Custom Drapes: The Ultimate Guide to Understanding Your Drapery Options

Custom Drapes hanging in a bathroom.

Draperies to be or not to be? That is the question!

We are glad you asked! In all honesty, custom drapes never went out of style. When décor trends changed to a clean, minimal look in recent years, many interior designers chose not to add fabrics. Yet, fabrics add texture to create a warm, comfortable environment, even in contemporary homes. We are now doing more drapes than ever before at Advanced Window Coverings in Nashville, TN. 

Drapes vs. Curtains for Your Home: Understanding the Difference

Many people have questions concerning drapes. Especially how styles, fabrics, and custom hardware options affect the price. We would like to answer some of those for you.

Before we begin, let’s clarify the difference between draperies and curtains. Drapes are considered a custom product that a workroom will design specifically for your windows, including width and a specific height for the fabric to kiss the floor. Curtains can be purchased at a local store. As you can imagine, finding an appropriate size to meet your needs is difficult. That is the easiest distinction; you can visibly tell the difference between custom drapes and curtains off the shelf.

What Effects the Cost of High-End Custom Window Coverings?

The first question on everyone’s mind is, “Are they affordable?” If you are on a tight budget and looking for the most inexpensive window treatments, then drapes may not be your best choice. You may want to consider looking for more affordable curtains online or at a local store.

For people looking to invest in exquisite custom drapes that add to the style and value of your home, here’s what to consider. 

The cost of beautiful window treatments can vary based on several factors. Here are some key elements that can affect the price:

  • Fabric Choice: The type and quality of fabric you select greatly affects the cost of curtains and drapes. High-end and luxurious fabrics will be more expensive, while basic or synthetic materials may be more affordable.
  • Drapery Style: The specific style of window coverings you choose can impact the cost. Some styles require more fabric and labor, leading to higher prices.
  • Size of the Window: The size of your window or windows will influence the amount of fabric needed. Larger windows will cost more.
  • Lining: A standard liner is free of charge; while blackout offers benefits like insulation and light control, which adds to the expense.
  • Hardware: The type and quality of hardware, including rods, finials, and brackets, can affect the overall cost. High-end or customized hardware will be pricier.
  • Labor and Installation: Handcrafted window treatments require a good workroom with skilled labor. Additionally, professional installation is a must. 

There are so many variables that you need to consider with your investment. So be sure to do your homework before trusting just anyone to do your project. Ask to see pictures, and don’t hesitate to ask for referrals.

Choosing the Right Color to Add Timeless Style

What color do I choose? The very best answer is to stick with colors that won’t go out of style. Color palettes within your home can change over the years. For that reason, we advise using neutral colors. Don’t coordinate the colors of your room around the drapes; allow your fabric choice to complement the environment. If you love to add splashes of color, do so with pillows and lamps. It’s a much more affordable option. While fabrics can be fun; a calm, solid linen can add beauty for many years. Your drapery design consultant will be able to provide you with a variety of options and free swatches to help you get the perfect style and fabrics for your home.

Draperies for Arched Windows: A Challenge with a Solution

Do you have a difficult window-possibly arched? These can be a problem for sure! There are not many window treatment choices to cover arches, which can be very frustrating, especially if you want a dark room. Arched windows from the exterior are stunning, but they are a nightmare in a bedroom or a living room when you have light coming through the arch, blinding your vision, while trying to watch your favorite TV show. By mounting a rod above the arch, custom drapes can be used to frame the window, creating a dramatic look. You would simply open and close them when you need maximum light control.

Sheers: The Lightweight Alternative

What about sheers, are they still in style? In recent years, we have been using sheers to add texture and softness to a space. Some like the appeal of drapes but prefer a lighter, more airy look that affords a greater view of the window. However, sheers may not be the best choice if you need privacy.

Pleat Choices for Custom Drapes

Are you aware that there are several different options for pleats? This is really a style preference and is a very important aspect when purchasing custom-made drapes. Pleats are generally four inches apart from one another, creating beautiful folds.

Pinch Pleats: Perfect for Formal or Traditional Drapery Styles:

A pinch pleat has been around for decades. Your grandmother may have this traditional pleated style of drapes in her home.  It’s characterized by evenly spaced, tightly folded pleats pinched about three inches below the top of the drapery panel. These pleats create a structured neat appearance, offering the window treatment an elegant and timeless look.

Common configurations include two-finger pinch pleat or three-finger pinch pleats; both are beautiful, it depends on your desired fullness and style.

Inverted Pleat (Commonly called French Pleat): 

There is a new kid on the block, called an inverted pleat, also commonly referred to as a French pleat. Available as a two-finger or three-finger pleat. It’s our opinion that less is more. The two-finger inverted pleat offers a very clean look that’s a perfect option for a more contemporary home décor, but is also suited for a traditional home as well. There are other options, but these are the two most popular pleat offerings.

The Importance of Lining vs. Interlining

Let’s talk about lining, which is another very important consideration. We, more often times than not, will use a blackout liner. There are several reasons for this.

  • We love the weight it provides, which creates lovely folds.
  • Blackout lining provides the greatest room-darkening property over all products. You will have happy campers if you use it in the bedrooms. 
  • It is less expensive than interlining, which surprises many people.
  • It won’t distort the fabric color like a standard liner when light shines through it.

Hardware Customization Options: Rods, Finishes, and Finials

Drapery Rods: Choosing the Right Style for Your Window

There are a lot of considerations and questions when making a custom rod decision. The first is choosing a rod style that works for your window. There are three types of rods we frequently use: 

1. Motorized Drapery Rods: A Touch of High-Tech Luxury

Were you aware that rods can be motorized? Imagine waking up in a dark room, pushing a button, and all your drapes sweep open to bring in the morning sun! How wonderful would that be?

2. Standard Poles with Rings: Perfect for Side Panels

This is a nice option if you like the look of rings. These are beautiful and work well if you are using side panels (non-functioning) drapes. Beware that if you want to use this option for a functional drape, you will need proper brackets and a “C” rings.

3. Traversing Rods: The Go-To for Large Windows

However, a traversing rod is your best option if you have functional drapes on a large window that needs to open and close fully for privacy. Trust us on this one. Traversing rods, with the help of a cord that’s hidden behind the drapes, will allow your drapes to glide across the rod.

Drapery Rod Finishes: 

The next item on our agenda is the finish. If you want a trendy look, choose gold or silver. Oil-rubbed bronze is a nice choice, but black is a classic accent color that will accentuate any room. Black is what we use nine out of ten times.

Finally, Decorative Finials

Finials are the next decision to make. French returns really are lovely. However, choosing a finial with your own flair can be fun. There are contemporary styles, as well as traditional styles to fit every window. If you like a minimalist style, you might prefer a simple look with a basic end cap. Again, this is the time to make it your own style.

Hire an Expert to Help You Select and Install Your Draperies

Having a professional installer is key. Make sure that whomever you are working with knows the difference in products. We often come in to repair others’ work. For example, clients get so frustrated trying to slide ordinary rings across a standard bracket. That will not work! We spend a lot of time with you to fully understand your needs and explain in detail the many options that you have.

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