Friday, June 19, 2009

Enhancing Design with Curtains and Drapes

Using Color and Style on Your Drapes and Curtains to Complete a Room

A room just isn't complete without window curtains and drapes. No matter what your taste, effective window treatments can make a room change from ordinary to stylish. Additionally, curtains and drapes are affordable.

For those who are renting or don't have the budget to completely redecorate a room, window dressings can add a finishing touch to make any room feel like home.

There are many drapes and curtains styles to choose from, so before you make any purchases, do some research to find a style that you can live with for a while.

Even though curtains and drapes are more affordable than redoing an entire room, they're still an investment, and one that will be in place for a while.

Curtain Colors
Color is an easy and obvious place to start when looking into new window treatments. Experimenting with colorful window treatments is a great way to expand your creative comfort level.

If you're not ready to paint your walls maroon, for example, you can incorporate the color in your curtains and drapes to make a dramatic statement that is easier to change should you decide you don't like it. It also eliminates the need to get into a major redecorating project, as painting or wallpaper often require.

Use complimentary colors throughout the room, including the window treatments. Not sure what color to choose? Consider all the elements of color in the room, including furniture and accents such as throw pillows, throw rugs, or paintings. If you're not comfortable with your color abilities, consider using a color chart from a local paint store, craft store, or out of a design book.

These tools group similar colors that work well together. Using these tools, you can choose drapes and curtains that will compliment the other colors in the room. It will also help boost your confidence level.

Pick a style

The options for drapes and curtains are nearly endless, or so it seems. While it may seem like "just" curtains, they can be powerful design elements when done well. That said, it pays to take some time to review various styles and choose one you really like. This also has a direct influence on the type of curtain rod you'll need, or other hanging design elements. Again, there are many design choices when it comes to hanging your window treatments, so it is best to know what you are getting yourself into.

Do you like traditional designs, or do your tastes run toward the contemporary looks? Do you like bold color, or do you prefer subtle shades? Consider making a list of the design elements you know for sure. Then, browse through a variety of design books and websites to get a good idea of how these designs are incorporated in different ways.

Another key element to consider is the fabric choice for your curtains and drapes. The fabric, and texture of the fabric, can greatly enhance the overall design scheme. A lightweight, airy fabric is perfect for a sunny kitchen, while a heavier fabric works well for those areas where you need more privacy and need to compliment larger, heavier furnishings. Do not be afraid to explore and experiment with different fabric types.

Mixing lightweight fabrics with heavier ones gives you daytime and evening options, for those rooms where you want to take advantage of natural light, but also need privacy in the evening. This combination also works well in climates that change dramatically, allowing you a lightweight summer option, and insulating curtains during the winter. It also eliminates the need to change your window treatments with the seasons (although this can be fun!).

As you know and will quickly discover, there are more things to consider than simply color and texture. The options for hanging drapes and curtains are seemingly endless! As you browse through design books and home improvement stores, allow your imagination to drift as you consider different possibilities. Even some contemporary hanging designs can work very effectively in a traditional room, adding a complimentary mix of design.

If you do not like a traditional valance, many draping styles offer a similar framing effect without being as constrictive as a valance style. On the other hand, if you don't like the freeform look of draped fabrics, a flip-style valance may be the perfect option to give your drapes a polished, styled look.

Don't be afraid to mix styles. You can always change your mind. Take advantage of drawing boards (or computer programs, if available) to "test" your designs before making final purchases. Even a rough sketch can give you an idea if you will like the scheme. Use pictures in books and the design sections of home improvement stores to get a visual idea of how different options look. (You can even trace them and add your own colors to get a better feel for your choices.)

Decorating on a budget

Once you have chosen your design, it's time to look for fabric or drapes. Even though window treatments are less costly than completely redecorating a room, fabric and drapes can add up quickly. This can be even more of an issue if you have many windows to treat, are using layers, or if you are using design to make your windows appear larger.

One way to overcome this problem is to shop wisely. Be on the lookout for sales and discount drapes and curtains. Look for discount stores, clearance items, and seasonal sales. Another option is to combine your own fabrics with discounted drapes or to alter them to meet your needs. Tab-top curtains, for example, can be made from standard drapes (so long as they are wide enough to create the desired effect for your window).

In other words, be open to ideas and take your time when shopping. The finished effect will be worth the wait.

Adding elements

Adding design elements to your curtains and drapes can be an effective and cost-saving method to add instant design and style. Visit your local craft or design store to find ideas for adding design elements. Artificial vines or flowers can add a nice touch, as can using twigs, bamboo, or other natural items.

These elements help bring the outside in and create a warm, comforting feeling in the room. Design elements such as ribbon, beads, buttons, clips, and anything else that catches your fancy allow you to add a personal touch. These result in a truly unique window treatment, a finishing touch, and represent your personal style.

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