Window Curtains & Drapes

The debate goes on in every household: bare windows or drapes? Living with all bare windows might not be practical if you have neighbors or want to sleep soundly in a dark room. That’s why curtains and drapes come in all different opacities to let as much or as little light in when you need it, even in your outdoor rooms. At west elm, we have an abundance of elegant classic and modern window coverings that give you just the coverage you need, plus smart looking hardware to go along with your decor. We’ll give you tips on how and where to use various types of curtains and drapes.

How to Care for Linen Curtains

Linen curtains woven from 100 percent fine Belgian flax, bring a luxurious, dreamy, yet lived in look to a room. Belgian linen curtains come in sheer, semi-sheer and even metallic styles. Drapes that combine linen and velvet have an Old World opulence to them and require a few tips when it comes to care. It’s suggested that Belgian linen curtains, especially when paired with velvet, should be dry cleaned only to retain the texture and eliminate wrinkling, though some wrinkling is normal and welcome for that comfortably soft and airy look.

How to Block Light with Drapes

Thick, plush velvet curtains not only insulate drafty windows, they also block light and noise. Adding a blackout liner will double the effectiveness of velvet drapes. Blackout curtains are designed to block out all light, reduce noise and insulate from drafts. Both light-blocking drapes are ideal for kids’ rooms and light sleepers that are continually interrupted by outdoor light and noise sources. Dense blackout curtains also protect furniture from fading in a room where there’s direct sunlight. Though it’s ideal to have drapes that block light hang to the floor, panels come in various lengths to suit your needs.

When to Use Sheer Curtains

There’s nothing more inviting than seeing a sheer curtain panel gently wafting in the breeze of an open window. When privacy is not an issue or you have a dark room that needs some brightening up, hang sheer curtains to bring in as much soft and diffused natural light as possible. Or look for appropriate hardware, such as double curtain rods, that have the ability to securely layer sheers under heavier drapery for a more formal look. Sheer curtains also come in colors and with subtle flourishes and patterns that filter the light in a distinctive way. Look for sheers in painted ombre tones, enhanced with candlewick dots for a classic look or abstract and geometric patterns for a modern edge.

How to Use Outdoor Curtains

Creating outdoor rooms is easier when you hang durable, all-weather outdoor curtains from overhead structures. Not only do they offer privacy, they protect you from the sun’s harsh rays. Use the appropriate length and hang from the roof of a porch down to the floor, for example. Hang drapes from a second-floor deck down to the ground floor for extra privacy. Attach drapery panels from the rafters of a pergola or the sides of a gazebo to create a more private outdoor nook. Always hang outdoor drapes on rods specifically made for outdoor use and check to make certain the rod can hold the weight of the curtains you choose. Or, get creative and hang panels from a tree branch for a spot of shade in the garden.

Indoors or out, your home can look more finished and polished with curtains and draperies you love. Make sure you measure for the appropriate number of panels you need at the lengths that look best and create the look you’re excited to achieve.

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