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Designing Dilemma November 2004

Doing Sheer Window Treatments Right

Dear Designing Solutions: I have always wanted to ask if I am doing a decorating "NO NO" by hanging sheers only. I really like them....but I have received comments from a few people who think my sheer curtains don’t look good alone. Are they right? JoJo

Dear JoJo: When it comes to home decor, there's no right or wrong. The style of your home is as individual as you are and the only people you need worry about pleasing are your own family.

Sheer window treatments have been around for a long time and their popularity is on the rise. Go to any home furnishings store or look through any magazine and you'll see lots of sheer window coverings in all colors and styles, from balloon shades to horizontal blinds to verticals- all in sheer fabrics. So you're right in style with the times. The key to making your sheer draperies work is to make sure they have enough fullness for the size of the window. Measure the width of your window. The width of the sheer panels should be three times as much as the width of your window. While this might seem like a lot of fullness for other fabrics, it's perfect for sheers. They look better when full and gathered and they work better too, providing a bit more privacy while still leaving an unobstructed view outside. Perhaps your friends are commenting more on the fullness of your sheers rather than on their style.

How can you fix your window treatment without starting from scratch? Simple. If the sheer panels you bought are still available, buy more of them and add them to your decorative rod. You'll have to work a little to get them to gather and fall as if all the panels are one, but in the end, you'll love how they look and they’ll work even better.

Pet Friendly Upholstery

Dear Designing Solutions: I am going to buy a couch and can't decide if I should go with fabric welting as trim or a cord trim. I want it to be long-lasting and have pets (cat and dog). I also use the couch for extra guests to stay because I'm short on space. Do you have a recommendation on the type welting that would look great and last a long time? Jean

Dear Jean: A fabric welt, either in the same fabric as the body of the sofa or in a contrasting color, would be the longest-wearing welt choice. Braided trim is secured with a fabric "lip" sewn into the seam, so it'll hold, but the braided cord itself is not as inherently strong as a solid, fabric-wrapped welt. The cord can unravel or become damaged from pet nails. If you choose a contrasting fabric for the welt, choose a darker- not lighter- color, as the welting is often the first part of a cushion to show wear and discoloration.

There's another option as well. You can go with no welt. It gives a tailored, streamlined look to upholstery and is a very popular style for seating. You'll avoid your welt problem altogether!

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