Curtains & Drapery, Window Dressings, Swags And Tails
Curtains & Drapery
Designing curtains, swags and tails and window dressings finds inspiration from the room style and its occupying area and space. Curtains, swags and tails and window dressings are a focal point of any room. They frame both the window on the inside and the view of the outside, and must be complimentary to both.
Curtains, swags and tails and window dressings must be perfectly proportioned and balanced to suit the window and room size.. The design and fabric selection must reflect the personality, tastes and lifestyle of the home and it’s owners. Curtains and blinds serve as both functional and decorative elements of a home interior. The key to great design is to combine both elements, achieving maximum style impact while maintaining required functionality.
Curtains and window dressings can range from elaborate draperies, swags and tails in opulent fabrics to a simple sheer curtain or blind covering the window. The style of window dressing used and the selection of fabric will influence the character, mood and style of a room. Carefully selected curtains, swags and tails and window dressings create ambience and can give an impression of warmth or have a cooling effect as required. There are hundreds of approaches and combinations that can be used. Proportion, design, colour, pattern and texture of fabric are crucial elements in the creation of stunning curtains, swags and tails and window dressings and Timeless Interiors can create the perfect style to accentuate and compliment your room, lifestyle and views.
Curtains are the most popular window dressing option. Fabric is gathered and hung in panels. The curtains can be a softening element for a room or a design feature utilizing bold fabric choices. The heading of the curtain determines the finished effect. This can vary between simple rings on an exposed rod to a formal looking pleated version, to a full, softly gathered pretty look.
Length of curtain can vary depending on desired effect and practicality. You can choose between sill length, below sill length, floor length or the opulent and luxurious style that pools elegantly onto the floor.
Curtain linings improve the shape of the curtains, block light and provide insulation.Decorative tie backs are an option.
Swags and Tails
A “swag” is a length of fabric draped decoratively across the top of a window. Often the “swag” is accompanied by “tails”or “jabots”.These are the separate side pieces that drape down either side.Traditional swag and tails or swag and jabots have a pleasing symmetry and neatness. Fabric selection is critical with heavier fabrics hanging better than soft fabrics.
Wider windows generally require multiple overlapping swags. Tails or jabots must be long enough to balance the appearance of the swags. Sometimes a contrasting lining may add an interesting effect.
A “scarfe” is a simplified version of swags and tails, being made from a single piece of fabric draped over a curtain rod. Scarves are an unstructured version and more suited to light or sheer fabrics that drape well.
Swags and tails can be combined with sheer underlays or blinds if required and are often embellished with fringing or tasseled cords for a decorative effect.
Swags French Empire
French Empire style swags, in keeping with period, are flamboyant and luxurious. Lavish silks and fabrics chosen for their opulence create flowing draperies and are trimmed with fringing and tassels. Lightweight drapes or sheers can be topped with the heavier swags and tails in contrasting colours. Poles may be a feature of the window dressing.
Valances are both decorative and functional. They decorate the top of the window, often correcting proportions while covering hardware such as tracks and cords. Valance headings can be gathered, pleated or ballooned. Shaped hems may be used to add interest. Valances add a softening flourish to a window and may be used with drapes, blinds or shutters. Fabric selection can be made to add interest or contrast as required.
Valances 19th Century
During the 19th century the valance was used extensively. It was always dramatic and opulent in design and central to the overall appearance of the drapery
Cornices and Lambrequins
Cornices and lambrequins are used to decorate the tops of windows and hide unsightly hardware in similar fashion to valances. While valances are made from fabric, draped and soft, cornices and lambrequins are constructed from more solid materials, often upholstered in fabric to soften the appearance. The cornice can be a simple box or have a softening shape cut in. Trims such as braiding or fringe will add interest to a cornice.
Lambrequins are much more elaborate and extravagant than cornices. The sides extend down the sides of the window and they are shaped and decoratively adorned with sumptuous fabric and richly adorned with braided and fringed embellishment.
Cornices and lambrequins can be as simple or as elaborate as required. The cornice should be complimentary to the design of the room and curtains without overwhelming them.
Fabric shades are an interesting and often functional window dressing that can be raised and lowered as required. Shades can be a simple roller blind, covered in selected fabric to enhance and compliment the room or provide privacy and insulation. A beaded or fringe trimmed sheer fabric shade will compliment a feminine room style.
More elaborate shades such as the deeply pleated Roman blind or the festooned and gathered Austrian blinds provide an elegant and classic look. Fabrics selection must be made to compliment the style of the room and according to the type of blind required. The fuller styles such as Austrians require very soft and flowing fabrics to drape and hang well.
Shades can be used with or without other drapery.
Drapery is often caught and gathered back from the window to allow more light. There are many forms of tie backs and the style of the curtains will dictate what is appropriate.
Simple drapes are best pulled back with a matching or boldly contrasting padded fabric tie back. This can be plain, plaited, trimmed with contrasting fabric or braid, gathered, pleated and so on.
More elaborate drapery can sustain more elaborate style of tie back, often with bows, rosettes or tassel detail.
Fringes and Trims
There are many options available to trim the curtains. Fringes may be long and opulent bullion or shorter cut ruche. They can be comprised of many small tassels or have elaborately beaded detail. These type of trims add interest and a sense of movement to a window dressing. They are selected to compliment or contrast with the fabric and design of the curtains.