Chinoiserie : a western vision of the east

Anything that gives off a vibe of old-world mystique makes its way into our creative mix. This precisely explains our fascination with time-honored crafts and techniques. One such jewel that we recently unearthed from our craft casket was Chinoiserie.

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Image source: Tulips

You may have caught this French word in the pages of glossy interior and fashion magazines. And while, you may have not been able to commit this word to your memory, the enchanting images of ceramics and textiles lathered in decorative Chinese-esque motifs, however, will surely spring to mind.

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Image source: Tulips

Chinoiserie comes from French, which means ‘in the style of Chinese’. Despite the word’s semantic suggestion of China, the art form is not of Chinese or Asian provenance. Surprising, isn’t it? So where does it actually come from? Chinoiserie is essentially an exotic European vision of the art and culture of East Asian countries including China, Japan, India, and Korea.

So if the art borrows stylistic elements from other East Asian countries, then why does the word only acknowledge China? For this, we’d need to go back in time, as far as 13th century. A swashbuckling bloke by the name of Marco Polo had voyaged all the way to Asia. The fascination with the East, from the true sense, started with his expedition.

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Image source: Tulips

After Marco Polo, only a few fearless folks like travelers, explorers, and merchants dared venture beyond the known. The Europeans, in their astonishment of the foreign land and its people, culture, and art failed to tell apart one cultural community from other. That’s how the word into being, despite the art form encompassing design components from neighboring cultures.

The visual sources for Chinoiserie mainly came from the travelogues of travelers and missionaries. European artists and craftsmen mingled their whimsical interpretation of the exotic land with rococo extravagance that was à la mode. As time elapsed, trade between Europe and Asia mushroomed, igniting insane interest in porcelain, tea, artifacts, silk worms, pagodas, and other curiosities.

From table sets to furniture, carpets to architecture, Chinoiserie began to appear in all facets of design. Owning porcelain urns, wallpapers, mirror frames, vases, tapestries, lacquered paintings, and screens bearing pagodas, dragons, fretwork, tea-drinking Mandarins, Foo dogs etc. became celebrated badges of style and sophistication.

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Image source: Tulips

While it’s true that Chinoiserie came to Europe many centuries ago, but its aesthetic appeal which can morph a modest space into a memorable setting hasn’t eluded today’s top interior designers who use the art form to work up a sense of drama, rarity, and tension.

If you want to bring in whimsy and exotic charm in your interiors with Chinoiserie, then give us a call on on 7875555413 and our design ninja will take it from there.

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5 Common curtain mistakes to avoid

Did you guys know that we all have been using the lemon juicer the wrong way? Turns out that you first have to slice a thin segment off of the bottom and then put it facing upwards! What? We tried it and we were able to extract more juice from the lemon! Oh boy. While this information is truly eye-opening, however, we are sure you are wondering what it has got to do with curtains? Well, turns out that most of us have also been hanging the curtains incorrectly! What’s going on with humanity? Take a moment to simmer down here folks. The good part is that we are curtain makers (pretty good ones) who can help you identify these problems and guide you on how to steer clear of them.

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Problem #1 Not having the rod wide enough

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There are many things in life where you can practise frugality but your curtain rod shouldn’t be one of them. Say you got beautiful finials on your rod, you would obviously want them to get noticed, won’t you? But if your curtain rod is exactly of the same width as that of your window frame, then you are literally hamstringing the entire look of your curtains! Not only will it be concealing the finials but it will also be obstructing natural light from entering the room.

This however doesn’t apply to recessed windows as your window treatments need to go inside the window casing.

Solution: Install a curtain rod that extends 6 inches on either side of the window frame.This will mean having curtains more on the wall than on the window, which will allow more sunlight (when you draw them aside) and make your window appear wider.

Problem #2 Not considering the length of your curtains

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Positioning the rod close to the window trim is another mistake. Doing so makes your window look smaller and dumpy; in short not good.

Solution: Place your curtain rod close to the ceiling line or between the window frame and ceiling to make your curtains look tall and handsome! Likewise, it is also important to decide on the length of the curtain depending on the look you want to achieve – say you want to communicate a romantic vibe, then a puddle will be the perfect choice. Similarly, for a tailored and clean look, a floor-skimming length will be best-suited for your need; plus it’s a lot easier to open and close.

Problem #3 Not thinking about the functional aspect of the curtain

They say never just go by the looks of someone, and it also goes the same for curtains. Honestly, we all have, at some point or the other, fallen victim to our impetuousness. Maybe the pattern of a curtain was too pretty to put away or that pastel color made your heart warble in a ravishing soprano, but on the functional level, is it worth it?

Solution: Many times, the solutions to our problems are hidden in the problems themselves and the only way to solve them is by asking appropriate questions to ourselves. When buying curtains, ask yourself questions like – Will it help me shut out the world when I need it to? Will it help me keep my room cooler in the summer? Will it channelize every ray of sunlight in the room where I need it the most?

Problem #4 Not giving a thought to the curtains when designing your home

Many fail to consider curtains in the beginning of their home design project and that’s a huge mistake! The emphasis is almost always on the wall paint and at the last on the curtains, which can sometimes result in incongruous, jarring, and ineffective color schemes.

Solution: Like your furniture, furnishings and decor pieces, your curtains are an important part of your interiors. In fact, if you use your curtain as the springboard of your design project and incorporate the color or its complement in your furnishings and wall paint, the resultant color scheme will look organic and melodic, like a happy family!

Problem #5 Not checking out the many different options of window dressing!

Solution: There’s so much you can do with your curtains – from layering to adding decorative trims to exploring the diverse styles of curtain heading, there are so many ways in which you can transform the look of your curtains! How about for starters you read get yourself acquainted with different types of curtain pleats here.

Traditional, contemporary, transitional, or modern, we can assist you in creating bespoke curtains that are congenial to your interior scheme. Connect with us on 7875555413 and we will take it from there!


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11 Decorating tips you should know about!

For some, the mere thought of hiring an interior designer scares the bejesus out of them. Thanks to their notorious portrayal in movies, many view interior designers as tsk-tsking divas, turning their noses up at everything they see, and charging fees that could even choke a millionaire. That’s total baloney we say. As a company that frequently works with interior designers, believe us when we say that they are the sweetest folks in the trade, always bursting with passion and creativity, and helping us unearth new things about our own potential!

But you’d wonder why are we talking about all this here? Well, that’s because a lot of us house-proud folks find ourselves in a jam when it comes to home decoration project. Do you really need professional assistance or can you single-handedly carry it through yourself? While the opinion of a qualified professional is undoubtedly invaluable, however, if you want to march to the beat of your own drum, there are a few important things that you need to carefully think over and plan.

Here are a few tips and tricks (not so surprisingly that also make many interior designers’ MO) that will hugely benefit your home decoration project –

#1 Write, write, write!


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Image source: Unsplash

Ever heard about the habit of successful people of journaling their thoughts and pledging themselves to a goal? Apparently, it’s a good habit and you should try it too. When you have something in black and white, it in way behooves you to do it just like fulfilling formal contract. Make flow-charts, schematics, diagrams or just dash down what you plan to accomplish in the coming few days, and trust us, all the plans of men and mice that have been going astray will magically move along the right course.

PS: Please just don’t give it a lick and a promise. We often get seduced by the initial rush of embarking on a project but often lose the acceleration as we move ahead. Document your decoration process every day, without fail.

#2 Ask yourself the right questions


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This can again, involve setting down all possible questions bubbling inside your head. Right from what tools you’d need to execute your project to how much money you’d be springing for it; sit down with your folks and run ideas by them. Discussions can lead to questions that you may not have thought of.

#3 Plumb the depths before you dive


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In this day and age of social media when inspiration is available at the tap of your finger, things can’t get any easier. Plus, there are so many books/blogs/tutorials/magazines you can refer to, especially the DIY ones that will equip you with a wealth of tried and tested hacks that will help you romp through your personal project.

#4 Get your measurements right


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This goes without saying. You will find a number of guides/tutorials online that will shepherd you step-by-step in sizing up curtains and blinds. Please note down your measurements somewhere safely because remember there’s nothing unsightly than having curtains that instead of sitting flush with the floor dangle a few inches above it!

#5 Choose your colors wisely


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The perfect beginning to establish the color palette is to single out your favorite color that you will love to live with every day. Once that’s decided, pair it with neutrals or white for a safe and tame interpretation or go for its vivid complement for a richer and bolder look.

#6 Take good care of your home furnishings


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Image source: Pinterest

Read our cleaning tips and techniques for curtains and blinds here and cleaning guide for carpets here.

#7 Breathe a fresh breath of air in home furnishings with charming details


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Image source: Unsplash

There are tons of decorating ideas bobbing up and down out there and you surely don’t need to be a veteran tailor to be able to implement them (though you can seek help from your local tailor). From adding fluffy pompoms to your cushions to edging your curtain border with delicate lace trimmings, there’s so much you can do!

#8 Create beautiful focal points in your home

While a wall featuring sterling frames filled with family photos makes for a beautiful focal point, you can also experiment with unexpected décor objects like an intricately embroidered textile wall art like this –


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Or these hoops showcasing colorful interplay of varied needlework –


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#9 Resist the temptation to overdo


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We all love to adorn our homes with beautiful objects and furniture, we love that too but we need to ask ourselves when we are besotted by a piece and thinking of buying it, ‘Will I feel the same about it in 6 months’ time?’ and more searing questions. Read here to know if living with less is possible.

#10 Chic it up with Jungalow vibes


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Image source: Unsplash

We have colossal design crush on Justina Blakeney, the multi-hyphenate designer who has spawned a bewildering number of imitators trying to pull off her style but nobody does it better than the queen herself! Greenery, vintage items, colors, and patterns best describe her modus operandi and her blog is an interminable source of décor inspiration where she discusses the projects she does, small makeovers she brings off in her own house, planter guides, and so much more. You should definitely check it out! 

#11 Most importantly, do it with total abandon


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Image source: Unsplash

Your home is a place where you rear families, celebrate significant occasions, and play host to near and dear ones. Do what all that you want whilst constantly assessing how your decorating decisions are going to impact your family’s life. Be reflective with where you are going to spend your money into and most importantly, keep experimenting and evolving.

We hope these tips serve you well. Let us us what you think about them and if you got some tips to share, please do so in the comments section below.

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How to care for your carpets

I remember when my brother and I were little – we would often receive earfuls from our baba aka ‘Safaiman’ because you know, we didn’t quite share the same vehement passion for cleanliness as he did.

The weekends especially, used to be enervating. Boy, things used to get really action-packed as baba would get in his cleaning mojo, summoning the two of us delicate darlings and drafting us into what we thought were the most unglamorous tasks. These tasks ranged from swabbing the terrace floor to knocking down cobwebs and more unglamorous in between (I’d never invited my friends over the weekends because, yes this). While baba never shied away from charging us with new tasks, he however, reserved the job of carpet cleaning to himself. Strange, both of us thought but we never asked the reason behind it for the fear of getting drafted into it.

The other day while baba was getting himself all primed for home-cleaning, I finally asked him what was frothing inside me for years. He told me that carpet cleaning, unlike other furniture and furnishings, requires patience and a method. Well, I got the patience part but method? So I quizzed him further, to which I got a detailed caring guide for carpets that I’m sharing here –

A newly installed carpet needs to be vacuumed 2-3 times a week


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( image Source : pinterest )

Yes. But why does a newly installed carpet (wall-to-wall) need any vacuuming in the first place? Whether tufted or woven, carpets carry clumps of loose fibers that begin to appear after installation, putting wind up most of us. But that’s absolutely fine, my father assured me. Those loose fibers amount to just a tiny part of the total fiber composition of your carpet; so don’t start cursing your stars or retailer when you see a largish clod of fibers sucked by your vacuum. Not only vacuuming it will keep your carpet clean but it will also help straighten compressed tufts.

Likewise, you need to be a probing Peter and know what kind of pile your carpet is made from – if it is loop pile or cut pile as your cleaning method will depend on it. But just so you know – loop piles are prone to snag, so avoid the beater bar and brushes as it may cause fuzzing. So I’d suggest you to go for a regular suction head. You can very much use a turbo or power brush to for your cut pile carpet; a little caveat – avoid brushes with coarse bristles as it can damage the fibers.

Not all the dark patches of cut pile carpets go forever with vacuuming


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( image Source : pinterest )

Though vacuuming will help you set the fibers straight, it will, however, not be able to prevent the odd interplay of light and shadows forming on it. The chic shaggy-ish appearance of the carpet is a result of legions of piles sitting closely together in different directions giving it a patchy look. It’s just something unique to cut pile carpets, which even your vacuum cleaner can’t totally fix.

Deal with the spillage, pronto!


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( image Source : pinterest )

Yes, even if it means you becoming that irritating waiter who swabs away drops of coffee from the table the second someone spills on it. Let people call you all they want, but spills need you to act with utmost dispatch, dear one. One thing to remember always – never rub your carpet but wet the affected area with a cleaner first and then blot it up with good absorbents like tissues or a napkin. Just make sure that you don’t over wet the carpet and allow the carpet to dry completely before putting it back to its place.

When you spot a loose end, you don’t play with it but cut it


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( image Source : pinterest )

 I know it’s quite tempting – pulling loose fibers of the carpet and wrapping it around your finger but however satisfying it might feel, you should totally avoid doing it. Yanking fibers from the carpet can ruffle its perfect pattern, crimp it or worst – make it look frayed. When you spot a loose fiber just cut it with your scissors; that’s it.

Fading isn’t much of a problem if you are using an area rug since you can move it away from the sunlight. However, when it comes to wall-to-wall carpets, you need to install interlined curtains and blinds for protection against direct sunlight.

I hope my baba’s carpet cleaning guide serves you well; though in my heart I know it will because he has been doing it for years and our carpets do really look shipshape and shiny!

Happy Cleaning!

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Provencal Interiors: Create a home that is livable and lived-in

Ah our fixation with all things French!From the sweet-sounding romantic language to the ‘je ne sais quoi’ Parisian magnetism to the nonchalant street fashion, France is an esoteric world in itself that is irreverent, unapologetic, and infinitely charming. When it comes to decorating characterful yet unassuming interiors, here too the French seem to have a leg up on others. Each region possesses its own unmissable flavor which wields a goodly influence on the lifestyles of its citizens.

But what is a Provencal interior? What is Provencal in the first place? Femmes and garcons, we will decode that for you. So, the word Provencal comes from Provenance–the Mediterranean heartland of France boasting a bevy of historical monuments, sumptuous lavender beds, and sun-drenched, lyrical landscapes.

If you can’t picture what we are talking about then have a look at those lavender stalks bending in the balmy breeze –


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( image Source : pinterest )

Feel the tingly sensations as you move your hands through the stalks.

So, what are the attributes of Provencal interiors? Theatrical splashes? Artisanal objects? Opulent finishes? Well, there’s a soupcon of everything but it never strains for effect. A typical Provencal interior looks well-curated, unpretentious, and exuberant. It radiates warmth, throbs with old world elegance, and exhibits the generosity of the occupants.

Here’s a detailed low-down on the salient features of Provencal interiors–

Colors

When it comes to artful using of colors, the French are unbeatable and magnanimous. They know what a hearty splash of a color can do to a room–it can foreground an architectural piece de resistance, cleverly camouflage a flaw, arouse senses, and so much more!


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( image Source : pinterest )

We can imagine the convivial people going about their quotidian business in this cheerful living room.

We are unabashed lovers of pastel colors and so are the inhabitants of Provence. Pastel colors are intrinsically linked with soothing senses. In a room, pastels can pop from anywhere; they can leap from a bucolic country painting or can be drawn from the kaleidoscopic landscape. Well, to all of us who live in the middle of urban bulk unfortunately can’t peer outside the window for color inspiration but we’d tell you how to go about it.

While pastels of all sorts are favored, unexpected and unpredictable experiments are lapped up eagerly. Think of beige, putty, blues of all sorts (they have a thing for all shades of blue, call it the Mediterranean effect), olive, Sunflower yellow (a favorite of Monsieur Van Gogh), lavender, poppy red, scarlet red, terra cotta, umber, sienna, and ochre.


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Picturesque natural beauty, vibrant colors, and magical light are the visceral ingredients that make Provence a living impressionism canvas.

Floral patterns

Oh lala floral patterns, something in us that just responds to them! A Provencal house is a savvy intermingling of cheerful colors and upbeat flowers – whether fresh or in the form of pretty patterns dancing on curtains, blinds, table cloth, cushions, or bed linen.

Vases are perennially filled with fresh flowers, foliage and herbs which playfully interact with the patterned home furnishings. Whether pronounced or simple, flowers are a crucial part of Provencal interiors.


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( image Source : pinterest )

We can imagine waking up to the idle mellow tune of Edith Piaf’s ‘je ne veux pas travailler’.

Light billowy draperies


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( image Source : pinterest )

The French love their draperies airy and ethereal. Faultlessly tailored curtains gracefully fall from window fixtures and spill over on to the floor. Curtains are closer to the ceiling as they create an imposing sense of height. Hand-made head treatments like goblet pleats look ravishing and tasteful, so does the embellished border along the lead edge.

Draperies with alluring passementerie like chords,piping, tassels, pompoms, and lace trimmings add boundless charm and style to interiors. Oh and did we tell you about the old world mystic they conjure up? As they say a soul fond of history will always look for things that are robust in composition and dainty in appearance and that’s what the French revere.

The French are sentimental folks after all; they are fiercely attached to their hand-me-downs and heirloom objects and display them with honor and pride. Provencal interiors are organic coming together of sundry elements that look like repository of life experiences in a sequence.

Now we say au revoir to you! We hope to see your rendition of Provencal interiors soon!

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Here are the glimpses of the Felicitation Party for the IIID Anchor awards 2016 winners!

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Saka: architecture:interiors:urbanism presenting their award winning project at the Tulips Studio, New Delhi

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Ar. Rajeev Agarwal presenting his award winning residential project at the Tulips Studio, New Delhi

_MG_1019Architectural Firm FIRKI studio presenting their project at the Tulips Studio, New Delhi

_MG_0916Spaces Architects-ka , presenting their project at the Tulips Studio, New Delhi

_MG_0921Architecture Discipline presenting their project at the Tulips Studio, New Delhi

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The The Novarch Architects presenting their project at the Tulips Studio, New Delhi

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It was an absolute pleasure hosting the IIID Anchor Awards and an edifying experience as we got the opportunity to view award-winning presentations. We thank you all for coming and making the Felicitation Party a success.
Saka: architecture:interiors:urbanism, FIRKI studio, Architecture Discipline, Spaces Architects-ka, Basics Architects, The Novarch Architects, Project 810 Knock on Wood Group DCA

 

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Curtains and Blinds Cleaning Tips and Techniques

Curtains attract dust as naturally as a few drops of blood attract a shark, well this is quite gory an analogy – but you have to agree that both are highly undesirable.

Curtains are the ethereal, practical lengths of fabrics that beautifully cloak yours windows–they block out sunlight for those who can’t bear even a chink of sunlight as well as pleasantly disperse light for those who harness the early balmy light to shrug off morning laziness. Despite acclimating to all our whims and fancies and style preferences, we believe that our curtains are one of the most overlooked members of our home décor.

We know curtain cleaning doesn’t happen in a click and takes almost an entire day of taking them down, washing them, and hanging them back (sometimes there’s also the additional trouble of sewing the edges that have come undone), but you got do what you got to do. But here’s the thing –how about cleaning your curtains periodically, say once in a month than just allotting a day in like once or twice a year? (which is like the exerting equivalent of performing 108 Sun Salutations randomly on a day!)

Without much ado, let’s get down to knowing how to set up a monthly curtain cleaning ritual. Don’t balk at it already! It involves no Herculean efforts just vacuuming. For that, you need upholstery attachment to clean the curtains overall and crevice tool (comes with a narrow nozzle) to clean the pleats of the curtains). Vacuum the front and back of the curtains– especially if you got a four legged baby in the house who is most likely to graze against the curtains when leaping or general goofing around. Always remember –regular, disciplined quick cleaning means less frequent thorough cleaning!

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( image Source : pinterest )

If your curtains smell funny–say moldy or incomprehensibly funky, then it’s time to get them out in the sun for some air drying. By that we don’t mean you to hang them in harsh sunlight – as it will be unmerciful to the color of your curtains. Look for a day when the sun isn’t shining brightly and it’s relatively dry and windy. You may want to give odor eliminators a try;however, it’s more of a temporary hack.

For heavy fabrics like velvet, chenille, heavy-weight jacquard, etc., go for steam cleaning. This is the best cleaning method for heavy curtains as it saves the time and energy of detaching them from the hardware. Ensure that you don’t wet the curtain too much.
You can clean your Roman blinds pretty much the same way –use the upholstery attachment and brush the blind from the top to the bottom. Focus your attention more on the lower end and sides of the blind as these are favorite dust spots – given their proximity to the sill and frame of the windows. In case of splotches or stains, go for a stain remover which is compatible with the fabric of the blind or you might end up having a markedly different looking patch on your blind.

Now comes the deep and thorough once in a year cleaning ritual –it’s the whole shebang. Right from removing the curtains from poles/rails, washing and drying through to putting them back in their position. The first thing you need to do is check the washing instructions properly–see if your fabric needs dry cleaning or hand wash, it’s something that you need follow strictly.

As for drying–the best way is to put them back in their place, flick on the fan or open your windows and let them dry naturally. If there are any vestiges of creases that you want to get rid of – go for a round of steam cleaning. Ah yes, one more thing – if your curtain heading has tape, make sure you secure the end with a firm knot or else, we hate to say it but your curtain heading will have come to naught.

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( image Source : pinterest )

As for blinds, again, follow the washing label. For through cleaning–you would need to take the blind down, carefully remove the cords and horizontal rods placed inside the lining. After washing, reassemble the blind and leave them in the pulled up position so that it can it sit back to its original place.

And, that’s that folks. We hope these small tricks help you minimize your window dressing quandaries and most importantly change your perception about cleaning them in the first place!

Happy cleaning!

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