Window treatment such as framing and drapery is a great way to add style and personality to a room, but before you head out to the store to buy the necessities, make a note of these curtain do's and don'ts...
DO take your time to think about what color and pattern to use. Curtains take up a large amount of visual space and could easily become the focal point of the room. They will have a huge impact on the look and personality that ties the entire room together.
DON'T pinch on size. It is important for curtains to have equal proportions and they should always be at least double the width of the window - even if they're going to be closed most of the time. The exception being, if you’re hanging curtains just with the intent to frame a window and don't anticipate to shut them, you can round down a to a few inches of the width. It is also crucial for them to be long enough. If you're going for a more elegant look, have them puddle on the floor to create a soft ruffle. For a more clean and sophisticated look they can skim the floor – but they should never be any higher, other wise they will look like they've been cut too short. If you're not getting custom made panels and are choosing to go with store-bought, it's better to buy them too long and then have them hemmed.
DO choose lines panels if you want to control the temperature in the room as well as the amount of light that filters through. A basic cotton lining allows some light to filter through while still protecting the fabric. If you choose a more insulating lining, it will help keep your home warmer in the winter and cooler in the summer. A blackout lining is ideal for bedrooms because it doesn't allow any light to filter through, and it adds a luxury touch.
DON'T forget the hardware. Curtain rods and finials should be cohesive with the fabric. Heavier drapes such as velvets should be on a large and somewhat decorative rods while light silks and sheers can sit on light-weight and more dainty rods. Keeping that in mind, you still want the curtain rods to match the rest of the room. Determine the materials of some of your home accessories within that space and choose a curtain rod to coordinate.
DO consider what fabric is best for what you're looking for. Things to consider: cotton is easy to clean and also very adaptable; velvet is a bit more luxurious but can be a bit heavy for some rooms; sheers are light and elegant but don't offer much in the way of blocking out light; and wool is heavy but strong enough to hold certain details like fringe and tassels.
DON'T forget about finials. It may seem like a small thing, but you would be surprised to see how much of an impact the finials at the end of your curtain rod will provide the perfect finishing touch. Always take recognition that the details in a room are the most important.
DO use tiebacks. These work well if you want to be able to pull curtains to the side for more light and formal look. They’re also a nice way to show off your view. Mount a peg on the wall about two-thirds of the way down the window. The peg should ideally match the finials above. There are simple fabric tiebacks, or ribbon, for a more simple look, and there are also fancy ropes with tassels for a more luxurious effect.
DON'T order your curtains online. It's always a better idea to check out curtains in the store or order swatches so you can touch the fabric and feel its durability. In a best case scenario, find a retailer that will lend you a large sample piece for you to take home and hang in front of your window.