Measuring for draperies and hanging window treatments is tedious work. Here are some helpful hints to make the details of the job a little easier.
Curtains make a room, but they can also break a room if they aren't measured correctly. Here are some tips to help you get
your draperies right and fix those that aren't.
• Be sure to measure all windows, even if they appear to be the same size. Write the dimensions down, and then measure again to double check.
• Use a metal measuring tape. A cloth tape is too flexible to be accurate.
• When measuring, determine the type of rod you are going to use first. If you're using one with rings, you'll measure from the eye of the carrier ring to the floor. The eye is the small metal loop attached to the ring.
• As a general rule to determine width of drapery panels, multiply the width of the window by two or three to account for gathering.
• Determining drapery length is a personal preference. If you want the panels to touch the floor, allow about 1/2 inch to rest on the floor. Should you want the draperies to puddle on the floor, add anywhere from 6 to 18 inches to the length.
• Replacing existing draperies? Simply measure one panel for length and width, and then multiply the width by two to get the total for the pair.
Drapery workroom Pate-Meadows Designs in Birmingham offers some reliable advice when using drapery panels to complete a room.
• Mount drapery panels a few inches below the ceiling. This technique draws your eye up, making lower ceilings appear taller.
• Hang treatments above a transom window, rather than under it, so that they don't cut off the window.
• Add a funky fringe or a trim in a complementary color to ready-made draperies to create an inexpensive custom look. Trims and fringes are available in a wide variety of colors and styles, so you can choose one that is more casual or dressier, depending on your needs.
• To make a small window appear wider, place panels outside the window frame.
• Trying to reuse drapery panels that are too short? Add a coordinating band of fabric to the bottom or the top to create a border. This simple addition will provide a new look without starting all over.
• If you want to mask an unattractive window, consider hanging wooden blinds in a rich wood tone. You could also pair a simple cafe curtain with drapery panels.
• Drapery hardware can get expensive; rods, brackets, and rings add up. Look for inexpensive alternatives such as PVC pipe or electrical conduit for a rod. Paint it black for the look of iron, or try silver or gold paint for a dressier appearance.
Functional: A window treatment that can be opened and closed or raised and lowered to completely cover or expose the window
Interlining: A flannel-like fabric that is sewn in between the face fabric and the lining. Usually used in panels, interlining adds body and gives a luxurious look to draperies.
Leading edge: The two vertical edges of the panels that meet in the center of the window; this is often where decorative trim is applied.
Puddle: A panel of excessive length that is arranged on the floor
Return: The outside edge of the panels where the fabric extends from the last pleat and returns to the wall; this element is important to cover up the sides of the brackets and prevent light gaps.
Selvage: The edge of either side of fabric often made of heavier threads to prevent unraveling
Shirr: Gathering a piece of fabric onto a rod through a rod pocket
Stationary: Side panels consisting of a width of fabric that is meant to be purely decorative -- not functional
Traverse rod: A rod that incorporates draw cords and a pulley system to open and close draperies
Width of fabric: A term used to describe one width of material measured from selvage to selvage