It may not seem like it, but there is actually a lot that goes into making a custom window treatment. For designers, all of these great details are exciting, and the terminology we use to describe them comes second nature. However, we can understand how this may not be the case for many of our clients. That being said, it may not be a bad idea to educate yourself a bit before walking into your first consultation.
The first thing to concern yourself with is panel width, as your designer will want to know this before starting anything. A standard size fabric width is about 54 inches, and depending on the fullness of the pleating, the panel width will be 14” to 21” when the draperies are closed. If you are covering a window that is between 36 and 60 inches, you will use two to three panel widths total.
If you decide to use a printed fabric for your drapes, you must think about pattern repeat-flat, and pattern repeat-pleated. The way the print looks when the draperies are drawn will be very different than when the drapes are open and you have pleating. The pattern repeat can be a costly issue, especially if the pattern is not small or “tight” and does not repeat in many places on the fabric. A lot of fabric can be wasted if this is the case. A good window treatment is when the pattern matches up when pleated, and an experienced designer will know exactly how to center a pattern to make it match up.
Now you have the issue of lining. If you are going to choose sheer fabric, it’s a no-brainer; no lining required. But if you choose an opaque fabric, lining can be the deciding factor in how the draperies will hang. Good lining fabric can set you back between four and seven dollars per yard, and if you need a blackout liner – as in a bedroom – you will be spending from eight to 12 dollar per yard. But a good lining will save the face fabric from the sun, and in the long run, it will save you more money than what you spent on the lining.
The word break, as it relates to window treatments, simply means the distance between the bottom of the draperies and the floor. Many designers will advise you that a ¼ to ½ inch is a good distance off the floor. But a good break is to have the draperies just sit on the floor, like a great pair of tailored pants will break on the front of your shoes. It looks beautiful but just be aware that it may result in a need for more frequent cleaning.
Then there is the pleating. This may seem like an insignificant detail, but pleat styles can dramatically change the look and feel of a drapery. There is a wide variety of pleating styles to choose from, and you will want to make just the right choice, depending on whether your home is traditional or more contemporary, and if the drapes are going into a female’s room, a male’s room, or someplace neutral. So take your time with this choice and consider all of your options.
These are some of the more important things to think about when creating new window treatments. It may sound like a lot, but once you take the time to understand, it’s really not so complicated. Your window treatments say a lot, not only about your home itself, but you and your lifestyle as well. Regardless of whether your home is sophisticated or more casual, window treatments are an important accent when it comes to the overall décor.