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Doorway Drapes

A simple flounce of fabric in a doorway, a portiere, distinguishes a room.

In the days before central heat and air, heavy portieres were used to ward off the drafts between rooms. Today, these draperies in the doorway serve decorative purposes. Portieres can add softness, color, and pattern to a room. Doorway drapes also make an eye-catching welcome into public rooms, and they can conceal the way to private rooms.

Sewing and installing a portiere is as easy as a making a simple curtain panel. You can use just one fabric and finish the raw edges with iron-on hem tape or by sewing. For added opulence, use a different fabric on each side; sew the edges of the two fabrics -- right sides together leaving an opening, turn, press, and sew the opening closed. The panel's header area depends on how you will hang it. You can hang a portiere from a regular curtain rod on one side of a doorway, or shirr it over a tension rod hung within the door frame. Be sure to install some kind of tie-back, so you can easily walk past the fabric.

All the Comforts of Home

This portiere makes a soft frame for an enchanting patio garden. The fabric echoes a curtain panel of the same design hung at the opposite end of the small room. Cleverly, the panel is hung without a curtain rod because the header contains grommets that rest upon decorative upholstery tacks. The gold fleur-de-lis pattern is a stamp.

Rewriting the Rules

Although the doorway to the kitchen is narrow, the portiere is appropriate because, when closed, it can hide a messy kitchen from guests. The off-white fabric matches the roman shades but is embellished with green banding -- a color that is repeated in the kitchen. An inexpensive tension rod holds the drape in place.


Many interior passageways in new homes lack molding and the character it offers. A portiere provides a solution. Here, an ethereal sheer in the same color as the wall is hung on one side of a passageway to create a distinctive frame. Sheer fabric adds softness without blocking light.

Vividly Velvet

Old-fashioned, velvet portieres still make a statement, especially when hung in double layers. This decoration at a home's entrance lets you know there's a treat in store in the rooms beyond. The coordinated velvets, one solid and one in a damask pattern, are tied back with matching tassels. Each panel is hung on a 1-inch tension rod, which is disguised with a piece of decorative molding, painted and nailed in place with finishing nails.


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