Everhem’s Cofounder Says the Best Curtains Are a Supporting Act, Not the Headliner
Updated Oct 19, 2021 11:44 AM
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Sure, curtains may not be at the tippy-top of your must-have list when it comes to decor choices. But they’re the ultimate finishing touch in any space—just ask interior designer Nicole Salceda of Eye for Pretty, who often relies on this element to add a lovely layer of texture, warmth, or softness. So don’t let them fall by the wayside of your design plans, she advises, adding, “They are what truly brings your home together and gives it that polished finish.” Though most designers will custom-order drapes and curtains for their clients—as evidenced by a few of our top choices, below—we made sure to find a few ready-made styles, too, so you won’t have to wait to upgrade your window treatments.
- The boho beauty: Anthropologie Embroidered Kacie Curtain
- The only one like it: Everhem Custom Drapery
- The woven wonder: The Shade Store Designer Collection
- The budget-friendly pattern: Elrene Home Fashions Buffalo-Check Curtain
- The colorful cutie: Chloe Patchwork Gauze Curtain
- The tasseled one: Velvet Curtain Panel by Opalhouse
The Boho Beauty: Anthropologie Embroidered Kacie Curtain
Why we chose it: Jewel tones and pastels come together as floral embellishments on this eclectic choice.
“I love Anthropologie drapes for my noncustom clients who are looking for a boho, modern vibe,” shares Shaolin Low of Studio Shaolin. “I just installed these in my home office and I’m in love.” We can see why. The large curtain loops make it easy to find a rod to hang them on (we’re thinking brass or rattan), but it’s the lovely embroidered details that really caught our eye. Delicate florals in hues of red, pink, green, and purple—accented by amber stitched embellishments—contrast sweetly against the navy blue denimlike base. This curtain comes in a variety of sizes, from 63-by-50 inches and 84-by-50 inches to 96-by-50 inches and 108-by-50 inches.
[Length: 84 inches | Material: Cotton | Machine washable: No ]
The Only One Like It: Everhem Custom Drapery
Why we chose it: A simplified yet fully customizable experience.
With Everhem, you can completely customize your drapery situation just as designers do. That means everything, including the fabric (linen, linen blends, and sheers), the colors, the pleat style (box, tailored, or pinched), whether or not you want it lined, and even the hardware. Just take a look at the neutral-cool, wispy look Grace Lee-Lim sourced for a large living room situation, and our own associate style editor Julia Stevens’s Brooklyn apartment, as examples. “We don’t really offer any loud colors or vibrant patterns in our collection,” says Everhem cofounder Haley Weidenbaum. “All our fabrics, products, and other specifications have been curated for their versatility, durability, and timelessness.” In other words, by going with Everhem and having your measurements at the ready, it’s nearly impossible to make a mistake. This is the sort of brand you want to tap if you’re taking a subtler approach—exactly what Everhem was designed to do.
[Length: Customizable | Material: Multiple | Machine washable: No ]
The Woven Wonder: The Shade Store Designer Collection
Why we chose it: A reliable brand that’s a go-to for many designers.
What’s not to love about The Shade Store? There’s something for everyone. Just peep the warm, woven beauties that Erin Fetherston selected for actress Odette Annable’s Austin home, or the playful marbled zebra print (with blue tasseled ends!) by Robert and Cortney Novogratz in Caitlin Murray’s maximalist nursery. If you’re somewhere in between loud and demure, you’ll be happy to hear that The Shade Store’s latest collaboration with designer Martyn Lawrence Bullard finds middle ground. The line offers six exclusive patterns inspired by his travels to Paris, Morocco, and Tangier, and you can choose between a bright palm print (which Bullard installed in his own dining room in Los Angeles), a bold Sahara stripe, or chinoiserie-like branches. We particularly adore the textural, woven look of Tangier Weave in Desert, which channels the artisans of the area in a fabric that features a basket weave–like design. And no matter your print or pattern preference (or lack thereof), Salceda notes that you can never go wrong with the company’s tailored pleat.
[Length: Customizable | Material: Multiple | Machine washable: No ]
The Budget-Friendly Pattern: Elrene Home Fashions Buffalo-Check Curtain
Why we chose it: A crowd-pleasing pattern at an affordable price point.
Can you ever really go wrong with gingham? For less than $30, bring home this iconic buffalo check in a lovely linen color, which will add a subtle farmhouse touch to any room. The fabric, a blend of polyester and linen, allows the curtains to be safely thrown in the wash without fear of color bleed or shrinkage. Past purchasers prefer this piece for its value, thick fabric (with a nearly blackout effect), and soft feel. Just be sure to double-check how many panels you’ll need to order based on your window size.
[Length: 84 inches | Material: Polyester and linen | Machine washable: Yes ]
The Chromatic Cutie: Chloe Patchwork Gauze Curtain
Why we chose it: Bask in the warm glow of this orangey—yet sheer!—patchwork curtain.
With this pick, we’re channeling our inner Frances Merrill, the queen of colorful curtains and founder of Los Angeles–based Reath Design. Though Merrill’s treatments are clearly customized, you can still steal the look by selecting a sheer fabric—like Urban Outfitters’s Chloe Patchwork number in honey—in a warm tone to add a lovely glow to any room. Made from a combination of cotton in two different woven patterns, this gauzy, citrus-hued option is guaranteed to deliver the dappled light of your dreams. Just keep in mind that these curtains are incredibly see-through, which is sort of the point, so that airy aesthetic should be what you’re going for (i.e., they aren’t for those with privacy concerns).
[Length: 84 inches | Material: Cotton | Machine washable: Yes ]
The Tasseled One: Velvet Curtain Panel by Opalhouse
Why we chose it: Another affordable darling that pairs velvet and decorative tassels.
“The power of a curtain panel is magical and will instantaneously make your room feel homey,” Arlyn Hernandez, Emily Henderson’s former editorial director, has told Domino. (She’s now in charge of brand marketing for Apt2B.) Target is one of her favorite places for inexpensive curtains. One of her top tricks to elevate your drapes—sewing on pom-poms or tassels—isn’t even needed with this option from Opalhouse, which already has the fun, eclectic detail integrated. With a nearly 5-star rating on Target.com, these velvety curtains in a romantic blush pink are accentuated with a contrastingly bright tasseled edge. They can be easily hung thanks to the rod pocket style, which accommodates your choice up to 3 inches in diameter.
[Length: 95 inches | Material: Velvet | Machine washable: No ]
Our Shopping Checklist
Curtains vs. drapes: When it comes to window treatments, there are an overwhelming amount of options, from shades and blinds to shutters. To figure out what’s best for you, Weidenbaum says it’s all about the size of your window: “If you’re dealing with large sliders or very tall windows that extend close to the floor or ceiling, drapery tends to make the most sense.” On the other hand, she adds, if they’re higher off the ground (even if they are wide) and especially if furniture will be in front of them, shades do best.
And although used interchangeably, there’s actually a key difference between curtains and drapes—the fabric. Drapery is heavier and opaque, thanks to an inner lining that blocks outside light. It’s the better choice, of course, if privacy is a top concern. But if you’re purely looking to add more of a decorative element, go with a curtain.
Color and fabric: Interior designer McCall Dulkys says that subdued colors should blend into the background and complement the surrounding decor, whereas bolder options and patterns will draw the eye, so go all in. “Do not be afraid of color,” stresses Low, who loves to add in a patterned or embroidered panel. The type of fabric can also elevate the impact. Many designers tend to opt for natural materials like linen, which Dulkys describes as providing that polished finish without feeling too heavy. Salceda agrees. “Linen is our favorite fabric when it comes to drapery panels because it hangs beautifully and adds an organic element to any room,” she says.
Pleats and styles: The most popular pleat styles—how the fabric of your curtain folds and hangs—can be narrowed down to a few: box, pinched, grommet, and pocket. Box pleats, much like the name suggests, fold neatly and evenly to give your curtains a structured look. The pinch, which is also referred to as the French pleat, is a traditional look wherein the curtain folds look as if they have been pinched at the top, creating two to three flutes. The grommet, created by ringed holes at the top, is a style where the rod is more visible (so if you want to show it off, this might be the fold for you). Rod-pocket panels, on the other hand, are the easiest to hang. Simply push the rod through the top and you’ll get a bunched, ruffled effect.
Accessories: You can’t hang a curtain without hardware! The most important piece you need to secure everything is a curtain rod. They come in every style under the sun, so just make sure whatever you choose can hold your curtain up. For instance, a heavier drape will require a stronger rod made of metal or iron. Length is also crucial here. According to the designers, you’ll want your rod to extend past your window frame by at least 3 inches (this should help create an optical illusion of your room feeling bigger and your drapes fuller). Other additional touches include tiebacks, which will gather the material and keep curtains open.
Q: What is the best length or width for curtains?
While largely up to interpretation and personal preference, the designers we spoke to generally prefer curtains to be double the width of the window and hung just below the ceiling. As far as length goes, Salceda describes the ideal look as just “kissing” the ground. “This is often tough to accomplish, because you need exact measurements,” she explains. “You will also need to take into account the curtain hardware and rods.” In most cases, Hernandez suggests a 96-inch curtain (or longer): “Get those rods higher up to make your room seem grander than it is—that is my number-one trick in any place I decorate: bigger, taller, wider curtains.”
But to even order a few of the options on our list, numbers are necessary. So if you’re looking for a more exact answer, Weidenbaum has it. “For drapery, we recommend measuring the width of the window you wish to cover from the outside edge of the trim,” she says. “Then we suggest adding ‘stack’, or additional width to both sides (as long as you have the wall space for it).” Depending on window width, she typically recommends between 8 inches and 16 inches per side. “You can even choose different stack widths per side if the situation calls for it,” she adds. “Your window width plus your two stack measurements will make up your area to cover.”
Q: How should I hang my curtains?
A properly hung curtain, notes Dulkys, can trick the eye into thinking your ceiling is far taller than it is. Her tip is to situate the drapery so that it is at least 6 inches longer on top and bottom, elongating the feel of your windows in one fell swoop. “I like to hang drapes as close to the ceiling as possible, or at least in the midpoint between the top of the window frame and the ceiling,” she adds.
Then think about the purpose your curtains are serving, points out Weidenbaum. “If your windows have a lot of depth and you’re not primarily concerned with completely blacking out the room during broad daylight, then inside mounting is excellent,” she suggests. “If you are looking to black out a room, outside mounting is preferable so that you can mitigate light gaps along the sides of the window.” Although she does note, too, that if your window doesn’t have any casement depth, an outside mount is really the only way to go.
Q: How often should I wash my curtains?
Like other bits and bobs around your home, curtains are a magnet for dust, even if you can’t see it as clearly as you can on the TV. And, as a fabric, curtains can act as a sponge for all sorts of things you don’t want hanging around, whether it’s dust mites (cringe) or odors from last night’s dinner (or attempts at cooking and subsequent burnt meals). Consider cleaning your curtains at least every six months—that’s really just once or twice a year!—but be sure to give the label a quick scan to see if it’s a dry-clean-only situation or if they’ll do fine in the wash.
The Last Word
Curtains and drapes shouldn’t be an afterthought. They conceal unsightly window frames, draw the eye up in tiny rooms, and add a small dose of luxury all in one (and it’s one of the best decor decision you can make in a rental apartment). Whether you’re trying to find the best place to buy curtains for your home, always install your rod above and beyond the width of your windows.
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