Window treatments are tricky. And not just for home owners but also for designers. There is an unlimited number of odd shaped windows and window configurations in homes that it can be difficult to treat them in a way that is what the homeowner likes as well as being practical and aesthetically pleasing. So today our goal is to educate. What are those different types of treatments called. What is the best way to use them. What are the benefits? What are the down falls? What do they look like? There are things that really matter with window treatments--lining and height and hem can all be the difference between a sloppy looking, small window and big, well-dressed window. So read on to find out how you can make your windows the best they can be! ;)
We'll start by saying that we're not against ready-made curtains. There are some very pretty, very affordable options out there that we don't want to ignore. These are absolutely items that you can take advantage of too, but we just want to make sure you use them appropriately. For starters, many ready-made drapes come unlined. This is ok if you're doing a linen drape that can feel light and airy without feeling cheap. However, if you have a fabric with pattern or something a little heavier that is unlined, it won't look nice hung on a window with the light shining through. It will feel thin and inexpensive and will make your windows look sad. So, if you do want to take advantage of a great ready-made patterned drape, we recommend paying the additional money to get them lined.
Custom-made drapery panels can be the fullest, most-lined, best-dressed panels that you've ever seen, but you have to know what to ask for. We will say that custom drapery is not inexpensive. You're going to pay for the look. But usually, if you have a good workroom, you get what you pay for and you'll have beautiful drapery that you'll love for a good long time. Custom made drapes are usually necessary for over-sized windows but can also be used on standard sized windows if you'd like more decorative options or better lining solutions. For example, custom made drapes can have a number of different headers--pinch pleat, ripplefold, grommet. They can be stationary and just decorative or they can be traversing where they open and close for privacy and light-blockage. Since custom made drapes are made to order, they can take longer to get than a ready-made, but they are usually worth the wait!
As far as the header options, you may be asking--"What does a pinch pleat look like?" "What's a ripplefold?" "Is grommet even something I'd want on a custom drape?"
To answer your questions, a pinch pleat actually comes in a variety of styles. The french pleat is made-up of 3 fold of fabric and is gathered in a crisp, tailored bundle at the top of each fold. These types of drapery panels usually require more fabric and are therefore more expensive but they are worth the money because they always look very full and tailored.
There's also something called a two-finger pleat which is 2 folds of fabric instead of 3 like the french pleat, and a pencil pleat which is just 1 fold. As you go down in folds, you go down in fabric which means your cost decreases. This is good! But be sure to choose where your cutting your costs wisely. A pencil pleat may be appropriate for a child's room, but we definitely recommend going with a two finger or french pleat for a more formal space or even a master bedroom.
Drapery lining is essentially the icing on the cake. It's necessary and is what makes the drapes feel finished. There are different thicknesses of lining that you can use, though. A blackout lining is the thickest and will add to the fullness of the drapes. This option is great for decorative panels because it makes them look heavier, as well as bedrooms just for privacy and light blockage. However, you can use regular lining as well. This won't make the drapes feel as thick as a black out lining but it will give them a finished look. Additionally, it blocks the back of the fabric so any threads or patterns won't be visible from the exterior of the house. Blackout isn't always necessary but if you're not doing blackout, at least do a regular lining.
Finally, there's sheers. Sheers are making a come-back in the window treatment world. They used to be considered cheap looking but when used in the appropriate setting they can create a very romantic, gauzy feeling that is just the kind of softness a room needs. Often sheers are used in conjunction with a roller shade that can totally block out the light, or they're used on a window that doesn't really need light-blockage but rather something to soften the harshness of the glass. Sheers can be done wrong, so be sure to consider the space before you use them. However, if they're done right, they're gorgeous!