Curtain designs from simple to complex

There are many curtain designs you can use. But before you go ahead with items such as borders, trims and other accessories, first decide on the main characteristics. This article details some of your options.

Plain curtains

We're all familiar with drapes which hang straight down from the track or pole. And here's something I always tell my clients.

Keep your curtains plain and simple unless you have a very good reason not to!

In the search for originality it's very easy to go 'over the top', to overdo draperies. When fabrics are carefully selected, when good quality linings and interlinings are used, when quality tracks or poles are used, and when the drapes are made to a high standard - the result will be professional looking drapery.

So, keep it simple. If you then decide that you want to go further, fine. But don't rush into complex ideas just for the sake of it.

Curtain styles

The interactive section below shows curtain designs and their relationship to a pole and window. (See more details on fitting a pole and calculating stackback.)

(This section does not display on some mobile devices)




A step further

Once you have your plain drapes, there's an easy and effective option you can use to get a great effect.

It's where you make the curtains about 4" - 6" (10 -15cms) longer so they 'puddle' on the floor. This gives a dressy effect, but it isn't a very practical feature if you plan to open and close your drapes every day. The fabric needs to be adjusted into folds where it cascades onto the floor.

It's a nice alternative to normal drapes, but use with care.

Tie backs

Tie backs affect your drapes in a number of ways.

  • The drapes form attractive curves when tied back, which can give relief from the usual horizontal and vertical lines in a room.
  • The tie back can be a simple shape, or can be made of a number of attractive alternatives, such as double tassels or platted rope.
  • When used on curtains where windows are often opened - especially French windows - using tie backs hold the curtains from blowing in the breeze.

If you have a tall, arched window, one way to arrange your drapes is to have the headings permanently fixed across the top, and use tie backs set near the top to hold the drapes back from the sides.

Where cost is an important factor, tie backs can be made by covering shaped buckram with left overs from the curtain fabric.


Colored lining

Be careful with this. It's not always a good idea for plain curtains. Don't forget that you can often see the lining from outside the home. Having different colors appear in various windows when you look at your home from outside may not be what you planned!

But when used with a tuxedo style of drapery it can be very effective. This is where you take the bottom inside corners and pull them forwards and up to the sides where they are secured.

It's a very theatrical effect, and is useful for situations where you want a stunning effect. This style is most often used in dining rooms, where it provides a great backdrop.

Conclusion - keep it simple!

There are many other ways of designing your curtains, but as this website is about making your own drapery, I'd suggest that for the time being at least, you keep your drapes as simple as possible.

When you have more experience in making up drapery, you could then try some more adventurous treatments.

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