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Windows not only determine how you look out into the world, they also set the mood for how you feel in a room. Functional, decorative, and architectural elements all play into your choice of fabrics and finishes… and the proper fabric, measurements and hardware are essential to complete a perfect window treatment.
The amount of light and privacy you desire makes a difference when choosing your window treatment fabrics. Think about how the room is used and how you want the sunlight to filter in throughout the day.
VELVET AND SILK work best for rooms in which less light and maximum privacy are preferred. They also preserve heat and block drafts. They drape in lustrous folds with a structured form and will frame a window in softness.
COTTON, CANVAS, AND LINEN provides moderate levels of privacy and light filtration.
VOILE, ORGANDY AND LIGHTWEIGHT SHEERS allow the most light to filter through and are suited to rooms where privacy is not needed. They complement a relaxed atmosphere and add a fresh, free-flowing feel of spaciousness. They also work well layered under a heavier drape to give you additional options for light filtration.
Even the way the drape attaches to the rod plays a part in the overall feel. Tailored pleats and hooks are a great stand-by when hanging drapery… but there are several other options you might want to consider….
A POLE POCKET Drape is one of the most formal options. They have a fabric casing along the top that can be slipped over a rod without the need for hooks or rings.
A RING TOP Drape is less formal than a pole pocket. Rings are sewn directly into the fabric or can be attached with clips. The rod slides through the rings.
A TIE TOP Drape is used for a breezy, casual look. They have fabric ties spaced along the top of the curtain and are then tied directly to a rod or rings.
A TAB TOP Drape is relaxed and understated. They have flat loops (or tabs) that are spaced along the top of the drape and the rod slips through these tabs.
Rods, finials and holdbacks are the finishing touches in hardware for your windows. Wooden hardware gives your window a classic look and pairs well with heavier drapes. Metal hardware is a bit more contemporary. A couple notes about RODS – they’re usually mounted 4" above the window but you can add height to a room by mounting the rod closer to the ceiling.
Now that you’ve chosen the fabric and the hardware, you’re ready to measure your windows for a perfect fit.
When measuring for the width of your window treatments - allow 1-3" on each side of the window for your drapes when they are completely open. Be sure to consider the extra wall space needed for decorative finials, because rod dimensions don’t include this length. For low light-filtration, mount the curtain rod 6" above the trim and allow the rod width to extend 3" beyond the window’s actual width.
When measuring for the desired fullness of your draperies; take the window’s width and multiply it by 1 (for a tailored treatment), by 1.5 (for a standard treatment) or by 3 (for a full treatment). For example, if you want a full, rich look and the window is 70" wide, you’ll need 210" of drapery width (that’s 70" x 3).
When measuring for the length of your draperies, decide whether you want the drape to fall above the window sill, below the window sill or to the floor. And… if you’d like longer drapes that pool on the floor in luxurious folds for added drama, add 6-8'' to the length measurement.
For more information on measuring and choosing window treatments, click here.
Remember, windows not only determine how you look out into the world, they also set the mood of the room. So the next time you decide to “just hang a set of curtains”, take a little extra time and consider some of these suggestions.