Interior Designer’s Top 5 Drapery Dilemmas to Avoid

Posted on September 6, 2011 in Blog

Interior Designer’s Top 5 Drapery Dilemmas to Avoid

You’ve bought all the latest design magazines. You’ve pored over them for weeks or even months at a time admiring the transformation each decorating makeover has achieved. Then, without creating a design plan you jumped in and bought ‘ready made’ window treatments that were on sale. And now you hate the way they look. They just don’t look like what you imagined and certainly not like the picture on the package!

The good news is that you can easily achieve the look you want by eliminating some common mistakes before you purchase custom window treatments .

As an Award Winning Designer of Custom Window Treatments, I consider these concepts day in and day out when I’m designing for my clients. So, hopefully with a bit of preplanning you figure it out ahead of time.

1. Drapes on a Budget

The beauty of draperies is in the fabric and the fullness which means that wide 54 inch flat fabric will be around 22 to 24 inches once pleated. This is why they fold and fall so beautifully. Now if you put up skimpy draperies, they scream ‘skimpy budget’. If you’re watching your budget, you can get away with a less expensive fabric. However make sure there’s adequate fullness in the draperies. That’s another reason why planning ahead will allow you better, lasting results. And, if you are not sure how much fabric you need then ask a professional before you purchase. Custom draperies require at least 16 inches just for the header and hems, 2 to 4 inches of width for sideseams and then their is the fabric repeat to consider not to mention the overall length.


2. A Short Story

Short draperies take me back to college days and my very first apartment. The drapes ended just below the sill. The hems were uneven, it looked like they ran out of fabric and they were just awful! Proportion is important to remember when designing window treatments. If the situation warrants having a short treatment, change from a drapery to a fabric shade instead, like a roman shade or one of the fabulous new fabric roller shades because I think you will like the finished look much better.

3. Tab Tops Sitting Pretty

When’s the last time you saw a tab-top or grommet drapery in a magazine or model home? They look great don’t they all stacked back on either side of the window, just sitting there looking pretty. The trick is when you try to close them. The tabs at the top of the drape get jumbled up together and don’t slide across the rod very well. And my other pet peeve is when they are hung too low and the window trim is peaking through – very cheap looking. Save the tab-top draperies for decorative panels and select another style of treatment when you need to close your drapes for privacy or sun control.

4. Wimpy Rods

Expandable rods are the ones that show a size range on the package. It may say something like ‘expandable from 86″-128″‘. One problem with these types of rods is they typically come in smaller diameters (1/2″, 5/8″, 7/8″) which don’t suit larger windows. When the diameter of the rod is too narrow it can bow in the middle. Secondly, if you want to use rings it can be difficult to get the ring over the bump where the rods join. To use these rods choose a window treatment that is decoration only and not too wide. Trust me, I have done this thousands of times and a expandable rod is not your friend.

5. Inside or Bust

Often times I have extensive conversations with my clients about the best place to install shades. Inside or out? Shades mounted inside the window provide a clean, finished look. However, they also can take up a significant amount of your window’s glass space because of the size of their stack – think of a wood blind being pulled up daily . This can take away part of your view and reduce the natural light in the room. So it’s important to understand how you will be using a shade everyday before you decide on the product. There are seemingly endless product options but make sure the product works for you and not the other way around.

These are my Top 5 Drapery Delimmas to Avoid – what about your experiences? Anything you would add to my list to ensure your Design Plan becomes your Design Dream  …. Your feedback is appreciated.

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