Isn’t There Some Way To Get Less Expensive Curtains That Still Look Great?

freaking-out-over-your-paint-colors

 

Dear Laurel,

Fine. Call me a clueless idiot. I had no idea. NO IDEA how much it was going to cost to furnish this place!

A couple of weeks ago, I called our local Draperies Plus place. They came out and measured the windows. Then, I went to the store and picked out curtains and shades for the living room, dining room, family room, kitchen, office, two bathrooms, master bedroom and guest room.

We’re having our first child in four months, so the nursery is a separate thing for now.

Well, let me just get to the point.

The estimate, Laurel. Are you sitting down?

 

The estimate for all of the window treatments– curtains and shades with installation is

$29,953.27!!!

 

This is for 21 windows. I don’t know what I thought it was going to be. I don’t know.  Maybe a third of that? Something like $10,000– tops.

Please don’t tell me to sew them myself. I don’t sew. My mother doesn’t sew and neither does my sister.

And not to be too picky, but I don’t want anything cheap looking.

Is there a solution? A lot of your readers, I’m sure would like to know if there is.

Best,

Sally Singer

 

*********

I truly don’t think that Sally is a clueless idiot. But the reality is that custom window treatments are very expensive. And actually, that number could be double or triple that number.

 

First of all, if one goes to a place like Draperies Plus, you are going to pay full retail.

 

Don’t let that name fool you. It’s the same with Calico Corners. The fabric prices are okay but they’re going to get you with the labor. And it’s fine if you want to go that way. They do EVERYTHING. But just be prepared to dig deeply into your pockets.

If you can find a seamstress with a workroom in her home, you are going to save a bundle right there. But I would caution anyone who’s lacking in experience to probably not go that route.

 

Before I go on… I realize that a number of readers are professional designers and there are also some fabulous window treatment workrooms represented here.

 

I want to make it perfectly clear that if you can swing it, there is nothing like custom curtains, drapes, valances, shades, etc. That is because these are going to be crafted by hand and a great workroom is going to craft your window treatments with love and pride in the work that they do. And so many details can be customized. There is a choice of lining… on and on…

But, I fully get it. I would not be able to afford custom window treatments for an entire home either.

As for sewing your own drapes.

 

Well… get this. You do not need to know how to sew or even own a sewing machine.

 

That’s right. There are tutorials all over pinterest for no-sew drapes and shades.  Are they any good? I have no idea. lol

How do you make a curtain without sewing?

This stuff – Stitch Witchery

But, but, but… if you don’t want to end up spending 30k at the chiropractor, you will be needing a table at least 8 feet long, dedicated to this project.

However, take heart, all is not lost.

You can have your curtains and still eat your cake too.

How?

Well, we have touched on this before, but today, I’m getting into it in a larger way.

Ready-made curtains and drapes.

BTW, the terms are used interchangeably and I’m fine with that. But just so you know, generally a curtain is a lighter weight panel that is unlined and a drape or drapery is lined and heavier.

READY MADES, LAUREL?

Really???

 

Yes, really, but we need to go over some things so that you get the look of custom without the hefty price-tag.

 

Let’s begin with the hardware for the curtains and drapes.

That’s our foundation.

99% of the time, I use a custom wrought iron rod.

For those who own Laurel’s Rolodex, I divulge my fabulous source.

 

 

And while this source is very reasonable for a totally custom hand-made product, they are not inexpensive either. And if you need a lot of them, along with the brackets, finial, rings, etc. it’s going to end up in the thousands.

PLUS, you absolutely need to have a professional installation. This needs to be embroidered, framed and hung above your bed.

 

installing curtains and drapes is not for the inexperienced!

 

As for the hardware, I went searching for the best alternatives to hang the curtains.

Here are some important things you need to know:

 

Most drapery hardware that one finds online have adjustable rods.

Adjustable rods suck.

And here’s why.

To make the rod larger, it needs to be telescoped out and one end is going to be thicker than the other. Sure, it’s probably less than a 1/4 inch, but it’s noticeable and may make your drapes not hang evenly. (if you are using rings)

Trust me on this.

Hey, maybe that’s why the curtains are covering up the rod. Now, we’re onto something.

So, here’s the deal. If you have average windows, you can use an adjustable rod and not adjust them.

Therefore, if you need a 48″ rod, get one that BEGINS at 48″.

This rod set from Pinnacle comes in a bunch of sizes and one of them begins at 144″. So, if you have an extra long window, you can do a nice long rod without telescoping it. You will need to have at least one extra bracket in the center, however.  This particular one comes in a bunch of finishes.

I also love that telescoping bracket. BRILLIANT! These also come as double rods if you are doing sheer curtains under your drapes.

 

But what if you find a fabulous curtain rod but it doesn’t come in the finish you want?

 

Aha. Well, this takes a little presence of mind, but you’ll need to paint it.

If it has a flat surface, no problemo. If it has a shiny surface, you’ll need to sand it a bit and maybe put some primer on it. I wouldn’t stress about it too much.

You can first spray paint them but that will look too flat and fake, so then I would go over with a couple of shades of rub ‘n buff.

 

There’s a widget coming up with other examples of what I think is pretty nice looking in terms of drapery hardware.

 

Do not stress too much about the brackets, in terms of their beauty or lack of it.

 

Unless it’s a long rod, with a center bracket, you don’t see them!

They don’t need to be glamorous; they just need to hold the rod up!

 

And getting the rod to stay up and be straight and all that jazz is why you need to hire a pro.

 

The exception would be if you hang the rod from the moulding. You can do this if you have a very high ceiling and your windows go up. Otherwise, if you have an 8 foot ceiling and the windows are at the standard 7 foot mark, then no.

 

Moving onto the curtains and drapes themselves.

 

Beginning with the length.

 

Unfortunately, the folks who make these ready-made curtains didn’t get the memo.

 

We’re not hanging drapes at 84″ unless the ceiling is only seven feet. And yes, I worked on a home that had seven-foot ceilings. You can see it here.

If the ceiling is 96″ (eight feet) and there’s a crown moulding that comes down about 4 inches, then you’ll need approximately two more inches to allow for the thickness of the finial, rod and the rings.

If you would like your drape to break slightly on the floor then the proper length is 91″; otherwise, 90″ is good.

***Please note*** If your crown moulding is smaller, you’ll need to adjust for the length accordingly. If there is no crown moulding, I would still leave about 3 or  inches of breathing room.

 

But Laurel… Just one problem. The drapes are NOT 90″!

 

I know. They should be, but they’re not. One day, God willing.

So, here’s the solution. You get the next size up. Or if that one is out of stock, you get the next size up.

And then you take them to the tailor who should not charge more than about 30-40 bucks (per panel) to hem the curtains.

 

The next piece of business is what we call “the header.”

 

The top of the curtain or drape.

 

Here’s where it can be a little dicey.

 

The two most common headers are rod pockets

 

pocket drape with a Kenney Turino rod and finial.

 

Heavy-Faux-Linen-Grommet-Curtain-Panel-home garden exlusive overstock

and grommet hole curtains

 

I am absolutely fine with those. And you’ll save a bunch on not having to get the rings. It’s definitely a casual look.

A rod pocket is fine as long as the drapes are stationary. Same goes for tab top. You do not want to have to try to move a tab top or gathered curtain across the rod.

But, here is what I would avoid, if possible.

The Belgian linen drape, itself is wonderful. It’s from West Elm which is one of my favorite sources for ready-made drapes. And Pottery Barn too. And don’t forget to look at Pottery Barn Teen. More about that in a sec.

So, what’s the problem?

It’s that weird box pleat that looks like it’s stuck on top of the rod.

I don’t remember when I started seeing this, but it is not really the right way to hang a curtain.

EFF-Signature-Antique-Lace-French-Linen-Sheer-Curtain-Panel from overstock

The curtain is supposed to be hanging on rings, like the pretty one above so that you can see the rod. Ideally. But I’ll forgive you if you did it like this. The manufacturers are not helping with this! They didn’t get that memo either!

You can also hang a rod pocket header using curtain rings.

I like my metal rods to be between 5/8″ and an inch. No thicker than that. Please be sure that the inside of your ring is at least a 1/4″ larger than the diameter of your rod.

 

And finally, one last piece of business.

 

Lovely rings from Pinnacle

 

But, what are those clippy thing on the ends of the hooks???

 

Please!

This makes no sense to me.

 

This is a proper drapery hook manufactured by Kirsch. It gets threaded carefully onto the back of the header so that you can’t see it, and then it looks into the bottom loop of the rings.

Like this.

It takes a little practice to get it right.

The rings above, however (with the clips are fine.) Just take them off and use the normal hook.

 

So, now for the fun part. Let’s look at some more beautiful window treatments.

 

 

Remember this beautiful drape we looked at in the post about how to get the Mark D. Sikes style?

 

Well, my fabulous Eileen Lonergan who helps me with my website bought them for her living room!

And I saw them last May on my way back from Boston.

She had to get the 108″ size and so she had them hemmed and had to fix the rod and now they are perfect. Eileen’s ceiling is nearly nine feet so, it is fine to put them on the moulding because they are already quite high up. You can get a better sense of scale if you look at the doorway.

Love their whale lamp.

Aren’t they pretty! I had Eileen take these for me. But truly, no photo does them justice.

They look like they were made for the room! And the wall was already that color.

And no, sorry, I don’t know what the color is. :]

Oh, and she painted the brick white. Doesn’t it look nice? I think so.

And they are beautifully lined too!

 

Here’s the opposite problem. I found these drapes on Pottery Barn Teen. How cool is that Greek Key corner trim.

So, what’s the problem?

They are only 84″.

Damn.

There is or was a valance that’s hung on a rod. (I think it’s only available in pink now)

 

 

But below is what I’m talking about.

 

 

Beautiful bedroom by Sarah Bartholomew

 

But, here’s what I’d do. I’d take one of the panels and have a drapery work room make a valance without the Greek key part. Just a set in straight border with corner pleats. If the window is more than four feet wide, you can have them do a center pleat too, if you like.

You will not see the Greek key on the top of the drape. That would look funny if there’s a valance with an edge border. The valance should be about 15″-16″ so, over-all, you’ll pick up a few more inches.

 

Here are a few more beautiful ready-made curtains and drapes.

 

I’m not crazy about this rod, but I found my fabric on these drapes that I’ve had in my living room for over four years. I still love my shades! The panels cost less than the fabric!!! Huh? Well, they do. I think the fabric was discontinued from Duralee not too long ago.

 

And OH! I found this bamboo blind. We talked about them here.

 

Arlo Blinds

 

These are so cheap, I am wondering if they are okay. But the reviews are splendid. And they have many styles and sizes to choose from. (info in the link)

Please note that these are clearly NOT LINED. That means that they are not private. They will make the room darker, but at night, folks can see through them.

These blinds are terrific alone or underneath your curtains or drapes. You can see an example in this post.

 

 

And please enjoy more curtains, drapes and hardware in the widget.

(please click on the individual images for more info)

 

 

 

Hope everyone had a wonderful 4th! I imagine that many of you are still on vacay.

That reminds me.

I’m going on vacay too.

A big one.

In September.

 

It’s the big news I mentioned the other day.

I’m going to England on a classical architecture tour!!!

You can read more about it on my instagram feed.

 

I KNOW! I’m beside myself with excitement!

xo,

 

PS: There are only a few more hours to get 20% off at Serena and Lily.

They are on Pacific Time, so I’m assuming that’s when it’ll end at midnight.

 

 

PPS:  I just received and email that said this:

Great post but you weren’t finished!

I need help with curtain width!
Most ready mades are 50-52″ wide. 
For wider windows is it hokey to use
multiple panels? I’ve never done that but
for our mountain house I don’t want to
splurge on custom made. 
Is using multiple panels even possible
for grommet drapes?
Did I understand you to say that it’s possible
to use hooks/rings even if there are no

loops for such on the back of the panel?

First of all, I love you guys, but if possible, please make comments in the comments. I would very much appreciate that.

If you have wider windows, I think that you should move. They aren’t normal. But you have them. Okay. Panels can be sewn together. grommet panels can be sewn together as well.

The sharp part of the hook is attached the drape. There are no loops except on the rings.

This is a better image below showing a ring and how it attaches to the hook. Please note the vestigial clip. Really do not understand them or how they would attach except to the top of the panel which is a funky look at best.

Image and a great tutorial for draperies found on In My Own Style

 

 

PPPS: Guys. I fully understand that a lot of you have many questions about your own situations that aren’t covered in this post. And maybe not in any other post on the blog. But, please do not ask for my advice. I cannot help you because I cannot SEE what you’re talking about.

I love your comments, but please keep them centered on the post and your own experiences as it relates to the post.

My recommendation is always to seek out professional help. Yes, you’ll have to pay and you’d have to pay me too if I was doing consultations, but I’m not.

If it’s one quick question that benefits everyone, that is different. Like for instance.

“Is there a ring that can possibly go over a center bracket?”

Yes, there is. It’s called a C ring.

Thank you for your understanding.

  • D from Boston - July 20, 2017 - 1:58 PM

    Related to window treatments, is there a design premise that a more formal room requires a more formal/dramatic window treatment? I have been looking for floor length curtains for my living room (velvet English roll arm couch, funky crystal chandelier, colorful rug) but am finding that they are just too big for our big bay windows. Any curtains would cover the newly painted white window trim (painted over ugly oak – loved your post on that!) and even a bit of the glass on the side windows. I am tempted to opt for simple fabric cellular shades in the same color as the trim but every photo I see of rooms like ours has long curtains (which I do love the look of). Will our room look unfinished with a more simple window treatment? We recently put up the shades in the adjoining room and they look crisp and clean. Not sure if they will out of sync with our fancier new living room furniture.ReplyCancel

  • Poppy - July 19, 2017 - 1:30 AM

    Hi Laurel!

    (Fellow Hoosier here) I want to express my gratitude for your generosity. Your gift of expert advice and time you devote to your site, as well as inspiration, encouragement and talent is astounding. Your selflessness has saved my hovel, and sanity, repeatedly. I’m in design decision overload from gray paint (thanks for solving that one), and decided to take the path of Good Enough with plantation shutters. The quote for 1 window was $350.00.

    If not for lovely you, and this post, I would be tacking up a sheet, drunk and crying. I could never afford someone with your mastery and prominence. Nor could I find anyone near your caliber here in Indiana. I’m amazed you put all your knowledge and assistance out here for people, that may never be lucky enough to be your client. Your advice is relatable and doesn’t alienate budgets.

    When I come across a designer of your ilk, I rarely actually read the information because I know I’m not the target audience. But you supply examples and links for products that are reasonable and easily attainable. The explanations you provide on things, like furniture, take the mystery out of prices and quality. I always have an “ahhh, I see” moment when I read them.

    I’m sorry this turned into an encomium, although well deserved, rather than the heartfelt thank you I was trying to say. I blame the Classic, Affinity, and Color Preview decks for my emotional undoing.ReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - July 19, 2017 - 11:30 AM

      HI Poppy,

      Thank you so much for such a sweet heartfelt message! It is greatly appreciated!ReplyCancel

  • Therese - July 14, 2017 - 12:55 PM

    OMG Laurel–thanks for the referral to the Duralee fabric drapes that match your shades! I just received them yesterday and, Holy Awesome Batman, they rock! The pics just didn’t do them justice. The color is much more muted and sophisticated than is shown on the links. Plus I can’t believe I got lined panels (with corner weights) for under $100 per panel. They were even packaged well with hardly a wrinkle! I’m in the process of updating my dining room, which is where I put them. I will send pics when the room is complete.

    By the way–the weird box pleat you talk about in this post isn’t a mistake by the designer–the drapes are manufactured to hang this way. I’ve noticed both on these drapes and on some that I’ve bought from PB that they are designed to be hung in one of three ways–(1) rings w/ hooks, as you show; (2) pocket top (which i personally can’t stand) or (3) tabs BEHIND the header (not to be confused with a tab-top, casual-looking curtain). Use of the back tabs results in the kind of box pleat you show above and recommend against. While it’s not ideal, it’s what I chose when hanging these drapes as I found it hid a multitude of sins. For one, I purchased and installed my telescoping rods before reading this post. With the majority of the rod hidden, no one can see that blooper. Second, it lifted the drapes up to just the right height so I don’t have to have them hemmed (which would have cost almost as much as the drapes in this case). Third, I avoided the expense of rings, which I priced at about $40 per panel at PB. And finally, because the rods are largely hidden and I don’t plan on ever actually moving the drapes back and forth, I was also able to skip the corner connectors on my bay window–saving another $20. So, all in all, I would call those back tabs a “poor man’s solution” to the custom drapery conundrum.

    BTW, I priced out custom panels for these windows and got a quote of $2,000. I was able to purchase these ones for about a tenth of that and couldn’t be more pleased with the results. Thanks again!!ReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - July 14, 2017 - 1:34 PM

      Hi Therese,

      I’m so glad to hear your endorsement! Since I haven’t actually seen these, I can’t be certain, but I do know the fabric and it hangs beautifully and the colors are great. And also after four years, no fading whatsoever in my bright, bright south-facing bay window!ReplyCancel

  • Maureen Graham - July 12, 2017 - 8:22 AM

    Good Morning Laurel.

    I’m so glad you did a post on Window Treatments.
    My STORY is that I had spent most of my life savings on Fabulous window treatments with the help of very talented designers.
    Problem is I moved…took all my beautiful window treatments with me…
    just bought a condo I’m renovating..(with your help). Again packing up my life and dogs and GORGEOUS WINDOW TREATMENTS…

    I have to stick with “my palette” based on these fabrics. Trouble is…I might have to have them all cut up ( etc etc) to fit windows instead of lovely grand windows I used to have. I guess I’m lucky but it feels like a root canal.ReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - July 12, 2017 - 10:49 AM

      Hi Maureen,

      Just to be clear if anyone besides Maureen is reading this; my “help” is via the blog as I am no longer taking on clients.

      But thanks so much Maureen and all the best with your dental work. haha.ReplyCancel

  • Sally Gleason - July 12, 2017 - 8:10 AM

    Laurel , I found drapery at TJX for very inexpensive cost. Bought extra panels and cut them in half and added them onto the other panels. Otherwise they seem too narrow. I did buy the longer ones and had to re hem them. I also just put 2 hooks on a ring to get the look I wanted on the top. They are not lined but I still love them. I love your posts. SalReplyCancel

  • Gretchen Tegtman - July 10, 2017 - 5:54 PM

    Hi Laurel! As a Window Treatment Specialist, I always appreciate an educational post. It helps people understand why things cost what they do. I’ve noticed several people mention the “big box” stores (CC, JCP, etc). I hope that when people are looking for window treatments, they would consider smaller “Mom & Pop” stores. You get fabulous quality & knowledge, much better customer service and usually far better prices! I have been doing window treatments for 24 years, and I’ve seen it all and dressed it too! 🙂ReplyCancel

  • Laura - July 10, 2017 - 2:19 PM

    Are fabric roman shades out of style now? All I seem to see are the wood ones, which my husband doesn’t like.ReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - July 10, 2017 - 3:37 PM

      Fabric Roman shades are absolutely positively not out of style.ReplyCancel

  • Nicole - July 9, 2017 - 9:59 PM

    Hi Laurel.

    Thank you so much for this post! Is it possible to also do ready made Roman shades without it looking awful, or is that a fool’s errand?ReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - July 10, 2017 - 12:17 AM

      Hi Nicole,

      Well, if doing inside mount Roman shades, they need to be the exact measurement within about a 1/4″ or they won’t look so great. So, if you can do inside mount and your windows can accommodate the standard sizes they come in, that would probably be okay.

      Outside mount needs to be a little larger than the window frame. About an inch on each side.

      although, depending on your casing, sometimes they can be an outside mount that fits into the flat area, leaving a couple of inches of casing showing around the shade. I did that once because we didn’t want to cover everything up and it looked very nice.ReplyCancel

      • Nicole - July 10, 2017 - 8:57 AM

        Thank you so much! I had planned on a classic Roman shade for my young sons’ shared room but may end up with them in the master as well since the builder placed every window within six inches of a corner. Bleh. I’m glad to know the ready mades stand a chance of looking alright!

        I will find the “20 shades of white post” and leave this portion of my reply there as well in case it is helpful to other readers but wanted you to know what a HUGE help that post and several of your other paint color posts have been to me. We just bought a new-ish house, moving from a custom build into a mega-builder “semi-custom”. The house itself is very pretty, but it comes with all of the charming challenges of an open plan in the common areas, bullnose corners that prevent any actual definition among rooms, encumbered north-facing windows, etc.

        Anyway, after much testing and deliberating, for the common areas and bedrooms I settled on BM-Mayonnaise for the walls and ceilings (in the non-yellowing ceiling formula), and Cotton Balls for the trim. I couldn’t be happier! Thank you!ReplyCancel

        • Laurel Bern - July 10, 2017 - 3:22 PM

          Hi Nicole,

          I have done drapes for corner windows. You will need an L-shaped rod, however. Ideally, that is.

          And thank you so much for the kind words regarding the colors! So glad the advise was helpful for you!ReplyCancel

  • Lisa - July 9, 2017 - 3:34 PM

    Laurel, as this is my first comment on your wonderful blog, I love and recommend your blog to my southern colleagues when they ask where I found my paint “guru”. But my dilemma is finding drapes with my 10′ ceilings. When placing the rods under the 5″ crown, it leaves me searching for 114″ drapes. Even finding 120″ drapes to have altered, the selection is limited.ReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - July 9, 2017 - 3:58 PM

      Hi Lisa,

      Oh, a commenting virgin. I’ll try to be gentle. lol

      Well, that is not such a bad problem to have, IMO. Yeah, 120″ is less common in ready-mades. It seems that I have seen that, but don’t recall where. But, unless your window is going above 108″ which is unlikely, you could do the 108″ ones. Your rod still needs to be at about 110″ if using rings. (but check this first. And no, it’s not easy to calculate.)

      In years past, I usually hung the drapes a little below the crown anyway. And with nine feet of drape, that’s not going to look squatty.

      A bigger problem, however, is looking skimpy in the width, possibly. so, I would make sure that the drapes are lined which will make them appear more full.

      The other thing is if your window is say going up the 8 foot point, it might be better to have them only a foot about the moulding, in any case.

      Last possibly cheat if you really want more height would be to do a tailored valance right under the crown. It should be at least 16″ and probably 18″ with a ten foot
      ceiling.

      Oh wait. One last solution but this one is going to add a bit of money. And that’s to add a wide contrasting hem. I’ve touched on this in the past. I’ve done it for several jobs and it always looks amazing. It’s especially nice if the window sill is on the low side.

      The contrasting hem can be either a solid or pattern but it needs to be at least as heavy a weight fabric as the main or even heavier, but lighter won’t work very well.

      I think the deepest I’ve ever gone is about 24″, but you’d probably need about that for a 9′-6″ panel. Maybe sketch it out.

      However, you’ll need to add about 10″ of fabric to allow for seam and hem.

      I have also done this when folks current drapes are nice, but too short. In that case, a heavier fabric that doesn’t require lining is a good thing. It can even be a wide border, like 4″-5″ or so down the fronts and bottom of the drape. That one could work for you too.

      Well, that was probably another blog post! lolReplyCancel

  • Tracy - July 9, 2017 - 10:35 AM

    Love this! I nearly croaked when I was quoted $2,700 for ONE window. I called and asked if there was a typo as I couldn’t believe it! So instead I opted for plantation shutters and a custom curtain rod and off the shelf Pottery Barn drapes which saved me quite a bit and look fabulous. Check out Country Curtains if you haven’t heard of them. Its a family run business that tends to be more on the traditional side, but they have lovely well made curtains that are not outrageously priced. When I lived upstate NY I would go to their Fishkill store for their drapes and even ordered fabric by the yard and found a seamstress who did work out of her house.ReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - July 9, 2017 - 1:32 PM

      Hi Tracy,

      Yes, I do know of country curtains. And yep. $2,700 is quite possible, but they should’ve cessed out your budget before-hand. You can do a window for less than that, even with custom.ReplyCancel

  • Jenny - July 9, 2017 - 10:28 AM

    extremely helpful post, thank you, Laurel

    this 84′ length is very frustrating.

    nevertheless..I’m usually going with it because I need so save somewhere. My trick is usually to have the background color of a curtain close to the wall color. I suppose rings can also add the needed height..unfortunately I thought of this brilliant idea too late. If I add them now-I ask my DH to redo all the rods. No. Can’t. Don’t ask. He’s amazing. Maybe one of the most amazing people out there. But he’s an engineer. Every task is tackled with such level of dedication, it’s painful to watch..

    Also..30-40 dollars per panel..I’m counting together all the panels, and add these 30 here and 30 there..and I see that amazing painting that I can buy instead..

    But. The living room is not done yet(precisely for the reason I really like only custom iron rods lol. and can’t afford them. well technically I can but then it means not affording something else). So there..because of the nature of the curtains themselves that I picked a long time ago(they’re probably very wrinkled being still in that box lol)..there I might get it right..at last..

    I think that Anthropologie has the best quality/price correlation. So while I really try not to get everything from one place even if I love it, curtains and drapes are exclusion to that rule of mine. Luckily the store carries a lot of different things so it still allows for that gathered look. Unless you’re like me and just know their merchandise by heart..:)

    (I also have one window that’s too wide..luckily has this narrow separation making it technically into two windows..but curtains would look extremely awkward on this one. Having this separation allowed me to treat it like two windows though..so I ordered woven shades. Online. Was very surprised when they actually fit..))ReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - July 9, 2017 - 1:30 PM

      Hi Jenny,

      It sounds like you have great design instincts! I almost always choose a drape that if a pattern has the wall color as a background or if a solid, same thing.

      Seriously. One needs to be an engineer or else have a ton of experience hanging the rods. That is why I always recommend a pro. ReplyCancel

  • Taryl - July 7, 2017 - 7:45 PM

    You are always full of such good tidbits! I honestly didn’t know they made drapery hooks *blush*

    Have a wonderful time in England! How cool a trip will that be?! You will, of course, blog all about it with copious pictures right?ReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - July 7, 2017 - 10:17 PM

      Hi Taryl,

      No need to blush. These days a lot of stuff is done in non-traditional ways. The clips began as clipping to the top of the drape. As I said to Therese, I can’t picture how it’s supposed to clip to the back of the header and have it hang correctly.

      And regards to England. Yes, and yes!ReplyCancel

  • Kim Doyle - July 7, 2017 - 5:29 PM

    Hi Laurel,
    Great post! I like the idea of having a work room customize the ready made drapes. One idea I found awhile ago was to double the width of the ready made drapes, hem them to right length and add pinch pleats. Attached is a link to explain how to make pinch pleats from rod pocket drapes which I thought looked pretty good. I will definitely be exploring some of your ideas soon.ReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - July 7, 2017 - 10:15 PM

      Hi Kim,

      Thanks so much but I don’t see the link. But there are lots of tutorials on pinterest for all of this stuff.ReplyCancel

  • Therese - July 7, 2017 - 1:52 PM

    Hi Laurel,

    Great post! About the clips-on rings, I’ve had good luck with the ones from Pottery Barn. I don’t attach the clip to the top of the drape–that looks pretty hokey. I just attach it to the back of the header at whatever height seems right to allow the drapes to just kiss the floor. I found this works well with a drape fabric that is pretty sturdy and can stand up on its own (e.g. Cotton). I’ve tried the same with silk drapes and it didn’t look so hot because the silk header just flopped down too much for my liking.ReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - July 7, 2017 - 10:13 PM

      Hi Therese,

      What I don’t understand is how it clips on. It’s a vertical header and a vertical clip. It doesn’t compute. I’d have to see it.ReplyCancel

      • Therese - July 8, 2017 - 8:16 AM

        The header on the Pottery Barn drapes isn’t a simple rod pocket. There is heavy-duty thread running horizontal across the top of the header (almost like fishing wire). You just clip onto that.ReplyCancel

        • Laurel Bern - July 9, 2017 - 1:27 AM

          So, what keeps one from seeing the clip. You shouldn’t see the loop or the clip. You don’t need to answer that. I still find it weird.ReplyCancel

  • Lisa D. - July 7, 2017 - 10:50 AM

    Dear Interior Design Guru,

    These are all beautiful, great ideas, suggestions, etc., and seem to be a trend right now, but my living room has very tall French doors that are, what I would say, recessed, or about 8″ back from the interior living room walls. In other words, the draperies/curtains are contained within this space, sort of like a shadow box frame effect, which allows for limited opening of the doors. I can open the doors far enough, just not all the way, which is OK. I can live with that. There is a heating vent on one wall, close to the molding that surrounds one French door, so hanging curtains outside the door, which would be the ideal solution, is not an option. I guess this makes me dated, but I like the idea of the older cords which allow you to open and close the curtains, instead of opening them with your hands. Is this a whole other post? Probably. (Whew, sorry for the long comment!) Thanks for letting me vent, Laurel.ReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - July 7, 2017 - 10:11 PM

      I’m not sure I got all of that. But I’ve encountered many situations over the years.

      these drapes are not the solution for everyone. As you can see, one size doesn’t fit all.

      There is nothing wrong with traverse rods. People still use them. In fact there are decorative traverse rods, but I’ve never talked about them. I’m not 100% in love with the look.

      Otherwise, if using a traverse rod, one must do either a valance or a cornice to cover the ugly rod. They aren’t meant to be seen unless they are the decorative ones.ReplyCancel

  • Lynn - July 7, 2017 - 9:23 AM

    Laurel, you are a delight~

    Appreciate you so much! I am wondering what / how you would style the type of Windows in my 1970’s brick rancher…all of the windows are horizontal and have a solid pane in middle with two vertical panes on each side that open (vertical crank style). They all have marble windowsills, no frame molding, and flank the upper half of the wall, I have 8′ ceilings.

    To date, I just haven’t found the right treatment for the window in our eat-in kitchen. Do I use a valance & blind , or frame it with swags ?

    We purchased this house 4 yrs ago and I have traditional drapes (floor length) in the rest of the rooms in my home, and even the ones in the bedrooms look like they need something to balance that big span in the middle from the window sill down to the floor, I guess that will be typical, but keep thinking they need something else. And to this day, I still have no clue on how to properly dress the one in the kitchen..

    Have you any posts on this sort of window? Thank you kindly, and if not I understand. Just couldn’t resist reaching out to you !ReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - July 7, 2017 - 10:07 PM

      Hi Lynn,

      I’m so sorry, but as soon as I see a question asking for help, I just go south. I really do feel badly, but I’ve gotten to the point where I can’t even focus on the questions. This is not an easy business. I hope that you’ll understand. That’s why I put a note at the end of the post but maybe you didn’t see it. ReplyCancel

  • mrsben - July 7, 2017 - 9:03 AM

    Excellent advice and spot on Laurel! As a DIYer having sewn my own window coverings for many years now; hope you don’t mind me adding a few extra tips for those purchasing ready-made drapery: a) Don’t go skimpy in width and if necessary have your panels sewn together. b) At the same time, replace back tabs with a decent heading tape for the adaptation of hooks (and an optional ready-made lining or liner if you wish to add one. i.e.: web search Amazon.com) c) If not using a high-end traverse rod, consider a wand/baton as part of your hardware to assist in opening and closing as they can be easily concealed. d) Add curtain weights to the lower hemline if they do not have them. -Brenda-
    P.S.: Thank you Laurel, for letting me add my two-cents and wishing you a wonderful time in England.ReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - July 7, 2017 - 10:05 PM

      Thanks so much Brenda. I have to admit that some of that was over my head. haha. What is a heading tape? Do you mean buckram?

      It seems that if one puts the pin in the back tab which is what is in the image I added, (I think that’s what you mean), it seems like it would be okay.

      I’ve done the wand batons maybe twice. People are afraid of getting the drapes dirty. But it’s optional. I always make sure the rings go smoothly and easily over the rod, so it shouldn’t take much to close the drapes.

      But curtain weights to the bottom hem. That is a great one!

      There are different kinds of weights. But we always put a flat rectangular one in the front corners. For some reason, they always seem to ride up even with the weights. Not sure why, but I’m always having to have the installer fudge the pin so that they hang evenly.ReplyCancel

      • mrsben - July 9, 2017 - 3:36 PM

        Actually buckram’s primary use is that of a fabric stabilizer whereas in general terms; heading tape dictates a style when applied to the header of a window covering. -Brenda-ReplyCancel

        • Laurel Bern - July 9, 2017 - 3:59 PM

          Hi Brenda,

          I am not familiar with heading tape. That’s what’s tripping me up. But maybe it’s used for a type of window treatment I never do?ReplyCancel

  • Phyllis E - July 7, 2017 - 12:03 AM

    I know what you mean about telescoping rods—they are so frustrating! One solution I have found that helps, is to buy the extra long sizes (the ones that say they expand up to 96″ or 120″) even for smaller, standard width windows and use the extra rod portion (which is always the wider diameter-sized tube), cut it down as necessary, and slip it over the narrower-diameter portion of the drapery rod. I use a piece of black duct tape, strategically placed on the rear of the rod, to help hold it in place. It isn’t as perfect of a solution as a custom, one-piece rod, but it does look better than seeing the telescoping portion, and the drapes slide better.
    I bought a $10 pipe cutter to easily cut the rods at home, but a hack saw would work as well. The pipe cutter I have does scratch the finish a little bit near the cut, but I found that you can’t see it at all when it is up around 8′ above the floor!
    I sure wish manufacturers would offer a better option than those telescoping rods for those of us who can’t afford a custom length one! Thanks for the interesting article.ReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - July 7, 2017 - 12:10 AM

      Hi Phyllis,

      Now THAT is a great idea! I would have my guy do it. (installer), but that’s very creative.ReplyCancel

  • CASSANDRA - July 6, 2017 - 11:01 PM

    Laurel, I have had custom draperies as well as ready made both in my home. For my most recent room renovation I was searching online and found Country Curtains. My home is very traditional, not country but the picture on the advertisement had a beautiful jacobean fabric so I searched the site and found several beautiful styles and fabrics. I took a chance and ordered fabric swatches and wow, was I impressed. When I called my order the customer service was amazingly helpful, offered suggestions on patterns, linings, answered hardware questions, etc. The drapes I ordered were lovely and very well detailed. I have purchased several since and very happy with my purchases and pricing. I have even ordered one panel of several fabrics to make a decision and returns were very easy. I actually had a hard time deciding on living room draperies because I loved them all. Just a suggestion on ready mades if your looking for something of quality other than custom.ReplyCancel

    • Therese - July 7, 2017 - 2:06 PM

      Cassandra, I too have had good luck with Country Curtains. I bought some adorable “tie up shades” for my master bath where I didn’t want to spring for custom. I found their return process really easy too when I bought some woven shades that didn’t work for me.ReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - July 6, 2017 - 11:03 PM

      Hi Cassandra,

      I have not looked at them recently, but in years past, always associated them with something I didn’t like, but maybe that’s changed.

      I’m trying to go for a high-end look without the hefty price-tag.ReplyCancel

      • Cassandra - July 6, 2017 - 11:57 PM

        I am as well and was impressed with their quality and selection. I always associated them with a “country” look which wasn’t my style. I have high end custom drapery and hardware in my dining room and kitchen and honestly, their hardware was better than the custom. I think if a person follows your guidelines and suggestions on measuring, hemming if needed and hardware placement the high end look is achievable. Really the key even with well made, ready made.drapes if they have what you are looking for in fabric. Just thinking outside the box!ReplyCancel

  • Curtains still scare the tar out of me! They’re so complex and technical. Haha clearly you understand them, Laurel, but I still don’t!

    That’s why they’re only in one room (blackout curtains in the nursery) in my house and you definitely wouldn’t approve of how they look, and neither do I! When I can I’m just avoiding the whole situation and doing plantation shutters all the way!ReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - July 6, 2017 - 10:09 PM

      You’re right Ashley. Fortunately, I worked for a decorator for four years before starting my business and she did a LOT of window treatments. Then, when I started out, I worked with a workroom who did everything. After several jobs, I picked up the rest of the basics.

      But I used to go over every single job in person with my workroom. Just to make sure that she understood and we worked out any problems.ReplyCancel

  • Mary - July 6, 2017 - 8:40 PM

    Hi Laurel,
    My husband calls me a drapery snob. I guess I am. If I see panels that aren’t hung high & wide or if they’re too short I feel the need to criticize. Of course I don’t say anything to the homeowner. But I always have to comment about them to him. He’s so sick of hearing me go on about it. Lol
    The fact that most big box stores continue to sell 84″ lengths and not 96″ lengths just irritates me no end. No wonder there are so many badly dressed windows out there.
    And the fact that so many websites/catalogs that sell window treatments show them not quite reaching the floor is sending the wrong message.
    Ok…I’m getting off my soapbox.
    BTW…IKEA sells long & affordable panels.ReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - July 6, 2017 - 9:29 PM

      Hi Mary,

      96″ is a standard size, but 8 feet is usually too short for a nine foot ceiling and of course, too long for an 8 foot ceiling. A more ideal length for an 8 ft ceiling is about 91″.

      But I’m with you. No flood length drapes— please! Just horrible. I like them to break slightly on the floor ideally. But I’m okay if a client wants them a hair above the floor. But just a hair. lolReplyCancel

  • Cara - July 6, 2017 - 8:28 PM

    Laurel, thanks for the post! We have a 9 foot window in our living room and I never thought to sew panels together. We ended up with custom curtains in our living room and I have to say, I am so happy we did. It was a slight splurge, but they are beautiful. Velvet french pleat hanging on a traverse rod… love! We may do the same thing in our dining room, but we have not made a decision yet. We certainly did not pay the amount mentioned above or anywhere close to that. We went with a small interior designer and she did a great job! I love reading your posts, I get such inspiration for our cozy cottage!ReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - July 6, 2017 - 9:26 PM

      Hi Cara,

      Absolutely, the way you did it is what I very much recommend. And it’s a lot of work to sew the panels together. It might end up not being much of a savings unless one does it themselves. ReplyCancel

  • Angelina Maher - July 6, 2017 - 5:27 PM

    Hello Laurel,

    Why the diss to Calico Corners?? Calico is one of a very few nationwide avenues for custom drapery products. Independent locations provide employment to small, usually family owned workroom sites. The dedication and skill of these employees is excellent! By-the-yard fabric prices at Calico are very competitive and Calico has many valuable partnerships with vendors resulting in great prices and quality products for consumers. It is essential to compare “apples to apples” when discussing the value of window treatments. I very much appreciate your endorsement of the professional drapery installation as a necessity. As you well understand, window dressing is an art!
    Sincerely,
    AngelinaReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - July 6, 2017 - 9:25 PM

      I am speaking from my experience Angelina. In New York, their labor fees are very expensive. I just mentioned that but of course, you haven’t had an opportunity to see that comment.

      I’ve had a few clients who’ve had a not-very-good experience with them. Of course, it might’ve just been the store that used to be local to me.ReplyCancel

  • Paula Marshall - July 6, 2017 - 4:36 PM

    THAT BEAR!!!! I’m dying laughing 😂. OUCH!!!!!!ReplyCancel

  • Carol - July 6, 2017 - 4:32 PM

    Hi Laurel, Very timely post, wondering what do you suggest for sliding patio door in bedrooms. I think in a post you mentioned something about a ring or ? on the rod that would slide over the middle bracket if using panels with grommets or rings?? Or am I wacko? Or is a traverse rod the only option. The link to the 7′ ceiling was interesting too. Was going through cabins recently & saw one that had support beams every couple of feet apart all across the room createing a ceiling of 7′. Assumed that they are supporting the second floor & maybe not able to remove them. Do you paint the beams & ceiling white or pale color so it’s less noticeable or just duck lol? No, i’m not that tall! It just felt weird. Great post as always..ReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - July 6, 2017 - 9:20 PM

      Hi Carol,

      I wish I could give you more help, but can’t give individual advice in the comments because I would need to see what’s going on. There are numerous posts here about window treatments. Sorry that I can’t be of more help.ReplyCancel

  • Pam Singer - July 6, 2017 - 2:55 PM

    Great post! I have had lots of custom done with Calico. They have free in home consultation-workrooms that they will stand behind. There is great value in just that alone (should something go awry) Fabrics are well priced-they have great sales and offer professional measure and install-a key piece. There as so many considerations as you detail in your post that unless you know what you are doing-I would proceed with caution-on a key room-all by yourself. I have found Calico Corners much less expensive than most designers and a much better quality and end all look than ready made.A wonderful seamstress of course is a gem if you can find one. I can’t imagine $29,00… Of course it depends on the room and the look you want-and there is a place for ready made as well.
    Happy travels.ReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - July 6, 2017 - 9:16 PM

      Hi Pam,

      Are you related to Sally? ;]

      I don’t know where you are, but here in NY, their labor fees are double what I charged my clients. And I had to have remade several window treatments for at least two clients. That was because they didn’t do what she had told them to do and the styling was dated. Maybe they just had bad luck.

      But for one-stop shopping, it might be worth it for some. And they probably have updated their styling in the last 18 years.ReplyCancel

      • Pam Singer - July 6, 2017 - 10:35 PM

        So Calico yes-I am a fan! I can only speak to my experience and that of friends-the experience has always been great-I have worked with a designer as well-and of course there is the designer’s fee is usually attached which certainly isn’t free.Calico in my view is a great “middle ground” between a designer and ready made.And a comfortable place to get advice. I have used them from Phiily-to New Jersey-and Seattle.It just depends on what you want the outcome to be I think-and some ready mades are terrific-but I would never put Calico in a really dig deep into your pockets category.

        This post has many wonderful tips. Thank you.

        Have super tripReplyCancel

        • Laurel Bern - July 6, 2017 - 11:21 PM

          arrgggghhh!!!

          My prices were and would still be significantly lower than CC. I am tired of hearing that ALL designers charge more, apples for apples than retail stores.

          That is absolutely positively, NOT TRUE. And I feel it my duty on behalf of myself and my talented, hard-working colleagues who read this blog to set the record straight. As a designer, I would always recommend using one of us before ever going to a store.

          Oh, you might get someone okay to help you. Or they might’ve started last week. and they do things in a rote manner, I’ve come to realize. I really don’t wish to discuss it any further. I hope that you’ll respect my wishes. Thank you.ReplyCancel

  • MH - July 6, 2017 - 2:39 PM

    I have had the most luck with Penney’s. They have a really large selection of fabrics, colors, sizes and different types of curtains. They are usually on sale for half off. I go to a large store and look at the choices and fabric and then order online for the hard-to-find size.

    I love the West Elm drapes!ReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - July 6, 2017 - 9:11 PM

      Hi MH,

      We don’t have any Penney’s around here any longer, but I just checked and they do have a large selection of window coverings.ReplyCancel

  • Ann - July 6, 2017 - 2:16 PM

    Your post this morning made my day with the picture of the pole going up the bear’s $&@*! I am still smiling about it! Lol.

    How concerned about matching backgrounds on drapes, pillows and such do we need to be? Example mixing lighter creams and darker creams or white with a creamy background? Is there a good guideline? Thanks always for the excellent posts!ReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - July 6, 2017 - 9:08 PM

      Hi Ann,

      That could be a blog post. But in short, I love mixing whites. I wouldn’t stress (too much) about it, quite frankly. ReplyCancel

  • Rosemary - July 6, 2017 - 2:14 PM

    Dear Laurel,
    Your trip sounds wonderful! I am happy for you!
    The question I have is how to deal with radiators and vents below windows. I haven’t seen much discussion about this. Our many images on Pinterest etc.
    Thanks!ReplyCancel

  • MH - July 6, 2017 - 1:09 PM

    Which type works best if I open & close the drapes every day? Rings, grommet hole curtains, or transverse rods?ReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - July 6, 2017 - 9:04 PM

      Hi MH,

      They all work great as long as there is no friction on the pole. We sometimes use silicone, but do not spray it directly on because it lands on the floor and then it’ll be like ice. In a pinch, we’ve used soap. That works.ReplyCancel

  • Gail Caryn - July 6, 2017 - 12:14 PM

    Hi Laurel
    I was very Excited to hear about your trip to England. Congratulations! I just purchased ready-made drapes from Wayfair and I’m ready to hang them but I have one question. I know you don’t normally answer specific questions and I understand why but I thought I’d give it a try since there may be others reading the blog who have the same situation. The drapes will hang on French doors leading outside on the end wall of a cottage. The cottage has faulted ceilings so above the French doors there is an A frame wall going up to 20 feet or so. I was thinking of hanging the drapery rod A few inches above the door trim and extending it just beyond the Side trim. It looks right to me I just wondered if there were any guidelines? Thanks again for Reading my mind! I’m ready to hang drapes laurel does a blog on drapes. You have the most amazing timing! Can’t wait for the England post.ReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - July 6, 2017 - 12:25 PM

      Hi Gail,

      My rule is… If it looks right, it’s right. :]ReplyCancel

      • Gail Caryn - July 6, 2017 - 11:49 PM

        Love it! 🙂ReplyCancel

  • Faye - July 6, 2017 - 9:48 AM

    My favorite is the Sarah Bartholomew bedroom. In my view, it has the most finished look, having the corner pleat valance, covering a blank area of wall above a window. I presume that it is hung on a cornice and would like to know if they are available to order by size. I am thinking something light weight and easy to install. Pinch-pleated, draw draperies are also a favorite of mine that provide privacy for street level windows in the evening. Mine have a swag valance with fringe. I know, outdated and hopefully, soon to be replaced but personally, I like the look better than draperies puddled on the floor and bare wall showing above a high rod. I have no problem with a high or extended rod. To each his own I say. Is there hope for me to replace the draw draperies on my current double window and still have privacy and an updated look? Ceilings are only eight feet high. Thanks Laurel.ReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - July 6, 2017 - 11:22 AM

      Hi Faye,

      Custom workrooms can make a valance for you and yes, they are hung on a board if that’s what you mean by cornice.

      As for your question. People are still doing drapes on a traverse rod with a valance or cornice over them. Personally, I prefer valances on windows that are taller than they are wide, but a double window is okay.

      The updated look is a tailored valance like Sarah did, not a big swag. ReplyCancel

  • Laurie Benko - July 6, 2017 - 9:33 AM

    Laurel, I love your sense of humor! Sally Singer really cracked me up. I used to make custom window treatments for myself, family and close friends. Now I only buy ready mades and hem them. They cost much less than buying the fabric. Great post with very good suggestions. Thank you! LaurieReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - July 6, 2017 - 11:18 AM

      Hi Laurie,

      Yes, I know! The fabric is often less already sewn than if one went out and got the same fabric as cut yardage!ReplyCancel

  • Terry M - July 6, 2017 - 8:30 AM

    Window treatments have always posed a problem for me as well in one way or another; length, width, fabric, header type, pattern, color, rod height, rod type, how to hang, etc. I refuse to pay exorbitant prices for drapery or rods. I do buy ready made and alter myself, or sew them myself. I like to change them up every few years too and you can’t do that if you spend big bucks on them, then you feel like you need to keep them forever to justify the cost.ReplyCancel

  • Robin - July 6, 2017 - 5:58 AM

    Another timely post, as I’m going through this now. We have plantation shutters on the front of the house, and in the bedrooms, but didn’t want to close off our kitchen and family room. We don’t get much light there, mainly because of a covered screened in porch with a stacked stone fireplace. It really makes it seem darker on the inside, but we wouldn’t trade it for the world, because we love our porch so much! What do you recommend for privacy at night for those spaces? We have six windows in the kitchen, the door that goes to the porch, and three windows in the living room. Also, what do you think about panels over shutters? Light still gets in at night in the bedroom. Would blackout panels be okay there? Does that look ridiculous? Thank you again for such a great post!ReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - July 6, 2017 - 11:15 AM

      Hi Robin,

      I realize that you’re needing some help with your window treatments. My best advice is to find a local designer who can come by for a consult. It’s impossible for anyone to give appropriate advice without being there. And no worries. I’m asked questions like this dozens of times a week.ReplyCancel

  • Mary M - July 6, 2017 - 12:16 AM

    Another excellent post. Right now I’m struggling with a sliding patio door that’s right next to a normal sized window, making almost an entire wall of glass. At the moment that wall has those awful vertical blinds, but we want to do draperies over the door and window, just like the blinds are now. Finding panels that fit the patio door and then the window is going to be difficult. Your idea of using a tailor is excellent! Thanks for opening up my mind to something like that. Now I feel like I can go ahead and begin my search.ReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - July 6, 2017 - 12:28 AM

      Hi Mary,

      I don’t know if a tailor will be able to do a big thing like that, but I did have a client a few years ago with two huge sliding patio doors about 16 feet in total with only a foot in between. So I did one super long rod and a total of 8 widths of drapes, I think it was. Turned out very nice.ReplyCancel

  • Dana Cannon - July 6, 2017 - 12:16 AM

    Laurel thanks for addressing the width issue. I hate wimpy panels on wider windows;sewing panels for a 2 1/2x fullness sounds like a good option. Just ordered some linen ones from your selection. I’d like to suggest a site called Payless Decor for blinds. They have a fabulous selection of natural blinds! They’ll send free samples and the service has been great The twice I ordered. Thanks for a fun and informative blog! Can’t wait to go with you to England!ReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - July 6, 2017 - 12:25 AM

      Hi Dana,

      Thanks for the info about Payless. Always good to know excellent sources.

      Are you going on the trip too?ReplyCancel

  • debra @ 5th and state - July 5, 2017 - 11:19 PM

    thank you thank you laurel!
    I was just berated by a long time client when he received his proposal for custom drapery,. they have good taste, I do too ($$), one room was to be Ralph Lauren $$$, and on and on. my workroom is very reasonable so the cost was in the textiles. this is a timely read and very informative

    cheers for a September England tour, it is the best time of year to go. I lead a small garden & antique tour in the countryside every September. ENJOY! and take lots of photos!
    debraReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - July 5, 2017 - 11:32 PM

      Hi Debra,

      Yeah… I’ve been berated too. That sucks. Hopefully, it’ll blow over. Sometimes, it’s just a reflex like. Holy Cow! Really???

      that’s cool that you lead a tour every September in England!ReplyCancel

  • Melissa Dietz - July 5, 2017 - 11:17 PM

    How can you be so psychic? Yesterday it was dining rooms, today drapes. I have both on my mind. Your ideas intrigue me and elevate my thoughts about what is possible. I am a DIY kinda girl because of the household in which I was raised. I grew up in a mid-cemtury modern house filled with Danish furniture and no window treatments. My first house was a bungalow with blinds. My second home was a farmhouse surrounded by trees and no need of window treatments. I now live in the burbs. The house is so vanilla and the man I married has specific taste. The rings you featured will be my next project. I think white canvas and ball trim for a new summer look. I am finally excited to turn vanilla into something a little more sea salt caramel, but I can’t freak out my DH. The dining room will take some more time. Thanks!ReplyCancel

  • Alissa - July 5, 2017 - 10:40 PM

    I wonder if your dear readers, or you, know of a good place to get some advice on curtain styles. I am making my own curtains since I live in a MCM glass house that requires custom curtains (that’s a YIKES curtain bill). I have tracks due to the architecture, and want to use a double pinch pleat outer blackout/WarmWindows drape and a sheer inner with a looser wave heading. It’s OK to mix the headings, right? It seems weird not to use two different style headings when you have two layers.

    This project must commence before the husband becomes the talk of the neighborhood for never wearing pants in the house.ReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - July 5, 2017 - 11:05 PM

      Hi Alissa,

      I know that you mean well,

      however, I would very much prefer not to turn the comments into a forum whereby people are using them to elicit specific help from other readers. The comments are supposed to be related only to the post and your own past experiences. I hope that’s understandable why it could be a source of potential conflict.

      If you are having a specific issue, there are forums out there, like the garden web on houzz and others, where folks live to answer people’s questions. Or, you can do what I often do. Google it. Or, hire a design pro for a consultation.

      Hope that helps!ReplyCancel

      • Alissa - July 6, 2017 - 8:03 AM

        Totally understandable. Thanks for the tip on Houzz. And a design consultation is a great idea! 🙂ReplyCancel

  • Kris Betts - July 5, 2017 - 9:58 PM

    Laurel I’ve had good luck with estate sales and eBay for custom curtains. I have a curtain lady that will measure and cut to fit my windows.
    My living room curtains are an old Pierre Frey toile, the curtains came from the Beverly Wishire, The Pretty a Woman hotel.
    They’re a conversation if anythingReplyCancel