Window treatment styles – How to select color, type, pattern

freaking-out-over-your-paint-colors

 

Dear Laurel,

I’ve been reading your blog for several years as we’ve been working towards restoring our 125+ year old brick Victorian. Your paint color posts- especially those about dark color choices– and “unkitchen” ideas are some of my favorites.

 

 

I think I’ve read every post you’ve done on curtains and feel pretty comfortable on how high, interior/exterior mount etc.

 

 

But, where I’m paralyzed with fear is picking out the type of window treatment.

 

There are so many window treatment styles. And then there are all of the details! There is so much to pick from and I’m afraid I’ll make a choice I’ll regret.

When considering window treatment styles, how do you know if you should do a pattern, a solid, a trim, a valance, etc.?

 

We love our 11 ft. tall ceilings but it means every panel needs to be custom-made. We’ve been living with too-short leftovers from the old house. Or, cheap roller blinds in nearly every room for the past five years. I’m ready to do something but have no idea where to start. Could you do a post on how to discern curtain style?

Thanks for considering the topic!

Gloria

 

Oh wow! Thank you Gloria! It’s a topic for sure, but it’s HUUUUUUUGGGE!!!

There are so many window treatment styles, but over the years, I fell into a groove, because I realized that most of them are not for me.

 

And here’s the other thing when considering the plethora of window treatment styles.

 

A lot of them are not historically accurate. And sometimes even when they should be!

You mean, window treatments are ersatz, sometimes, too, Laurel? You mean all of those traditional draperies we see that cost a bloody fortune are fakes too?

Okay, before I get myself in some serious hot lava, one of the biggest issues is not the window treatment styles, but the… yeah, you already know.

 

THE WINDOWS.

 

Poor Gloria and her 11-foot ceilings. Life is so rough. ;] You know, I’m just joking you and really am insanely jealous!!! I’m sure that your home is beyond magnificent!

We talked last Sunday about the short and squat, so it’s only fair that we devote a few lines to you lucky dogs out there with soaring ceilings.

Alas… you’re going to have to pay to have full length custom draperies made most likely if your drapes are to go right underneath the crown moulding. However, Wayfair has hundreds of curtains that are 120″ which might be just fine. (that link takes you to them)

And also Williams Sonoma Home has ready-made curtains that are 127″. The thing is, with a panel that tall, I would probably do a panel and a half. But, if your windows aren’t more than 40″ wide with the moulding, the single panels will probably be okay.

 

But, one other trick that I did a couple of times for clients who had draperies that were too short, was to have my workroom add a deep hem in a contrasting fabric to their old drapes.

 

However, I’m talking about the glut of hideous windows that are out there. And I can’t go into all of them. But, even a bank of windows butting up against each other, is not historically accurate in terms of 18th and most 19th century architecture.

So, in all fairness, it presents an extra challenge.

hideous balloon valance - window treatment styles - do not pin to pinterest or share anywhere on social media

Like, when we’re presented with some monstrosity like this.

I don’t know how I came upon it. It’s actually for a company that made the window seat. The window seat is fine.

 

So, what is wrong with this window treatment?

 

Besides everything? lol

First of all, this style simply did not exist until modern times; nor, should it. And, that continuous string of loops is bad design. At least not to the best of my knowledge and we’ll be getting to that in a sec. But, even if it did, putting this huge horizontal thing is taking these lovely windows and making them look awful. It’s like a really tacky prom dress. And, especially with the polyester sheer, but lined (it looks like) fabric.

 

What’s really making me crazy is that this treatment is merely decorative.

If one can call it that. I call it an eyesore.

 

There is no reason to have it there. Yes, it does provide a little light control, but it does nothing for privacy issues if there are any.

However, please know that when you do a window seat, you are limiting your window treatment options. I would most likely do five inside mount Roman Shades, in this case. For more about Roman shades, click here. Or, I might do some woven wood blinds which you can read about here.

 

Could you do curtains here?

 

Well, yes, you could do short curtains, but most of the time, except for a boy’s room, I don’t think I ever did them.  And, you could also do individual cafe curtains.

But, when talking about window treatment styles, how do we know what IS historically accurate?

Well, let’s see if we can come to our own conclusion.

I have done my research, although, I pretty much already had the answers.

 

But, first let’s go back to see the best evidence we have of the time before photographs.

 

Fine art work.

 

Sadly, there are not millions of paintings that show windows and window treatments. And too funny, but I kept running across images in my google search related to one of my favorite posts about transom windows.

My google search centered around 18th century oil paintings window treatments, or curtains or draperies.

But, one image goes back to the 17th century and the rest are 18th through mid-19th century.

 

 A Musical Party,1659 Gabriël Metsu Dutch

A Dutch painting

 

Louis Rolland Trinquesse, An Interior with a Lady, her Maid, and a Gentleman, 1776, oil on canvas - via alaintruong

Louis Rolland Trinquesse, An Interior with a Lady, her Maid, and a Gentleman, 1776, oil on canvas

 

Don’t fall for it honey! He’s messing with your pretty head!

But, look, more green. Very simple green drapery with tie backs.

 

By The Window - Otto Erdmann - oil on canvas - window treatment styles

By The Window – Otto Erdmann – oil on canvas

Amazing colors, I think. This painting obviously needs some restoration.

 

mieris, willem van the poult - genre scene - sotheby

mieris, willem van the poult – genre scene – sotheby’s

 

That’s crazy pants!

 

Otto Erdmann - The Appointment 19th century window treatment

Otto Erdmann – The Appointment

Appointment. Indeed! I think it’s more like, “Hey baby, wanna split this joint and go hang for a bit at my place? Your husband doesn’t have to know and besides, his doctor’s appointment should last all afternoon. hehe…”

 

joseph_caraud_the_royal_court - window treatment styles

joseph_caraud_the_royal_court

Don’t you love it. These people have nothing better to do than to watch a woman getting her hair coifed. It looks like her husband is about to throw that exquisite Louis XV-style chair at someone, however. Jealous, much?

But look at that shutter style. It’s like the door style I love so much at Metrie!

 

 Joseph_Caraud_Am_Morgen_1865

No, this is not a window treatment, obviously. But, I just adore this painting. Love this artist’s work and the way he captures expressions so well. And, also, his technique, the colors…

Oh, and, the maid dutifully bringing tea to the young woman who is upset because her boyfriend has apparently ghosted her.

Coward.

But, I imagine when she gets rid of the sad punim, that she’s actually quite cute. So, I’m sure that better days lay ahead for her.

DOROTHEUM- Joseph_Caraud_Am_Morgen_1865-detail

Zooming in… This is exactly how I was this morning; except no dog, no maid, (actually maidS) and no sumptuous gold-plated four poster bed with silk damask bed hangings. Poor dear.

 

amily of Robert Gordon in Their New York Dining-Room Artist: Seymour Joseph Guy (1824–1910)

Family-of-Robert-Gordon-in-Their-New-York-Dining-Room-Artist-Seymour-Joseph-Guy-1824–1910

 

window treatment styles - Detail window treatments - 1866-New York Dining-Room Artist: Seymour Joseph Guy (1824–1910)

Here’s a detail shot. This is the most modern one, possibly. This is decidedly Victorian and a heavier window treatment.

 

But, let’s look at some current day examples of window treatment styles from a historical standpoint.

 

Mt.-Vernon-West-Parlor-windows - window treatment styles
I found this image on my friend and colleague, Linda Merrill’s beautiful blog. It is of George Washington’s Mount Vernon.  I think that the swag and jabot look terrific and appropriate for this home. But, really. This is about as formal as they were back then. Gorgeous restoration of this historic home!

John Hewlett House blue and white period room Met Museum - window treatment styles

John Hewlett House blue and white period room Met Museum

The small cornice is lovely and I like the blue and white print. Please note the “clashing” blues. But, I like that a lot.

 

_window treatment - cornice 18th century - window treatment styles

window treatment – cornice – late 18th century American Colonial

 

nathaniel-russell-house-via-yrofthemonkey

nathaniel-russell-house-via-yrofthemonkey

 

The-Nathaniel-Russell-House-Museum_2018_Dining-Room.Credit-Rick-McKee

The-Nathaniel-Russell-House-Museum_2018_Dining-Room.Credit-Rick-McKee

 

In this more recent image, there is no window treatment at all!

 

Nathaniel Russell house museum - Charleston, NC - rectangle-room

And, one more final beauty from the Nathaniel Russell house museum – Charleston, SC

Of course, the window treatments are the shutters. It’s let the light in or closes it down altogether, along with the hurricanes should they dare to strike.

 

Yellow Paint Dining Room-Sequoia - Monticello - Chrome Yellow

And, in Thomas Jefferson’s Monticello which you can read more about here,  the window treatments are light and serve to lightly filter the light and soften the window. But, are they even necessary?

Not really.

Okay, what are the conclusions here?

 

Well, it looks like we’ve come full circle. Because in recent years, window treatment styles have gone lighter and lighter. And frequently people go without them altogether more and more. And, that was also the case 250 years ago!

 

So, now I will address Gloria’s other questions.

 

Some of this is also probably included in the other posts about window treatments.  (see above in her letter) So, don’t forget to take a look over there, as well for info and ideas.

In my design process, the LAST thing I figure out along with the paint color (usually) are the window treatments. And, that’s because the window treatments are right there in your face and if your room has a lot of windows, it is vital that you get that one right.

 

And, you can’t get the window treatments right until you know what else you’re doing.

 

Honestly, I think I did a swag for someone exactly twice. And, it was because they insisted.

Even 22 years ago, I did not feel they were usually appropriate. And if I did do them, the jabots (side pieces were loose.

If you want to see a lot of horrible swaggy draperies, check out the granny decor post. I don’t need to put any others here.  Although there is such a thing as an elegant swag such seen above at Mount Vernon, but all of the other elements, horns, rouching, and gobs of fabric, to me, is just not my cup of anything. However, I know that some people do still like all of that.

 

Charleston Historical home windows not correct

 

This is not terrible but is terribly common and according to what we’ve seen, not right. It’s too contrived. That’s the word I’m looking for. Plus, I would have a panel going down on the other side. And those end tables are too large, I feel for the settee. Then again, the entire composition is not good because of the asymmetry.

 

Therefore, if you’re one to do as I say, then forget about all of those elements. No need to crowd precious brain space with that which is of no use. haha Otherwise, of course, you can do what you feel is best for you and your home.

 

And, while I did valances on occasion without any draperies underneath, the last time I did that was about 20 years ago.  And, they were always very tailored. In those cases, the client was working with a quite tight budget.

 

shaped valance and draperies - window treatment styles

The fanciest valance and drapery combination was in 2012 for this lovely couple in Larchmont. I actually made templates for each window. I had never done a valance like that before, so was a little scared, but it turned out very nice and the clients were super happy. The sofa, I had reupholstered for them a few years earlier. That was when they were in a different home.

 

hguk_exeteraust_048-house-20sep17-alicia-taylor- eclectic interiors Lee Jofa chintz - window treatment styles

However, many times I have done this style of valance with drapes underneath.  That valance looks a couple inches short for this height ceiling, but I think better too short than too long. Generally, I did valances from 14″-18″ long.

 

Let’s talk about how I go about choosing the fabric.

 

Because, I think that’s where a lot of people get hung up. But, also you must read about all of the mistakes I made with fabrics that cost ME big bucks!

 

 

 

Let’s begin here. For reference, this is a B&B, but that’s not a lot different than a regular bedroom.

What do you think?

I’ll tell you what I think. ;] I think that it’s not working and I’m going to tell you why.

 

Well, first of all, I’m not too crazy about the wall color. I think we could find a much better green in the Laurel Home Paint and Palette Collection

And, while we’re talking about that, you know there are 40 boards and most of them have windows with window treatments, so you can get a lot of ideas there about how the window treatments integrate with the wall colors and furniture. Mostly, I put in only one panel because it looked cleaner for the board.

 

But, getting back to the wall color; it is a key point because always, always, always, the window treatments need to coordinate with the wall color.

 

AND, 90% of the time, I picked out the predominant color in the fabric (if it was a pattern) and that was my wall color. If the fabric is solid, I often did the same color or a coordinating color. There are so many ways to go. And it is also fine to contrast the fabric, so navy or black drapes with white walls. But, it has to make sense in the entire scheme.

They did not do that here. The balance is off. If they had painted the walls a raspberry red, those draperies would look a lot better. But right now, they are making too strong a statement.

 

I would also get rid of the Door Store looking armoire and put in a pretty chest with a mirror and a lamp. And, I’d put a painting over the fireplace.

 

The bed is nice, but that canopy is wrong. Total granny, IMO. And the matelasse coverlet is okay, but there should be a beautiful duvet folded at the end of the bed.

And finally, I’d have slip covers made for the wing chairs to give them style. I’m thinking of the JK Place in Capri when I think of white cotton duck slipcovers. Mentioned in 12 posts all in the link.

So, how do you know when to do a solid and when to do a pattern?

Well, this is the art of planning out the room. I would always look at everything together.

 

fabrics for furniture and window treatment styles

Like this, for instance, for this job.

 

So, to recap, and a few other things as well.

  • the main styles of window treatments are curtains, drapes or draperies if you insist. Or, Roman shades or some type of blinds.
  • Often, deciding on what type is a function of budget. Custom draperies with rods, rings, etc. are quite costly. It is far less expensive to do custom Roman shades. But, not every room and/or window lends themselves to one or the other.
  • The fabric should be of good quality but it does not need to be super-expensive, especially if doing a solid.
  • Trims are a great way to add interest to a plain curtain, but some of my clients didn’t want that.
  • The color of the fabric needs to coordinate with the walls and of course the furniture in the room. Please notice that I said “coordinate,” not match.
  • Deciding on solid vs. pattern needs to make sense in the entire scheme of the room. I rarely made these decisions quickly and I always valued input from my clients.
  • If you’re stuck look for inspiration on mine and other blogs or on pinterest.

 

I hope that has clarified some, the process for selecting window treatments and discerning which window treatment styles will work best for you.

 

xo,

 

PS: Please check out the newly updated Hot Sales!!!

 

5th edition rolodex-post-graphic - November 2018 - A unique shopping guide with hundreds of sources created by Laurel Bern

  • Cindy - July 22, 2019 - 9:55 PM

    Love love your post!! I noted in the granny decor post that the window casements should NEVER show atop drapery rods.Yikes..guilty as charged. All the images I have seen the top casement is fairly flat. What are the options for drapery panels if your top casement extends out 3 inches almost like crown molding with little space between that and the actual crown.ReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - July 23, 2019 - 12:06 AM

      Hi Cindy,

      Thanks so much! I think you mean the window casing? That is the moulding around the window. A casement is a type of window that opens in or out. A sash window opens up and down.

      I’d have to see what you’re talking about to give advice.ReplyCancel

  • Deb Kirkland - July 8, 2019 - 1:14 AM

    I have a story to tell. First, I have beer money and champagne taste. As in, only the best will do. Im drawn like a homing pigeon to the most expensive item in the store. Every single time. And once I see it, I will do without before I walk out with a compromise, and I will either save until I can buy it, scour the internet for a cheaper price, or learn to do it myself. I like luxury tile so I studied for 4 months how to lay tile and remodeled my bathroom and laundry room. I bought yards and yards of fabric for a bedroom remodel. It stood in my closet for two years. When I looked at it, I heard a voice say, “You know you can’t do this. You don’t even own a sewing machine.” One day I said to those bolts of fabric, “I WILL do it!” Got a sewing machine and over a few years I learned from books the English method of constructing treatments and mastered making luxurious, lined draperies, romans, dust skirts, cushion covers, pillows, duvets,… Now I am a one person workroom! I refuse to let a lack of money stand in the way of what I want for my house. It’s not mysterious nor particularly difficult and anyone motivated enough can learn to do it.ReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - July 8, 2019 - 9:39 PM

      Oh Deb,

      Can I tell you how much I love your story! It just goes to show that when one has a fire in their belly for something, amazing things can happen. I feel that way. Ten years ago I was THE most STUCK person roaming the planet. I mean, the Intrepid had nothing on me!

      But, sometimes one just has to say no, no, no until one day, it becomes a resounding YES, I CAN DO THIS!ReplyCancel

  • Nicole - June 29, 2019 - 9:31 AM

    Hi Laurel.

    Thank you for another great post. Are there any rules or guidelines that apply to what one would consider statement curtains, particularly a fabric that doesn’t include the wall color? Is it best to try to match undertones? Just buy all of the curtains and wrap yourself in them if they don’t look right in the room lol?

    Thank you,
    NicoleReplyCancel

  • Gloria - June 28, 2019 - 11:03 PM

    I have been “fangirling” over this post since the second you posted and just now got to a computer to post a comment. Thank you!! I’m struggling with patience. The room will be painted (again) by late July with all new bedding. We just got a few new pieces of furniture and lamps. The builders grade carpet is my worst enemy but we have original hardwoods underneath in questionable condition so we are waiting to tear it all up until we are ready to invest in refinishing. Built in cabinetry and restored pocket doors are all on the “list”. Alas, right now all funds go to the actual broken/not functional parts of the house so flooring is still several years off and not sure I can keep waiting for curtains. The cheap-o roller blinds are driving me batty.

    In any case, thank you for using my comment. The art work is lovely and now I want it for the room too! I’ll keep searching for curtains or fabric to coordinate with the new paint and bedding. We have 4 large windows to cover!ReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - June 28, 2019 - 11:31 PM

      So glad that you enjoyed the post, Gloria! Thank you too, for the idea. It helps me a lot too!ReplyCancel

  • RH - June 28, 2019 - 4:16 PM

    Hi Laurel,
    I think I wrote my comment when I needed a nap – I didn’t expect advice specific to me! I’ve been following you (and your lovely commenters) for awhile now.

    I just mentioned it in case you thought it might be of general interest, enough to work into a blog post in your own way. It seems like so much new construction has weird ‘design’ elements, and the higher end the house, the weirder they get.

    I enjoy your blog so much, the history, the humor, and the inspiration.ReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - June 28, 2019 - 11:27 PM

      Oh, no problem. I wrote that when I should’ve been asleep!ReplyCancel

  • L - June 27, 2019 - 8:18 PM

    Great post! Ersatz is my favorite word now hahaha! Best decorating advice and vocabulary!!! I’m wondering do you prefer electrical outlets in baseboards or in a drywall ideally? I enjoyed your blog post’s about overhead lighting. How about electrical outlets?ReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - June 28, 2019 - 1:54 AM

      Oh gosh. Well, having an outlet in a baseboard doesn’t usually make sense unless it’s for a vacuum cleaner or floor lamp. Otherwise, tables are higher up where a lamp would be sitting. I guess it just depends.ReplyCancel

  • Dana - June 27, 2019 - 3:30 PM

    Hi, Laurel– related somewhat to your point about the draperies being off balance with the wall, color-wise…would you do a piece about color balance in a room? Best, DanaReplyCancel

  • rh - June 27, 2019 - 9:35 AM

    One type of difficult window I haven’t seen addressed is the random up-high window in the master bedroom that is supposed to go over the bed. We have a weird arch that is maybe 24″ high at the center, and about the width of a queen size bed. Aesthetically it would be fine without any curtains over it, but very bright streetlights and neighbor lights shine in through it, so we need something to darken it at night. There is a rod hung over it (with temporary cheapies), but it just all looks strange to me.

    I found four panels of some lovely toile linen-blend for the other four windows – they are so close together I’m going have to swish to one side (roman shades would be ideal but this is a rental and I’m not getting custom work done for only 1-2 years). I’m thinking of a coordinating solid over the bed, and kind of pretend it’s a really high headboard?

    Anyway, any inspiration for weird up high windows over a bed or couch would be great (I remember the family with the three prison windows in their living room – sadly ours have molding I’m not sure we can hang something over it.)ReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - June 28, 2019 - 1:52 AM

      Hi RH,

      Well, I’m sorry, but I can’t see what you’re talking about. Ack! I just hate having to work with design elements that probably shouldn’t have been there in the first place. One option is to cover up the window. That is, from the inside. I did that a few times for one reason or another for clients. I mean, we had it done by the contractor.ReplyCancel

  • Holly - June 27, 2019 - 12:10 AM

    I was shopping for leather pants in a charity shop to make my husband a costume for Halloween; I was making him a BAMF Dougal MacKenzie costume from Outlander. I found the most gorgeous silk drapes, obviously, someone had cut them off to shorten them. I immediately took the entire bundle. They are fabulous. My new house has much taller ceilings in the living room. I’m going to attach these gorgeous silks to the bottom of my linen drapes. I tried to find the perfect passementerie to go between them, but short of going to France, I’m not going to find it here. So, I’m going to weave one inch of trim to put between the linen and silk. Bless you, whoever shortened these drapes, and donated the fabric.

    My husband hates drapes, unless absolutely necessary for privacy. We only need the drapes on one side of the house. He likes the idea of the shutters, mostly out of the way, unless necessary. Yes, simple is best.ReplyCancel

  • Marsha Stopa - June 26, 2019 - 11:41 PM

    Thank you! I sit corrected. So interesting.ReplyCancel

  • Tammy - June 26, 2019 - 8:44 PM

    My sister-in-law had a valance years ago similar to the one in the first picture. The valance was a pastel pattern. Her husband said it looked like her underwear was hung out to dry in front of the picture window. I could never look at those curtains without seeing the same thing after that.ReplyCancel

  • Kristine Lewis - June 26, 2019 - 6:40 PM

    Hi Laurel! Great post as usual with a smattering of wit that makes one smile. At your leisure could you please share your thoughts on all white linen panels (Pottery Barn to be exact) throughout a ranch style home? I know you can’t see the situation. Window style in rear of home are all sliders onto a pool patio and the front standard double windows. Florida semi-tropical climate.ReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - June 28, 2019 - 1:46 AM

      Right. I can’t see.:] Maybe find a local pro for a consult?ReplyCancel

  • Charlotte G - June 26, 2019 - 4:12 PM

    Hi Laurel,

    Such wonderful information!

    After we moved into this house 3 years ago I cut 12” off the bottom of our 4 panels of puddling dining room drapes and re-hemmed them — the silk fabric, lining, and interlining. I also removed and threw away swags and triangle thingies, all trimmed with long bullion fringe. It was just too much for me! But I kept the drapes because they coordinate perfectly with the grisaille Zuber wallpaper. It’s not what I would have chosen but that’s a first-world problem and we are fortunate to have it!

    Best,
    CharlotteReplyCancel

  • GL - June 26, 2019 - 3:46 PM

    I agree that he isn’t styling her hair — he’s taking a string of pearls from her to add to her hair, and he’s too well dressed to be a tradesman. That said, they did have male hairdressers at this period (mid C18) — see n° 4 in Hogarth’s Marriage à la Mode series. And in France, Marie-Antoinette had her favourite coiffeur, Léonard-Alexis Autié (c.1751-1820)!ReplyCancel

  • Michelle - June 26, 2019 - 3:20 PM

    Hi Laurel! I am a long time reader of your lovely blog. I have of all your books, and can’t wait for you the new one on decorating rules!
    Wanted to share one guideline I picked up from Loi Thai’s blog – if the chairs have skirts, he does Roman shades on the windows. On the other hand, if the chairs do not have skirts, he does drapes on the windows. It might not work for everyone, but something to start with.ReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - June 26, 2019 - 3:58 PM

      Oh, that’s interesting. I pay more attention to the configuration of the windows and over-all look of the space. But, I adore Loi so whatever he does is perfect!ReplyCancel

  • Jane - June 26, 2019 - 3:13 PM

    Do I understand this correctly, that one is to always hang drapes under the crown molding? Even if there is a sizable wall space between molding and window? What if there is no molding?ReplyCancel

  • Holly Lewis - June 26, 2019 - 3:05 PM

    Thanks Laurel!ReplyCancel

  • Julie Generes - June 26, 2019 - 2:25 PM

    Your posts always make me laugh while inspiring. I have 11 foot ceilings and absolutely beautiful windows. So unless I have a real need for privacy in one of the rooms, I have very little covering them up. When I do need curtains, I am very lucky as I can sew them, so the possibilities are endless. But here’s a confession. I inherited beautiful lace curtains that my uncle bought in Paris. They perfectly cover a window but do not reach the floor by about 2 feet. Because they are beautiful, and because I did not want to sew anything to the bottom, my solution was just to put the couch in front of the window. LolReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - June 26, 2019 - 2:32 PM

      Hey, that works! Love it! And, I bet that the Parisian lace is gorgeous!ReplyCancel

  • Jeanne - June 26, 2019 - 2:15 PM

    Is it ok to mix curtain styles in one room? I’d like to do drapes similar to the green/gray chintz shown above. But in a circular bay I would repeat fabric but only the valance. There is not enough wall space for drapery panels.

    Do you have more photos of your living room with the pink sofa? I love it!ReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - June 26, 2019 - 2:31 PM

      Hi Jeanne,

      Here’s my rule of thumb when mixing curtain styles in one room. The windows first, have to be different. And then it’s a function of configuration and number of windows. I’m not crazy about doing a valance in a circular bay window, even if tailored. I would rather see inside mount Roman shades.

      The reason for this, is that it looks so much better to have that heavy wood mullion breaking up the fabric. That’s just my opinion. And — I can’t see your situation, so that might not be the best advice either.

      Important info for inside mount Roman shades. You need to have at least 1/2″ of wood to hang them inside, it’ll be okay, but you’ll need a pro to sort that out because the mounting board needs to be turned 90 degrees so that it is taller than it is deep. Normally, the board I believe is about 5/8″- 3/4″ x 1.25″ or a little more (something like that) Normally, the shade is mounted on the board so that the long way is what gets screwed into the wood, but if space is tight it can be turned the other way, like said. And then the screw needs to be long enough to go through the board the long way– of course. It will still stick out a tad, but won’t be noticeable. I had that situation in my old home and it was fine and I also had to do it that way for at least a dozen clients.ReplyCancel

  • Holly Lewis - June 26, 2019 - 12:27 PM

    Great post! I love the fabric in the bedroom with the 4-poster bed, the one with ivory background and ivory/taupe roses with deep teal/green leaves. Do you know what fabric that is? Thank you!ReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - June 26, 2019 - 2:20 PM

      Hi Holly,

      That, I believe is Lee Jofa Hollyhock. You can see it also in this post.

      There is another similar fabric from Lee Jofa called Althea. In fact, it’s so similar, I get them confused. Forewarned, this fabric is quite expensive. There are two versions of expensive. Hand-screened = expensive. Hand – blocked = private college tuition level – haha!ReplyCancel

  • Mary E - June 26, 2019 - 12:14 PM

    Hi Laurel,
    I don’t know what I appreciate more in your blog posts.
    Your humor or the history lessons you provide.
    As you know, I’ve made all my own drapery panels. The only window that was problematic was a window in my living room. It has a dumb Palladian window centered above it. And the ceilings are sloped due to the cathedral ceiling.
    In other rooms in my home I was able to install the rod above the Palladian. So my rods are nice & high.
    But the sloped ceiling prevented that. So I had to install little short rods on each side. A full length rod would have cut across the glass of the Palladian. The panels have to be stationary. Not my first choice.
    Oh well…I realize there are bigger problems in the world.
    Thanks for making my days a little brighter.ReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - June 26, 2019 - 2:08 PM

      Thank you so much Mary! Your comments always brighten my day; I so appreciate your faithful support!ReplyCancel

  • Marsha Stopa - June 26, 2019 - 11:49 AM

    Love the historical look back! I learn more and more with each post. You are definitely training our eyes. Two quick comments: Re the painting with the woman having her hair coifed: I don’t think they had male hair stylists back then. I may be wrong, but only her “ladies” would be allowed to touch her. It looks like she’s holding up some pearls, so my guess is the man is a jeweler helping m’lady try on some pearls, in full (safe) view of her husband. 😉 And the armoire in B&B likely holds a TV, due to its placement in the room directly across from the bed. I think I spy a cable behind it. So that may be why it’s there. Love how you point out the granny decor touches!ReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - June 26, 2019 - 2:05 PM

      Hi Marsha,

      Oh, great points! Actually, it looks like she’s hold an ice pack on her head. lolReplyCancel

  • Sarah - June 26, 2019 - 11:25 AM

    I’m interested in what you would use as an alternative to that canopy. I have the same one — just inherited an antique 4 poster bed (beautiful) with the exact canopy!ReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - June 26, 2019 - 2:03 PM

      Hi Sarah,

      That is an excellent question and lucky you inheriting a beautiful old bed! I would leave that style of four-poster bed without any canopy or bed hangings. You can see Brook Shield’s bed in this post which is one of my favorites (but discontinued.)

      I do love tailored canopies and bed hangings, but they are going to cover up all of the beautiful wood. hmmm… maybe another blog post! I’ll have to think about alternatives to having nothing. I just think the crocheted canopy looks granny-ish. Now, some people are going to love that look and that is absolutely fine. I’ll take the bed with our pouting tea drinking beauty lying in it. uhhh… empty, of course. No wait. Not empty! lolReplyCancel

  • Carla - June 26, 2019 - 9:55 AM

    Traditional window treatments are timeless classics that can grace a view for years and not seem dated. Thank goodness!

    There’s a relief in that, because of the time it took for me to plan and sew three inside-mount Roman shades bordered with Greek Key trim. In all, there were two weeks of finding and ordering the fabric, liner, and trim, plus six weeks of sewing and installing them.

    I cannot cringe at the price of Roman shades, custom or not, their price is only a label to their value.

    Whew! My real job is teaching.ReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - June 26, 2019 - 1:46 PM

      Hi Carla,

      Well, there it is! Yes, all of that happens more quickly with experience, like most things. However, Roman shades are a crapload of work as you found out.ReplyCancel

  • Sharon - June 26, 2019 - 8:48 AM

    Good Morning, Just something funny to share. I know you use ersatz frequently so this morning I googled it find the pronunciation. I found it three different ways on google!!!
    So, I thought I’c come back to the queen and ask, how do YOU pronounce it?!!?!?

    Thanks for your help. Now I have to go back to actually reading about curtains!

    xoxoReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - June 26, 2019 - 1:25 PM

      Hi Sharon,

      I pronounce it to Er’ sats. Er rhymes with her.ReplyCancel

  • Naomi - June 26, 2019 - 8:47 AM

    Very interesting post, Laurel, thank you. Please comment on drapes that pool on the floor. What is the purpose, why is this done? And what do you think of this look? Thanks so much.ReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - June 26, 2019 - 1:24 PM

      Hi Naomi,

      Most designers prefer that drapes break a little on the floor. Maybe an inch or so. But, I’m not seeing anyone doing the pooling thing these days. I’m not saying that some don’t still do it. On the other hand, most clients would prefer a hair’s breath of space between the bottom of the drape and the floor as a matter of keeping the drapes clean.

      Of course, all of their homes are immaculate. The break is an aesthetic thing. I think it looks more luxurious and also helps mask any irregularities in the level of the floor which almost always exists.ReplyCancel

  • Patricia Freeman - June 26, 2019 - 7:51 AM

    Laurel,
    I have “done” the balloon shade in a bay window in the past,but have been very pleased with my woven wood blinds that are an inside mount that replaced all that fabric….. the look was too dark for me letting in very little light. Are you seeing more of this look? Thoughts when convenient….. Great post!ReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - June 26, 2019 - 1:20 PM

      Hi Patricia,

      I find it always a challenge when there are lots of windows close together. One of the worst situations was a client who had a sun room comprised of four huge picture windows. Say, like six feet by seven feet each. She wanted some light control, but didn’t want to spring for custom draperies which is what I thought it should be. So, we did solar shades that were pretty and translucent. However, she reported that at night, when they were down, it looked like four movie screens in her room!!! My solution was to added some panels to break up the “screens,” and I even reduced the price to ridiculous level that any coach would tell me not to do. But, I just wanted to make it right for her. However, she didn’t go ahead with it.

      Some windows only lend themselves to certain treatments or else the result is not going to be optimal. The reality is that any big shade on those windows would not look good when lowered. Optimally, I would recommend a combo of shades and drapes with large windows butted up against each other.

      So, that might be an option for you. It was also my suggestion with this post.

      But, in rereading your comment, I see that you are referring to the past tense meaning the former look that was too dark. haha. Me a little tired today.

      The woven woods come in everything from white to very dark brown. And, if lined, they will be somewhat room darkening. If not lined, they are usually not completely private.ReplyCancel

  • GL - June 26, 2019 - 5:37 AM

    It seems that a simple summary would be: keep it simple!
    But the paintings should not be taken too literally: look where the green curtain in the C17 painting is hung — it isn’t a window treatment, more a baroque swag. Ditto for the C18 Mieris genre scene, the arch and swag taken from C17 Gerrit Dou. And the others are mostly C19 fantasies of the C18…
    Documents from Uppark in Sussex suggest that the C18 treatment was often “festoon curtains” — an inventory mentions red damask festoon curtains for the main rooms; in 1812-13 Repton recommended “yellow curtains” with “blue velvet drapery at the top” for the dining room, which was decorated in a white and gold scheme.
    If I find C18 paintings showing window treatments, I’ll let you know!ReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - June 26, 2019 - 1:08 PM

      Haha! Yes, Gilly. Keep it simple! Like I said, finding paintings with literal window treatments is rare. Still, I imagine that there must be actual window treatments from 250 years ago. Clothing exists, so why not draperies? One can find renderings. But, I’m not sure when they were created or if they were actually used for anything, or just a fantasy. In any case, we’re not living in museums, most of us.ReplyCancel