Draperies are back. In the '80s, opulent swagged draperies loaded with fringe and tassels and topped with elaborate valances made some windows seem like perpetual debutantes. As the '90s progressed, there was a move away from excess. Minimalist decorating schemes led to a desire for plantation shutters, bamboo blinds, Roman blinds and tab-topped panels in cotton or velvet. The latter, simple and affordable, became ubiquitous.
This is what today's windows are wearing:
1 Exquisite gossamer sheers - worlds away from the familiar frilly or harsh-textured polyester ones – now have subtle iridescence and are interwoven with unexpected materials, or have embossed or printed patterns.
2 Velvet is a continuing trend. Designer Scott Yetman feels that velvet is the best material for drapery. "In art class, you're often given a folded piece of velvet to draw, because of the way it catches the light," he says.
3 Sheers in dramatic colours like cocoa and smoke are a trend, as is combining two tones of sheers.
4 Patti Watanabe of The Work Room in Toronto notes that longer, looser pleats (five to six inches long) are now popular – they look less prim and proper than shorter, tighter ones. Double, rather than triple, pleats are used for the same reason.
5 Draperies with grommets, a simple treatment, are a continuing trend.
6 Extra-long fabric puddled on the floor has been replaced with floor-length draperies. But Scott Yetman likes drapery fabric to puddle just a little – a few inches – the way that well-tailored trousers "break" over a shoe.
7 Fun patterns that exhibit a sense of whimsy are becoming more popular. Valentina Manzo of Kravet/Lee Jofa Showroom in Toronto says that zebra stripes and giraffe spots are emerging patterns. Kravet also offers a sheer with single feathers stitched in at random intervals – a look that's whimsical but also modern, even Zenlike.
8 Rather than lavishing fabric on swags and valances, designers have turned their attention to creative hardware. Rods, finials and tie-backs in wood, metal, glass or ceramic are treated almost like jewelry.