Enhance your window

On a few occasions your window drape may only be for a decorative effect. But more often than not there will be some practical reasons for having your window dressed.

But this doesn't mean your window drapes or curtains have to look 'practical'.

Drapes are very adaptable, and there are many designs you can use to make them look good as well as do the job for which they were intended. One of the key elements of drape design is to make sure that while your drapes meet all your practical needs, they look so good you forget the practical side.

With careful planning you can achieve a practical solution which enhances your window. There are many options available today, and you're sure to find one to suit your requirements.


Here are a few questions it's important to ask yourself

Do you live in a town or city, or a place where there is a lot of dust, dirt or pollution in the air?

If so, then it's probably best to avoid using very light colored fabrics which will show the dirt. You'll also be better off if you don't have elaborate treatments such as swags and intricate folds which will trap the dirt. Although your curtains and drapes will need cleaning from time to time, by being practical with your treatments you'll avoid excessive cleaning.


In which direction do your windows face? Do they face east or north and the room is quite dark (west or south if you're in the southern hemisphere)?

If they do, make sure your window treatments block out as little light as possible. Arrange curtains and drapes to draw back off the windows. Stay away from any elaborate drapes which leave fabric covering any parts of the windows.


Do they face south or west and the room is quite dark (north or east if you're in the southern hemisphere)?

In this case you'll probably get a lot of sun and light. So don't use fabrics which will fade or rot easily, such as silks or fabrics which are dyed bright colors. To protect your drapes - and carpets and furniture - use translucent shades or sheer curtains.


Do you live near a noisy road, or are your windows draughty or cold?

You could go to the expense of replacing your ageing windows with new efficient ones. Failing that, think about having heavy curtains or drapes and made to completely cover the windows. You can use heavy fabric, or have them made with interlining.

Thermal linings are another option. If you're using a curtain to cover a door which lets in the cold wind, then make it to 'sit' on the floor by having it a few inches longer than normal.


window drape with swags

Swags, jabots (tails) with tied back floor length curtains are ideal for this traditionally furnished room.

The size of the windows naturally lend themselves to this style of treatment.


Are your windows overlooked by people outside, or by houses or apartments nearby?

If you don't want to cut out too much light, then think about using a translucent fabric such as muslin, net, voile or lace, as curtains or shades to give you some privacy.

Or use cafe curtains, which are curtains hung from a rod or pole half way up your window. These will give privacy while still allowing light into the room from the top half of the window.


Should you put your drapes inside a deep recessed window?

You can, but if you want the maximum amount of light into the room then hang the window drape outside the recess. It also depends on the size of the window; if it's large, then it may not matter if you lose some daylight.


bedroom drapes

Modern grommet (eyelet) headings for these curtains keep the window drape simple.


Do you need your bedroom window drapes to keep the room as dark as possible?

You may work unsociable hours, or are easily woken by early morning light. If so, then have your window drape lined with blackout lining. It looks like ordinary lining, but has true blackout properties.


drapes on floor

These dining room curtains have been made with integral valances.

The bases of the valances have been trimmed with fringe and tassels for emphasis. The curtains are full and allowed to sit on the floor. Dark poles supporting the curtains contrast with the lighter colored walls.




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