One of the most common mistakes I see when people hang window treatments on their own is the installation of hardware in the wrong place. Here are some simple tips to follow that will help your window treatments enhance your interior décor.
- For 9 to 10 foot ceiling heights (or lower), I like to install the pole several inches above the top of the window frame, or just below the crown molding. This helps to draw the eye up, and therefore increasing the feeling of height in the room.
- The length of the pole should be at least 12″ longer than the width of the window frame. I actually prefer 12″ on each side of the window frame if space allows. Make sure you allow room for the finials that will be on either end of the pole; this keeps the fabric from blocking out the window and opens up the view. Place the inside edge of the drapery panel so that it is falling just inside the edge of the window frame. The idea of these first two steps is to create the illusion that your window is larger than it really is, giving your room a more spacious and open feeling. Of course, if you are designing draw draperies for your room to provide privacy and light control, they will require even more room on either side of the window to stack back enough to clear the glass when opened.
- Puddled drapery panels are out! A proper length should just barely touch the floor. Think of the way a pair of nicely tailored slacks is hemmed; they break on the top of the shoe. I like to treat drapery panels the same way. In years past, people would often hang them an inch off the floor, but I think this gives them the appearance of being too short.
- Ready-made (non-custom) drapery panels generally come in a standard width of 48-54″ wide. I prefer at least two widths per panel, especially with lighter-weight materials to avoid looking too skimpy. For heavier fabrics, one and a half widths works nicely, depending on the space on each side of the window.
- For valances or top treatments, install them at a height where the bottom edge is falling just into the glass at the top of the window; you should not be able to see the top of the window frame. As with drapery panels, installing the height of the valance several inches above the window will make the windows appear taller — and keeps your view open while allowing natural light into the room. The width of the finished treatment should be at least 6″ wider than the window frame wherever possible. Brackets or other hardware should never be installed on the window frame!
Remember, the goal with introducing window treatments into your rooms is to enhance the overall design of the space. They should not dominate the room but rather provide a pleasing backdrop for the rest of the stage. It is better to do without window treatments than to have the wrong size or proportion for your home. Of course, I’m a fan of custom made window treatments that are specifically tailored and sized for your space, and then installed in the appropriate place.
Love where you live!