Many people never stop to ask the most basic questions when they are picking out drapes.
- Why are you putting up drapes? To control the light, heat, and noise?
- Are they part of a decorating statement you are trying to create?
- How will I hang them?
When using drapes as window treatments you can serve many different purposes, and you should think about your personal objectives before buying the first drape and rod that you see.
What Do You Want Your Drapes to Do?
Many individuals are simply putting up drapes as a way of preventing people from looking into their homes; they are using drapes to maintain their privacy. This is certainly great, however, when you are establishing privacy, you should also think about the other things that your drapes could be doing for you.
It is a fact that drapes can reduce both heating and cooling costs. In the case of heating, you can reduce the heat loss of a window by as much as 30%. This can be accomplished by simply hanging regular drapes.
If you purchase insulated or thermal drapes, you can increase this figure to as much as 50%. If you want to reduce solar heat gain in your home, closing drapes will have a major impact. You can reduce the temperature in your home by as much as 60%. Some people say that closing all the drapes will mean that they will have to turn on the lights, which will raise their cost of electricity. However, it is not necessary to close all the drapes all the time. You only need to close your drapes when they are getting direct sunlight.
People who work shifts are frequently trying to sleep during daylight hours. One of the best ways to reduce light in a room is to hang appropriate window treatments. You should consider getting black-out drapes. These drapes are specifically made of dense materials, which will keep up to ninety percent of the light out of a room. Additionally, these thick drapes can help to reduce noise.
Window Treatment Design Impacts Your Drape Choices
Once you have determined the purpose of the drapes, you can begin to think about the window treatment design you want to use them for. Take a good look at the room that you are decorating, and ask yourself what overall look you are trying to achieve.
Draperies can be the focal point of a room, or they can add to the overall décor of the room. They can also be used to make a window appear taller or wider.
Draperies are available in different styles. These will also affect the drapery hardware you will choose. Styles include:
Pinch pleat. The most traditional style, they are usually attached to a traverse rod with hooks. Pinch pleats are the classics in drapery, usually providing an elegant and sophisticated look and feel to the room they are used in. Using a heavier and patterned fabric will add to that refined appearance.
Grommet. The grommet holes go through the top of the drapes, allowing the decorative pole to slide through the holes and be seen. This effect provides a more modern window treatment, especially if polished metal grommets are chosen.
Rod pocket. A more decorative style can be achieved with drapes that have a rod pocket on top. The pocket in the drape, which slides over a curtain rod, can be different sizes, depending on the size of the rod. Because the drapes cover the rod, they become the focal point of the window treatment.
Tab top. The decorative rod fits through the flat loops at the top of the drapes. You can then easily slide them open or pull them closed by hand. These provide a more casual window treatment.
Other drapery styles are also available.
Solid colors are a common choice because they can be made to work with walls and furnishings in a room. A patterned fabric can be used to make a design statement and direct attention to the window it’s on.
Casual or Formal Look
- Casual look. To use drapes for a casual look, you should pick lighter colors that match or compliment your wall color. Cotton, polyester, and rayon are easy care fabrics associated with a more casual drapery appearance.
- Formal look. For a more formal look, you would want to select darker colors or may want to add a valance to the top of the draperies. Silk and velvet are plush fabrics associated with a traditional, rich appearance.
Drape lengths can also impact the look you want to achieve. Drapes typically go to the floor, but you can also puddle the bottom of the drapes on the floor. This pooling contributes to a more formal look.
And don’t forget that tiebacks and valances can enhance the look of your drapes.
Part of the overall look and impact is how you are going to hang the drapes. The drape hanging hardware you select will depend on the style of drape you’ve chosen
If you want your pinch pleated drapes to be able to open, you will need a traverse rod so they can move from the center out or all to one side. You may want to add sheers behind the drapes, in which case you will need double traverse rods.
If you drapes have a rod pocket, you can use curtain rods for lighter weight drapes, but a decorative rod will be required for drapes with heavier fabric.
For drapes with grommets or tabs, you will want to use a decorative pole. Since the pole will be seen, choose a color and design that will blend in with the entire room décor.
Using drapes for window treatments can be both functional and decorative. They can increase or decrease lighting, and provide warmth to areas of a room that were previously cold. With a little planning, using your new drapes as a window treatment can change the entire look and feel of any room they are used in.