Window Dressing (Tips!)

Window Dressings

(Usefull Information) Window dressings are an important part of the decorative appeal of most rooms in the home. The options range from extravagant curtains and valances, to plain blinds or shutters. These are all traditional ways of decorating windows, but with a little creativity you can break loose from convention and introduce your own innovative ideas.   I will give you some tips on:  

1. Material selection 2. Choosing curtains   

Before choosing any window dressing, look at the style and shape of a particular window, and consider all decorative options. Take into account the practical functions that dressings will serve, such as increasing privacy, keeping out the cold or heat, or blocking light.

Window types and sizes vary considerably. Adapt your window dressings accordingly.

 The common window types are:

 Sash. These are often tall and narrow. "Widen" them with curtains and a half-drawn blind.

French. Draw curtains right back from the frame to ensure easy opening and closing.

Picture. These are simple in design. Choose from all types of window dressing.

Bay. Consider carefully the hanging system required for these multi0faceted windows.

Casement. These vary greatly in size and design. Assess each one individually.


Setting a Style Choosing window dressings can give you a wonderful opportunity to release your own artistic flair. Whether you drape lavish swathes of expensive fabric or adopt a more minimalist approach, the decorative style of a room can often be set by the window dressing alone.


Before choosing fabrics and styles of window dressing, think about these purely practical considerations:


Function Choose simple, inexpensive hanging systems whenever you can, especially if your window dressings are purely decorative. You may need to invest in more costly hanging systems if you decide to hang curtains made of heavyweight material for warmth, for example.


Budget Very full drapes usually result in great expense, so make sure that you work out what your budgetary restrictions are before you make choices. Theme If you decide to try to follow a regional or period theme, research appropriate materials, designs, and colours in order to create a complete, authentic look.


Keeping Fabrics Plain: Colour scheming simply Use plain materials to make colour scheming easier. Window dressings will thus play a complementary decorative role.


Dressing up plain fabric Although a fabric may be plain in colour, drape it effectively with an unusual tie-back. Use windowsills as display areas for interesting collections of objects.


 Making a Statement
 1. Drawing attention If you want a window dressing to be a focal point, choose bold or contrasting colours and patterns to draw the eye.


2. Enhancing embellishments Emphasize a flouncy window dressing by offsetting it against understated walls. Paint walls off-white or an extremely pale, complementary colour.  

Treating a Window in Different Ways 

1. Disguising window shape Curtains hung outside a recess will disguise the shape of a window, especially if tied back from a closed position. Use a shaped valance to disguise the squareness of a window.


2. Emphasizing window shape Hang a blind inside a window recess to emphasize the shape of the window. A patterned blind will draw attention to clear lines and square angles, and help to make the window a feature.  

Setting the Scene

1. Having Fun Choose an appropriate fabric and use it for curtains, bedcovers, and cushions to produce a sense of fun in a child’s room. 2. Aiding relaxation Indulge yourself in swathes of curtain material in restful colours for a lounge that is used for calm recreation and relaxation. 3. Improving light Use pale coloured dressings at windows that receive little or no direct sunlight. These will encourage the greatest amount of light reflection into the room. 4. Increasing privacy In private areas of the home, such as a bedroom, cover the window completely to help to create a secure, restful mood.  

A. SELECTING MATERIALS Selecting the right materials when dressing windows is as important as in any other decorating job. All tasks at this stage of your project will be easiest if you use the equipment and materials that are specifically designed for the job.


 Basic Window-Dressing Equipment Toolkits include a basic sewing kit for making and altering furnishings, as well as general household tools for fixing dressings in place.


Hanging equipment. Choose a simple, relatively inexpensive hanging system – a track and gliders, or a lightweight rod – for light to medium weight curtains. Use a stronger, more complicated system for hanging heavyweight fabrics.   The basic window-dressing equipments are: scissors, hand-sewing needles, tailor’s chalk, sewing thread, fusing web, tape measure, set square staple gun, weight, small brass curtain rod plus rings, wooden curtain pole plus rings, track and gliders, track with integral draw-cord and weight, plastic hooks and tie-back hook. Choosing Fabrics for Window Dressings Most fabrics can be used for curtains or blinds. Make your choices based on practical as well as aesthetic factors. Colour, pattern, and fibre Let colours and patterns, or the weave of fabric such as damask, guide your choice, but bear in mind practical factors also

WeightChoose heavy fabric such as brocade for sumptuous drapes. Sheer silk or fine fabrics such as lace, cotton, or calico will be more light and airy.


If using thin curtain fabric, consider lining to block light or interlining for warmth.

B. CHOOSING CURTAINS  You do not have to be an expert at sewing to make curtains. Not all curtains have to be lined or hemmed. It is possible to adapt many curtaining techniques to suit your level of ability and still achieve the look you would like.


Considering Options Curtains offer a lot of scope when it comes to covering window. They come in many different materials, styles, and designs. You can make them, buy them ready-made, or adapt existing ones. Consider your preferences as well as practical requirements before you decide.  

Planning Curtains Lining You do not have to line curtains, but if you do so it will improve the hang and provide the room with extra warmth. To avoid sewing lining in, attach it to curtain material using fusing web.   Avoiding obstacles Pipes, radiators, and other obstacles or restrictions may prevent curtains from falling nicely. Take these into account when determining the style and the length of your curtains.


Selecting hanging systems Choose a hanging system before you measure up for curtains, since the drop will clearly affect your calculations.


Weighing up windows While you are choosing a style and material for your curtains, consider the ideal length. This will be determined by a number of factors, not least of which are the shape and size of the window itself, the position of a window on a wall, and practical purposes that curtains serve such as keeping a room warm or cool, or blocking light out of it.


Measuring Up Measure up as accurately as possible to reduce the risk of making expensive mistakes.   Checking figures The old adage about measuring twice and cutting once is wise advice. Always check your figures because mistakes are easily made when taking a number of measurements.


Being precise Not all floors, windows, and ceilings are absolutely "square", so take at least three width and length measurements.


Allowing for pattern repeats As with wallpaper, centralize large patterns for balance.  

CURTAINING CREATIVELY  Window dressings and curtains particularly, offer a good opportunity to break with tradition and create your own designs and decorative themes. You can, of course, make or buy new curtains, but there are many ways of adapting and revamping existing curtains.


Reducing Costs

Reviving old curtains Give old curtains a new lease of life simply by attaching some new braid or trim to their hems. Cutting down curtains To give a room a fresh new look, make some cafe curtains by cutting down an old pair of curtains from a different room in your home. Using old for new To save time and money, use old curtains as a lining around which to fit new fabric. Enclose the old in the new and simply secure around the edges with fusing web. Buying seconds There is quite a market in second-hand curtains. Consider buying second hand to reduce your expenses significantly. You may, however, have to make size adjustments for the curtains to fit your windows. Using Other Materials Consider how a curtain will hang when you are planning to use alternative materials, and keep headings simple. Blankets Use blankets as heavyweight "curtains" in very cold rooms. The insulatory properties of blankets make them ideal. Hessian Sew hessian sacks into a patchwork to create a rustic but very natural looking window dressing. Rugs If you have a window with a poor outlook, use a decorative rug as a window dressing and a distraction. Make use of a rug’s looped fringe to hang the rug from a substantial curtain pole.


Money-Saving Tip

Use a sheet as a simple, single curtain. Nail the sheet to the top of a window frame using large, exterior roofing nails. Drape the "curtain" to one side of the window over another roofing nail which is used as a tie-back.   Making a tassel Make a tassel by carefully rolling up some excess trim or braid and securing it with fabric glue. Insert a length of cord and use as a tie-back, or hang several tassels from a curtain rail to dress it up. Using Appliqué Attaching Shapes. Brighten up a plain material by cutting themed shapes out of a differently coloured fabric. Attach the shapes to the curtain using fabric glue. Use a non-fraying fabric such as felt for the shapes to avoid finishing edges. Decorating Sheers Tracing Outlines. Use sheer curtain fabric like a piece of tracing paper. Draw straight on to the material using a colourfast outliner pen. Leaves are an easy subject to draw around. Fix the outliner ink by ironing the back of the fabric.  

HANGING CURTAINS There are two main methods of hanging curtains: using poles or using tracks. Most types are straightforward to fix in place. You can, however, adapt either of these basic systems in order to add a touch of originality or to suit a particular decorative or colour scheme.  

Using Poles Selecting materials Choose a wooden pole for a fresh, lightweight appearance, or a sturdier-looking metal pole for a more solid, heavy look. Covering poles Cover a pole with wallpaper to match the walls. Attach the paper with neat PVA, let it dry, then apply several coats of matt varnish to protect the paper and facilitate curtain pulling.  

Measuring & Fixing Adjusting width Adjust the length of a curtain pole depending on whether the curtains will be gathered back beyond the edge of the window, or whether they will hang partly in front of the window and therefore require a shorter length of pole. Allowing for finials Do not forget to allow for finial attachments at each end when calculating a pole’s length. Making poles level You will require only two brackets – one at each end – to fix a curtain pole in position above a narrow window. It will be easy to ensure that the brackets are level using a spirit level. It is more difficult to align three brackets. Fix the central bracket first, and use this to take a level to where the other two need to be positioned.  

Using Tracks Looking and learning If you are concerned that you might not be able to assemble and fit a curtain track, have a look at a similar working system, either in your local supplier’s showroom or in someone else’s home. You will then know what the track should look like once assembled. Painting to match Consider painting curtain tracks, which are usually supplied white, so that they blend in with wall colours or curtain materials. Eggshell gives the best paint finish on plastic surfaces. Lubricating tracks In order to maintain a curtain track in good running order, lubricate it occasionally with a few drops of washing-up liquid. Alternative to Using Poles You can choose from a variety of alternative materials as substitutes for curtain poles. Alternatively, use your imagination and substitute a less obvious but still suitable item instead of a pole.   Have a nice time!!

Promotional Links: Choosing the right window coverings for your home is not complicated with these useful tips.