A Lesson in Curtains

I am one of the first to confess the many decorating sins I have committed, but perhaps none were worse than my early attempts at hanging curtains. Not knowing anything about lengths, widths, or options for hanging, I purchased cheap curtains barely wide enough to stretch meagerly across the width of the window. I hung my curtain rod JUST above the window frame, making the windows and ceilings appear to be lower than they were. Perhaps worst of all, I purchased standard curtain lengths (84 inches) without paying any attention whatsoever to the height of my ceiling, resulting in horrific “high-waters.” Being somewhat of a spend-thrift, however, I learned to live with my mistakes until we moved in July. THIS time, I vowed, I would get it right.

For the windows in the bedroom and living room, I still purchased the curtains from a housewares mega-store, but I was careful to get the nicest I could afford in luxurious fabrics. I paid close attention to the lengths, this time buying 102 inch curtains for our 10-foot high ceilings and we (meaning my husband) hung the rods just an inch shy of the ceiling. While the widths weren’t quite what I wanted, buying four panels instead of two gave me the ample “draping” effect I wanted. Also having four panels allows me to open the curtains as either two on each side…

two panels

…or as three sections with two panels in the middle.

three panels

Some blogs and books I read recommend sewing or pinning the panels together, but I rather like the variety this gives me.

For the curtains in the living room, having sheers plus opaque panels allows me to bunch the sheers together so that it appears there is more material.

living room

(For an excellent tutorial in curtains, visit Fred Gonsowski Garden Home blog and his post The Right Way to Hang Curtains and Drapes.)

Oddly the one room where we splurged on curtains was in the office – the most industrial of our rooms. I loved how Restoration Hardware’s open weave linen (in “Fog”) has a relaxed, refined look. For a little extra decadence, I decided to buy these in 120-inch lengths to allow for “puddling” on the floor. I love the result!


Be forewarned, however. Your furry friends may find these extra inches of material irresistible, whether using them as a dramatic backdrop while lounging…


…or as camo netting while awaiting the perfect opportunity to ambush a passing ankle.



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