I am a cutter (and I don’t mean emotional). I obsessively collect swatches of fabric, trim, and cord. Some might classify me as a hoarder except that my OCD keeps everything attractively labeled and boxed neatly. No longer able to fit in my office space, car, or guest room closets, storage space has become the viable solution.
In the last five or six years, I have noticed that most clients tend to go for a cleaner, simplified look especially when it comes to window treatments. Gone are the elaborate chintzes and mix of prints made famous by Hadley Parish or Mario Buatta.
Instead shutters, roman shade, and fabric panels on decorative rods add a quiet enhancement instead of creating a focal point. I am a firm proponent of curtains in certain rooms (living, master, kitchen, and always the dining). I prefer the less is more philosophy but I do miss the swags, cascades, and jabots over a puddled floral print that dominated interior design for so many years.
If attempting a DIY project (though I think this is an area where the professionals excel), here are a few tricks of the trade to give your draperies that appropriate POP instead of that STORE BOUGHT CRAP you see at every Joann’s, Home Goods, and Bed, Bath, & Beyond. (Nothing makes a decorator or home stylist more queasy than cheap curtains, fake plants, or wall prints hung too high).
1. If choosing simple panels for your room, decide on a header such as a French pleat, goblet, grommet, or inverted. These are usually gathered about 4″ from the top of the window treatments.
2. Use at least 1 &1/2 widths of fabric for each side of the windows (store bought are often a width and seem incomplete especially when dealing with larger panes of glass.
3. Make sure to add a 4 to 6″ self line to the drape. That prevent one from seeing the white/off white of normal lining.
4. Most fabrics are 54″ in width but don’t forget the pattern repeat.
5. Hang them high, as close to the ceiling as possible. This creates a more substantial look as well as the illusion of height.
6. If putting curtains over blinds, make sure to allow for the additional depth.
7. Don’t forget your return (whether an inside or outside horizontal blind or drape). It completes the look by addressing the sides.
8. Valances and cornices tend to look terrific in kitchen/breakfast areas as well as kid’s rooms. Add cording, welting, or fringe for a finished shape.