Window Dressing – What not to do when hanging curtains

Window Dressing – What not to do when hanging curtains

One of the biggest mistakes I see when I go into people’s homes is the curtain or drapes hung all wrong. One spends a whole lot of time and energy getting the right fabric, the right style and of course the right tailors and then it all falls apart if the curtain in not hung “ right “. Curtains not only provide privacy, they have the wonderful knack of pulling everything in a room together into one cohesive whole and can take the room from ordinary to simply stunning by just hanging them correctly.

See how the drapes complement the colours in the room and act as a focal point bringing the room together. Here are some common mistakes I notice all the time:

Hanging your curtain too low.
This is one of the most common mistakes I see pretty much everywhere. People hang their curtain too low. Gone are days when we had pelmets covering our window trims right on the top and we had no option but to hang our curtains from there. To create the illusion of a taller window, a bigger room and a larger space mount the rod four to six inches above the window frame—or halfway between the frame and the ceiling molding. This little trick of raising the height of the curtain rods can make a small room appear way larger and your ceilings look higher.

Look at the curtain height …its pretty much near the ceiling and what a difference it makes to the window.

This house has high ceilings but by placing the curtain rod way higher than the door frame the room is not cut in to half and made it look smaller.

Hang Wider Than the Frame

Extending the rod three to six inches beyond the frame on each side makes a window feel grander and allows extra light to stream in when the curtains are open. Basically this allows the fabric to hang against the wall without blocking the glass.

Here when drawn fully there is enough fabric on both sides and the entire window can be seen.

Curtains are too short

This is my personal nightmare! Having curtains which do not touch the ground but stop somewhere in between. It’s a neither here nor there length that makes your walls look awkward and short. (Something similar to short people wearing skirts at an awkward length!) If these are ready stitched curtains add another layer stich some more fabric but do not keep in hanging in between!

The wrong length completely !

Drapes that just hit the floor or hover above no more than a half-inch creates a crisp, classic look. For a slightly more casual feel, let the drapes float down past the floor 2 to 3 inches. However, if you’re extremely brave and not worried about dust etc. you can also puddle your drapes on the floor; just add 4 to 6 inches to your measurement. A wonderful look but a maybe a tad bit difficult to maintain in dusty India !

The Puddle as its commonly known as can be a dramatic drape especially if you have few windows in the house.

Half curtains

Again a big no no for me unless it is a kitchen window, a bathroom or you have a wall mounted unit because of which you cannot see the wall at all. I know a lot of people with smaller windows stop the curtain at the end and not all the way down. Please don’t , a few more rupees to your cloth cost can just change the entire look of the room. Of course this is a personal preference and some may differ but one I nevertheless believe strongly in.

Note how the window on the right looks more formal and the window a lot larger than the one on the right just by bringing the drapes down to the floor.

Here the windows look bigger, the room looks larger and more formal with the curtains all the way down.

Curtains too Thin

One is always asked the question how much fabric does one really need for your curtains not look like limp cloth hanging down. Traditionally, you should be looking at 2 to 2½ times the width of the window for the fullness of the drapes .So if your window is 4 feet wide, the ungathered panels should be at least 8 feet wide.

If the curtains are just framing the window and won’t be opened, you only need 1-1/2 times the width of the window.

Always round the number up when determining the width of your panels. And when in doubt, go for the wider width.

Too less fabric and yes too short as well…a big NO !

The Drapery style or type of pleats

There are many drapery styles to choose from box pleat, pinch pleat, pencil pleat and yes many more (will leave it for another blog) Decide your look very carefully before going in for elaborate pleats and folds. The over the top pleating with many folds really doesn’t work for a lot of houses unless you live in a Versailles like palace. A simple casual look very often is not only cheaper but more apartment friendly!

Now…do you really need all those pleats and panels in your curtains! The same room with floating sheers would have looked way trendier .

Yes I know every house is different and there are many with odd shaped windows etc. However these guidelines are universal and can be followed quite easily. Believe me just this small adjustment can really make or break your room décor.

Hope this helps you while hanging your curtains and do send me any queries for added help. Happy hanging !!

Leave a Reply