October 13, 2021
3 Min. Read

Behind the curtain

Dressing your windows in style

Who can resist the draw of curtains? Read here what’s en vogue, keeps heat, light and curious neighbours at bay – and is available in Zanzibar and Tanzania.

By Itika Killimbe

Drapery is fun. But some residents in Fumba Town don’t want curtains at all, for two reasons: ”I just love to look straight out of my window onto the sea”, says Doreen Myers, happily living in one of the third-floor apartments. “At night I simply let the outdoor shutters down to block people from looking in”, adds a tenant of a popular town house. However, opting for blank windows has some disadvantages: It leaves your house feeling “naked”  - and let’s the sun it

Whether simple or sophisticated, drapery is not only about covering the window. “Curtains make a room cosy. They instil character and value in an apartment or house”, knows Katty Harthy, interior design expert at Dolson Interiors. For more than 15 years the furnishing house in Dar es Salaam has been regarded as one of Tanzania’s most professional interior design companies.

“Living room curtains make a home look finished; they are a decoration in and of themselves”, says Harthy. “Also choose the right curtain hardware and accessories to add sophistication to your windows. For instance, complement your curtain with a simple yet modern, or with a more traditional and intricate design rod, and it will make all the difference.”

What are the latest curtain trends?

In 2021, designers prefer natural materials, such as silk and linen or pure cotton, as well as natural prints. Ruffles and frills are no longer trendy - unless you want shabby or granny chic (and why not, it’s up to you!). ‚Biophilic design’ is another buzzword. It means creating a home that’s more connected with nature (in that respect look out for a first Fumba Town “Home Story”in the  coming  edition, which will feature a most amazing jungle house right here in Zanzibar!) Nature-inspired prints such as floral, animal or bamboo designs are popular and belong in that ‘biophiolic’ category.

What colour?

Off-whites, creams and stony greys as well as rusty tones are comforting. Earth-inspired tones are versatile and subtle. Tanzanians go for green at the moment, says Dorson’s Katty Harthy. “A dark velvet green or a light spring green are colours which come with positivity”, she knows, „they pop out.“ 

The ideal length for a curtain?

While it is fashionable to have curtains tipping on the floor or even generously beyond, experts recommend ½ inch above the floor for free hanging curtains since this allows for mopping and cleaning while creating the illusion that the curtain touches the floor. Steer clear of short curtains. They feel dated and can make the window feel smaller.

How to measure?

Measure the width of the rod or window from left to right. A common rule says curtains should be at least twice the width of your window to achieve a look of proper fullness. 

Blinds or curtains?

Deciding on curtains or blinds depends on what is under the window. A desk or a bed? Then blends are ideal. Narrow, high windows or small kitchen windows also call for blends. 

What keeps the sun out best ?

Blackout and room-darkening curtains are a good option. Curtains that have a higher thread count tend to block out the sun better

Costs per metre window front?

First choose between custom-made or off-the-shelf curtains, the latter of course is cheaper. Even kangas generously measured and stitched together can be a casual, airy option. Leave them in pairs for that. Our mothers still believed that a quality curtain must come with a lining but today you may do without, for example with semi-transparent cotton curtains. Costs range literally  from one to 200 dollars per metre depending on fabric, design and opulence. Some designs are more sleek and minimalistic; others more folded and elegant. The more and thicker the material, the higher the cost. Also consider the rods. Some are designed for big, heavy drapes capable of withstanding weight, some can hang multiple drapes from the same rod.


Shopping for decoration

  • Dolson Interiors

3 Chole Road, Masaki, Dar es Salaam


+255 684 911 111


Curtains, blinds, wallpaper, upholstery – customer support includes site visits, measurements and instalment for the price of $100.

  • Suma General Store

Darajani, Zanzibar

Wide range of fabrics

Related Articles

March 31, 2021
3 mins.

Two Fumbas - One Idea

Find out all about new exciting seaside developments just outside Zanzibar city It’s all happening on the Fumba peninsula: Two major real estate developments creating modern living space with holiday flats and permanent family homes near the overcrowded capital. By ANDREA TAPPER Both aspiring seaside communities, started in 2015/16, fascinate locals as well as a […]
read more
October 13, 2021
5 mins.

Doors, teapots and lace blouses

On the vintage shopping trail with 4 great stops Where neither Gucci nor Zara Home are to be found, second-hand goods for home and beauty are an alluring alternative. Discover hidden vintage gems outside Stone Town with guide Said.  The teapot with a coral-coloured flower pattern, stamped “Mason’s China” on the bottom, is lovely but […]
read more
October 13, 2021
2 mins.

Inside Fumba Town

True stories of new residents “Zanzibaris care for each other” Single and a Swahili student, Sarah Bennet, 27, from Pennsylvania moved to Fuma Town because it’s affordable and safe. You seem to have one of the best views in town… Yes, from my little apartment on the second floor I can see right over the […]
read more
September 28, 2021
2 mins.

Already a green warrior at 20

“Not everybody has to study” insists Maliha Sumar and chose a different green career instead. Only 20 years old, Tanzanian born Maliha Sumar has already done her fair share in saving the world. She fought against climate change, collected plastic garbage, joined the boat activists of “Flipflopi” in Mwanza, who sailed from Lamu in Kenya […]
read more

Are you looking for a property in Zanzibar?

We can help you in every step of the way

Whatsapp Us