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HELP ! I just screwed up my room. Tips to choosing the right drapery

I got a frantic call last week from a long time friend (30 years to be exact) who thought she had totally messed up her room by the curtains she had chosen. I calmed her down and headed over this past weekend. Although the panels were quite nice, they just weren't the right nice for her newly painted room. I helped her pack up the drapery and back to the store we headed. Unfortunately, we didn't find anything that would work but she has asked me to source material and to get her drapery made. I know exactly what material and pattern will work in her room! Drapery can make a huge statement all on its own in a room. It is also one of the most difficult and frustrating for a client to choose. As a designer its my job to create the look you want for your room as easily as possible.

So what do I look at when choosing the right window treatment?

Well its easy....... sort of. There are 4 criteria I look at :

1) Function

2) Cost

3) Mood of Room

4) Scale

Function- This is an important one. Are you working in a bedroom or a sunny family room? Here I look at the direction of the sun. If the room is South facing, it will be quite hot and bright. If I'm dressing a bedroom, chances are I am sourcing some type of blackout curtain. In the winter these will keep the heat in and in the summer keep the heat out, not to mention help you sleep in on a Sunday morning.

North Facing? Well that will be a colder light so I would perhaps look at layering drapes with a shade.

Cost - Is this window treatment within budget? Are we going custom drapery or pre-made retail?

Mood of Room - What look are we are trying to achieve? Traditional, Modern, Cozy? I need to keep true to the planned overall look of the room when sourcing fabric for the client.

Scale - Are the windows tall, small, narrow, wide? Windows usually are the first thing you see when you walk into a room. Its a natural focal point, and what do we want to do with focal points?.... accentuate them !

To make a window appear taller and add a sense of height to a room I usually break out the space from the ceiling to the top of the window frame into thirds. I will hang the hardware a third down from the ceiling and let the drapery hang from there.

If the windows are narrow or not centered to the room I will hang the drapery panels in front of the wall either side of the window. This adds the illusion of width to your windows and warms up the space.

I could go on about drapery but I will end here with a few tips to choosing the right style for you. If its just too frustrating and you are not sure where to start contact me. I would love to help.


1) Hang curtains as high as you can (use the rule of thirds)

2) Double up on your panels. If you have a 5' window your panels should be at least 10' to create fullness. So order that second panel per side !

3) Test your samples against your wall colour, furniture, flooring etc. to see what works best. If you want to stay neutral with the drapery go a shade lighter or darker than the wall colour.

4) Always get your drapery lined, it will hang nicer and look richer.

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