The Ultimate Guide to Drapes and Curtains - Normandeau Window Coverings

The Ultimate Guide to Drapes and Curtains

The Ultimate Guide to Drapes and Curtains

Paralyzed by the possibilities for window treatments available for your home? Don’t worry, that’s quite normal, but as we deal with these types of dilemma every day and can help guide you through the material maze to get the drapes you really, really want the easiest way.

Where do I start?


First of all, let’s set aside all the aesthetics, even though they are the most enjoyable part of the process. To get the best value and most practical window treatments for your room you have to look at what limitations you already have and work with them.

Take a good look at what you want your drapes to do. Do you need them to block out the light? Just look good? Are they to provide privacy? Get to know, then carefully consider, all these options before you do anything else at all.



If you are looking to make your curtains completely light-proof, then there no need to limit yourself to certain fabrics. A blackout lining can be added to any fabric and make it block the light. This is especially important in children rooms, or for others who are easily awoken by light.

When you put a lining in a curtain you not only increase the light limiting effect, but you also add a layer of protection for your carpets, drape fabric and furniture that the window illuminates. It also adds ‘heft’ or weight, which means that it can better provide a barrier to block out draughts.

If you choose a custom made drape, we can add an interlining which gives any panel more body, makes it more durable and provides a barrier to anything that the weather can throw at the window.

Fabric and Colour



Before you consider using textured fabric in your home, consider the mood of the room. For a formal space, there’s heavy silk or velvet (a great insulator); but both are dry-clean only. More practical (often washable) and just as textured options include silky rayon blends and cotton sateen. For a casual feel, there are billowy linens (generally dry-clean only) and crinkly crushed velvet. Cotton and cotton blends work with any type of decor and bring a crisp, neat feel, as does all season wool or wool blends.


You’ll need to decide if you want the drapes to blend with the décor, contrast the mood or to pop with excitement. For blending, pick curtains that are the same tone as the wall but a few shades darker, or choose a non-dominant subtle colour in the room (a soft shade from the rug, etc.). A bold color will work like an exclamation point (if you’re looking to add some wow). Also keep in mind that in a space where the sun shines through unlined curtains, the color will infuse the room. For instance: Blue can be eerie; pink, cheery.

Prints and Patterns

A rule of thumb: If you have patterned furniture or bedding, or a very elaborate rug, stick with solid curtains for a classic look. If you have solid-color furniture or bedding, consider highly patterned, coordinating curtains. For a subtle hint of style and energy, go for a small, neutral print, like dots or paisley, which takes on the look of texture from afar. A large, graphic print in a color that relates to the existing decor is daring but can be spectacular.

If you really want to really add some ‘Wow’ to a room, think about mixing patterns and creating a whole new look.


Sheers are wispy panels of semi-transparent fabric that soften views and provide moderate privacy. They look best in living rooms, dining rooms, and bedrooms. Sheers should be layered with other window treatments if privacy is a concern.

Things to consider:

The kind of fabric you select depends on the look you want to achieve and the level of care you’re willing to provide. Polyester sheers have a slight sheen and create a more formal look. They’re also easy to launder and require little ironing. Cotton sheers offer a casual, contemporary look. Lace sheers feel romantic and traditional. Both cotton and lace sheers may need to be cleaned professionally.

For generous waves of fabric, select sheers two or three times the width of the window. You may need to use multiple sheers to achieve this effect.

Sheers are usually light enough to hang from spring-loaded tension rods, but any type of drapery rod will work.

Do I Need Tiebacks?

If you want to be able to pull curtains to the side for more light or a swoopy, formal look, tiebacks are a must have. They’re also a nice way to showcase a view. Mount a curved metal bracket or a peg (known as a rosette) on the wall about two-thirds of the way down the window. Match the room and the rod for style and finish. There are simple fabric tiebacks and fancy ropes with tassels for a grander effect. If you want to be more casual, tying a curtain in the center of a window with matching fabric or a wide grosgrain ribbon gives a rustic and handmade look.

Window top treatments.

To give your windows extra flair, cap them with top treatments. They add a stylish touch to the kitchen, living room, dining room and bedroom.

Things to consider:

A valance is a narrow strip of fabric that runs along the top width of a window.

A scarf is a long piece of fabric that you drape over hooks or the rod itself to embellish the window and frame.

Top treatments can pair with blinds or shades for light control and privacy.

Top treatments often require special mounting hardware. Remember to consider hardware costs when planning a window treatment purchase.

Drapery and Hardware.

Drapery Rod – Drapery rods come in both single and double. Use a double rod to hang sheers on the lower rod and drapery panels on the upper rod.

Clips and Rings – Use these if you don’t want the curtains to hang directly on the drapery rod, or if you need added length.

Holdbacks – These allow you to draw curtains away from the window and let light in, or to create a formal look. Mount holdbacks beyond the edge of the window frame. Holdbacks look good in a formal dining room or living room.

Popular drapery hardware finishes include:

  • Oil-rubbed bronze
  • Antique bronze
  • Brushed nickel
  • Matte black
  • White

Finials – The end cap of a drapery rod is the finial. The finial prevents the curtain from sliding off the drapery rod, and also provides an element of style. Popular drapery finials include:

  • Solid ball
  • Filigree ball
  • Marble
  • Mercury glass
  • Wood
  • Leaves

Drapery Panels Kelowna

There are so many options available to achieve the window treatment you want. All you need to do is plan out your options, then come in to see us at Normandeau Window Coverings. We can walk you through fabric choice and options, and we will make sure you are happy with your choice.