Earth tones. Linens. Neutrals. Patterns. Nature-inspired. Stripes. Burgundy. Blues. Browns. The choices for curtains, draperies and window treatments may seem overwhelming, but don’t feel intimated by the choices. Get excited!
Choosing the right curtains can add sparkle, grace and vibrancy to a room. Danielle Kerr, owner of Danielle B. Interiors in suburban Chicago, says window treatments often make rooms feel complete.
“The nice thing about window treatments, curtains and draperies is that whatever style you choose, whether it’s contemporary, transitional, traditional, draperies can fit into any design style,” Kerr says. “Pattern, texture and color – all of those things are important. It’s like jewelry for the room. It’s one of those things that when you go into a room, if they’re not there, it looks like something’s missing.”
Kerrie Kelly, an interior designer and the owner of Kerrie Kelly Design Lab in Sacramento, says “a window can be a fantastic focal point in a room and adding a great curtain enhances the beauty.”
But where to begin?
First, get over the fear. Trust yourself, says Kerr.
And don’t be afraid to try something a little nontraditional like bold colors or patterns. “People are so fearful of pattern and color,” Kerr says. “I’m a big fan and encourager of mixing design styles…A traditional room can add a little pop to it with some awesome draperies that make it unique. I think that’s the key to successful design.”
For inspiration, Kerr says to look to globally inspired fabrics. Several of those pieces have cozier looks that translate well as we approach the cooler fall and winter months.
“I recommend trying something tribal, Moroccan, anything that’s just an around-the-world sort of look,” she says. “Look at adding color, pattern and texture, like really knotty, knitted, chunky fabrics.”
Cotton curtains can also give a room an airier feel while dressier fabrics, like silks and velvets, work well in cooler metropolitan areas.
For homeowner who would like more texture of heft, she recommends combining materials. “We are also big fans of organic materials such as woven wood or bamboo shades, being layered under a drape,” she says.
Certain fabrics can also help keep the heat in the house during the winter chill. Thermal curtains, for example, are typically constructed of two or three layers of wool or polyester and have an acrylic foam or layer of aluminum to protect against damage from ultraviolet rays.
Blackout drapes or liner, which will block out sunlight (a bonus if you have a fussy baby who won’t fall asleep) also help keep in the heat. Kerr says she often picks up liner that runs an affordable $5 to $10 a yard at a craft or hobby store and takes it to a tailor to sew into the curtains.
With so many different treatment options, it can be tough to make a commitment. No one wants to buy a piece of décor only to get it home and realize it doesn’t mesh with the rest of the room. Luckily, many companies are willing to send swatches so you can play with how the design looks in a certain space before investing.
Hiring a designer to help you create custom drapery is a great way to guarantee you get a look you’ll love that actually last, though it can be expensive, sometimes as much as a few thousand dollars per window. “You gotta be sure because custom is not cheap,” Kerr says.
While buying off the rack may not give you a one-of-a-kind style, it is a much more economical option. Plus, it gives you the freedom to try something totally out-of-the-box. So, if you hate it in a few months or just want something different, you don’t have to feel guilty about having spent a bunch of money.