The interior designers at JASON BALL interiors have been having some serious fun working with drapery in recent months. Drapery is one of those design elements that completes a space. The color, texture, scale and shape all become important finishing details to tie an entire design together. Done correctly, a space immediately becomes more comfortable and elegant. Historically, drapery has been mostly used to reduce the impact of the outside elements on the inside environment. In tropical climates, curtains were used to keep dust and insects out of the home. Native Americans used animal skins as curtain flaps to keep inclement weather out of the tents. In Northern European castles, tapestries and heavy cloth curtains were also used to keep heat in and soften the "hardness" of the castle (since they were made out of stone). It wasn't until the Renaissance period that homes began to look much as they do today with glass windows. Textile manufacturing in the 1800s meant that fabric could be mass produced and the idea of drapery become commonplace. Today we have a broad range of fabrics and hanging hardware at our disposal, allowing interior designers and home owners to come up with distinctly different looks with just simple panels of fabric.

At JBi, drapery is given as much consideration, as a design element, as any other piece in the room. The interplay between the textiles used on furniture and window treatments, and other surfaces is important to pulling together a comprehensive design. In some spaces, depending on need, drapery might only be decorative. In other cases, aesthetics and function are given equal weight. With so many design styles available today, we have pulled examples of some of our favorite looks for this post. You'll notice there are no really ornate and frou-frou looks here - that just wouldn't be the JBi way. Here are some inspirations we use everyday.

Simple, light-filtering. If this were my view, I wouldn't want to block it too much either. Simple sheer, ripple fold drapery is used for privacy and light filtering. Notice the small band of sateen on the bottom edge ~ adds a certain formality to these simple forms.

Fixed panels to soften hard lines. Sometimes drapery are just decorative. In this case, panels are used to soften the architectural lines of the windows. Fixed panels are a great way to bring in pattern and color, without overwhelming a space.

Layer for a richer look. Layering drapery and other window treatments adds richness to a space. Here a heavily patterned Roman shade rests behind simple pleated panels beautifully framing the expansive window.

Drapery can be used to create a "wall." I could be wrong (but doubt I am), the drapery panels behind the bed give the perception that the bed is against a wall. This trick can be useful if you need to furniture to be arranged in a certain way and the structure of the room just doesn't allow it.

Another example of how to use drapery as a furniture backdrop, Here, a large scale gate-work pattern is used on this simple panels to provide color and texture behind two chairs. Without the drapery, the chair might get visually lost against the wall color or outside view.


So, what does your drapery do for your overall design?


About JASON BALL interiors. We are a team of interior designers based in Portland, Oregon serving residential clients throughout Oregon and Washington and beyond. To see examples of our design work, visit the Portfolio page. For an evaluation of your upcoming projects, contact Jason Ball at (503) 267-2352 or via e-mail at jason@jasonballinteriors.com. We look forward to being your interior design team.