Window Treatment Essentials

As Featured On EzineArticles

Keep this list in mind when considering the purchase of new window treatments.

1) Use proper linings: A standard cotton sateen lining is rarely enough support. Interlining with a flannel, bump or Apollo dim out is just about standard practice in my workroom. Even sheer fabrics are self- lined. Linings lend body, stability, luxury, longevity, and insulation benefits. It will increase the price, but considering how many years you will be enjoying your window treatments, it is well worth the upgrade. Your workroom or designer will know what will be the most suitable lining product. I have at least 10 bolts of different linings and interlinings that I use regularly, but of course, I do have my favorites!
2) Install at correct height: Drapery poles look fabulous installed just under the crown molding or at least half the distance between top of window and ceiling. Valances should also be lifted so that they are proportionally correct. (Depth of valance should be about 1/5 or 1/6 of total height). Drapery hem can clear the floor by ¼”, barely touch the floor, break 1” or 2”, or even puddle graciously. The design of your treatment will also influence the installation. The installer’s job is incredibly important and will make the difference between a spectacular appearance or an unfettered mess.
3) Consider layered treatments: The under treatment often serves the functional role of providing light control and privacy. The top treatment can then be integrated with the design elements of the room, softening and adding luxury with beautiful fabric and color. My favorite products for under layering treatments are sheer roman shades, sheer fabric blinds, and woven woods. Top them off with pleated panels on a French pole or sensational valances.
4) Integrate design: Decide whether the window treatment will be a distinctive focal point, accent a beautiful view, or blend with the various color and design elements of the room décor. If you know what “look” you are trying to achieve, selecting fabrics and designs will be much easier. Also, be realistic about your budget when planning the project. Custom window treatments are expensive, so ask your designer/fabricator what will provide the greatest value.
5) Pay attention to details: It is certainly the details that will elevate your window fashion to first class status. Special touches such as hand-sewn hems, micro-cording, French blackout lining, passementerie, and custom hardware finishes, will stylize your treatment. Other techniques that add interest are rouching, smocking, covered buttons, banding, tufting, and overlays. As a fabricator, I look forward to utilizing these techniques and helping to create a unique window design with couture styling. Utilizing two or three coordinating fabrics for one treatment also adds interest.

1) Skimp on fabric: One width of fabric will pleat to 20” and is appropriate when making a pair of panels for windows up to 38” wide. Larger windows will require at least 1.5 widths each side. Let the decorator or workroom determine the fabric yardage, because vertical and horizontal repeats have to be taken into account and is more difficult than you think to calculate. (For example: One pleated pair of drapery panels that are 96” in finished length, would require 7.5 yards of fabric if the vertical repeat is 27”.) Custom treatments utilize more fabric than you might estimate, and what you don’t need is to be short on yardage – a fabricator’s nightmare. If the fabric cost will break your budget, but you LOVE it, consider a soft or upholstered cornice, since it doesn’t require as much fabric as some other designs would.
2) Keep the old with the new: You would never wear sneakers with a prom dress, so don’t try and get away with a worn blind or shade that is topped with a beautiful new soft window treatment. This pairing never looks good. Great NEW products to consider are motorized blinds, shades and draperies. They are very easy to use and recommended for many applications (like two story windows) Definitely more costly (estimate $1200/per single window for a motorized shade), but if you have a gallery of windows with solar shades, they can be programmed to lower at a certain time of the day. How convenient is that!
3) Over-match paint and fabric: This will create a very uninteresting appearance. Once your color scheme has been chosen, don’t go flat by playing matchy- match. Experiment with subtle differences in a monochromatic plan, using similar values of analogous colors or perhaps higher contrast complementary colors. The tints, shades and tones of a pure color are many. Take a look at how the light shines in at different times of the day. These qualities will influence your choices.
4) Ignore the importance of decorative hardware: There are numerous artisans of decorative hardware who create works of art with carved wood and forged metals. It is important to incorporate these specialty poles, finials, and holdbacks when planning a window design. This is yet another way to highlight the special and unique character of your window fashion. Take advantage of what they have to offer.
5) Play it too safe: Your custom window treatments can do more to set the character of a room than just about any other decorative product in your home. Your investment in custom workmanship underscores your desire to surround yourself with beauty and live graciously. With some professional guidance, and a bit of self-analysis, you will be quite pleased with the results. Be sure to “color outside the lines” just enough to challenge your perspective. A new view of the world is always inspiring!