Introduction

Curtains and draperies play a very important role in our homes. They, for instance, prevent excessive light, sound, heat and cold from getting into our living spaces. In addition to all this, they usually contribute to the general look of the house through the addition of personality and the decorative aspects.

Most people have never stopped to determine the difference between curtains and draperies, hence we can start by distinguishing the two. In the past, homeowners treated windows to three types of curtains, namely:

  • Sash curtains, that were meant to filter light. 
  • Draw curtains for blocking out light. 
  • Over-drapery (now known as drapery)- This was for decorative purposes. 

Some people went to the extent of topping the three curtains with a cornice or a valance, to conceal all hardware. These window treatments have found their way to the present day world, where homeowners are still out to ensure that their houses are looking impressive. Herein, you will pick very valuable tips if you are after decorating your home with simple curtains and draperies. 

Curtains & Drapery Options

When it comes to the use of curtains and drapery, one has unlimited options to work with, including the following: 

  • You can place your curtain over a blind
  • Hang the curtain on its own, e.g. a velvet curtains, cotton curtain or lace curtain. 
  • You can hang the curtain beneath draw drapery such as velvet or linen. 
  • Hang the draw draperies over any shade, such as blinds
  • You can also hang the draw draperies on their own, on a decorative pole.
  • Top your curtains with short, and decorative over-draperies (swags and jabots) 
  • Top your blinds with swags 
  • Top any of the above window treatments with a suitable valance or cornice.

As you can see, you can play around with your curtains and draperies as much as you would like to, depending on the objective you want to achieve.

Length to consider

The length of curtains or draperies that you settle on usually communicates an unspoken message. Visitors will develop a different attitude towards your choice of curtains, and may in most cases proceed to strike a conversation about them. Generally, you should follow the following guidelines when it comes to the length of the curtains: 

  • Dressy and formal rooms should have curtains that touch the floor. 
  • Romantic rooms deserve very elegant curtains that are extra-long and that puddle on the floor. 
  • Curtains that are of sill-length, or that go to the bottom of window trims are perfect for kitchens. 
  • Draw draperies and curtains that reach the floor are dignifying to family rooms and dens. 
  • Curtains that stop right above the floor usually look awkward. You can opt to hang them higher, or even lower them to the floor if possible. 

Tips for different types of window sizes

No matter how hard you try, the structure and size of your windows can end up limiting your options and even preventing you from getting the desired results. Some of the ways in which you can fix this include: 

  • Short windows – You can attach the rods below the ceiling molding, or you can hang curtains that go all the way to the floor in a bid to make your windows look longer as well as elegant. 
  • Awkwardly long windows – You can add a deep valance or cornice right above the draperies that have a bold horizontal pattern. 
  • Narrow windows – You should extend the curtain rods beyond the length covered by the window, and then hang the draperies in such a way that they barely cover the window frame. This leaves a sufficient length of the glass exposed, hence making the narrow window seem wider. 
  • Very wide windows – A wide window can end up overpowering the room in which it is located. You can counter this effect by hanging a couple of panels across such a window. The panels can hang straight, or they can be tied back in several pairs. If the draperies used must be drawn to enhance privacy, then you can let the panels hang straight and then rig the drawstrings in such a way that the panels end up closing as if they are separate drapery pairs. 

Traditional window treatments for privacy

As highlighted above, curtains and draperies play an important role in the provision of privacy. At times, however, you can rely on traditional window treatments to get privacy. The main alternatives to the curtains and draperies include: 

  • Stained glass that hides ugly views, and offers a sense of privacy. 
  • Etched or frosted glass that offers privacy while still letting in a lot of light. 
  • Glass block which hides unsightly views, filters out light in a very impressive manner, while still offering a bit of privacy. 

Quick windows treatments

If you are simply looking for quick window treatments, then you can try any of the following: 

  • Paper café curtains- Fold butcher’s paper into well-defined accordion pleats, and then punch holes on one end of the pleats. You can then push a curtain rod through the paper, and gather it gracefully. This ends up creating a café curtain. Note that you will need to purchase butcher’s paper that is about 2 to 3 times the length of the window. 
  • Napkin topper – Select several dinner-size napkins and fold them in half through the diagonal and drape them facing down over fat wooden pole. Be sure to use enough napkins so that you cover the entire length of the wooden pole. 
  • Lodge-look draperies – You can also add grommets to one of the ends of your wool plaid blanket. You can then run sufficient lengths of a grosgrain ribbon through the grommets before tying them wooden pole of your window.