Roof drapes are a fantastic way to add style to your conservatory while reducing glare and enhancing insulation, making the space more comfortable and inviting.
So, what is the best method for making and installing conservatory roof drapes? If you are comfortable with DIY and confident with a tape measure, it’s a project most people can take on.
What Materials Will You Need to Make Conservatory Roof Drapes?
To keep the sun from over-heating your conservatory, blackout material for your drapes, to provide shade are a good idea. Try not to pick anything too heavy as it will be harder to hang thicker material.
For privacy, a light net curtain would be a good pick. Be aware that prolonged exposure to strong sunlight will discolour net curtains.
Apart from the fabric you have chosen for your conservatory ceiling drapes, what else will you need for a successful installation?
Measuring up For Conservatory Roof Drapes
The general rule for curtains and drapes is that whatever the size of the opening, the material required should be double that.
For example, if your conservatory is 3.5 metres long (11 feet, four inches) the material for the drapes should be 7 metres (or 22’, 4”) for it to give a pleasant effect, and not seem stretched across the space.
One of the key dramatic effects of roof drapes is the inverted arch. The low sweep they make as they hang across the roof space adds a special something.
Phone a Friend
To get an idea of how much material you will need to deliver the effect you desire use a long cloth tape. Get a friend to hold one end at the highest point and another to hold it at the lowest.
Adjust the tape until it matches the curve of the drape that you are looking for and make a note of the measurement. Add 100mm or 4 inches for hemming.
Measure Twice, Cut Once
Once you know this measurement, check that it will still work at two other points on the conservatory roof. Sometimes in older buildings, the conservatory may not be entirely square anymore, or it may have been built to a bespoke shape to fit your house.
Either way, it is always a good idea to check!
Curtain Hooks and Eyes
A set of net curtain hooks and eyes, twinned with a spool of wire, is probably the most versatile, and inexpensive way to install roof drapes. The cable can be cut to any length, while the hooks and eyes hold the material under tension, top and bottom.
IKEA can supply a smart stainless steel curtain wire system that can give your conservatory roof drape project a clean, professional look. Recommended for areas where the bottom of the drapery is most visible i.e., over a door leading to the garden.
Extendable net curtain rods are ideal. They are great for gathering the bottom of the drapes over the side windows. They are usually sold with self-adhesive hooks.
While DIY stores do sell self-adhesive mounts for curtains and drapes, the glue never lasts long when exposed to extremes of heat and cold. In the summer, your drapes may well end up on the floor if you use this method!
What Tools Will You Need to Fit Conservatory Roof Drapes?
If you were considering fitting a new curtain rail anywhere else in the house, you would probably require the same list of tools.
A step ladder
Adequate access to the highest point of the conservatory ceiling is essential. It’s not worth thinking a chair will do. Most conservatory ceilings will still be out of reach.
Short step ladders are not expensive. Buy one that folds flat for easy storage. It will likely come in handy around the home for many other tasks i.e., hanging seasonal decorations.
A cordless drill/screwdriver
Whether the conservatory is UPVC or hardwood, you will need a cordless drill and a pilot drill bit, to be able to install the fixings that hold up the drapes.
How to Install Conservatory Roof Drapes
The style of the conservatory where you want to fit drapes will inform the method. Lean-to conservatories are probably the simplest to drape, then gabled, and finally, bay-ended.
Lean-to Conservatory Roof Drapes
The drapes for a lean-to conservatory are probably the simplest to install. Simply measure the length of the roof span, from end to end.
Check how much space there is between the top of any openings on the wall the lean-to conservatory is built onto. If there’s room, then you could install a traditional curtain pole to take the top of the drapes.
At the top of the vertical conservatory windows there will be a small area where you might already hang nets or curtains. With roof drapes, if there is insufficient space, you can fix the net rods, or wires to the glazed roof frames.
Net rods and cables are fine for lightweight material up to about 600mm, or two feet. Heavier material will require supports at more regular intervals, from 300mm, or one foot.
Gabled Conservatory Roof Drapes
A gabled conservatory will have a shorter run from top to bottom for the conservatory roof drapes, but the central ridge will give the drapes a wonderful symmetry.
Also, the central ridge at the top of the roof should give you plenty of options for fixings. Use a robust steel hanging system, such as the aforementioned IKEA product. Fit a centre fixing every 500mm, or 18 inches, to take the top of the drapes.
Bay End Conservatory Roof Drapes
Many conservatories have a rounded Victorian-style bay end with triangular roof windows. To get the right width of material for these roof sections you will need to measure the widest point.
If doubled, it could mean that the material is excessively gathered at the top. If this is the case multiplying by 1.5 will likely give a better result.
If you have a fan or light fitting then you will need to leave some safety clearance. Light bulbs can get hot. Make sure you leave a gap of at least 6 inches between an exposed bulb and any material.