When it comes to finishing a space, window treatments can make all the difference. Although obviously a necessity for privacy and light control, they go beyond being strictly functional and make a room feel luxurious and complete. That said, there’s a world of choice when it comes to your windows and it can often feel a bit overwhelming. While we love a good roller or roman shade, today we want to focus on one of the most popular choices: curtains. Trust us when we say that there is a formula for getting it right and you can easily do it yourself. From the style to the installation, here is our curtain break down:
Assess the Room and Your Needs
Because window treatments are typically the last consideration in a room, take a look at the color palette, existing textures, and overall aesthetic you currently have. For instance, if you didn’t really add in too much pattern, this might be a great application for some subtle pattern play. Do you have a neutral loving heart? Then perhaps you want your curtains to blend into the walls with a similar color or a few shades darker. On the other side of the spectrum, a bold, contrasting color or tone will be an exclamation point and draw a lot of interest to your window area.
Is the space more formal? Then choosing a fabric in a silk or velvet may be the way to go. For something a little more casual we love linen or cotton blends. The best thing to keep in mind whatever situation you are in is to create balance — your curtain choice should compliment your current space just like any other piece of furniture or accessory.
Also consider your lighting needs. Does the room need added privacy, light control, or even some insulation? Consider drapes— choose heavier fabrics like velvet or something that has a good lining to block out the sun and insulate. Otherwise, a semi-transparent curtain is a nice alternative if you need to let more light in while still getting that decorative touch!
Know What to Measure
One of the most common mistakes when it comes to adding curtains or drapery panels is not getting the measurements right, then being stuck with window treatments that look too small, too short, or just plain awkward.
First: measure the width of the window from trim to trim
Then: know the overall length from the rod to the floor
A note on width: when closed, your panels should never be totally crease free. There should always be a fullness to the fabric. We suggest a combined width that is two times the width of the window (unless of course you never plan to close them and just want them to frame the window).
A note on height: ideally you want your fabric to “kiss” the floor, or it should float about an inch off the floor. If you have a romantic space or love the idea of pooling the curtains, then that’s a completely unique look that you should embrace! Otherwise, you want them to hover off the floor — but not higher. Know exactly where your rod (more on this to come) is going and what rings you are using to account for the proper drapery length.
Don’t Discount Your Hardware
Your hardware choice is also important because it will tie into the overall design of the space. Besides choosing the finish and style, there are also various options when it comes to function and shape.
The Classic: a standard adjustable pole with decorative ends is the most popular and straightforward option. Consider a clean, minimalist end to keep it looking modern.
The Return: if you need some extra light coverage on the sides and love a good U-shape, this may be a good option.
A Track: super easy to move forward and back, a mounted track attaches the drapery panels with hooks in a continuous line. This option is pretty sleek, but we would trust the pros with installation on this one.
Install the Rod Right
Whenever possible, we want to give the illusion that we have more height. Hang your rod 4-6 inches above the window frame, or halfway between the frame and the ceiling. *Remember this when you measure for drapery length! Then make sure to install the rod 4-6 inches beyond the frame to make the window feel wider and let in more light when the curtains are open.
Call in the pros if you need to, but otherwise, most rod systems will come with mounting hardware and instructions. You’ll need a step stool or ladder, tape measure, pencil, level, drill/screwdriver, and potentially a stud finder.
Ready Made or Custom?
If you have the budget to get custom drapery panels, they are absolutely a great investment. Always make sure you see samples in person and connect with a good seamstress or supplier that will take the load off your plate. Otherwise, consider purchasing more affordable, ready-made panels at some of our favorite stores and take a look at what lengths and widths they offer.