Expert Designer Tips on Choosing Custom Draperies

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When you purchase custom draperies for any space, you can create any type of mood with the textiles that you wish to convey. From fantasy to casual to warm and inviting, you have all the options at your disposal.

Custom draperies have many different options from which to choose. You can decide on the drapery rods, including the size and types of drapery rods as well as the placement. Drapery fabrics are available from sheers that are warm and flowing to heavy fabrics that convey class and grandeur. The length of the draperies also can be customized to the exact appearance you want as well as the width. The sky is the limit with custom draperies.

Drapery Rods

When you choose your drapery rods, you should keep in mind what the heading or top of the drapery panels look like. The drapery rods have a huge impact on the overall appearance of your draperies.

Choosing a Size

Consider the weight of the fabric you want your draperies to be made of. This will help you to match a drapery rod to it with the thickness in mind. For heavy or blackout drapes, you can choose a larger rod in diameter of about 2 to 3 inches. If you are hanging a lightweight material, such as lace or any other sheer fabric, you will want to choose a small rod that is about a half-inch in diameter. These ideas will keep your window treatments balanced. A sheer fabric with a large drapery rod looks unbalanced, just as a heavy fabric on a small drapery rod may need additional support to hold it up and look a bit unprofessional and odd.

Consider the Materials

When choosing a drapery rod, consider the fabric of your drapery panels in order to choose the material that your drapery rod is made of. Drapery rods are available in many materials, such as plastic, many types of wood and different metals. Most of these materials work fine for the everyday use of draperies, but if you have very light and fragile fabric on the panels, such as lace, silk or tulle, you may consider a smoother option of a metal or plastic rod. In time, a wood rod may splinter because of the exposure to sunlight coming through the window continuously. This can lead to tears in your fabric. If you choose cafe curtains in which the rod is placed about halfway down the window and inside the window casing to leave the top open, you should realize that the position exposes them to more sunlight and they are the most susceptible to sun damage from the sunlight reflected off light fabric in addition to white walls to damage any rod over long periods of time.

Choosing a Drapery Rod Color

In order to blend in with your decor, you should choose a color for your drapery rod that matches either the drapes themselves or other items in the room as an accent color. Most often, it works best to match the color to other items in a room. For example, in the kitchen you can choose a stainless steel rod to pair well with your stainless steel appliances. Otherwise, if you have lightweight sheer curtains in white, you can resist overpowering them with a dark color rod and simply choose a white plastic rod to match the drapes themselves.

Using Combination Drapery Rods

You need to decide if you want a simple window covering with one curtain on one rod at the top of the window or a layered appearance. If you want two separate drapery panels or the combination of a shade with draperies, choose a combination rod that will accommodate both items instead of two separate rods. A combination rod or double drapery rod has two sets of rods to enable hanging two separate sets of drapes to be hung over the same window. You can choose from a style that has one of the rods in front of the other or the other style with one on top and the other a few inches lower. The second style is most often used when you incorporate a valance on your custom draperies.

Choose a Drapery Rod Style

Look around the room that you are placing the draperies in and decide if your style is more traditional or more modern. Traditional curtain rods are round and the fabric simply slides on the rod. The rod is attached to the wall and it has no additional brackets or attachments. A modern look can include attaching the fabric panels with hooks; much like a shower curtain hangs. For this application, you do not necessarily need a round rod but can choose triangular rods with small holes in them to fit the hooks to hang curtains.

Drapery Rod Height

There are some rules of thumb for the height of the drapery rod that will match the style and complement a room. For standard drapes hanging on either side of a window, the rod height should be halfway between the top of the window casing and the ceiling. For cathedral ceilings, you should leave about 4 to 6 inches above the window trim to hand your rods. The minimum distance between the top of the window casing to the drapery rod should be about 2 inches. You can mount the rod closer to the ceiling to create an illusion of height.

Drapery Rod Width

The width of your drapery rod will also have an impact on the final appearance of drapes. One great designer trick is to make the windows look wider than they actually are. As a general rule, drapes are usually open during the day and the rod’s width should extend about 4 inches beyond the window casing on both sides of the window. To create an illusion of wider windows, you can extend the rod up to 10 inches on each side of the window frame.

Drapery Lengths

For most applications, the ideal length for drapes is long enough so they slightly kiss the floor. If you want a more traditional and formal look, you can choose a length that allows the drapes to puddle a few inches on the floor. This style is for the most formal and luxurious of spaces. Make certain your drapes don’t hang above the floor, because this makes your ceiling look much lower and gives a boxed in effect.

Drapery Widths

The drapery panels need to be at least twice the width of the actual window so you can achieve fullness and not just a flat window covering. When using two drapery panels, each should be the same width of the window. Light fabrics may require more fullness to achieve a professional appearance and heavy fabrics may require a bit less because different fabrics hang differently.

This guide can help you to decide on the perfect custom draperies for any space in your home or business. The combination of features are endless so you may choose to experiment with some different options to make your space truly your own.

Picture of Bobby Nakamura

Bobby Nakamura

Third-generation of Naka's legacy, Bobby brings over 30 years of industry experience, a passion for design, and a love for food and travel.

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