Achieving a Formal Decorating Style with Draperies

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Are you drawn to the formal style of decorating seen in public buildings like the White House and Ritz-Carlton hotels?  Do you secretly wish for hand-laid herringbone-patterned hardwood floors, ornately carved plaster ceilings and wall decorations?  You’re not alone.  While homes today aren’t usually constructed with such fine architectural elements, there are some ways to incorporate a formal decorating style in your home with the right fabrics and draperies.

In today’s busy world, many homeowners underestimate the power of draperies in a room.  Draperies not only work hard at blocking light, sound, and the heat and cold, they also add tremendous personality to a room.  In order to achieve a formal decorating style in your home’s interiors you need to know which fabrics to choose and the proper length to create the formal mood you desire.

[singlepic id=498 w=320 h=240 float=right]While silk fabric, with its lustrous sheen and hallmark slubs, is considered socially obligatory for window treatments in the world’s finest homes, sunlight will fade silk over time and dry rot can occur.  Silk is not a good fabric for children’s rooms or where pets will stay.  Fortunately, you can still achieve a formal decorating style with affordable cotton fabrics that come in a wide variety of patterns and colors that are flame-retardant, stain-resistant, shrink-resistant and easily cleaned.  There are also cotton fabrics blended with polyester that make them hang better and block out more light.  Linen and linen polyester blends are also versatile fabrics that are moderately priced.  And for those who can’t resist silk, there’s Dupioni silk, a fabric ideal for formal settings that takes dye well and comes in many brilliant jewel tones.  Cotton, linen and Dupioni silk fabrics are the perfect fabrics for stationary panels or draw draperies in formal rooms.  Just be sure to use lining for draperies in sunny windows to avoid fading and dry rot.

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In a formal room your draperies should just touch the floor.  If you want a more romantic and elegant look, choose extra-long draperies that pool or puddle on the floor.  When curtains stop short of the floor they look awkward.  To solve the problem, simply lower the curtain rod, if possible.  When it comes to decorating windows, not all windows are created equal, with some more beautiful than others.  This is why draperies are an essential part of every room as they can solve a multitude of challenges with all sorts of windows.  If your window is too short, attach curtain rods just below the ceiling molding and hang long, to-the-floor draperies which will make the window appear more elegant and longer.  If your window is too long, add a deep cornice or valance above the draperies that have a bold horizontal pattern. You can also add a strongly contrasting louvered shutter.  If your window is too narrow, extend your curtain rod beyond the window and hang your draperies so they barely cover the frame.  You want to leave as much glass exposed as you can to make the narrow window appear wider.  And if your window is too wide, you can break up the space by hanging several panels across the window.  You can let your panels hang straight for privacy or tie them back in pairs to let in more light.

When it comes to creating a formal decorating style in your home’s interiors, cotton, linen and Dupioni silk fabrics are the best choice for floor length panels or drawn draperies.

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