Window Treatments #3: Drapery, Well Hung

Blue Room (White House), Bill Clinton Administration
Blue Room (White House), Bill Clinton Administration

Expand Your Horizons

To some extent, how high, how wide and how long you hang your drapery, is a matter of taste.  It could also be a of matter of remedy; to disguise unfortunate architecture, for example.

Are there standards to start with if you don’t especially have an opinion? Yes. Some solutions not only look better, but are quite practical. Why argue?

 Consider these ideas and guidelines :

  • Hang your drapery one half inch or less off the floor to avoid premature wearing and dirt. Also, be sure to have at least four inches above the window so that the top hem can’t be seen when light shines through.
  • Puddled drapery is meant to create an atmosphere of romance, opulence or as a formal, historical statement. They can be anywhere from a one inch break on the floor to an excess of fifteen inches. This treatment is great for stationary panels but not for drapery that’s used functionally because the fabric will be dirty in no time.
  • Drapes should end just ABOVE a baseboard heater and not drape over it.
  • When there are several windows in a room with varying dimensions, make the panel lengths consistent. Use the same fabric on windows that are too small or inconveniently located for the same treatment, as in the case that a small window will only accommodate a shade and not a full length panel.
  • Take into consideration where the drapery is going to “stack” at the sides when open when determining how far past the frame the drapery rod should extend.
  • When using extension rod type hardware, use a somewhat longer rod than needed: less extension means stronger support.
  • Drapery is measured in a kind of loose equation called “2X width”. Most designers use 2.5 X width and some even use 3X. This means that a 50 inch panel should be compressed to roughly 25 inches to look good. A 50 inch window would need 100 inches of drapery, in two panels of 50 inches each.
  • The drapery hooks can be inserted higher or lower on the top hem of the drapery panel to fine tune length.

Most windows do need some sort of covering, if only for privacy, filtering sunlight, or as mentioned above, unfortunate architecture, etc.

However, considering all the benefits, these issues could be considered good problems to have.

What a wonderful excuse for a great window treatment!
Related Posts

Window Treatments #1: Why, When & Where

Window Treatments #2: A Little Something At The Windows

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The original version of this article was published on It’s represented here as a foundation for further topic discussion.