Drapes and Rods: Height, Length, Puddling and Panache!
There are always a lot of questions when it comes to drapes. How high, how wide, what style, etc…and hopefully this post will explain some of the most common questions about draperies (or ‘drapes’ for those of us that aren’t snobby – wink wink).
Question #1 How high should drapes be off of the floor?
Firstly, let’s just clear a few things up.
1. If you have a baseboard heater and you want to hang your drapes above the baseboard heater – think again. This is a well-intentioned, but very awkward look. You are better off sticking with blinds or roman shades.
2. Your drapes should not be any higher than 1″ off of the floor. And while shorty drapes (63″) can look good in a kids room and in the odd cottage or vintage home, generally they are not cool. Says me. And I am so obviously the epitome of cool (wink wink).
So, that being said you have 2 choices:
Option 1: Drapes hanging 1/4 – 1/2″ from the floor
This works great for drapes that are being opened and closed a lot. They hang nicely without any muss or fuss and are still easy to vacuum up to.
Option 2: The Puddle – blame the dog!
Just joking. Anyways.
Puddling is high-maintenance and really only works well for drapes that are ‘dummy-panels’ – meaning that they are just for show and aren’t opened/closed very often.
Puddling is often used by those of us (no names mentioned….me) who can’t sew. I’ve done this in my bedroom and I open and close my drapes every day and it’s a pain…in…the…butt.
There are a few different types of puddling
1-2″ Puddle – This can look like you are terrible at measuring and hung the drapes too low. Avoid this…please
3-5″ Puddle – Definitely the most popular puddle right now. Looks decorative without looking messy
6-10″ Puddle – This is definitely the most high-maintenance puddle and really needs to be ‘fluffed-up’ and laid out in order to get the full effect. Super chi-chi and frou-frou and all of those fancy words that don’t apply to most of us.
Question #2 How high should my rod be hung on the wall?
Often this is dictated by the length of your drapes, however, hopefully, you can sew…
If you have 84″ drapes you are likely limited to hanging your rod relatively level with the top of your window trim. 84″ drapes don’t usually allow for much more.
Option 1: 1/3 – 1/2 Up the Wall
If you have 96″ drapes you have a lot of flexibility. In most applications, hanging the rod approx. 1/3 – 1/2 way between the top of your window trim and your ceiling line (or the bottom of your crown moulding) is a great look.
Option 2: Close to the Ceiling Line
Drapes can also be hung closer to the ceiling line, depending on the height of the ceiling. If you are left with more than 12″ of wall space between the top of your window trim and the rod it can look awkward and will often need to be fixed with something like bamboo blinds.
Personally, unless it’s done right I think it looks terribly awkward. If there’s a gap of 12″ or more between the top of the blind and the rod, there’s going to be a huge visual disconnect between the 2. the above photos really shows the max in my books.
What type of top do I want on my drapery panels?
When it comes to the style of drape you choose it comes down to function and THEN fashion. If you open and close your drapes every day you’ll want to pay close attention to how easily you can do that and how good it looks when it’s done.
Usually, the least popular choice, unless you are going to use rings/clips as well.
It can be a bit fussy and works in very few applications as the pocket has to be tight enough to hug the rod when it’s pulled open so that it pleats/folds consistently YET if it’s too tight it’s hard to push along the rod. But if you can nail it as shown in the above rooms, it’s a soft, unobtrusive look.
The most popular choice. Grommets are easy to slide back and forth and fold nicely with no muss or fuss. A bit casual for more formal spaces, but great for the ‘average’ room.
These slide open and closed relatively easy and are a good alternative if you don’t like metal grommets or the fussier look of pleats.
Traditional Tab Tops
They are terrible, don’t buy them. Enough said.
No wait, not enough said. Hidden tabs are okay, but tab tops are just not. With hidden tabs, you can get a nicely draped look without farting around, while traditional tab tops are rarely properly spaces and easily get criss-crossed (not to be confused with the boy band of the early 90’s).
Now, of course, there’s always a million questions when it comes to drapes, however, hopefully, these ones will cover the basics and get you off to a good start!