THE DOS + DON’TS OF WINDOW TREATMENTS
If I had to pinpoint the most underrated element of design, window treatments would definitely top the list. Features like paint colors, furniture selection and styling pieces are always on my clients’ minds, but beautifully tailored window treatments elevate a space unlike any other.
At j.miller interiors, we often suggest custom window treatments for our clients for several key reasons. First, custom drapery gives a truly tailored look that’s designed exactly for the space. And second, going custom means a much wider variety of fabrics and styles to select throughout the process.
While custom window treatments aren’t possible in every scenario, today I’m sharing my dos and don’ts of ready-made pieces for a designer-approved look.
DO: Hang High + Wide
When installing a drapery rod, always, ALWAYS hang those drapes high and wide. This is not the time to overcrowd your windows, because we want all the natural light and height we can get! Generally speaking, I suggest installing rods an inch below the crown or four to six inches above the window frame. For width, aim to hang the rod about six to eight inches wider than the window so the drape just barely sits on the side of the window frame.
DON’T: Go Too Short
One of the most common mistakes I see in drapery installs is a too short scenario. Remember that you want those drapes to gently “kiss” the floor to achieve the perfect length. That might mean having your drapes tailored when purchasing ready-made pieces, but I promise it’s 100% worth the investment. When in doubt, always order drapes longer rather than shorter—no high waters around here please and thank you!
DO: Choose a Simple Rod
There are a million design directions to go with your rod selection, but I always take a less is more approach. I often use a clean and simple black, brass or even matte white rod in my projects and let the drapery steal the show. Hint: you can find some amazing custom rods on Etsy—one of my go-to sources for lighting and hardware!
DON’T: Opt For Curtain Grommets
In case you’re unfamiliar, curtain grommets are the rings sewn into a curtain for ease of hanging purposes. However, I much prefer the look of drapes hung on rings rather than grommets in my projects. You can often purchase curtain rings separately from the rod—just make sure to match the finishes. As a second-best option (in my book), pole pocket curtains can also work quite nicely.
DO: Consider Fabric Selections
One of the most important elements to consider in drapery is your fabric choice. The fabric you select will change the dynamic of your room, depending on factors like the material’s weight, level of light filtering and overall durability. If you’re purchasing drapery from a retail store or on Etsy, linen is always a safe bet.
DON’T: Rule Out Cafe Curtains
Before you write off cafe curtains as a trend from your grandmother’s kitchen, hear me out. This vintage-inspired look features a curtain that’s usually hung halfway up the window, and works great in a kitchen dining nook, bathroom, or any space where you want the combo of privacy and natural light. It’s official: cafe curtains have made their comeback!
DO: Choose a Layered Look
The ultimate window treatment involves a good bit of layering using roman shades (either natural woven or fabric) and drapery. I often select flat roman shades for their functional simplicity paired with linen curtains, and the result is a space that looks entirely pulled together.
To achieve the custom look at home, I recommend browsing online shops like The Shade Store or Etsy. They’ve made it so easy for homeowners to get incredible window treatments, all from the comfort of your sofa!