Drapery Design Tips

Overwhelmed by the possibilities for dressing each of your windows? Here are some tips to winnow down the style choices according to what benefits you the most.

Every Window Has a Purpose: Each Drapery Has a Job

These draperies balance the room's proportions.

These draperies balance the room’s proportions.

Set aside your ideas about colors and fabrics and styles just for a moment to consider function. If you need treatments that provide privacy or total darkness then you need lined draperies. Lining adds to the cost of the drapery but has many advantages.

This photo on the left demonstrates how draperies can be used to balance a room’s proportions. The job of these drapes is to compensate for small windows in a large room. The bold stripes of the panel fabric help enlarge the windows. So does hemming the drapes to floor length instead of cropping them at the window sill, which would have been a mistake in this setting.  The top treatment (valance) is slim and paler in color, which transitions your gaze to the ceiling. 

Drapery Linings & Interlinings

Linings protect the curtain fabric from sun damage which makes the treatment last much longer. Linings add heft, protecting against draft and making the fabric drape more substantially and luxuriously.

Linings are intricate work

Linings are intricate work

Interlining is a layer of flannel-like material sewn between the lining and the “face fabric.” Interlinings are fabulous insulators, they muffle sound, and basically double all the other benefits of the lining: body, durability, light control, and heft.

Looking Fabulous Is a Job Too

Sometimes fancy, intricate linings and interlinings are not the thing to do. In some settings there’s nothing lovelier than sunlight filtered through a beautifully-textured fabric. Occasionally, curtains “are just window dressing.”

For more information about design, see Style & Form , Combining Treatment Types.