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5 Tips When Selecting Drapery

Drapery or curtains? Whatever you call them, finding the right ones can be challenging. Whether you want to cozy up your living room, are looking to add a bit of drama to your dining room or are in need for some blackout curtains in the bedroom, adding the perfect curtains to any room can be a great way to make your space feel finished. drapery can be a great way to add style and elegance to your space. Choosing the right type for your space can be tricky. Here is a quick guide with my top tips to make the process a bit easier.

Woven wood shade, custom drapery, linen sofa, neutral living room, coffee table styling, layered pillows
Here we layered woven wood shades with rich drapery for the perfect look!

1) What curtain fabric is right for the space?

First and foremost you need to select the right fabric. The fabric you choose for your drapery is crucial. Consider the style of your room and choose a fabric that complements it well. There are many options out there but a great place to start is looking at the natural light that comes into your room and decide the amount of light you want to let in and how much you would like to keep out. Drapery can come in very light fabrics such as sheer curtains which will let as much light in as possible and give you that light, airy feel to the room, to much heavier fabrics with blackout lining which will make you feel as though you are in a high end hotel and have no clue what time of day (or night) it is. Oh, and they also come many option in between.

The best curtains start with the best fabric for the job. So, first things first... decide how much light is right. Take a look at your room and decide what the function is and what direction your windows face. Is there a ton of direct sunlight in your home office midday preventing you from seeing the computer? If you are shopping for bedroom curtains, you may want to block as much light as possible for that perfect night sleep. In a living room you may want to let as much light in s possible and choosing sheer fabrics may be the way to go. So deciding the right amount of light isa good starting point in finding the right curtains for the space.

Consider the Maintenance

Considering the cleaning requirements and maintenance of your drapery is always better to do prior to purchasing. Some fabrics require special care and you would be better off knowing that up front rather than figuring it out after you're trying to clean a stain. Choose a fabric that fits your lifestyle as well as the level of maintenance you are willing to undertake.

2) Size Matters - choose the right length and width

Many people know that length matters but did you know the width makes a big difference too? I see a lot of people hang their drapery the exact width of the window and this is a big mistake. If you hang your drapery outside window, covering some wall and just barely covering the window, the width of your window will appear so much bigger because you aren't covering any of it with drapery.

Here's another pro tip: Hint: you can make a room feel more balanced if by 'cheating' your window. This is a trick we interior designers use all the time. Is the window off-set in the room? If so, you can have the drapery fabric stack live on the opposite side. Is the window a focal point and perfectly balanced in the space? That's a great window to have a balanced picture frame look.

Also take a look at your window frame. Do you have large windows with not much wall space on either side or do you have smaller windows that you want to appear bigger?

As for length, go high. Higher than you think. Another common mistake I often see is hanging drapery directly on top of the window. This brings your eye down and makes your ceiling height appear shorter. If you bring your curtain panels higher, like inches away from the ceiling, your eye goes up and the room instantly seems taller. In between sizes? It is always better to get the drapery panels longer and then bring them to a seamstress or cleaners to have them remove the extra inches of fabric. Bottom line: the right curtain length makes a huge difference to the overall look of the room.

Custom drapery, gallery wall, large artwork, Kipton sofa, roller shade
We added drapery to one side of this window layered over a light filtering roller shade.

3) Pleats are always in

Don't neglect to choose the right finish on the top of the drapery. The top of the drapery really dictates the overall look of the room. Common available options are grommet (please don't use these - they look like shower curtains), tab tops which tie over the drapery rod and gives the drapery a bit more of a casual look (think 'cottage' feel) and our beloved pleats. There are numerous types of pleats to choose from: pinch pleat, pencil pleat, euro pleat, inverted pleat. Pleat styles are really a personal preference. The more intricate the pleat, the more traditional look you will have. Simple pleats give you a more modern look. Many of my client s prefer simple euro or pinch pleats. They are simple and have a tailored look that is perfect in every space.

Regardless of your preferred pleat, always use drapery rings. Some curtains will come with a pocket or tab in the back of the panel but please do not use that to put your curtain rod through. Instead, utilize drapery pins and rings for a truly professional look.

4) Price Point

Custom Drapery

The price of drapery can vary tremendously. Custom window treatments are an investment but are the perfect option for someone who is looking for a specific fabric, pleat style, length and width. If you are planning on living in your home for years and years to come, custom curtains can transform your space in a way that ready-made curtains just can't.

Quick-ship semi-custom drapery

These are made by bigger fabric companies and can only be ordered through trade sources. They have limited fabrics but more options in height and width and are great quality. If you are looking for simple linen curtains but want a beautiful pinch pleat option, semi-custom may be the way to go. (Don't worry, we can help you order these if you're interested in this option.)

Pottery barn drapery, diy drapery, diy curtains, pottery barn curtains, pottery barn chair, fresh flowers, woman on ladder
Sometimes you’ve just gotta hang your own!

Store bought drapery

There are absolutely good brands out there for store bought options. There are so many different styles of drapery online and in store, the best way to ensure you get what you want is to try and see the fabric in person. Keep in mind all of the important factors from above: select the right kind of fabric, try to get the as close as possible to the perfect length, and don't forget your pleats.

5) The jewelry aka hardware

Drapery hardware is like jewelry. The right hardware can add style and elegance to your space. It can be simple and understated or it can be an integral part of the overall look and feel. When choosing the right curtain rod for the space, be sure to look around the room. People used to think your drapery hardware needed to be the same as their door hardware. Now it is perfectly acceptable and even preferable to mix it up. Do you have black accents throughout the space? Did you just add a gold light fixture as a focal point of the room? Whatever your choice, just be sure it looks great along with the fabric you chose for your new curtains.

By carefully considering your functionality, fabric, length, hardware and maintenance you will choose the perfect drapery for your space!

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