Wrenda Goodwyn • special to the Fort Myers News-Press• October 5, 2013
Every designer knows that from the fabric to the hardware, window treatments define the style of a room.
Drapes provide impact through the use of color, pattern, texture and decorative details. And when hung right, they give the illusion of height in a room. They can visually widen a window, letting in lots of light.
And yet, window treatments are the most confusing component of interior decor to homeowners. We dress up a window for various reasons: privacy, to block sunlight, to disguise a not so pretty window and to add fabric and color to a room to make it interesting. And if you don’t need window treatments for any of these reasons, you may wish to think about leaving the windows bare, especially if your window is architecturally beautiful or if you have a view that should be unblocked.
It is a good idea to live in the room for a while to decide what works best for your lifestyle. Because there is a financial commitment, you don’t want to make a mistake. And there are lots of choices. From shutters to shades to panels to full drapes. Not an expert? No problem. Here are a few tips that I use for my southwest Florida clients who want to incorporate fabric into their space with draperies.
Puddling or not?
For the most part, I say, not. Oh, sure, the yards and yards of fabric gathered on the floor in a prefect arrangement are gorgeous. And if they are being done for a photo, they are great. But that is the problem. Like the big wedding dress that gathers at the bottom, it only works in photos. If you vacuum or open and close your puddled drapes, they are not for you. One the other hand, if you have a large room (like a ballroom with lots of space) and someone to constantly rearrange and dust them, they may work. But on a day to day basis for most of us, they are just too formal and need lots of floor space to do the look justice. The theatrical look works for some (large) spaces and certainly adds drama to a room. But remember that big wedding dress.
Still not convinced? Okay. If you must have a puddle or a mini puddle, hang your silk or faux silk drapes all the way to the floor with a break to get the effect. But not a full puddle. Two or three inches.
Hang them high!
This rule works every time. To give a room height and an elegant look, hang them high. From just below the crown molding or ceiling. And this applies to any window in your main living space. Indoor/outdoor fabric is a great way to go for cleaning and dusting.
If you have a shade, panels or shutter over the window and really don’t need a full drape to block light or to provide privacy, this is the way to go. It’s a very elegant look and will save some money. Pick out a beautiful fabric or readymade panel with some fullness to it. Select decorative hardware and ties, if needed, and make sure to give the panels some width to make the window look larger and as always, hang from the ceiling or just below molding.
Toppings, cornices, valances
Depending upon your window, this may be the perfect accent. These work with shades, shutters and panels. Just the decorative element to add some style to the room. Whether they work as an accent or to cover up unsightly tracks and rods, they work in combination with other treatments. Southwest Florida clients like them with shutters and blinds because they soften the hard look of wooden window coverings. They also visually raise the height of a window.
And whether it is a beautiful view or exotic fabric, we all want beautiful windows.
Wrenda Goodwyn is a Southwest Florida interior decorator. Home Inspirations appears the first Saturday of each month. Visit her website at spectacularspaces.com. Call her at 949-1808 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org. For more decorating tips, visit spectacularspaces.com/blog