What needs do drapes fulfill?
Fashionable and functional, drape curtains lend any window an air of sophistication not easily conveyed with shorter curtains and shades. Widely available in a multitude of prints, fabrics, qualities and weights, these long curtains can be quite versatile. Add formality to the dining room with a pair of thick silk puddle drapes; their extra-long length settles on the floor into attractively flowing folds. Try a set of lace drapes in the spare bedroom or pull a set of rich brocade ones across your French doors.
Stylish and elegant, drape curtains are also practical as they fulfill the three basic purposes of window coverings:
- They control the lighting. Hanging long on either side of the window, drapes are easily maneuvered to let in more or less sunlight depending on your preference and the time of day. Drape curtains in gauzy fabrics such as light cotton or muslin allow light to filter through while heavier weaves, wools and velvets block it out.
- Drapes give privacy. If your blinds or shade don't provide the necessary amount of privacy, a set of drape curtains easily adds extra coverage. Pull the drapes closed at night to prevent passer-by's from peeking in. Not only do drapes help provide privacy, but they also insulate against drafty windows and doors; simply draw a set of heavy drapes across the problem area to stop cold air coming in.
- They are a stylish accessory. Not only do they control light and increase privacy, but drapes are popular because they provide instant atmosphere. Hanging up a set not only camouflages bare windows but it can add a cozy, 'homey' feeling as well as inject some color into a room. Choose fabrics to match your decorating scheme or explore different materials such as a tightly woven reed drape in place of a more traditional fabric.
When choosing your drape curtains, keep in mind that they will require regular cleaning; most people simply put up their drapes and forget about them for years. Since drapes encompass a large amount of fabric, it is easy for them to absorb odors and dust from the air. Not only do they trap cooking grease and cigarette smoke, but pet hair, dander and other allergens will also deposit themselves onto your drapes, aggravating allergies and breathing problems if left untouched.
Drapery cleaning can be as simple as taking them down once a year and running them through the washing machine or dropping them at the dry cleaners. But be careful before depositing them in the washing machine; read all labels and adhere to specific directions and/or fabric guidelines. If taking your drapes down and washing them is not feasible, there are a number of drapery cleaning companies that will clean your drape curtains in or out of your house. Consult your local directory or Yellow Pages for companies in your neighborhood.