Reader request – curtains

Posted on Thu, 1 Apr 2010 by KiM

It’s about time for another reader request. This one is from Nadine: “I am wondering if you might have some inspirational curtain or window dressing photos? We are just moving into our new (well new to us) unit and are having a little trouble deciding how to hang some curtains… i.e. to the floor or to the bottom of the window sill etc. Any advice or examples would be greatly appreciated.” Now I often find myself wondering what to do with window treatments, in particular curtains, and never really know what rules I should be following. After going through my photo stash, it’s pretty clear that the acceptable standard is long curtains that either just touch the floor or puddle a little. And in my search that was for the most part all I found. My 2 cents is that if you have a small window and you’re trying to keep the space casual, then hanging a curtain that ends a foot or 2 below the window works. I did that in my office in my haste to do something with my little window. I happened to have had a piece of fabric I was dying to use that covered the window with about 15″ going below the window frame and just hooked it up on clips….a year and a half later and they’re still up and looking adorable (to me anyway). So here is some inspiration for you Nadine. And if anyone has any curtain tips for Nadine please do leave a comment.

Lori Dennis
Tracey Butler
Phoebe Howard
Rodolphe Foucher
Blount Design

Amanda Nisbet Eric Roth
Atlanta Bartlett Simon Brown
Steven Gambrel House Beautiful
Siskin Valls
Retrouvius Guido Barbagelata
Perianth Rodolphe Foucher
Domino Judy King

Melanie says:

Thank you for this – I’ve been going through a window covering crisis myself!

polish chick says:

unless it’s a kitchen or bath, please do not leave curtains to-the-sill short because it looks very much like too-short pants – silly and off. the slightly-longer-than-sill example on the blog works nicely, but otherwise, floor length looks far more elegant, imo.

oregonbird says:

Of all the big-ticket fabric items, curtains are the one you can reliably find second-hand. For the NW, it’s Value Village; any full-scale set of resale stores, however, should be able to provide you — eventually! — with something that will either look tailor-made or that is well-worth repurposing.

Cafe-style with a heavier, more formal print can be wonderful. Two semi-sheers can work as well as one unlined curtain — and give you more flexibility and panache. (I’ve got cinnamon sheers stubbed inside a window frame, and a buttery semi-sheer with jade, amber, cinnamon & melon spots tabbed over. It’s all goodness!) Nothing says ‘past its prime’ more than deep cuffs, top or bottom, or — horrors — mechanics. I’ve no idea why they’re still selling them, I really don’t.

I love the samples, Kim! My two favorites are towards the bottom, bedrooms both — the narrow b/w stripe and the heavy moss green pattern holding its own with that lovely four-poster.

peggy says:

Kim, this is a very interesting post. My sister-in-law and I were discussing how long curtains should be just the other day. Of course, we were discussing ready-made, because the cost of custom is too exhorbitant. Short curtains are for a casual look, like for a kitchen. In other areas, the curtains should touch the floor or drape the floor like a blouse, depending on personal preference. I prefer the longer, drapey effect because I am a textile lover, and I think this looks more luxurious. But many rooms look great with the curtains touching the floor. If they are above the floor, it doesn’t look right, kind of like wearing pants that are too short.

peggy says:

P.S. Sorry Kim – one more thing. Your examples are excellent because you have chosen simple designs. I am not a fan of valances and over done window coverings. Simple is best, because a window is a beautiful thing on its own and shouldn’t compete with its dressing. Function is the most important part of window dressing.

Capella says:

lovely post! It takes time to research all those images. well edited.

arroyo says:

I’ve always thought of ‘curtains’ as more informal than "drapes." For example, you might have cafe curtains in a kitchen, nursery, or other space — they would not have to be long. But drapes are another story. Drapes should always go to the floor. Whether you choose to puddle them is strictly personal preference and the style of the room.

Kamal says:

Such a nice blog. I just love these picture they looks so attractive.

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