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To Drape or Not to Drape – When Are Curtains the Right Choice?

neutral bedroom ideas


To drape, or not to drape? That is the design dilemma.

One of the questions we are often asked is whether drapes are the right choice for a certain space. It can be a difficult decision, with many factors to contend with: low ceilings, high ceilings, awkward windows, trim, multi-level windows, windows behind couches or beds, etc.

Although every room is unique, we’ve put together some pointers to help you decide on curtains or another type of window treatment.

Curtains or No Curtains: With Beautiful Trim

If you live in a Victorian, a Craftsman-style house, or you simply have thick decorative trim around your windows, hanging curtains can feel daunting with all that beautiful woodwork. You may be tempted to hang curtain rods low so that the trim remains visible, but this often leads to your windows and your room feeling shortened.

In this case, you may want to avoid drapes. Opt for inside mount shades, such as Roman Shades, that will add the softness of fabric without obscuring any of your trim.

Depending on your needs, Roman Shades can add privacy and light blockage with a privacy lining.

If you require full blackout without any light seepage or you have your heart set on floor length drapes, keep these points in mind:

  • Hang the curtain rod above all the trim and molding to draw the eye up.
  • Extend the curtain rod wider than the window. The reason for this is to allow the fabric stack to sit on the wall when the curtains are open, instead of covering your window trim.
  • Add enough width that your curtains look substantial and could cover the window, even if you are planning on leaving them open. Drapes that are too thin negate the luxurious effect that curtains add to a room.

Although it’s true your trim will be covered when the curtains are drawn, the visual effect that high and wide drapes will have on your space will be much better than curtains hung too low, leaving the trim peeking out above the curtain rod.

Over Uneven Windows

Drapes over uneven windows is a definite “yes.” They can camouflage uneven sizes (especially with a wall of drapery like the bedroom above), or they can frame interesting details as in the photo below.

curtains over arched windows
Grommet Drapes, Raw Silk

The same guidelines outlined for windows with decorative trim apply here. Hang the drapes above the highest window, leave enough room for the drapes to stack on the wall, and use enough fabric.

If you’re looking for more tricky window inspiration, check out our Ideas for Bay Window Treatments post.

You can always discuss your window dilemmas with a Design Consultant in one of our nationwide showrooms, or send in a photo of your window to our free photo rendering service to see how your chosen treatment will look in your space.