When you stop into a showroom or call The Shade Store, our design consultants are ready and waiting to provide expert design advice and help you choose the perfect window treatments for your home. Please welcome back Liz Irwin, a design consultant in our Garden City, NY showroom. Liz will share some of her insights, tips, and answers to frequently asked questions here on The Shade Store Blog.
As a veteran design consultant, I have met many clients who love drapery and want to know: how do they get their curtains to look like they do in design magazines? How do you properly hang curtains? Keep reading to see my tried and true tips to make your drapery photoshoot ready.
Hang Curtains High
There are varying opinions on where to hang curtains, but ultimately most interior designers and Design Consultants recommend raising them higher than the window frame. This draws the eye upward and prevents the window from appearing crowded. Hanging the drapery high makes the window and the room look taller. Even in a small room, if you mount your drapery on or near the ceiling, you will create the illusion of space.
With regard to how high to hang curtains, that depends on the situation. When I’m evaluating this question for my clients, I go through the following checklist:
- Bare minimum: at least 3” to 6” higher than the top of the window, if you have that much room to work with.
- Even better: halfway between the top of the window and the ceiling, plus an inch or two. We add the extra inch to avoid dissecting the room at the halfway point, which can make the space feel squat.
- If you have crown molding, mount the curtain rod right beneath the crown molding.
- If the window is less than 6” from the ceiling, and there is no crown molding, then ceiling mounting the drapery is best. The ceiling mount is also a fantastic option if you want the appearance of lofty, sophisticated curtains, or if you want the curtains to look like they are floating.
Consider the Stack
What is a stack? Our custom drapes at The Shade Store have what’s known as “fullness” built into our panels. The construction and pleating of our drapes ensures the panels have body and thickness when they are drawn or covering the window, meaning they don’t appear flat like a bedsheet. Fullness is one of the biggest differences between custom and off-the-shelf curtains.
The stack is the amount of space that the thickness of the drapery occupies when you push the panels off of the window. To make sure that the stack of the drapery doesn’t permanently crowd the window glass, we suggest adding at least 12” on each side to the width of your rod. This adds up to a total of two feet wider than your window. Adding that much will allow the drapery to be pushed off of the glass. If you’re looking for “clearview”, or to have none of the drapery impeding your window glass, you may need to add more on each side depending on the drapery material.
Ordering curtain rods that are too short is one of the top mistakes I see in hanging drapes. Extending the rod a foot on either side immediately makes the drapery appear more tailored and custom. A longer rod with drapes hung wide also helps make the window look bigger.
Choose the Length: Float vs. Puddle
Now that we’ve touched on how high to raise your hardware and how wide to make your drapery, the last element to consider is how your curtains meet the floor.
- Float means that your curtains hover slightly off the floor. This is preferable if the drapery is going to move frequently. The proper float is somewhere between ½” to 1” off of the floor, but this can get tricky at times, especially with materials that “grow” like Wool and Linen. Ask your Design Consultant about material-specific concerns like this when calculating your float.
- Break is having the fabric kiss the floor, with roughly 1” to 2” of excess. This is a good option if the floors are uneven and you are trying to disguise them.
- Puddle means longer curtains, with 3” to 6” of extra fabric puddling on the floor. This is a very elegant look, and is also a great option for disguising uneven floors. However, the more extra fabric you have on the bottom of a curtain, the more dust it may collect, so I would only recommend breaks and puddles for stationary drapes.
Use Our Expertise
Need an expert’s help on how to hang curtains in your home? Give us a call, or stop into one of our showrooms, and speak with one of our Design Consultants. Our advice, our swatches, our photo renderings, our remote or in-showroom design consultations – they’re all free! We also offer free professional measurements nationwide, so you can rest assured that you are ordering the right sized window treatments. Let us know what you’re after, and we’ll take care of the rest.