In with the bold
Bigger windows need bolder draperies
By: Susan Jones
| Posted: Saturday, Feb 09, 2013 06:00 am
There was a time when decorating magazines would suggest keeping windows, and especially the window coverings, very much in the background, but no more. Window treatments are coming into their own with bold, highly-patterned fabrics becoming fashionable and push-button hardware that seems almost futuristic.
You don’t have to be home to close the drapes anymore because your automatic sensors will know if too much sun is streaming in through the window and will shut them for you.
Automated window treatments can be operated by remote control, just as your television or fireplace starter may be. Even more exciting, automatic window sensors are available that know what’s going on with the sun in your living room even if you are basking on a South Sea island beach.
“You could sit on your couch and use your remote control to open or close the drapes. You could be at work and control your windows from your iPhone,” said interior designer Sheri Krug of Sheri Krug Designs.
“You could be away and if it’s 30 C on a south-facing window, the sun sensor will know to regulate the drapes.”
You might have a blind or curtain that covers only the lower portion of the window, or conversely, a covering for the upper portion. The sensor will close whichever drapery part you would like closed.
“Maybe you want privacy on the lower level of the home but you still want unfiltered daylight to come in the top. Now you have that flexibility,” Krug said.
If a sleek, contemporary look is what you wish for, you might have roller shades that are inset into the window frame and a stainless steel valance to top the whole works off.
But fancy, honey-comb shaped, multi-layered blinds that may be opened and closed with a touch are not that new. What’s exciting is the way designers are turning the focus onto the window itself.
Instead of bland, neutral-coloured coverings, this year designers are using fabrics that may be lime green, royal blue and coral or geometrically patterned with lots of shapes and flowers.
“Usually the background (fabric) will be neutral but they are covered with wild prints, big patterns and lots of colour,” said Penny Meiklejohn, co-owner of Rainbow Draperies, an Edmonton based company that makes window coverings exclusively for designers.
Meiklejohn has seen drapery trends come and go but she believes that smooth upholstery, such as leather couches, combined with the new modern two-storey high windows, may have contributed to the need for new brighter colours and textures.
“The scale of the windows is bigger so you need the scale of the print to be bigger too. Plus the technology has changed so we can now make 16-foot high floor-to-ceiling draperies with no problem. That allows people to make their windows a feature so that the draperies are art for the window,” she said.
For those who want more subtle designs, designer Chantal Ross of Chantal Ross Interior Design, suggests draperies with big blocks of colour arranged in horizontal layers.
“You might have a valance that is 14 inches wide in one colour and then blocks of different widths of fabric down the length of the curtain. You might have one blue block, a red block, yellow and grey. Grey is really big right now in design,” Ross said.
In addition the draperies may be studded with crystals or buttons.
“You might have an asymmetrical design of grommets upholstered into the fabric to add bling,” Ross said.
Even if you don’t layer the window with quantities of fabric, you can make the window an important feature of the home.
“Make the casings more dramatic,” Krug said. “Make the casing itself remarkable by making it oversized, say six to 10 inches wide, depending how big the window is, so that you really make a statement and frame the view outside the window.”