It is no secret that I am a BIG fan of drapery! My clients will tell you that they have had many a creative discussion about their need for window treatments and, specifically, beautiful, flowing, airy, drapery. From major statement drapery to quiet, more supporting elements, window coverings play a major role in the interior design of a room.
I have often had a homeowner say they are not interested in drapes or they fear blocking a beautiful view with fabric. My response: drapes have a powerful impact on the overall design of a room and, depending on the vision for the design, can either be a mere softening element or take center stage. With a handsome tie-back, they will never detract from your view. To use drapes to their full potential, here are a few factors to keep in mind.
Before diving into colors and fabrics (my favorite part!), it’s important to have an idea of how the drapes should be installed. Oftentimes, I will take drapery all the way to the ceiling moldings, but the appropriate location will depend on your room. In the image below, the hardware is installed about 12” from the door casing and 6” from the crown. I also like to see a drape just “break” at the floor. If you have children or pets, you may want to hold the length about .5” from the floor for ease of cleaning. Or, if you want major drama, you may puddle the drape on the floor by adding 1” or more to the overall length.
In addition to the length, you may decide to have an overdrape with a sheer behind (like the image above) or just a sheer (like the image below), or just an overdrape (not shown). I love the versatility of an overdrape with a sheer. You can then have the ultimate amount of control over light admission. The sheer in the image above is a wonderful color and totally unexpected behind the crisp, white overdrape. Perfect for dramatic light control!
The sheer drapery in the image above allows for the perfect balance of privacy and light control. In this dining room, the windows are not perfectly centered but the incorporation of drapery helps to balance and hide this architectural detail. I also love the contrast of the iron hardware with the white walls. It breaks up the volume of the space and pulls the color of the front door into the room.
After deciding what type of drapery you may like (overdrape, sheers, or a combo), it’s time to decide on the exact fabric. While it’s easy to skip ahead to the fun part of selecting patterns and colors, selecting the right types of fabric first will determine the longevity and functionality of your drapes. For example, if the drapes will hang in direct sunlight for a large portion of the day, they may quickly fade over time. Never use 100% silk in the sun – it will literally disintegrate. A cotton or even a poly blend will hold up well.
Also, consider the thickness of the fabric. For a light, airy atmosphere, a sheer or delicately thin fabric would be lovely. For a room where you want to block sunlight – like a bedroom at 6:00 a.m. on a Sunday morning – even the lightest fabric can be black outlined. I highly recommend lining and inner-lining any drape (other than a sheer) for an elegant fullness.
Color and Pattern
Now it’s time to go crazy with color and pattern… or not! It’s up to you.
As I mentioned, the versatility of drapes can either support other pieces as a complementary design element or become a focal point of the room. Whichever route you take, I recommend experimenting with different options before settling on a design. I’ve certainly found myself falling in love with a color or pattern that I originally thought wouldn’t work but we went for it and it MADE the space.