Types of Window Treatments
Draperies - heavy material with pleated panels. May draw across the rod or remain stationery on either or both sides of the window.
Cornices - horizontal treatment across the top of the window. Usually made of wood. Maybe padded and covered with fabric.
Valances - horizontal treatment across the top of the window. Generally made from fabric.
Lambrequins - a cornice that extends down the sides of the windows, sometimes to the floor.
Shirred curtains - gathered directly on rods and hung straight down. Maybe attached both at the top and the bottom.
Café curtains - straight curtains hung from rings that slide along a rod. May cover the lower portion of the window or the entire window.
Roller shades - material hung on a roller from the top of the window. Pulls down to close; rolls up via a spring mechanism and can be made with fabric or purchased in the standard vinyl.
Roman shades - made of fabric; hangs flat when closed; folds horizontally into pleats when raised. This is a very popular treatment as it can provide privacy, light control, insulating qualities, many fabric and trim choices; it functions, it's stylish and can be made in a fabric of your choice.
Austrian shades - fabric shade that is gathered in scallops when down and pulls into tighter scallops when raised.
Balloon shades - fabric shade that is flat when down and pulls into scallops when raised (can also be a stationery valance).
Pleated shades - sold fabric that folds into horizontal accordion pleats. Raised and lowered using cords, usually slightly opaque.
Venetian blind - ½", 1" and 2" wide slats made of wood, metal or plastic. Hangs horizontally from a track and may be angled or drawn up.
Shutters - Louvered or fixed slats. Attached with hinges so they can be opened and shut. Made of wood or plastic.
Jabot - folded fabric that drapes down on either side of a swag or valance or between a series of swags.
Swag - fabric draped over a pole or rod.
Curtains can make a room, but if not measured correctly, they can also break a room.
Be sure to measure all windows, even if they appear to be the same size. Write the dimensions down, and then measure again to double check.
Use a metal measuring tape. A cloth tape is too flexible to be accurate.
When measuring, determine the type of rod you are going to use first. If you are using one with rings, you'll measure from the eye of the carrier ring to the floor. The eye is the small metal loop attached to the ring.
As a general rule to determine width of drapery panels, multiply the width of the window by two or three to account for gathering.
Determining drapery length is a personal preference. If you want the panels to touch the floor, allow about ½ inch to rest on the floor. Should you want the draperies to puddle on the floor, add anywhere from 6 to 18 inches to the length.
Tricks to Try
Mount drapery panels a few inches below the ceiling. This technique draws your eye up, making lower ceilings appear taller.
Add a fringe or a trim in a complementary color to ready-made draperies to create an inexpensive custom look. Trims and fringes are available in a wide variety of colors and styles.
To make a small window appear wider, place panels outside the window frame.
Trying to reuse draperies that are too short? Add a coordinating band of fabric to the bottom or top to create a border.
Drapery hardware can get expensive; rods, brackets and rings add up. Look for inexpensive alternatives such as PVC pipe, electrical conduit or dowel for a rod. Paint it black for the look of iron, or try silver or gold paint for a dressier appearance.
This series of articles is intended for entertainment purposes. Any resources listed are not an endorsement, but resources I have researched personally and professionally for ideas, trends and client projects. I welcome comments, e-mails or questions about the articles, or even your own home décor dilemmas.
Copyright 2009 Kathy Passarette, Creative Home Expressions. All window treatment photos courtesy of Smith & Noble.