Decorating & Design - Window Treatments

Choosing drapery

Dress your windows in style by choosing curtains that are simple and elegant.

Shelley Levy of the Walls Windows Furnishings Association in Toronto says, "When decorating, draperies may be one of the last elements to be chosen. The tremendous choice of fabrics makes it easier to treat them as the final thing."

She notes that the window itself is the most important part of the treatment. If you want to make a window seem larger, you can run drapery along a track or on a rod past the window, along the wall. You can de-emphasize a window by choosing a fabric that won't stand out against the wall colour. Mounting draperies as close to the ceiling as possible will help make the ceiling seem higher.

Coordinating draperies with throw cushions may be less "matchy" than trying to repeat the fabric on other pieces of furniture. Designer Scott Yetman says, "In design, nothing should be an afterthought. I did a project recently in which the drapery fabric was considered as important as the artwork."

Ready-made versus custom
Most designers advocate having draperies custom-made, but if you can sew, there are many instruction books available, although the results might not be as impressive. Sharon Templeton of Drapes and More in Toronto says, "With ready-made drapery, you're limited in the sizing. Many new homes have nine-foot-high ceilings -- ready-mades tend not to be long enough. They're usually not as full or rich-looking and may not be lined."

Choosing your own fabric, rather than buying a ready-made drapery, also enables you to make coordinating cushions or cover a chair with the same material. With custom-made draperies, you can also ensure that the lining coordinates from one room to the next so that there's a continuous look from the outside of your home. Custom draperies do, however, tend to be more expensive than ready-mades.


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