Back in the early 1980’s, CNN changed our daily lives and invented the 24 hour news cycle. The cable television industry has continued to evolve – keeping up with our steadily growing appetite for more and better information. Recently, the popularity of HGTV and other “do-it-yourself” cable networks has fundamentally changed the way we, as homeowners, approach the care, maintenance and decoration of our homes. Instead of hiring a handy-man or interior designer, we’re learning how to tackle increasingly more complex tasks ourselves – without the aid of an industry professional.
My colleagues and I in the interior design industry began to notice this fundamental shift in homeowner expectations a few years back. Week after week, “Design On A Dime” showcased homeowners creating stunning interior spaces using simple and inexpensive objects without the aid of an interior designer. Instead of hiring a professional designer, homeowners are more and more frequently opting to decorate their home themselves.
While doing-it-yourself can be rewarding, there are some interior design tasks where the help and advice of a professional can actually save you money in the long-run. Choosing your drapery hardware is one of those tasks.
Know exactly what type of drapery you’re going to hang before you begin looking for your drapery hardware.
Different drapery styles require different drapery rods or curtain rods. A traditional pinch pleat drapery can be installed on a traverse rod or a decorative rod. Swags can be hung on a wood or metal pole or draped between drapery holdbacks or tiebacks. Tab-top draperies are almost always installed on a wood or metal drapery pole. And, ripplefold draperies can only be installed on specially made curtain rods with the help of your drapery maker or workroom.
Decide how often you’re going to open and close your drapery.
If you’re going to frequently open and close your drapes (also called traversing your draperies), then you’ll probably want to choose a traverse style drapery rod. This style of curtain rod has cords that allow you to open or close your drapery easily. Traverse rods can open from the middle, or they can open from one side or the other. The way the drapery opens is called the draw. Split draw traverse rods open from the middle, one-way traverse rods open from either the left or right side.
Traverse drapery rods with cords don’t have to be boring.
Some homeowners gravitate away from traverse rods because they think they have to be plain, white metal rods with cords. But, that isn’t the case. Drapery hardware manufacturers have become experts at constructing functional traverse rods that look exactly like a wood pole, or a decorative metal pole. Many decorative traverse rods have finial choices and fully operational rings. One of the leading makers of decorative traverse rods is Gould NY. Their patented top channel traverse design will fool anyone looking at the rod into thinking it’s a beautiful wood pole with rings, not a traverse rod.
Decorative wood and metal poles are made to look pretty, not to traverse your draperies.
If you’re going to open and close your draperies frequently, a traverse rod is the way to go. Decorative poles with rings aren’t made for frequent use. In fact, you may find that sliding your drapery open or closed across a decorative wood pole isn’t as easy as you thought. That’s because natural imperfections in the wood sometimes cause wood poles to develop a slight bow. Drapery hardware manufacturers are quick to point out that decorative poles are meant to be decorative, not functional.
Think about what’s under and behind your drapery when selecting your drapery hardware.
There are three common terms that drapery hardware professionals use when talking about the spacing of your drapery hardware treatment. Projection, clearance and return. Projection typically refers to how far the decorative hardware elements will “stick out” or project into the room from the wall. The return measurement is usually the distance the drapery must bend back to reach the wall when it’s hanging from your drapery rod. And, clearance refers to the open space behind the drapery and back to the wall. Or, “how much room do I have behind the curtain to hang another rod, window blind or sheer”? You’ll notice that I’ve qualified each term loosely, and for good reason. Depending on who you’re speaking with, either a drapery maker, installer or hardware fabricator; clearance, projection and return can mean different things.
With a little guidance, decorative drapery hardware isn’t as confusing as you may think. All things considered, over ninety percent of all decorative drapery hardware treatments consist of just a few items. The pole, the brackets, the finials and the rings. Once you select your pole diameter, simply match the remaining components to that diameter and you’re designing like a pro!