How to Select Drapes or Curtains

| August 29, 2012

Draperies can provide the ability to control the light coming in, your privacy and can be an integral part of the look of your home or apartment. Drapes or curtains can also block the outside heat or keep the cool air inside. When selecting drapery, you want to consider the color and pattern, fabric, desired fullness of the panels and the length needed.

Color and Pattern

Choose a color and pattern that contrasts with the wall color but still fits with your interior design scheme. If you don’t want the drapery to be a focal point, choose a solid color fabric. If you want your window treatment to stand out, choose a color that doesn’t blend in with everything else in the room.


Choose fabric that harmonizes with the room tone. Brocades and similar heavy fabrics work well with traditional styles. Pair these with sheers to allow for controlling the light during the day. For casual or contemporary styles, choose a rayon or cotton blend. These fabrics bring a light note to the room and won’t overpower the design. Consider silk or faux silk for modern decor. This fabric brings a softness and sheen to an interior that otherwise could seem unwelcoming.


Consider how full you want your curtains. Fullness is best defined as the depth and frequency of the folds. For heavy drapes with deep folds, you will want drapes that measure 2½ times the length of the rod. For lightweight fabrics with smaller folds, drapes should measure 2 times the length of the rod. For sheers, 1 ½ the length of the rod is sufficient.


Determine the ideal length. Full-length drapes hang no more than 1 inch above the floor. Trouser-length panels bunch slightly at the bottom, like the bottom of trousers over the tops of shoes. Puddle-length drapery panels are 6 to 8 inches longer in length, and the bottoms spread onto the floor in a semicircle, as if dripping into a puddle.

A professional can install the drapes or curtains to your specifications. Start your search in the Dex listings here.

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Category: Evergreen, Home & Garden, Interior Design