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Posted by Linda Merrill | Jul 07, 2010

Arranging Custom Draperies

For elegance and unique shapes, sometimes you have to do it yourself.

Custom draperies and window treatments are the icing on the cake of an interior design project. It’s one the places where the designer has near total freedom of self-expression and can create a design that perfectly complements the unique architecture of the room and the rest of the furnishings and fabrics. There is no question about it: Custom draperies can be very expensive. Fabric prices can range from $15 to $500 per yard and a simple pair of drapery panels can take 18 yards to make. Generally speaking, the manufacturing is done locally, which is almost always going to be more expensive than readymade items which are likely made overseas. However, this does result in a far superior product that fits the space perfectly -- both in size and style.

Here is a selection of window treatments in different styles and fabrics.

 tall townhouse

These window treatments were done for one of my most favorite design projects. This home is a city townhouse that dates to the late 1800s. The clients wanted their formal living room to be respectful of the age and architecture of the building, and yet still comfortable for daily use. The ceilings are about 9 feet tall and the window wall we see in this image faces the front of the building. The striped silk drapery panels were made to be functional -- meaning they can open and close for privacy and light control. The sheer “London” shades were installed inside the window frame. These shades can be raised or lowered and serve to obscure the outside view without restricting the light.

 relaxed roman shade

This is my own kitchen that I just finished renovating. The final element is the simple burlap relaxed Roman shade that I made to coordinate with the burlap counter skirt. Don’t forget, “homemade” is custom too!

 ocean drapes

This master bedroom was a project I worked on several years ago. The clients, who were selling the house, wanted the bedroom to reflect the view of the Atlantic Ocean. We selected a monochromatic color palette that matched the water outside and the fabric textures had movement to match the waves. The long valance above the windows was designed to look like crashing waves and the drapery panel was made with blockout lining for total darkness, even as the sun rises directly facing the home.

 simple valance

This antique room made for a cute and rustic sitting room. I designed the valance treatments to have a simple, easy feel about them. Basically, they were meant to be just a little sweet something that added color and visual warmth to the space.

 matching carpet

One of the great values of custom draperies is the ability to perfectly match all the fabrics being used in a space-from the upholstery to the carpets and up to the windows. This room, by Calico Corners, features relaxed Roman shades in a colorful blue and yellow striped pattern that offer light and privacy control paired with a set of classic yellow and white check drapery panels. These fabrics perfectly coordinate with the rest of the furniture in the room.

 matching fabric draperies

As with the space shown above from Southern Accents, the ability to match fabrics across the design plan is one of the true joys of custom draperies. Another important element of custom work is the placement of the fabric pattern and the choice one has to select where the flower or central motif is placed. Here is a beautiful window seat paired with a dressed window in matching and coordinating fabrics.

 unusual shape drapery

This final image (also from Southern Accents) showcases an unusual space and the unusual window treatment that was created to fill the space. One can only properly dress unusual window sizes with custom work and in this case the designer also matched the window fabric to the bedding and canopy for a truly unique finished look.

Custom draperies are a true luxury, but a necessary one for an upscale and polished final product.

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