The first curtains were meant more to keep out the cold and were fashioned from animal skins. Advancements with flax and cotton meant that curtains in ancient Egypt could be made with these materials. In the Middle Ages, curtains served to both keep out the cold as well as provide privacy. Bed curtains for example, let the inhabitants in the bed to have some privacy in an otherwise public room. In the 1800s, style began to be associate with curtains and the rest is history. This article provides a guide to matching the curtain to the window.
Consider the room
The first step in matching the curtains to the window is considering the room in which the window is located. If the room is modern, then picking curtains of a more modern style will work well. If the window is in a room that is old fashioned, then curtains that match the style of the room would work better. In a colonial house or a cottage, plain-tabbed curtains would work better than elaborately patterned, Victorian-style curtains. The curtain poles should also be considered. These should match the style of the curtains. Curtain rods that draw attention to themselves are not what you would want.
Consider the window
The window must be taken into consideration as well. If the window is small, then picking curtains that would compliment it rather than overwhelm it would be best. You don't want to overwhelm the window with massive curtains hung on elaborate window poles. If you have bay windows, picking window fittings that would compliment them while still allowing in plenty of light will also be good.
Consider the length of the curtains
The length of the curtains should also be considered. If you have large windows that go from nearly floor to ceiling, then short curtains would not look in balance with the window. Having long, flowing curtains that reach the floor and perhaps puddles upon it would add to the appeal of the window itself. You may find with some windows that shorter curtains which end just below the sill would work best. This could be so in rooms that have radiators or heaters located just below the sill of the window. If the curtains rest upon the heater or cover the radiator, you run the risk of starting a fire with one and blocking the heat of the other.