Decorative Curtains and Drapes

by Giorgina Devereaux





Decorative curtains and drapes add elegance and sophistication to any window and are an affordable and easy way of transforming a room from drab to fabulous. 

In addition to the beauty curtains and drapes offer, they add substantial insulation value, especially when lined or used in conjunction with blinds or shades

 

Decorative curtains and drapes are perfect for the living room, family room, formal dining room, bedroom, kitchen, office, and may be used to separate a master bedroom retreat or private nook. 

They are available in a large assortment of fabrics, colors, and styles.  You may opt to have them custom made to your specifications or may purchase them pre-made in a standard height and width. 

The custom options include ribbon banding or a box pleated ribbon trim, which add a truly unique touch.  
 

 

What is the Difference between a Curtain and a Drape?

 

Now you may be asking yourself, what is the difference between a curtain and a drape? 

While some may agree that there is no difference, I would like to offer the following explanation in order to help you differentiate between the two. 

 

The major difference between curtains and drapes is that curtains generally are not lined and drapes are lined. With curtains, the fabric on the front and back is the same fabric.  This light, airy, and translucent effect of unlined fabric is actually popular.  With drapes, there is decorative fabric on the front, with a fabric lining on the back.

 

While decorative curtains and drapes function to block light, sound, heat, and cold, and are very decorative, traditionally, curtains functioned to filter outdoor light as well as block light when drawn.  Also, curtains are considered informal and are generally gathered. 

On the other hand, drapes were mostly ornate and were made from more elegant fabrics that draped to the ground making them more formal than curtains.  In addition, drapes are lined, pleated, and are floor to ceiling in length, which provides a more formal look.  However, curtains and drapes both enhance a window with long flows of fabric. 
 

Traditionally, windows were treated with three types of decorative curtains: 

  • A sash curtain, which was used to filter light.

  • A draw curtain, which was used to block out light.

  • An over-drapery curtain, which was purely decorative and is now referred to as a "drapery."

In formal rooms that had high ceilings, curtains were topped with a cornice or a valance in order to conceal the hardware.  This type of style later carried into our current time period for formal rooms.
 

Generally, if the curtains or drapes are longer, then it is considered more formal.  On the other hand, shorter lengths imply a casual, relaxed, and informal look.  It all depends on what your personal preference is and what function you would like the curtains or drapes to serve. 


If you are unsure how far down the curtains or drapes should extend to the floor, then bear in mind that in formal rooms, the fabric should touch the floor.  Measure the windows and decide on the length for drapes.  Full length drapes fall to the floor and require a heavier material to drape effectively.  Drapes that hang halfway from the window sill to the floor are called “apron length” and require modestly heavy material.   
 

For a romantic setting, extra long decorative curtains or drapes should be used and should puddle the floor.  In the kitchen, curtains that touch the sill or fall to the bottom of the window trim are ideal.  A den or family room looks sophisticated with drapes or curtains that reach the floor.  If the curtains fall short of the floor and end at the top of the floor moldings, it will look awkward.  Also, if the curtains are hung too high, simply lower them. 


Determine What Purpose the Decorative Curtains or Drapes will Serve


Before purchasing curtains or drapes determine what purpose they will serve in your home. 

Curtains and drapes can be used as the focal point of a window, to reduce the amount of direct sunlight, to increase privacy in certain areas of the home, and to tie in all of the elements in the room.


Care should be taken when searching for decorative curtains and drapes, as settling on the wrong fabric can affect how the curtains and drapes hang, thus preventing you from achieving that desired effect of the window treatment. 

You want to take into account how well the fabric will blend in and enhance the surrounding décor.


Available Fabrics and Styles


For decorative curtains and drapes, you may choose from the following types of fabrics:

  • Brocade

  • Canvas

  • Cotton

  • Cotton/Rayon combination

  • Damask

  • Jacquard

  • Linen

  • Organic Hemp

  • Polyester

  • Rayon

  • Sheer fabrics (made from polyester or from a polyester/rayon blend)

  • Silk

  • Silk/Rayon/Polyester combination

  • Velvet

Keep in mind that when selecting a fabric for curtains or drapes that you consider where these window treatments will be located since some rooms receive a lot of direct sun.  Fabrics, such as silk, may be damaged with excessive sun exposure, and therefore are not suitable for certain rooms. 
 

Other fabrics, such as cotton and rayon are perfect for curtains and drapes, but tend to wrinkle easily.  While brocade fabric looks lovely in a formal setting because of its room darkening characteristics, it is not ideal for the kitchen, which should typically feature curtains that are light and airy. 


In some cases, decorative curtains and drapes look spectacular as a stand alone or may require a combination of curtains and blinds or drapes to complete the look.  It all depends on the style of the window and what type of look you are trying to achieve. 
 

Decorative curtains and drapes are available in the following styles:

 

  • Florals

  • Solids

  • Stripes

  • Patterns

  • Contemporary


The foll
owing options are available for custom curtains and drapes:

 

  • Bead trim

  • Box pleat ribbon

  • Braided ribbon banding

  • Grosgrain ribbon banding

  • Ribbon loop trim

  • Skirted braid trim

  • Tassel fringe

  • Velvet ribbon banding


How to Successfully Incorporate Decorative Curtains and Drapes for that Perfect Balance


Curtains and drapes also serve to hide flaws that an unappealing window may have. 

If you are concerned about how to incorporate curtains and drapes on windows of varying sizes and shapes (windows that are too narrow or wide), there are solutions around this dilemma. 

 

Here are some ideas on how to give the window of different shapes and sizes a balanced look using curtains, drapes, and hardware:

 

  • If the window is too short, consider attaching rods below the ceiling molding and hanging curtains that are long enough to touch the floor.  This will give the appearance that the window is longer while adding a dash of drama. 

 

  • If the window is awkwardly long, you may add a deep cornice or a valance above the drapes that are in a bold horizontal pattern.  To further detract from the window, consider adding a horizontal line in the form of a strongly contrasting louvered shutter.

 

  • If the window is too narrow, you may extend the curtain rods beyond the window and hang drapes to barely cover the frame.  Leave as much glass exposed as possible to give the window the appearance that it is wider. 

 

  • If the window is too wide, you can break up the space by hanging several panels across the window.  The panels can hang straight or may be tied back in pairs.  If the drapes are drawn for privacy, let the panels hang straight and rig drawstrings so that the panels close as if they are separate pairs of drapes.

 

Decorative Curtains and Drapes are available in the following panel styles:

 

  • Casual Pleat Panels

  • Cuffed Top Panels

  • Flounce Top Panels

  • Grommet Panels

  • Hidden Tab Panels

  • Hourglass Panels

  • Parisian Pleat Panels

  • Pinch Pleat Panels

  • Ring Top Panels

  • Rod Pocket Panels

  • Shirred Top Panels

  • Smocked Pleat Panels

  • Soft Top Panels

  • Tab Top Panels

  • Tailored Pleat Panels

 

 

 

decorative-curtains-casual-pleat-panels

Casual Pleat Panels

 

Casual Pleat Panels

 

These window treatments will provide an exciting and fresh look to your windows. 

You may choose from an array of beautiful and bold, colorful fabrics. 

 

This particular type of window treatment features pleats that are sewn in a casual and simplistic pattern. 

You can choose a ring top that is available in various styles and finishes for use with decorative drapery hardware or pins for use with traversing hardware. 
 

Casual pleat panels are available in custom widths up to 181” and lengths up to 144”.

 

Cuffed Top Panels

 

Cuffed top panels feature rod pocket styling, with triple cuffs spaced ½” apart, starting 4” below the panel top.  

The 4” double turned, weighted hems give the window panels extra volume guaranteeing that they will hang straight.    

 

 

decorative-curtains-flounce-top-panels

Flounce Top Panels

 

Flounce Top Panels

 

A flounce top panel consists of a 12” tall flounce panel and a 6” panel valance. 

For the flounce, you may choose the same fabric or a contrasting fabric. 

These are available in custom widths up to 175” and lengths up to 144”.

 

 

decorative-curtains-grommet-panels

Grommet Panels

 

Grommet Panels

 

Grommet panels offer a contemporary style.  It has 1 ½” diameter grommets available in black, chrome, or brushed nickel, which are sure to complement your fabric choice. 

 

These panels are available in custom widths up to 181” and lengths up to 144”.

 

decorative-curtains-hidden-tab-panels

Hidden Tab Panels

 

Hidden Tab Panels

 

Hidden tab panels have a modern look and are tailored with 2” x 3” tabs spaced at 5” intervals.  Other details include 3” double turned heading and a 4” double turned hem that is weighted.  This gives your panels extra body and ensures that the window treatments will hang straight. 

 

Hourglass Panels

 

This beautiful window treatment is ideal for French doors and smaller windows.  Hourglass panels are available in two widths and you can opt for fabric tiebacks.  These panels are available in custom sizes with a height up to 108” and 24” or 48” widths.

 

 

decorative-curtains-parisian-pleat-panels

Parisian Pleat Panels

 

Parisian Pleat Panels

 

This classic pinch pleat is perfect for formal rooms.  You may select a ring top for use with decorative hardware or drapery pins for use with traversing drapery hardware.

 

Parisian pleat panels are available in custom widths up to 181” and lengths up to 144”.

 

 

decorative-curtains-pinch-pleat-panels

Pinch Pleat Panels

 

Pinch Pleat Panels

 

Pinch pleat panels are a variation of the classic French pleated window treatments.  It features 3-finger pleats that are pinched approximately 1 ½” from the heading to create a fan shape.
 

These window treatments are available in custom widths up to 181” and lengths up to 144”.


Ring Top Panels

 

Ring top panels hang through the use of rings.  You may select from various ring styles and finishes for that lovely finishing touch.  These window treatments are available in custom widths up to 175” and lengths up to 144”.

 

 

decorative-curtains-rod-pocket-panels

Rod Pocket Panels

 

Rod Pocket Panels

 

Rod pocket panels offer clean, simple lines, and have a shirred rod pocket style that is fabulous both as a stand alone window treatment and as a sheer undertreatment.

 

For rods that are up to 1 3/8” diameter choose a 2 ¾” pocket and for rods that are up to 2”, choose a 4” pocket.   Rod pocket panels are available in custom widths up to 175” and lengths up to 144”.

 

Shirred Top Panels

 

To clarify, a shirred curtain has fabric that is tightly gathered together in the desired fullness.  Doing so creates very small pleats and provides a lovely flow.  This type of style is perfect for lighter weight fabrics, such as sheers or silks. 

 

This window treatment consists of 1” self fabric shirring that is wrapped around the tab top panel giving it an exceptional look.  It accommodates rods up to 2” in diameter and is available in custom sizes up to 184” wide and 144” high.

 

Smocked Pleat Panels

 

Smocked pleat panels feature shirring at the top, which creates a look of relaxed sophistication.  It also features 4” double turned weighted hems that give the panels more volume and allow them to hang straight.

 

 

 

decorative-curtains-soft-top-panels

Soft Top Panels


Soft Top Panels

 

With soft top panels, the angled loop pairs (the loops are 4” deep) are set 8” to 10” apart.  This gives it a unique criss-cross pattern while the other details, such as a 4” double turned weighted hems give the panels extra body. 

 

 

decorative-curtains-tab-top-panels

Tab Top Panels

 

Tab Top Panels

 

Tab top panels provide a fabulous contemporary look.  The fabric tabs measure 1 ¾” by 3”, and fit hardware rods up to 1 3/8” diameter.  You may also choose 5” tabs that will work in conjunction with rods up to 2” diameter. 
 

These panels look lovely when combined with wood blinds or shades.  They are available in customs widths up to 175” and lengths up to 144”.

 

 

decorative-curtains-tailored-pleat-panels

Tailored Pleat Panels

 

Tailored Pleat Panels

 

These hand stitched pleats are spaced approximately 4” apart, which gives it a sophisticated appearance because of the clean lines.  The quality details include a 4” double turned weighted hems that give the impression that the panels have extra body.

 

Accents for Decorative Curtains and Drapes

 

Fabric Tiebacks:  This drapery hardware allows you to draw back any panel window treatment. 

You may have the tiebacks made using the fabric of your choice, which gives you the opportunity to match the existing decorative curtains or drapes or use a different fabric to provide contrast. 

 

Tassel Tiebacks:  Tassel tiebacks will position your panels with elegance. 

You may choose from different tieback colors.  The result will be fabulous
.





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