Window treatments are a lot more crucial to the overall look of any place than most people think. Aside from controlling the amount of light coming from the outside, they also protect your privacy while providing some amount of temperature and sound insulation, as well as helping bring attention to the beauty of your windows. The last can be major draw in certain rooms, especially if you have bay windows or bow windows in your house.
Getting drapes and curtains to properly suit your room requires more than just choosing the prettiest fabrics you can find. By knowing what it takes to hang drapes and curtains correctly, your windows won’t just look good, but also do well in terms of function. Check out these tips before you head out and purchase drapery hardware for your windows.
Rods should be higher and wider than your window
The window rods will be a big influence on how good your drapes and curtains will look once they’re in place. Always go for rods that are at least 8 to 12 inches wider than your window. Otherwise, your drapes and curtains will look cramped, making the window look narrow and constricted as well. In terms of function, a wider rod lets your drapes and curtains spread out a little wider than the window, ensuring full coverage if you want privacy or to prevent sunlight from getting in from the sides.
The same thing can be said when considering how high you want to place your curtains and drapes. Having your curtains up higher will give the illusion that your windows are actually taller than they are. Most people put the ideal rod height at around 4-6 inches above the top part of the window frame, but others may choose to have their rods closer to their ceiling than to the windows.
Keep drapes and curtains close to the floor
Have you ever seen someone wear pants that are too short for them? Poorly-fitted clothing looks awkward and just plain unattractive, and the same thing can be said of your window treatments. Short drapes and curtains rarely work because they make the windows look smaller. On the other hand, long, flowing fabric can make even a standard window look elegant.
This is where things get interesting: you can either have your drapes and curtains just barely touching your floor, or you can go all out and have the fabric “puddle” for a more classic look. The former is a good all-around option, but if you have high-quality fabric, you might want to go for the latter.
Don’t use curtains as drapes (and vice versa)
People unfamiliar with home design often assume that drapes and curtains are the same type of window treatments, but many professionals in the home improvement industry actually make a clear distinction between the two. Drapes are typically made of heavier, lined fabric while curtains are made of lighter fabric. Curtains are mostly used for decorative purposes because they cannot block light or provide as much privacy as drapes do.
What do these differences mean to you? It means you can’t expect to make curtains work as drapes and vice versa. We’ve seen our share of people trying to control natural lighting with very light curtains, and it just doesn’t work.
That said, having both drapes and curtains is a safe option, but if you only have to stick to one, you have to consider if drapes or curtains will suit that room’s needs. Curtains are great for smaller windows directly over shelves or in areas where natural lighting isn’t excessive, while drapes are better for larger windows or those that don’t have anything directly under them.
Use just enough drapes and curtains
Drapes and curtains look good, but only if there’s just enough fabric for each window. A very small window with a pair of drapery panels and curtain panels will look like it’s choking in fabrics even when fully opened, while a large window will look awkward if you’re using just one curtain panel to cover everything, especially when you decide to let the light in and the fabric is bunched in one side of the window.
Small windows can afford to have just one drapery or curtain panel, but larger ones need to have panels on both sides of their frames. When closed, the drapes or curtains should be able to cover up the window without looking too stretched (not enough fabric) or too bunched up (too much fabric).
Depending on the size of your windows, you may need to have your drapes or curtains modified to fit the window’s exact requirements, but that’s certainly better than just hoping everything will fit properly.
Knowing how to hang your drapes or curtains properly can have a big impact on how well they’ll look once you’ve finished installing them on your windows. If you’re still not sure where to begin, consider getting help from a professional interior designer or get inspiration from the many resources available online.