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Window Treatments 101: 15 Things I’ve Learned

Window treatments 101: everything I've learned about drapes, Roman shades, curtains and more! www.pencilshavingsstudio.com

Drapes, curtains, Roman shades — so many different options for window treatments! Where do you even begin? While I’m a huge fan of all the light I can get in a room, but in my opinion, window treatments are an absolute must. They create softness, drama, visual interest, and function as a way to provide privacy. Plus it’s a great way to integrate color and your personality.

But that being said, you’re going to be shelling out the big bucks no matter where you get your window coverings from, so you’re going to want to make sure you get it right.  I’ve bought readymade drapes and Roman shades from stores like Restoration Hardware, Pottery Barn, etc.,  and I’ve had custom drapes made. And after both those routes, if you want something other than solid white panels, custom is where it’s at. Especially if you have difficult-to-fit or unusual windows happening.  So I thought I’d do a little roundup of some of my favorite tips that I’ve learned over the years as well as the mistakes I’ve made. Because there’s been a few, my friends.

Special thanks to Loom Decor for sponsoring today’s post. They provided the beautiful custom linen drapes for my One Room Challenge and we couldn’t be more thrilled. Their Black Friday sale is getting started now – 30% off your entire order(!) w/ code EARLYBIRD.

 


ROMAN SHADES

Play with pattern, especially on Roman shades.   It’s a great way to test out prints without major visual commitment a la wallpaper.

Window treatments 101: everything I've learned about drapes, Roman shades, curtains and more! www.pencilshavingsstudio.com

Get the look of this cozy windowseat library, perfect for spending the chilly winter months curled up with a good book www.pencilshavingsstudio.com

Roman shades are tricky. Engage professional help for these.  I’ve had inside mount and outside mount and I got screwed last time by not measuring correctly when I bought Pottery Barn shades off of eBay. The result? Roman shades that should have been inside but have to be outside and thus look too small. And it’s soooo close to being right and pretty, but just enough off that it drives me BONKERS. In short, it was an expensive mistake. Even on eBay. WOMPWOMP.

 


ON MEASURING, ETC.

Nothing is worse than too-short drapes. NOTHING. I’d rather have no drapes than too-short ones. When in doubt, get your drapes too long rather than too short because you can always have them hemmed. Case in point: our first house, AKA The House of Experimentation. I’m cracking up at these photos. OMG. I was also majorly into an “artistic” let’s-take-all-the-photos-at-an-angle.

first-guest-bed first-kitchen

It’s worth every penny to have someone professionally install your curtain rods and hang your drapes or shades.  You’ll be much less frustrated and the job will be done right.

Greek key trim on Chinoiserie drapes www.pencilshavingsstudio.com

Window treatments 101: everything I've learned about drapes, Roman shades, curtains and more! www.pencilshavingsstudio.com

Take those curtains as high as you can go. The higher the drapes the closer to heaven. Oh wait, nope — but really, they will make your room feel so much grander.

Window treatments 101: everything I've learned about drapes, Roman shades, curtains and more! www.pencilshavingsstudio.com

The fuller the better: you’ll want your curtains to be 2 to 2 1/2 times fuller than the window you’re covering. It looks skimpy to pull the drapes shut only for them to lay flat as a pancake.

Window treatments 101: everything I've learned about drapes, Roman shades, curtains and more! www.pencilshavingsstudio.com

Window treatments 101: everything I've learned about drapes, Roman shades, curtains and more! www.pencilshavingsstudio.com


THE DETAILS: FABRIC, TRIM, ETC.

Pleats please. If you like a more polished look, go with pinch pleats or French pleats. Want more casual, loft-ish looks? Go with grommets.

Window treatments 101: everything I've learned about drapes, Roman shades, curtains and more! www.pencilshavingsstudio.com

Remember that hardware is the jewelry. Don’t get skimpy and get a lame rod that’s not visually heavy enough for the window.  And definitely go with some drapery rings; avoid those alligator clamp things.

Window treatments 101: everything I've learned about drapes, Roman shades, curtains and more! www.pencilshavingsstudio.com

Blackout drapes are EVERYTHING for bedrooms. Especially if you have kids; do NOT FORGO blackout drapes for bedrooms!

 

 

Consider using drapes in other ways, such as room dividers or in lieu of closet doors. They’re romantic and unexpected.

Window treatments 101: everything I've learned about drapes, Roman shades, curtains and more! www.pencilshavingsstudio.com

Trims are your friend, so have some fun with it. Try them down the leading edge or around the bottom. I went with a True Blue linen leading edge on the navy blue europleat drapes I had made by Loom and it was just enough contrast to jazz them up (not to mention play off the design of the rug).

Window treatments 101: everything I've learned about drapes, Roman shades, curtains and more! www.pencilshavingsstudio.comPencil Shavings's One Room Challenge living room reveal, complete with loads of bold blues and accented with red. Check out the full reveal inspired by the preppy regatta stripe rug from Dash & Albert, plus a kidfriendly white sofa. www.pencilshavingsstudio.com Pencil Shavings's One Room Challenge living room reveal, complete with loads of bold blues and accented with red. Check out the full reveal inspired by the preppy regatta stripe rug from Dash & Albert, plus a kidfriendly white sofa. www.pencilshavingsstudio.com

Window treatments 101: everything I've learned about drapes, Roman shades, curtains and more! www.pencilshavingsstudio.com

When in doubt on fabric, go simple with linen. It’s a winner every single time.


For further reading, this is my favorite post from Cote de Texas on window treatments. Suuuuper long, but one to pin!

Thanks again to Loom Decor for sponsoring today’s post and thanks for supporting the sponsors that keep Pencil Shavings going. Remember, their Black Friday sale is getting started NOW – 30% off(!) w/ code EARLYBIRD. 

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