Getting started with custom draperies

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A lot of people don’t know where to start when it comes to window treatments. Often finishing details like custom drapes, shades, or blinds can be the touch that really pulls a whole room together. Sometimes an out-of-the-box, ready made solution just won’t cut it for your unique decorating project, leaving you wondering how do I go about getting the custom feel I’m looking for?  Here are some expert tips on what to consider when looking at custom draperies:

1) Start with function

Set style considerations aside for just a moment, and think about your functional requirements (not as fun or exciting, but important none the less). How much light do you need in the room? Do you want to be able to black out light, provide privacy, or would you prefer light to filter through? These questions will determine whether you require lined or unlined drapes, and also narrow down fabric choice. Lining is more expensive but has other advantages: It can shield fabric from sun damage, making curtains last longer. A lining also adds heft, which protects against drafts and helps fabric fall more luxuriously. For maximum durability, light blockage, body, and insulation, you can get curtains with an interlining, too—a layer of flannel-like fabric sewn between the lining and the “face” fabric. These are important considerations because while it’s great to have a beautiful space, if it’s not functional or livable for you then you won’t be happy in the long run with your choice regardless of style.

2) Fabrics, textures, and colours

There is no shortage of options here, picking a fabric can be overwhelming which is why working with a professional can be so beneficial. We work with several suppliers including Maxwell Fabrics, Kravet Fabrics, and Robert Allen Fabrics. Consider the mood of the room when you are looking at textures. Is it rich and warm or light and airy? Heavy silk or velvet sets a formal tone, while light linen and sheers are more laid back. When looking at colours consider the decor as a whole, do you want your windows to pop or blend in? Bright colours or accentuating prints can be a bold modern statement, while combining shades of neutrals is a great way to achieve chic elegance.

3) Length

Floor length is the way to go in most situations, but you need to decide how you want your curtains to break (i.e. how the bottom hits the floor). Just hitting the floor is a very classic and tailored look, while panels that extend onto the floor by one to three inches are the most stylish right now. They’re more relaxed than those that graze the floor, and can be more forgiving if you happen to have uneven flooring that would make precision tailoring difficult.

4) Hardware

Don’t ignore your hardware! A curtain with the perfect fabric, pleat, and length can be ruined by poorly chosen or ugly rods or tracks. One cost saving option is to hide the tracks behind a painted header made of drywall or painted plywood that is built into place. Otherwise it’s worth looking at complimentary rods, tie backs, and clip rings to accent your custom draperies.

There are tons of visual resources to help you get an idea of what different options can look like. Houzz is a great site for home decor inspiration, in fact you can check out our idea books and inspiration on Houzz. Also this article gives some great examples of what we are talking about in this post. There you have it! Hopefully now you have a good idea of where to get started when thinking about your next project. We work closely in consultation with clients and can advise on the best solution for your space, but it helps if you have an idea of what you’d like to see come to life so we can work together to make it happen!