The Magic of Drapery Stack Back

Posted on August 3, 2012 in Blog

The Magic of Drapery Stack Back

Drapery stack back can completely fool the eye by adding height, drama and space where none exists. So, now I that I have your attention let me explain as I am sure most homeowner’s don’t even know what stack back is let alone how it is magical.

First, I should define this magical design element. Drapery stack back is the total width of a drapery panel when the drapery is opened and your window is in full view. Pretty benign until you add visual impact and creativity to design and voila it’s just like magic.


Here is a typical window. From an interior design perspective it is too small for the wall. The architect needed to match a look from the outside and now the interior designer has to compensate to make this element add to the beauty and function of the home. Leaving this window undressed, while the rest of the room has been decorated, makes it visually look even smaller and less in balance.


Unfortunately, here is what happens when most DIYers decide to add a window treatment. They focus on the small window and not on the whole room. DIYers are generally single task oriented versus project focused and that is why their efforts often don’t match their outcomes. The result is a greater emphasis on the small size of the window which is the exact opposite of what needs to happen.

Adding more means your eye will see more, so actually that is the avenue we need to take. However, we need to be more creative in what we design to visually add the impact that we want to create. We know the rule is adding will draw attention so, we carefully add a window treatment using the natural rules of the human eye to our advantage.


When a professional window treatment designer is given license to create a drapery this would be a more typical result. Note that the rod is placed to allow the draperies to stack back leaving most of the window pane area bare. This has the illusion of making the window look much larger. Even if you only add 4 to 6 inches of width the dramatic design impact is amazing.

The drapery rod has also been placed a few inches above the window frame and this does two key things. One, it adds height which is balance in this design. Second, it allows the gap between the rod and rings to expose the wall instead of the trim color. And since trim is often white this is another professional tip that makes design magic. This placement creates a more cohesive design especially considering most drapery fabrics are selected to work with the wall colors not the painted trim. Now, I have left out artwork and accessories in this case study so the window treatment will stand out. But even without the extra design elements this is a much more inviting and luxurious room.

Drapery stack back is one of the key design elements to making the most of a challenging window placement. Remember to think through the entire design challenge and try not to only focus on the obvious task.

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