If you’ve ever looked through interior design magazines and oohed and ahhed over the draperies, then you are not alone. Window treatments are not easy to install, particularly to get them to look like they are professionally hung, but there is a way to achieve this effect.
The hardware that accompanies draperies and curtains is often the most difficult to determine, particularly in terms of how much fabric is required. Most designers find what they like and stick with it, as with the following hardware, which is used most often:
- ⅝” or ¾” wrought iron rod with decorative ends, or finials, in which the rod either separates in the center or one of the end pieces screw off
- End bracket
- Center bracket
- Double bracket, if using sheer curtains also
- One inch rings
- C-rings, which are used in lon windows so that the drapes close past the center brackets
While hardware colors vary, it’s best to stick with antique black or perhaps an antique gold finish. Choosing anything else may result in the attention being drawn away from the drapes themselves and to the hardware, which is secondary.
Typically, interior designers use O-rings to attach the drapes to the rod and simple metal drapery hooks to connect the drapes to the O-rings. When inserting the drapery hooks into the fabric, be sure to place them low enough so that the fabric hides the hook when it is attached to the O-ring or it will look messy and unprofessional.
The finials, or end pieces, come in a variety of sizes and shapes and is a matter of preference.
The rod can be either ⅝” or ¾” in diameter. The first is a solid piece and is used most often. The ¾” rod is hollow and should only be used if the window is greater than ten feet in height, the ceiling is high, or the drapes themselves are heavy.
Adjustable rods are not recommended, particularly for wider windows. The rod will be thinner on one half of the window, making the curtains hang differently. No matter the adjustments you make, you will never get your drapes to hang straight using an adjustable rod.
When determining the length of your rod, consider extending the drapes at least four inches past the regular window, and even more if you have the space. However, if the window is wide and already takes up quite a bit of space on the wall, you’ll want to minimize that space, allowing approximately two inches for the bracket.
A normal bracket is about three and a half inches from the wall, while a double bracket for sheers is as much as six inches from the wall. It should be placed as high up to the ceiling as feasible, and the drapes should drop to slightly above the floor. One ring should go on the outside of the bracket to completely hide the hardware.
Types of Fabric
Drapes come in a variety of fabrics for a myriad of situations; however, not every type of fabric is a wise choice for your home’s windows.
- Cotton: Excellent material for drapes. When in doubt, use cotton.
- Linen: Wonderful choice for drapes, however, they can bounce. Choose a blend of linen with cotton instead.
- Silk: Dainty and lovely, but never place in a south-facing window. Silk must be lined and interlined.
- Wool: Heavy enough to drape beautifully, but can rot in the sunlight.
- Synthetics: As long as they don’t look like synthetics, these work well.
Top of the Drapes
Typically the top of the drapes are pleated, but it’s also acceptable just to pin the hooks and let the fabric fold naturally. There are a variety of different pleats that can be utilized, including:
- Flat Drapery Pleat
- Pinch (or French) Pleat
- Parisian Drapery Pleat
- Cartridge Drapery Pleat
- Inverted Pleat
- 8-Inch Inverted Drapery Pleat
- Grommet Pleat
- Rod Pocket
Unless they are sheers, all drapes should be lined. Silk requires specific attention, but all other fabrics can be lined and interlined to give them more body. The interlining is either a thin felt or a heavier material known as bump interlining. Thermal suede can be used as lining, which will prevent the need for an interlining, due to its thick suede-like material. Thermal suede is translucent, but it does have thermal properties and it blocks more light than regular lining materials do.
Be careful about the color choice of your lining. If it’s a primary color or even a shade of cream, it will tint your fabric when the sunlight comes through. Cream-colored fabrics are known to look dingy or yellow-colored quickly.
For a blackout effect, you can try a layer of black fabric between two pieces of regular lining. This is said to provide a softer blackout look, as regular blackout fabric is quite stiff.
Sheer curtains are usually made of linen fabric, although some people prefer the shiny look of polyester. Semi-sheer drapes are also available in cotton and wool, but again, be careful when using wool, as it can rot in the sunlight. You can line a linen sheer for a unique look.
Once you take each step by itself and work through properly installing your drapes, you’ll be pleased with the final result. When done right, window treatments can make a room appear pulled together and gorgeous.