Get it done / Curtains up!
Ethan Allen images by kc kratt
I have been in this house fourteen years, and managed to get window treatments on every window in it but two—ironically, two that, because we are at the end of a cul-de-sac, face the entire street. One is my office, which is an only an issue when I want to hide from solicitors; the other is the master bedroom, which is only an issue if you’re modest (meaning, it was never much of a problem until I married someone with more modesty than I, which extends to concern over my lack of it). Maybe ten years ago, my sister actually gave me some sheers that match the décor perfectly, but they’ve sat in a box—until now.
Since there was an existing bracket still inside the recessed window, I checked the basement rafters, where there are curtain rods stored from the previous owner. I must have gotten rid of most, but I found an adjustable one that looked perfect, only to take it upstairs and find it exactly one inch too long to fit in the recess. Next step, Amazon, where I discovered tension rods! I ordered a bronzed copper one, and waited for it arrive.
The ease of putting curtains on a rod, extending it, and popping it into the recessed window is inversely proportionate to the embarrassment I feel at how long I put this off. The final step was pulling out a never-used hand steamer that we got from someone as a gift; using that was more challenging that putting up the curtains! I now no longer have to endure my husband’s side-eye if I’m getting dressed, and the room finally looks complete. Better, the decorative box that had stored the curtains for years can now hold the blankets and yoga blocks it’s always been meant to.
Useful Info: Installing Curtains
Experts at Ethan Allen demonstrate proper curtain installation techniques.
Michael Michalski, the vice president of design services at Ethan Allen of WNY, said to consider four elements when deciding on your window treatment: proportion, balance, scale, and pattern. These different elements can alter the insulation, privacy, light, and overall experience of your room.
“Think about where your window is in relation to the room and the sightline that is creates,” Michalski says. “It’s amazing how when you put draperies up in a room, it changes the whole feeling of your space. Typically, you want to expand the appearance of your window to make it look bigger.” For example, in long narrow rooms, drapery panels can create a vertical element that add length by drawing the eyes up. Conversely, if your room is very tall the drapes need to be in proportion, so make sure they are not too short.
To get started, installing a curtain rod may be necessary. You’ll need a step stool or ladder, drill, measuring tape, level, pencil, wood screws or wall anchors, and your desired curtain rod.
To determine rod length, measure the interior width of the window and add four inches. The goal is for the inside edge of the drapes to go just past the inside edge of the window trim; this ensures that drapes will have fullness, open or closed. Using a level, determine where anchor or screw placement, and mark with a pencil. Drill the brackets in place, and hang the rod!
Custom drapes should be about three times the width of the window, e.g. 120 inches for a forty-inch window. “There are simple custom window treatments that can be more affordable than you might think,” Michalski says. “Especially nowadays, the simpler the better. Windows are very different than fifteen to twenty years ago when there were more layers and trim.” If you’re unsure, an expert can come to you, and help you choose fabric and design to fit the space. —Lisa Littlewood