WINDOW TREATMENT Decorating Tips:
Privacy Issues – Sun & Ultra-Violet Concerns
Fabric Content – Style & Design
Quick Lace Curtain Terms Guide – Bay Windows – Window Type -
Curtain Info – Drapery Info – Pinch Pleats -
Combination Treatments – Pinch Pleats – Pinch Pleats
Lace/sheer fabric should not be used alone where privacy is a must. Fortunately, lace/sheer fabrics can be installed over shades and blinds and look terrific.
Sun and Ultra-Violet Concerns:
Drapery curtains softly filter light but not the harmful ultra-violet rays that can damage fine furnishings. This includes furniture, both wood and upholstered, floors and rugs, as well as the art on your walls. In most instances, this is not a problem. However, wherever the light bothers you for a period of time daily, and for most of the year, this could be a potential problem. There are many possible solutions including windows with built-in protection, products that can be applied to your windows, and protective window treatments such as fabric sheers, shades or blinds. Some fabric has an UV protective additive. This will help the curtains last longer, but will not protect any furnishings.
Drapery curtains are usually made from either polyester or cotton with some polyester added. There are very few items made today that are totally cotton. The term “polyester” has had a “bad” reputation, remembering the stiff polyesters of the past. However today’s polyesters have come a long way. They are soft, very easy to clean, and very durable. (Not to mention – good-looking!) Polyesters can even be made to have the look and feel of fine leather.
As with any fiber, there are varying grades and types of polyester. You can still find the less costly drapery fabric and other products that have that yucky feel. Some drapery fabrics are “memory” polyesters that will retain their “drape” after washing.
Most cotton-content drapery fabric is either cotton or cotton-rich made You will be hard-pressed to actually find or feel the polyester fibers in some drapery fabrics. The polyester adds durability and aids in shape retention. Fabric Drapery Curtain stretchers have been regulated to the antique collectors! (For those of you too young to remember, curtains were washed and mounted on stretchers to dry. The edges of the curtains were slipped over tiny pins, top, bottom and sides and the rack was adjusted to hold the curtain taunt to keep its shape as it dried.)
The Valance is a short top treatment. It can be used alone or with tiers or over panels. Use as many as you need for wide windows. Each piece fits windows generally 27″ to 48″ wide. Some Valances are shaped like short swags.
Tiers are used on the bottom half of the window, if desired. The 24″ Tier can also be used as a longer top treatment. Each tier generally fits a window 27″ to 48″ wide. Tiers are generally one piece but can be made into two.
The Swag Pair is a top treatment for a single window. There is a left and right piece. One swag pair fits windows 27″ to 58″ wide. The valance/insert or festoon can be inserted between the swag pair for wider windows or a fuller look. There are One Piece Swags which have to used in multiples for wider windows. Swags can be combined with tiers or panels.
To appreciate the full beauty of Fabric Panels, use one for each window 27″ to 48″ wide. They can be used alone or with top fabric treatments. You can hang them to the sill, below the sill, to the floor, or puddled on the floor. If you would like to tie them back, you will need 2 panels and tie backs.
If your bay has the narrow windows on the ends with a wider window in the center, the swag pair is a good choice. The left piece goes in the left bay and the right piece in the right bay. The valance/insert or festoon goes in the center. This keeps the fullness pretty even.
Style & Design:
Patterns are not written in stone and most patterns will adapt to almost any style category. Much depends on your furnishings and what you wish to highlight and decorate with. Be adventourous.
Many fabric patterns will do well in any country, traditional, comtemporary or Victorian setting. Long curtain panels lend towards a more formal setting, while sill length is more casual. Lace curtains belong in the Arts & Crafts style, or even Art Deco.Laces are exceptional in designs, they suit their purpose, and serve you well for many years.
Consider how your window opens and make sure that your treatment won’t interfere with how your window functions. For example, vertical shades may not be the best choice for a window that opens horizontally.
Curtains are typically lightweight, unlined, and suspended from a rod by simple tabs, rings, or a rod-pocket casing. Most can be drawn back by hand to create a simple, casual-looking window treatment.
Basic curtain panels are easy to make and install. They may cover the full length of the window or reach from ceiling to floor. Lining the panels and adding decorative accessories and top treatments can make curtains look as elegant as any drapery panel.
Cafe curtains cover only the lower portion of the window, allowing light and views through the top half of the window.
Panels shirred on rods at both the top and bottom are somewhat stationary and are good solutions for swinging doors and for casement windows that swing in.
Normally lined, pleated, and floor-length, drapery panels often attach by hooks to a traverse rod. A cord mechanism that hangs behind either the left or right panel draws both of the panels open and closed.
Because of the way a traverse rod works, drapery panels don’t always retract as compactly as curtain panels do, so if a window has minimal wall space around it, you may want to consider curtains or another type of treatment.
Before you purchase draperies, check their stackback, the technical term for the width of a window treatment when fully retracted. Very wide windows require more fabric, resulting in a wider stackback. In this case you’ll need to increase the length of the traverse rod to keep the stacked fabric from covering the window glass when the drapes are fully open.
Because draperies are typically pleated and more tailored in appearance, they generally lend a more traditional look to a decorating scheme. However, newer pleating styles can offer a more updated and casual look for contemporary interiors. Look for fan pleats attached to simple rods with clips and rings.
Fabric selections can dress a drapery panel either up or down. Velvet, damask, and silk generally require a more traditional or formal room, while linen and cotton fabrics offer a more casual look.
Outfitting your windows has never been easier. Whether you choose treatments that are custom- or ready-made, or some of each, you can combine practical options, such as shades and blinds, with attractive top treatments or side panels to create a personal look.
Combination treatments can also give you more freedom to manipulate the perceived size and shape of your windows. An inside-mount shade, for example, emphasizes the actual size of the window. Mounted outside the frame, the same treatment can make a window appear larger.
Traditional pinch pleats take three folds of fabric sewn together for a pleat that fans out on the top and bottom. This drape gets extra interest from a sewn-in valance header with tassel fringe.
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