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Decorating Lessons: Measuring for Window Treatments

All you need to know when measuring for blinds and drapes.

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Window treatments can be a crowning touch to any room, especially a window wrapped space like a sun room. All it takes is some smart measuring and a well thought out plan. I'm Lacey Howard, editor of Decorating Magazine, and today I'm going to show you how to make your window treatments sparkle. The first step of dressing your windows is choosing a style of blinds or shades. Natural shades like these offer a wonderful texture, and a beautiful look when the light comes through. If privacy is a must, line your natural shades. No matter the style of blind or shade you choose, the next step is measuring for either inside or outside mount. A good rule of thumb is to use outside mount to make small windows appear larger, or to cover unattractive woodwork. For outside mount, measure the window's width from just outside the casings. Because outside mount shades hang above the molding, you can determine at what height on the wall to mount the shades. If you're lucky enough to have gorgeous moldings like these, you'll want to let their historic character shine, so go for inside mount. Measure the width of the window from the inside edges of the trim. You'll butt the top of the shade to the top of the window frame so that the shade fits just inside the window's moldings. Be certain to measure each window individually. You'll be surprised how much they differ. Next, frame your views with draperies. Here, we chose dramatic panels to frame each bank of glass. When hanging drapery panels, there is no hard and fast rule about high on the wall to hang them. For most spaces, drapery panels should skim the floor. Save puddling for formal rooms and sumptuous lightweight fabrics such as silk. No matter the formality of your room, hang drapery hardware at any level between the top of the window molding and the ceiling. The higher on the wall you hang the panels, the more visual impact they'll have, and the taller your ceiling will seem. Rod pocket fashion such as these have a shorter finished length than tab top or fabrics that require drapery clips like these. Both tabs and clips add length to the hanging panels. Like any type of home accessory, hardware can range from off the rack at a big buck store to custom made. One designer tip, be certain your hardware has telescoping rods. With this feature, hardware can easily change rooms or configurations when needed. Another hint is when you're faced with corner windows in a room like this one. Avoid a traffic jam of finials and brackets in the corners. Use an elbow connector piece to join the links of drapery rod and ensure a smooth transition. With smart measuring and thoughtful placement, your drapes and shades become the crown jewel of every room of your home. For Decorating Magazine, I'm Lacey Howard.