Recently I revamped my bedroom. It’s been one of those slightly awkward rooms that has never completely worked for me before. It’s always been OKish but never the snug cocoon I’ve envisaged and really wanted. Until now that is, and it’s all down to one game changing component – curtains. I know, I know! I’ve had to do a complete U-turn on this one, I admit it. For years I shunned curtains and went for blinds only in every room. I think my curtain aversion was down to the trauma of experiencing way too many floral-y, pelmet-y, ruched and overly fussy concoctions from my time spent as a designer in the US. It put me off for years, but the new curtains I’ve got from Hillarys changed all that.

hilary_abi_007_0124

Hillarys got in touch to come up with a new campaign to make people think outside of the box when it came to colour – so how could I possibly say no? As you guys know I am completely obsessed and evangelical about colour (well I did literally write a book on it), and anything that gets people thinking beyond just the usual white, beige or cream was a-OK by me. So I set about trying to challenge usual colour ideas (and my own curtain prejudice!!) and pick a whole new set of window treatments for the bedroom.

First up they sent me a load of samples, which was fun. They have tons and tons of options to choose from, from sheers to linens and luxe velvet. I have my bedroom painted out completely (walls, floors and ceiling) in Crosby, which is the prettiest, softest brown with rosy-pink undertones. I jumped on the Erika mocha fabric sample straight away for my curtains because it exactly matches the paint colour. It’s literally uncanny how they match. So I’ve got this seamless blend between wall and fabric, which is just perfect for the pared back colour scheme that I love.

hilary_abi_008_0142

For my blinds I knew I wanted to go dark, but I went for a neutral – Jerico Charcoal -so it wouldn’t fight with everything else. I also plumped for blackout blinds which I’ve never done before. Waking up at the crack of dawn like I do, I’d always been fine with just using sheer blinds but Gem swore that the blackouts would give me a better night sleep so I went for it. With the fabrics chosen, Hillarys sent round a member of their team to do all the measurements for us, and my new bespoke made-to-measure blinds were fitted the next week. And this is the finished result…

hilary_abi_001_0018

Ta da! I didn’t know how I’d feel about them until right up to the moment they were installed. If I’m totally honest I was imagining the lovely Hillarys team getting there, doing all the fitting, snapping the photos and then me having to take them down immediately after the shoot. But don’t worry, that didn’t happen! I’m a total convert and I really do love the look. (Oh and I should say that all the measurements, fitting and bespoke treatment is included in the service with Hillarys and it couldn’t be easier. They were the loveliest and sorted out all the technical problems like in the frame or out, which side the blind cord is mounted on, how to pleat it properly, etc.)

hilary_abi_004_0074

What do you guys think? I just feel they made the room feel so much grander, taller and more polished. They’re measured to be floor to ceiling, (just skimming the floor is the best bet I think) and because they draw the eye up they emphasise the height of the ceiling, and I swear add about 2 foot on to the room! Cool hey? Instant style, instant texture, instant cosiness. Because that whole wall was basically windows, it now looks so much cooler and more “done”. Here’s the top tips I’ve learned from my own curtains experience…

hilary_abi_006_0110

Go floor to ceiling.

Adding floor to ceiling curtains to my bedroom instantly made the ceiling seem 2 ft higher! They can really visually elongate and lift the space. Hang your curtain pole as close as possible to the ceiling to really exaggerate this effect.

Keep it simple.

Window dressings are the perfect finishing touch – they really add polish and elegance to a space. My advice would be to go as simple as you can, no fussy frills, pleats, swags or drapes for me. I tend to think of curtains as a lovely embellishment, like a piece of jewellery that doesn’t overwhelm what’€™s going on – it just subtly enhances it.

Try colour matching to your walls.

With the huge range of fabrics on offer, it can be surprisingly easy to colour match. My curtains perfectly matched my Crosby paint colour, which instantly gives a bespoke look (without a bespoke price tag).

Remember the details.

Tie-backs, curtain poles and finials matter too. You don’t want a sheer, drapey slip of a curtain paired with a big clunking curtain pole – it’s all about seamlessly matching styles.

Consider the lighting.

Blinds are perfect for tweaking the natural light. I love sheer blinds for hallways and bathrooms, where they softly diffuse the light (like living in an instagram filter) and still give you privacy. For the bedroom I’ve opted for blackout blinds to get a good night’s sleep. I’ve also been playing around partially lowering and raising them to adjust the light levels during the day.

output_otyroa

With my bedroom suddenly feeling like an uptown hotel, I made lots of other little changes too so the rest of the room would be as cool as the windows. The curtain change then led on to tons of other little tweaks like plopping a coffee table in front of the bed, adding more flowers and plants and doubling up on the lights. Now I never want to leave.

hilary_abi_003_0050

Also, Hillarys are giving away one ticket to my Design Masterclasses, so you should definitely enter their competition if you want to visit my pad and learn more decorating tips and tricks. Good luck!

Enter here. Closing date is 27th November 2016.