Suitable window treatment designs

Before you rush off to make your wonderful drapes, ask yourself this question.

Does the shape, style and situation of my window help or hinder the design I want to use?

How much space is there?

Do you have enough space around your window to allow for your preferred window treatment designs? Deep top treatments work best when there is extra space above the frame.

If you don't want to block too much daylight from entering the room, then you'll need space either side of the window as well. This space on either side is known as 'stackback'.

All hanging drapes need stackback room. The fabric in each drape, plus the lining and interlining if you use it, will need stackback space on either side of the window.

If you don't allow for this, even when your drapes are fully pulled back to either side, they'll cover too much of the window area.

Confined space

You don't have much room on one or more sides? In my opinion this is not the problem it's often made out to be.

There are a number of things you can adjust so the proportions are kept in balance for your window treatment designs.

As long as there is some space to play with, by carefully adjusting the depth of swags and the width of drapes you can usually reach a successful compromise. There are ways of reducing the stackback needed and adjusting the depth of the top treatments.

If you use a similar color on the fabric as on the walls, it will make the result more acceptable, because the treatment blends in with the decor rather than contrasting with it.

Top space for window treatment designs

Do you plan to use a top treatment such as a cornice box, valance or swags? Here's a general guide for space.

Make your top treatment at least one fifth of the total length of your window treatment designs.


If the total length (from the top of the treatment to the floor) is 8'0" (2.40m) then the average length of your top treatment should be about 1'6". The base of the top treatment should cover the top of the window by 2" or 3" ( cms). So ideally you'll need about 1'3" of space above the window.


This value depends on the thickness of your fabric, the lining, and the thickness of the interlining. For an 8'0" (2.4m) wide window the stackback value could easily be anywhere from 1'0" (30cms) to 1'6" (45cms).

Does the window style influence the design?

Not so much as you might think.

Modern windows can be successfully treated with traditional styles. I've used grommet (eyelet) headed drapes on Georgian windows. Did it work? I thought so, and the client was delighted with the result. (Remember, the customer is always right!)

What's more important is the style of the room. Always select your window treatment designs so they're in keeping with the overall style of your room.

Sunlight and temperature

Does your window get a lot of direct sunlight? Then lining is essential. (I'd recommend you always use lining anyway!)

Does your window let in draughts? Then think about using interlining which is a great insulator, and adds thickness to your drapes. Or if you don't intend using interlining use thermal lining.


Always examine your window, the surrounding area and other factors. If the surrounding space isn't ideal, you may need to adapt your window treatment designs.

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