the glass, and partly by turning the current sideways.
But though curtains help to keep air out, heavy ones may exclude it too much and also keep bad air in. They should therefore be hung on rings sliding on rods so that they can be drawn entirely away from the window. For the same reason lambrequins are very objectionable, more so even than curtains, as they have no opening in the center, and are fixed obstacles to ventilating the upper part of the room where the air is most heated. As to taste, too, this arrangement is certainly inferior to others. The rod and rings are more " constructive " than the cornice, and the general effect conforms to the purpose in view. It is well that curtains are now so seldom used for shutting ventilation away from beds. In low-priced materials curtains are apt to be cheaper than lambrequins because the latter require more fringe.