Drapery Dos and Don’ts

dwell white curtains

Draperies can make a room with a bold statement or act as a subtle, elegant background element. Window treatments should complement the flooring and furnishings while also functioning to control light and privacy. Due to their longevity, there are lasting benefits to hanging the right draperies correctly. We’ve assembled a few drapery “Dos” and “Don’ts” so you can make the most of your drapery and curtain choices.

Drapery “Don’ts”

Don’t Choose Curtains Last

A common mistake that many people make is to choose curtains or drapes last. In fact, they should be part of the design from the beginning. Draperies can help guide the color choices in the room, and they can help set the tone for the design. You can’t change the color of draperies or curtains, but it is easy to match the color with paint! Choose curtains first, and you will come out ahead.

Don’t Hang Draperies Too Low

One of the biggest mistakes in hanging draperies is to hang them too low on the window or right across the top of the window. For the best look, the rod should be well above the top of the window, creating a floor-to-ceiling height that pleases the eye. Hanging draperies higher helps make a room seem larger.

Don’t Short the Curtain Rod Length

To cover your window in a way that looks great and allows for the curtains to be pulled back, you want to have a curtain rod that is wider than the window. A good rule of thumb is to allow 12 to 16 inches of width on either side of the window, depending on the size of the window.

Figuring out your stackback is also crucial in knowing how wide to go on either side. The leading edge of the drapery should clear the glass of the window, so knowing how much space you need for the fullness of your drape to stack back off the glass is imperative. So, measure well and consider long curtain rods that are sturdy enough to hold up your draperies.

Drapery “Dos”

Choose Quality Draperies

Quality material and hardware will last longer, provide the strength required to hold up drapes and look better in your designed room. Request samples of the fabric you are considering so you can check the quality as well as the color. A sturdy curtain rod will be necessary, and the hardware to hold the rod should also be good quality so it can endure years of use. Check for the type of material and how rods are finished. Making sure you have a reliable installer using proper technique for the type of drapery hardware, can make or break your treatment longevity as well.

Go Long, High and Wide

This isn’t your mother’s room, so be sure to go longer, higher and wider than the window. It will probably mean that the treatments end up taller than you think. You will be happier with treatments that thoroughly cover the window and add height to the room. Add at least 6 inches to either side and the top of the window—possibly even more for large windows. When deciding on curtain width, consider two times the width of the window to be the minimum size.

Create Fullness

Continuing with the previous tip to add width to your drapery size, you create fullness in the draperies by adding to the width. Multiply the width of the opening you want to cover by 2x up to 2.5x to ensure you have curtains that look beautiful and full when closed rather than flat on the window. Even if you have decorative, non-closable drapery having the correct fullness to give the illusion they are functioning drapery is an important detail to the overall design of the room. 

Iron Your Draperies

Having freshly pressed curtains or draperies is a simple, but incredibly important finishing detail. Be sure to iron your draperies to ensure they look their very best. A clothing or drapery steamer can be rented or purchased to make the job much easier when you first install the drapes—and in future years. Training your drapery pleats at the beginning will help your hard work last longer too. Once they have been steamed and pressed, loosely tying a cloth around the middle and bottom of the treatment will prevent any flaring at the bottom, and result in a clean straight hang.

If you aren’t confident in measuring, choosing, and hanging draperies, contact Dwell Home Furnishings and Interior Design for a consultation. We can make your windows delight you rather than distract you from your interior design!

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