Behind the Curtain / by Elena Neirink

The stage curtains are drawn to begin Act One of an opening Broadway play.

A new and improved product is unveiled when the drape is removed.

Pull back the curtain to reveal the “All Powerful Oz” controlling the Emerald City.

Draperies are often used to signal excitement and provide grandeur to an event. They also have the same effect in your home.

They can frame a “picture perfect” view or allow for sweet dreams in the afternoon. Since the first threads of fabric were woven, there has always been a desire to know “what goes on behind the curtain?”

The decorative drapery can be traced back to the ancient times of the Orient. Asian textiles eventually made their way to Europe by way of early trade routes. Fine materials and fabrics were used as commerce. Portraits from the Renaissance often showed decorative draperies combined with colorful glass mosaics from the early Christian cathedrals of Italy.

In the present-day of interior design, no element is more important than the draperies in a room. It has been said that they are one of the three major elements in home decor; the other two being the furniture and the floor covering.

Curtains can be made from an infinite combination of textures, patterns and colors. From casual linens to elegant silks, there are hundreds of fabrics from which to choose.

There are beautiful prints for any style and lush solids in almost every color.

For windows of all shapes and sizes, the curtain can provide the finishing touch. Whether they accentuate a frame or dress a window for privacy, draperies have a way of bringing everything in a room together.

Color, pattern and scale are major elements to be considered when designing window coverings. Not only does the color need to coordinate with the room, but the scale of the pattern also needs to be considered in relation to the design of the drapery and to the size of the room. For example, you would not use a small scale pattern for a large window treatment. This would be considered “busy.”

Many designs are made by combining fabrics. There must be a balance between all fabrics used. Embellishing the curtain with a luxurious tassel fringe, beading or braid is another way to add allure and incorporate multiple textures.

The manufacture of window treatments is also an important element of the overall design. The use of proper threads, lining and materials for a specific fabric type will enable the drapery to hang properly. This is also very important regarding the durability of the treatment.

Lastly, by using a professional drapery installer this will ensure that the treatment looks beautiful. A proper hanging and steaming can make all the difference!

Shopping for draperies can be intimidating, considering all of the possibilities available. Having a knowledgeable designer who combines experience in the crafting of the drapery along with a passion for design will ultimately lead to a stunning success!

In the end, a perfect drape often depends on “what goes on behind the curtain.”

Elena Neirink is an owner/designer with Anna's Interior Design and Anna's Drapery Shop. She's been a design professional for nearly 30 years. Her specialties include manufacturing and design of custom window treatments, bedding and furnishings. She also provides consultations for new construction and remodeling. Elena has extensive experience in both residential and commercial decorating. You can reach her at 248.245.3505 or