How to Choose Window Treatments in NYC
Decorators often choose curtains and drapes as the element in the room that has the most impact. Choices include off-the-shelf vs. custom-made, lining and length, fabric and color. The number of options can make the task seem overwhelming. This advice is meant to narrow the options for choosing the right window treatments for your home.
Fabric and Color
Choosing the material dictates how well the window treatment functions and how well it holds up over time. The weight of the fabric determines how well it folds when drawn. If the fabric is too heavy, it will not fold crisply when the curtains are drawn.
If it is too light, it will not fall well. It is suggested by designers such as Katie Ridder and Alexa Hampton to hold fabrics up to windows. Make accordion pleats at the top and let them drape. If the fabric begins to flare, it will not fall nicely on a window. The sample you use should be at least two yards in length. Anything smaller may not show the actual drape of the fabric.
Sunlight fades fabrics over time. Avoid bright colors in rooms that get a lot of sun. They fade faster than muted tones. The best choices of fabric are:
• Faux Silk
They hang best. Faux silk is quite durable. In sunny rooms, it will not deteriorate as fast as real silk. Some fabrics aid in keeping out cold. Many hotels choose tapestry, velvet, and suede because they keep heat in and block light.
A thick felt material can be used as an interlining with nearly any fabric. The insulating material is slipped between the face fabric and lining. It helps prolong the life of a window treatment. Without a lining, silk fabric does none of the above. Interlining and linings give curtains fullness and body.
Dry Clean Only or Washer Machine Friendly
Deciding to purchase washer machine friendly or dry clean only window treatments saves money and time in the long run. Consumer Reports says that high-quality curtains can be ruined by attempting to wash them yourself.
A trained professional can evaluate the extent of soil on the window treatment and the fabric used to make it. A cleaning program will be recommended. Professional treatments include:
• The use of HEPA (High-Efficiency Particulate Aire) filter machines to remove particles
• Killing fungus, mold, and other microorganisms that linger in drapery fabric
• Steam cleaning
Cotton and wool fibers can shrink. For lined-drapes, both the drapery fabric and lining must be washable. Before attempting to wash window treatments, check the manufacturer’s label. Open weave is prone to snags.
Decorative embellishments such as trim may be fragile and not launder well. Pleated drapes cannot be washed in a washing machine. Sizing treatments are applied to some fabrics for crispness. Flame-retardant and water-repellant coats are also used at times.
Home laundering can remove the chemical coatings or reduce their effectiveness. Flame-retardant chemicals, released into the environment, are potentially hazardous. For window treatments that you value, it is best to have them professionally cleaned.