I have always been a big advocate of custom drapery. Maybe it’s because I grew up with a mom as a seamstress and it was far more cost effective to make something than buy it. Maybe it’s because pinch pleat drapes always looked far more elegant than rod pocket headers. Maybe it’s because I liked the fact that I could choose exactly the fabric I wanted rather than settle for a store’s limited selection…but nevertheless, custom drapery has been my go-to for many a design project—including my living room!
If you have been following along for a little while, you would have seen new drapery installed in my dining room earlier this year; I promised that the living room would soon follow, and now I am happy to say that both sets of drapery are complete and have totally transformed the look of both rooms!
The Dining Room shortly after we painted it. There was SO much brown!
The right fabric for drapery can either make a room ho-hum, or make it sing! Even with fantastic views, drapery panels just frame that gorgeousness—especially when the colors chosen don’t compete with what is outside the window. I gave a lot of thought to the fabric I chose, all detailed in a previous post, and because I went custom, the end result is exactly what I dreamed of!
When talking about custom drapery, I know there are many of you that would say it is just “out of my league” and you are right—it definitely comes with a price tag! But just as some justify an expensive shoe or clothing purchase because of the sheer quality of the item and the high “cost per wear” factor, the same can be applied to drapery. As an example, the previous chocolate silk-like panels I had previously were hung in three different homes and are still in great condition 12 years later. I can easily sell them and they can live in another home for 10 years plus; that is a long life for a drapery panel!
In my mother’s day, there were few in-store drapery options so to purchase fabric (usually on sale) was a much more cost-effective option for our family. Now, it is quite the opposite with thousands of choices for ready made panels…all at varying price points. So why do I choose custom drapery? Well, having the choice of fabrics is a big pull for me. I can still shop the sales on Ottawa Street if I so choose, or I can go all-out with a trade-only fabric—but I rarely do that! As going custom on anything is always a greater expense, I generally opt for a well made, yet reasonably priced drapery fabric. Also, having curtains that fit your windows to a “T” isn’t to be taken lightly. They don’t need to be hemmed; they cover the window and look fabulous open OR closed (more on that topic); and the quality of the fabric and lining adds to their longevity.
I don’t want to knock those of you whose only choice is store-bought curtains. I have used this option for clients when the budget is tight; but there are things to consider when this is your one-and-only choice.
1. Fullness Factor
Drapery panels should be at least 2.5 times the width of the window. I honestly cringe when I see curtains stretched across a window when they are closed and look like a sheet—that is NOT how it is supposed to be! There should still be fullness even when the panels are fully closed; that often means purchasing 2 panels per side of the window (so 4 in total). When you purchase drapery with grommets, this mistake is made often—the lack of any pleats or gathers leaves you with almost zero fullness when they are closed—so hang more—not less! Here is an example of when we used store-bought grommet panels that look lovely, just to give you an idea! Below is a picture of what you DON`T want…and also leads me to my next point!
Especially if you are hanging drapery in a very sunny window, lining is very important! It will not only protect your curtain from sun damage, but your furniture as well. Even some low-end drapery panels can be found with blackout lining which is a big plus. Lining also helps to give heft to thinner fabrics so they hang nicely and you can see the pattern or color without the sun streaming through it (as can also be seen in the photos above).
All that being said, we do have Ikea velvet drapery panels in our Master bedroom that have also traveled with us from house to house. They are holding up alright, but within a couple of years I know I am going to be itching for something nicer and custom drapery will be my default.
Now, on to our Living Room! We really had a challenge with the mounting hardware as we have this lovely bulkhead installed by previous owners that made using a drill impossible! My sweet hubby did such a great job (and showed great patience) installing the brackets and my dad came to the rescue when we realized that installing the center support wasn’t going to work with what we had—he had just the right piece of hardware that d
Now these babies add SO MUCH to our living room and are so much brighter, more colorful, more personality-packed, than the previous chocolate brown. I am so excited to show you!
Little by little, we are getting closer to the end product in this Living Room, and the drapery made a big impact on the overall feeling in the room! To see more examples of custom drapery, check out our Portfolio Page and view the Lakeview Kitchen, Meadowland Makeover and the Broadleaf Master, as well as these previous blog posts here and here.
Interested in having Custom Drapery in your home? Give us a call and we can help you achieve the perfect fit for your windows and decor for less than you might think!
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