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Decorating my PlaceYellow

Should my Living Room Drapes Puddle? Yay or Nay

By 07/16/2013August 15th, 2018169 Comments

Should my Living Room Drapes Puddle? Yay or Nay

Okay so I desperately need drapery in my living room. I can’t believe we’ve lived here over one year and still don’t have drapery anywhere in the house.

At first I thought I’d just wait and install everything at the same time but that has caused all the windows to remain unhappily uncovered.

The biggest reason my living room is an emergency is because the sun is bleaching out my sunflower yellow sofa.

Should I get Pooling Drapes? Yay or Nay

I have been in love with that first image (above) for a long time, when I showed Terreeia the picture, she said she’s not a fan of puddling drapes. She knows I care way more than she does though, so she’ll let me do it if that’s what I think will look the best.

Should the Drapes Puddle in my Living Room? Yay or Nay

So now I’m waffling. What do you think my lovelies?

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Don’t forget to weigh in on the puddling drapery. Yay or nay?

Related posts:

Maria’s New Laundry Room: Before & After

The Shocking Truth About your Ceilings

Are Sunken Living Rooms 70’s? Yay or Nay (Before photo of my living room)


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  • Brooke says:

    I thought no puddle until I saw your inspiration photo which is lovely. I am not sure that your house would have that seem feel which I call ballroom. So, I vote no puddle but what is also swaying my vote is ease of vacuuming! Why not hang the fabric and tape it up and let it down, try it out before you hem? xo

    • Gail Findley says:

      I’m not sure about Canada, but in Las Vegas, we are pretty much done with puddling except in extremely formal rooms. Most of the time if you see them here it is because it was done a few years ago. The photo you show is beautiful and reminds me how nice they can look in certain instances.
      The reason most of us in the design community don’t use them here anymore, is because it is difficult to keep them looking right as they are difficult to clean around. Pretty much of a nuisance to keep adjusting the folds. They also hold a lot of dust and the puddles do get dirty over time.

  • As a professional window treatment installer, I personally like the look of puddled draperies if they are dressed out properly although my definition of dressed out may differ from the next person.

    But I don’t recommend puddled draperies unless they can be maintained. If the cleaning lady moves them and they can’t be re-dressed without calling the designer, workroom, or installer to come out, I would stay away.

    Just my two cents worth.

    James Holloway, Owner
    South East Installation Solutions
    “No job too small, no window too tall.”

    • Carol in FLA says:

      When in doubt consult with one of America’s great decorators-Billy Baldwin. He would ask-“is it appropriate to the space?” I would say no in this case. It’s a beautiful treatment that causes a lot of stir, usually in a large decorator showhouse and in a very formal and traditional setting.
      I too love it. They need a lot of floor space to do them honor. It doesn’t seem that the space available and the atmosphere already going on is the proper setting for billowy taffeta puddleling drapery .It doesn’t seem that your space is large enough to handle this treatment. Maybe in your next home! Good luck with whatever you decide on….

  • Kelly t says:

    I agree withTerreeia. I am old school with this one as I feel it looks as if someone gave you drapery or you bought it at a yard sale and were just too lazy to hem them! This is one new style that I can not wrap my head around. It just looks messy!
    Love your place by the way and have enjoyed watching your Reno unfold!

  • M Gans says:

    Your room has a very crisp look to it so I would vote Nay.

  • Rene says:

    No puddling! I’m sorry but the bottoms get filthy and worn out! Puddling is for photo shoots and fantasy land! The best part is when someone steps on them and rips them….or slips on them. Small spaces especially should not! Shutters preferred. If that won’t work go for drapes that don’t puddle. Drawing them back and forth….drag!

  • Jan says:

    I agree with Brooke…no puddle. I also noted that your heat register is under that dining room window which will kick the puddle away from wall even more.

    I love the clean lines of your house, I’d like clean lines in the drapery too. Of course, I’m the one with minimal window coverings in my California view home, lol.

  • Carol Raley says:

    Maria, compromise and go for the “just-breaking” length that touches the floor and “breaks” but doesn’t go into a full puddle. More luxurious than standard length, but neater looking than puddled. Lovely room!

  • Mary says:

    It will depend on the fabric selected and whether you’d like a dressy or casual look. Silk billows and looks more formal.

    • Hi Maria:

      I agree with Mary. If you are using silk fabric which would be lovely (Maria Hoefer), then I would have the draperies puddle on the floor.
      But, is that a baseboard heater below the window?

      I love your blog!

  • Design & Decor says:

    Hi Maria,
    I hope you are enjoying your summer..
    I would like to give you my two cents on the drapery issue. I do love the style of drapes you posted in the first picture however, in my opinion I feel they are too heavy looking for your beautiful simple space.
    I also worry about your electric baseboard heating??looks electric to me however I could be wrong..
    I think you should choose something simple and elegant for your windows in keeping with the rest of your space..
    FYI I have lived in my new home for 2 years and I still do not have any draperies chosen..I do have blinds to keep out the blaring sun we have here in the Okanagan..
    I am still looking and cannot make a decision on colour.
    p.s. your home is beautiful, I have enjoyed reading all of your posts..

    • Abgurl says:

      Go for the puddled look. It is elegant and classic. You have no children or pets and given the position of where the windows are situated, unless you have guests who like to climb through or stand up against your windows there is no reason someone should step on them and as to dust under them, it is a simple matter of picking the bottoms up when vaccuming ( given your neck of the woods has humidity in the air unlike the dust bowl of Alberta, there is likely to be very little if any dust) and finally , growing up on Van Isle- it is doubtful to me that you have electric baseboard heaters as mentioned- as the norm is hotwater heating baseboards .Since you love the look and this is your home, do what makes you feel good and smile when you look at your windows!

  • I’m thinking they won’t work in the living /dining rooms with the electric baseboards, but what about having the Puddled draperies in your bedroom?
    They do look absolutely gorgeous though.

    My thought would be roll up solar shades for the practical part, then stationary drapery panels to soften the look. Would be gorgeous!

  • Tawna Allred says:

    Just a teeny-tiny break :).

  • Leigh says:

    Nay. Puddled drapes are too formal; consider white drapes that just break a little. (I also vote for putting at least the front legs of your sofa on the carpet)

  • CJ says:

    I agree with Tawna. A small break at bottom.
    Love your house. So beautiful.

  • Judy says:

    I agree with everything Rene said….. Couldn’t have said it better myself.

  • Martha Hughes says:

    I say no to the puddling. You house seems very clean and more modern. I equate puddling drapes with a formal and a more antique type style, plus taller ceilings. I could be really wrong there, that’s just my opinion. Plus having had puddled drapes quite a while ago, I know it is a chore to clean under them and repuddle them when you vacuum. It’s not worth the headache in my opinion.

  • Susan says:

    I vote nay as well. You have a “clean” modern comfortable aesthetic which calls for “clean” drapery. I have puddled drapery in my home in a room or two, but frankly it was from last decade when things were cushy, collected, comfy. In that case the room looks fine with puddled drapery. Restoration Hardware rooms look fine with puddled drapes. Pottery Barn, West Elm, WS Home…not so much.

  • No puddle! Just have them brush the floor. The puddle looks pretty in a photo, until it gets moved a little. Then it’s a mess. Kinda like the down-filled sofa I bought 12 years ago that has driven me crazy with the constant fluffing to make it look good. Guess what’s going in my yard sale next weekend????

  • Jann Newton says:

    I vote no to the puddling too. Drapery panels that are just smidge above the floor have pleats that hang better. A cleaner, more streamlined look, which will look great in your room.

  • Slight break, no puddle.

  • mimi says:

    There are a lot of very good arguments against puddling your drapes and I actually agree with most of them, but in the end I say go with your heart! You can always have them shortened!


  • IMHO, I’d say ‘nay’. Your look seem more streamlined and contemporary to me. To me puddling seems more appropriate in more traditional styled rooms. Still, that being said, as you know one can successfully mix two different styles. And most importantly, if you really want it, do it! It’s your home 🙂 Now….just let us see the results when they happen 🙂

  • Tracy says:

    I’m a “Nay’er” as well. I always thought puddling on windows that were not extremely high just looked off to me. Your room is clean and crisp and with drapes that will brush your floor I think its in keeping of the clean crispness of the room you’ve created.

  • marisa says:

    I say do a 1″ ‘break’ instead. Looks casually elegant but not too ‘ballroomy’ as someone above said. Good luck!

  • Melissa says:

    I love puddling!!! Guess I am in the minority! I have puddling drapes in my office. About to get drapes for my family room and won’t puddle those because it is a traffic area.

    Can’t wait for class tomorrow!!! Loving summer school!!!

  • Karen says:

    I say Nay and agree with Tracy…your look is fresh and uncluttered. I’d let your drapes brush the floor or for that couture look, let them break 1-2′ max.

  • Maureen says:

    I say nay also. Mainly because they aren’t just decorative, if you feel you need to protect the furniture colour you will be opening and closing them a lot. Therefore you don’t want to have to arrange them all the time. But if you are doing some sheers with side panels so you have the light and not the fading, then I would go for very light puddling/break. Just my thoughts, for your very streamlined look I would like to see a little softening, but know not a lot 😉

  • katiedid says:

    NAY! If your goal is to keep your sofa from fading, then I am assuming that you are going to want to have functioning drapery panels. You would have to rearrange the puddles every time you opened and closed them. And as Rene says, they get dirty and tired looking much faster. As beautiful as the ball gown effect is, it is not functional. Good luck! 🙂

    • Bhavana says:

      Second this.

    • Cyndia Montgomery says:

      Excellent point! If the drapes were going to stay in one position all the time, I’d give it a tentative “maybe”. But if you’ll be opening and closing them, it will be a pain in the ass.
      Also, your aesthetic is modern, and I think a simple drape to the floor is perfect with that. No puddle.

  • Candace says:

    Even with a light (both color and weight) fabric, there is something about puddling that seems droopy, heavy, and brings the eye down. To me, it “ages” a room, just like droopy skin ages our face!

  • I guess I’m alone on this one but I like a small puddle. It looks more relaxed/softer to me…or maybe it’s because I’m lazy and don’t want to have to worry about getting the length right on ready to hang drapes ! *gasp* 🙂 As Mimi says, you can always shorten them if you get tired of them…or decide you don’t like the length.

  • BillP says:

    A no vote here also- but I am wondering what type of pleat you will choose for the header!

  • BillP says:

    You have such a clean look- couldn’t you accomplish the light control with a Hunter Douglas Silhouette?

    • Megan says:


    • Elynn Shapiro says:

      Totally agree with the idea of Hunter Douglas Silhouette. Keep fabric AWAY from your heat register!

      As you’d probably ask a client, “Are you looking for a way to bring more color and drama into the room OR is your primary goal to prevent color fading from a favorite and important piece of furniture?”

      The room is crisp, clean, young and energetic. If you do choose to ‘puddle’ keep it safe and maintain the spirit of your room. 🙂

  • Rhonda says:

    I love your inspiration picture and have puddling drapes in my Victorian house. But I’d agree that no puddle would probably look best in your crisp, clean room.

  • Maria in Calgary says:

    I think the puddling drapes will make your seamless living and dining areas look untidy.

  • Kelly says:

    I vote nay on puddles drapes for your home, like so many have already said, your furnishings and decor have clean lines and those drapes would be too fussy. Can you move your beautiful sofa away from the window? Maybe look into uv coating for the front window, or can you have an awning (gorgeous custom of course!) installed? I love your blog, thank you so much for sharing your color expertise!

  • Carol Anne says:

    Well I think I think differently to everyone, I say yes and no…
    I say living room nay, for all the reasons above….straight lines and dust and heating…
    but that said you mentioned the whole house, I say bedroom yay, this is the place for them and in silk or faux silk… kind of the ball room skirt look.
    That way you get what you want, sort of… which is why your asking us because I truly think you knew the answer all along… to me your the smart designer… right x
    ps I thought of you today when a friend asked about tiles… must be subway tile… only… nothing else, I do not think I would have answered that way before the last class, thanks again for all I have learned from you. x

  • Carol Anne says:

    oh and lined… only lined… x

  • Marla says:

    Maria, I support your drapes looking as you wish! I would strongly recommend you put that UV filtering stuff (it is late and I’m sleepy – cannot think of the word) but it is a product you can adhere to your windows, yet remove easily if wished. Get one of the lighter shades, and your UV problem is solved. I learned this after ruining a gorgeous set of silk drapes, which just disintegrated from the sun.

    • Megan says:

      Yes, a film/coating is a must, to keep out/down sun damage. An elegant awning (hard to design well, but jaw-droing when done right) could be part of solution.

      Oh, and plant some trees, now. 🙂

      • Maggie S says:

        I was going to suggest the same thing –I also learned after I faded my favorite chair. No problems with sun damage for the next 11 years

  • Louise says:

    I’m a no also. Too much of a dust catcher and in the way of vacuuming for my taste! And I do like the cleaner lines look for your space. I am wondering about the base board heater -are you at all concerned about the drapery hanging right on the heaters? I have the same set up and don’t know what to do….

  • Debbiecz says:

    Oh just hang a lovely flat bed sheet or two until the drape question is solved…just kidding! I grew up in a college town. You could instantly identify the student rentals by the mismatched sheets hanging in the windows. Can you imagine the looks you’d get, lol.
    What type of material/pattern are you thinking? At first I’d say no to the puddle, imagining a crisp geometric pattern with clean lines. But then I wonder about a pure white, billowy fabric that could soften things. No matter what you’ll make a great choice.

  • Franki says:

    Well…since you asked…personally, I like “the break.” If your floors aren’t “perfectly aligned” a slight “break” certainly helps “my eye line.” The devil is in the details… That first photo is dreamy though… franki

  • Goldie says:

    I have both in my home and several opinions about them. I at least want them to touch the floor as long as your floor is a hard smooth surface. I hate them dragging on wall to wall. There is nothing more gorgeous than lined and innerlined dupiani silk with a slight puddle. It is breathtakingly gorgeous. Do it! I would suggest anyone who feels a need to learn more about what looks great in drapery to do research on Joni Webb’s blog “cote de Texas “. Her post series on the top ten design elements includes draperies. It is a true education. But let me warn you, pour yourself a cup, put your feet up, it may have over a hundred pics with descriptive text under each. My last home I made mine myself,, I felt like I was wearing a silk ball gown while I was hemming them.

  • Linda says:

    No puddling! No drapes even — get some sun filtering film for the windows!

    • Sarah says:

      Don’t feel bad you didn’t put drapes up yet. When I moved into my house, I didn’t put up drapes and one year went into the next…then I decided I loved the clean lines of the room and open view of my gardens. Your house has beautiful lines too – and soon to have beautiful gardens. I would go with shutters or window film. Drapes are too fussy IMHO.

  • Kristi says:

    No puddling. You have young nephews.

  • Missy Caulk says:

    I love puddled drapery in formal spaces. The Dining Room, Living Room or even the Master. If the space is high traffic, they are a nightmare. I suggest to let them lightly break, like a man’s trouser, and be done. If the fabric you use is a linen, they will lengthen over time, so keep that in mind as well.

  • Kathy says:

    I like the look of puddled drapes for other people but not for me. I know I’d forever being fussy around with them. It would make vacuuming a nightmare. I know I’d have them sucked up the first day. I’m offering a suggestion. Have you thought about a really nice bamboo shade hung up above the window with simple panels on both sides? Cote De Texas blog has so many beautiful examples of the look I’m talking about. It would a nice simple style with an interesting texture.

  • Theresa says:

    Nay on the puddling. I would put inside mounted fabric flat roman shades on your windows. The shades would add warmth but not take away from your clean lines in the living room. Thanks for sharing!

  • Bridget says:

    I vote no puddle. Puddling is messy and your beautiful room doesn’t need anything that heavy looking. Of course my house has no draperies, simply solar shades with self valances, so of course I would vote for a more clean look.

  • Marty says:

    Maria – because of your concern about the sofa, you need more than drapes. Beautiful as the puddles are, they are not easily pulled. To protect your sofa you might wish to consider using a solar film on the window. We live in a house in the South with a lot of strong light coming in, we have film on the windows which has reduced a lot of the fabric bleaching and woven shades which are easily raised and lowered. You can even see through them if you choose wisely. If you do add the film and shades, then puddle away.

  • Beth B. says:

    I say no to puddling. Your lovely room is is too clean, crisp and modern for the “messier” and “fussier” look of puddled draperies.

  • If you plan to traverse, puddling isn’t practical. If you plan to puddle, have workroom do a ball gown hem. Have them sew a string/cord through the bottom hem. Knot it. When your installer hangs the drapes, put a cup hook on the wall about 18″ above the floor. Hook the drapes up when vacuuming, then drop them down when done. Will make cleaning easier and helps put the shape back on the floor. If not puddling, and you have floor vent for heat, have workroom hand tack lining and interling to inside face of fabric so they won’t separate and billow when the heat blows. That being said, as above, if protection of your furniture is key, you need protection on your windows. Perhaps a workable roman shade underneath, then the drapes as stationary panels on side. I would recommend a slight break on the floor, a euro pinch pleat (tacked at top of pleat) to go with the look of the room.

  • Megan says:

    Puddling strikes me as a has-been.

    I strongly prefer no drapes or curtains at all. Unless there is a compellling reason.

    Better, perhaps, to strengthen architectutal detail. Makes window trim deeper, and/or framing trim more commanding.

    Great drapes are mightily expensive, put money into architecture instead. You will never regret it.

    • Sarah says:


    • bfish says:

      Agree on the “puddling is a a has-been”, using no to minimal window treatments, and the playing up the window trim and architectural details (you have lovely cove molding) comments here. Also l like the idea proposed by several others of putting a nice (cloth please) awning over the window on the outside. Exterior window awnings have saved our furniture in several rooms from (additional) fading.

  • Joan says:

    The yellow drapes are fantastic, but I perfer shutters or something else that doesnt fade or need cleaning and that allows for more variation of light control.

  • Cindy B says:

    I agree with most of the others – no puddle. I did it once in a bedroom, and I was very glad to see them go. It is a nuisance to vacuum, because you must lift them. But mostly because your room is too clean looking for that look.

  • [email protected] Silverman Designs says:

    If the fabric is luxurious like silk, I like to see it just “kissing” the floor with a small break. If you are using something more sleek like a linen, keep it sleek just “missing” the floor. No “puddling”. I love the look of draperies….they finish off a window and in your case will keep it casually elegant.


  • Jumping on the bandwagon and saying no puddling. Your look is so crisp and tailored, I don’t think it would work. Keep to simple side panels and use some blinds to cut the sunlight.

  • jj says:

    Go for a 3 or 4 inch wide shutter… clean, modern but still a elegant look.

    Cheers 🙂

  • Leigh says:

    Your room is beautiful! You are the designer so I know you know ;-). I don’t care for drapes that puddle, unless the style of the room just calls for it. I think your look is clean and fresh, so I vote NO.

  • Debra says:

    Nay on the puddling.
    I love the look of puddled drapes but I had them already installed when we moved in. They were an unbelievable dust catcher and I grew to hate them and was happy when the cat was racing around and pulled down the whole shebang. Now I have a slight break at the bottom, which I like (although it was a measuring mistake on my part lol!)

  • Karen says:

    I had taffetta drapes in our crisp clean mid century mod home and I thought they made the home feel cozy. I vote yes to a small puddle. It is beautiful and not as fussy as everyone is making them out to be.

  • Dianne Tant says:

    NO to puddling. it might not show much anyway since it is behind your gorgeous sofa.

  • honey says:


    You are a clean-line-kinda-gal. And as mentioned by others, if you are using them to keep sun out you will need to be closing them and opening them. And then you will have to “tszuj” the puddles every time to make them look right.

    I like the panels to just “kiss” the floor. If you don’t have the big obvious puddle, then your curtains look like you bought the wrong size.

    Can’t wait to see what YOU decide!

  • mrsben says:

    NAY …. as IMHO with no intention to insult, they will only draw the eye to the (unattractive) baseboard heating units. As there are so many wonderful drapery headers to choose from I personally would prefer them to take center stage rather than the hem line … and please no grommets … ☺. -Brenda-

  • Dana says:

    I say no. Your ceilings aren’t high enough. I’d do plantation shutters in “white”. You pick the white.

  • Sharon Avinger says:

    No puddle, please. Your room has a beautiful modern look and I think straight drapes would compliment that. The puddle look is very ballroom-looking and doesn’t fit the room. Can’t wait to see your choice!

  • Jill Buckingham says:

    I agree with everyone who says, no puddle. Its too 1980’s England!

  • Betsy says:

    I love puddled drapery, when it complements the space. However, given the crisp, clean lines of your rooms, I think puddled drapery would detract rather than add to the overall look. I would consider doing a slim cornice board covered in a simple graphic black and white pattern (for example, the premier prints Gotcha Twill in White/Black on, with yellow drapery panels. To keep the look clean, you may want to have the panels be stationary, with just a few pleats, rather than full. Install white inside mount solar shades (see Smith & Noble) to allow for light to come through while protecting your furniture. Good luck – can’t wait to see what you come up with!

  • Theresa says:

    My experience with draperies even slightly puddled is that they collect dust in the folds and the bottom edges are dirty. I still like the look, but wouldn’t do it again because I see the dirt every day.

  • Tricia says:

    I doubt you need one more nay but I just have to say I agree with most of the previous comments. My strongest objection to using drapes that puddle is that they do not suit the theme of clean and crisp that you have already established. Good luck with your decision. I find window treatments the hardest of all design decisions. It seems to always involve compromise. So many things dictate what you can or can’t do that the “look” you want is seldom exactly what you can really have.

  • Linda says:

    I would agree with the shutters…our home is completely done in shutters and everyone comments on how beautiful they look…

  • maurie says:

    how about a fabric roman shade with contrasting band inset around it??? Much cleaner and you can pull up and down with ease… Puddles don’t fit your look.
    Good luck.

  • Stu Stiller says:

    I see that most have voiced what I would say which is NO. Speaking as a design professional and friend, first historically those long puddling draperies were first done when ceilings were 10-12 feet high and rooms were largep; both of which you don’t have. Second if the primary objective is to keep the sun UV’s out then you will need to keep them closed which I know you don’t want. I can’t remember if you have blinds inside theframes on the windows now but they keep the nicely refined lines of your space and you can control the light. Side accent drapery panels would then give colour and softnes but would need to be shut. To quote a famous US architect, “proceed and be bold”!

  • I usually recommend that curtains “kiss” the floor or have a slight break but no puddle. Puddling is impractical and hard to keep clean. Also if you have pets or children in your home (even as visitors) it can be a hazard.

    In addition to hanging curtains, if fading is your real concern you can have a window film applied to your windows that will block most of the harmful rays that cause fading.

    Good luck with your decision. I look forward to seeing the pictures once you are done.

  • Sarah says:

    Shades + decorative side panels of drapes.

    Depending on exactly where your baseboards are located you could do side panels that wouldn’t actually close across the window, but would give you the rich, soft, finished look that drapes provide. If the panels are stationary, puddling is not as problematic as you’re not dragging the fabric back and forth across the floor though personally, I think your room would be better suited with just a slight break.

  • Linda says:

    Form follows function. Well it should. Most of the time.

    If you are going to open and close them, puddled drapes dragging across the floor are not functional.

    What do you want the drapes to do is the first question I ask my window treatment people. Second question is about style.

    Remember, too, that your drapes will only protect your sofa when they are blackout lined and closed. So if you want to enjoy your view during the day, put the solar film on the outside of the window. It can block up to 85% of the UV rays, which are the destructive ones. You may not see it yet, but they are also bleaching your floor. And even with non-direct sun, they are doing their dirty work.

  • Linda @ House of Chandler says:

    My observation is that style and decor is regional. I have lived with plantations shutters, and they look wonderful in coastal beach homes, but I got tired of them. I like simple linen roman shades in place of shutters. Floor vents and baseboard heaters should not be blocked by drapes. I’m not in favor of massive puddling except in large rooms with formal decor. Scale is important, too. I like drapes to have a good break. Yes, a little more work to vacuum, but not much really. I wouldn’t have my coffee table bare just because I would have to remove the items to dust. You have a wonderful sense of style, and I have no doubt you will choose a window treatment that will complement your rooms.

  • Glenda Isaac says:

    Nay. I get the impression the fabric you will choose will have a pattern incompatible with a puddle – the puddle is quite formal and I see a geo or other more modern element for the space. And besides, the puddle is a dust collector or a place for cats to play hide and go seek. Just saying. Keep us updated!

  • I agree with the majority here. Dusty and droopy.

  • celeste says:

    No to puddles, period. To me, they always look like the owner was too cheap to properly hem the drapes!

  • I say Nah also. I would go with plantation shutters so you can block out the sun from fading your furniture, but open them when you need to. If you like no window coverings, you might want to look into having your windows coated or a film applied that would prevent UV damage while letting in the light. UV will assuredly fade out any window dressing as well.

  • Heather says:

    For a clean contemporary look – to keep the view, stop fading, and minimize heat in the summer – my vote is for solar roller blinds. Light and views are very important to me and when the sun comes out I do not want to sit behind closed drapes, which is the reality when you are protecting furniture from the sun. With these blinds, even when they are down you can see out.
    I would buy solar blinds first and then rethink whether or not to buy drapery. If you do decide upon drapes you may no longer need ones that close but merely panels.
    Oh yes, my vote is no puddling – messy, dirty.

  • SandyCGC says:

    Being a craver of light (I’m definitely not a vampire), one of my most favorite aspects of your wonderful living/dining room is the frank and unapologetic invitation to the sun that your windows offer. Of course, the sun can be a rude visitor so you need to protect your couch. I would go with the window film (inexpensive and unobtrusive) or a very, very sheer sheer. Bedrooms might be a slightly different issue for privacy reasons. Unfortunately, I agree with the ballroom, overdone, “fussy” formal look of puddling as well as practical issues of care. It IS your house, of course, but maybe the best spot for puddling drapes is in your inspiration picture posted on the bulletin board in your office. I have a number of pictures in my “decorating” box that I dearly love and love to look at from time to time and imagine having the object or living in the room, but I know they’ll never be actualized in my home. I, for one, really appreciate your sharing your “waffles” with all of us, Maria.

    Wish I could be in your Suumer School on Specifying Interior Colors. Hope you’ll please post your tips on avoiding “cheap” whites and “wrong” whites.

  • n. lawson says:

    No puddles! It is not a classic look, and you may tire of the impractical nature-extra fabric, extra fixing, extra cleaning underneath, etc. I agree with the others, as the more formal style of puddling doesn’t seem to align with your room. I would put transparent window film on regardless of your window covering choice. You may open the window coverings on sunny days and all textiles within reach will be at risk of fading.

  • Angela Taylor says:

    Plantation Blinds are your answer. They are clean and crisp looking and won’t interfere with your wall heating. Drapes are just dust collectors anyway:) If you do decide on drapes, absolutely no puddling, I think that look has gone bye bye.

  • Mdrive says:

    one more nay to the puddle drapes for all of the aforementioned reasons…

    being in the nw the dilemma is letting light in without the damage, i should think an ‘up/down’ type of shade would allow you to position the shade on the bottom blocking the sun where needed, yet leaving a wonderful amount of light and great view of the tree tops

  • joanne says:

    Love your home inside and out.
    I vote no on the puddles.

  • weighing in late in the game here but I would say yes to a length that breaks on the floor, or even a 5″ controlled puddle — not the big billowy look — unless you have your heart set on it. UV filtering film will help with fade but it can’t completely prevent it.

  • Cindy says:

    What a gorgeous room. I love the yellow sofa and the yellow on the chairs. It’s different, and absolutely delightful. I actually kinda like puddling, but in this instance i think i agree with most of the others. The room has clean lines, and i don’t think it would work. Plus the curtains would pool at the bottom and push out into the room a little and throw the balance of the room off visually, not to mention the heat register…. so no puddle for me!


  • Myra says:

    To me it’s a no brainer. If you intend to draw the drapes, then it should stop at the floor. If you don’t, then let it puddle. Drawing puddled drapes catches dust and dirt.

  • Shirley says:

    Right now you have created a beautiful picture when you look down into the dining room. Everything is beautifully spaced. When I look at the drapes that billow and puddle in the first picture, I feel that they would take up too much space and crowd the look that you have.
    If you really love the idea of drapes , what about softly tailored side panels that break slightly as they meet the floor along with Silhouettes. You would not have the problem of constantly having to adjust the puddles as you open and close the drapes.
    If the Silhouettes can block out enough of the damaging light, I do like the range of control over the outside light that they give. When lowered, the vanes can be adjusted so the sheer area allows you enough light to coming in during the day to curl up with a book and read but if you happen to dose off you also have the privacy from the sheers so that you are not on view to anyone who may pass by -we are not always sleeping beauties.

  • Erica says:

    I am a designer and agree that although puddling is out of vogue right now, I attribute that to the fact many are purchasing drapes in linen or more casual fabrics for their formal spaces. Linen doesn’t look good with a puddle (silk or heavy wovens create a lovely puddle, however, and if you are using these fabrics, then YES – puddle because it showcases the intrinsic qualities of the fabric). The 4″ puddle is out but a 1-2″, which creates a nice break, is perfect and still of the moment. I would not recommend puddling in casual spaces like a TV/Family room.

  • Kathy says:

    You do not give us a picture head on of the sofa in front of the window but from what I see, how would it be possible to puddle drapes behind a sofa – does not make much sense, so no.

  • Beth says:

    Definitely, no puddle that would distract from your clean modern style.

  • Amber Sanders says:

    I feel like puddles would be too dramatic and they would interfere with the clean and crisp space you have created. The drapes would outcompete so -no to puddles-! I am looking forward to see what you decide.

  • Lucy Haines says:

    Lucy Haines Interiors
    Maria, By now I guess you know the verdict. Your room is simple clean lines so keep the drapery panels that way. It does not look like you have enough wall to stack drapes. The new look in California is woven woods (which come in all colors and texture) and then side panels. Even if you used shutters you may want to still do side panels. It depends on how much of your window you want to block. The only trouble with solar panels is that they do not look good when they are rolled up unless you were to use a valance, which I do not think would look good in your room. If you do side panels look for some neat iron rods to hang them from. There are many selections out there. I cannot see behind your sofa. Is there room to hang panels to the floor? Would you hang them inside of the window? It is always more difficult to decorate our own house. It is much easier to tell a client what to do.

    I love your blog and wish I could refresh my “color theory” with your expertise. Where were you when I was taking my design classes? LOL

    Good luck Maria! I know your room will be just beautiful when you are finished.

  • Lucy Haines says:

    Maria, Lucy Haines again. I just went back to your pictures. On second thought why don’t you do plantation shutters in your picture window behind the sofa which would be in keeping with your contemporary design and then do your side panels in the dining room. Definitely NO puddles!

  • Norine says:

    I like the keep the floor clear look. I understand that puddling is all the talk, but I would not use it in a public space of the house.

  • Mary Jane Sorensen says:

    Hi Maria,

    Beautiful living room love the yellow sofa! I vote no for puddled drapes as your end table and sofa are in front of window and you have a baseboard heater in dining so you would not get to truly enjoy the puddled effect. Maybe you could do puddled drapery in the bedroom?

  • Lynne Rutter says:

    I like a slight break at least, to keep them from just hanging there limp, but whether they “puddle” depends on the fabric and how it acts. Seems to me if you have a sun issue you need more than just drapes, you need a first layer for light management (simple solar shades are great for that) and then if you want big billowy unlined silk drapes like in your fabulous inspiration photo, some puddling might be a nice way to soften up the room. I am also a believer in professional installation– a good install is like getting a great haircut- the maintenance will be easier if they are hung properly

  • teresa says:

    First disappeared!!! For me it depends on fabric weight, traffic pattern and functionality. Seems like your need to close which is difficult with long drapes. I do think your inspiration pic is lovely and something similar would add softness to the space.
    You should also consider a UV protective film for the windows in a clear instead of the usual metallic. It’s a bilt more expensive, but looks better. I got mine at a auto tinting store and they installed as it’s a bit fiddly on a large window. This will also keep you drape linings from fading. I do like undercutains at times, but it’s not the best for fading. CTD

  • Gemstar says:

    Puddle in the bedroom only to get your “fix” of romantic – more tailored elsewhere (IMHO)…

  • I feel like puddled drapes have the potential to bring the energy down in a space, sort of dragging your attention to floor level. The puddled look has always reminded me of pant legs that are way too long! That said, your inspiration photo is beautiful- I’ve never seen it done quite like that before. I can see how you are drawn to all that luxurious yellow fabric! 😉 xoxo, Jill

  • Susan Johnson says:

    Nay. Though trendy, they ultimately look sloppy, and since there is always more dust on floors than walls, even the best of housekeepers will find dust gathering on the drapery touching the floor. A clean line-is preferable.

  • By all means, protect that lovely yellow couch!
    1. As an immediate step, Ikea carries a lovely “bubble” throw in ivory white that looks fabulous (they actually have two kinds, but the one I’m talking about is somewhat sheer & very stretchy). Drape it over the back of the couch as an interim step, which will look lovely even if guests come over, so you don’t have to keep taking it off and putting back on again.
    2. Nay to puddling because you have a crisp, clean, fresh, modern vibe going on. I’d go for shutters or 2″ white faux blinds or silhouettes to control the sunlight.
    3. Drapery panels on the sides that don’t move could give you the softness you’re looking for.
    4. For a permanent fix to sun fading your furniture and floors, consider Heat-Mirror Windows on the south side of your house or just in the living room/dining room. They’re totally amazing because they reflect heat out like a mirror, so you can barely feel warmth when you stand right on front of them even in the most intense heat of summer. They keep our entire house cooler than others so we never need to consider air conditioning. BTW, we chose not to cover our living room windows with anything, so they’ve been bare for 20 years and I just love the light streaming in & unobstructed views without any heat/fading issues. Better than awnings in my books, maybe even cheaper. Keep us posted, your blogs are always fun & interesting!

  • Barbara says:

    Maria, you MUST get the window film put on to block the UV light and damage…

    It was the very first thing we did in our new home (11 years ago), we are in Kelowna and the sunlight is so strong.

    But even in our last house in Ontario, the living room did not seem to get any direct sunlight and I had sheers over the window all the time, the expensive hardwood flooring faded and furniture faded that was over 12 feet away from the window.

    For someone who loves their colour and is particular, like you are, I really think you should spend the money and get this done pronto.

    btw, I like puddled and none puddled drapes, depending on the room, etc.

  • Hi Maria, Well, first I would like you to find the fabric for your drape, because that will help establish the style of pleat or ripplefold you will want to use. If you use a taffeta style of weave, that will dictate that you should puddle…(though I prefer a break on the floor.) If you select a fabric that is softer, then you really may want to do a more traditional style of pleat. Reverse pleats are beautiful and function. They would give you that clean look, especially if you use a 6 or 8″header. That style can break on the floor, but is much better when it skims the floor. Ripplefold must clear the floor or you lose the cartridge like shape of the curves. You should also use a sheer or sheer roman blinds in the window to help protect the beautiful furniture. (Of course you can use blinds or roman shades, but you know my personal bias…) Having been to your home I would be doing a reverse pleat, and having it just break…Big hugs, and can’t wait to help you with the hardware…shall we talk motorized baby! LOL

  • Pat says:

    No puddles. I see heating vents. There is no point in heating glass (and the whole outdoors) instead of your room with the extra insulation of puddled fabric.
    Which raises the question – where do you end the drapes if you have vents under the window? To end above and get the heat flowing into the room would look, in my estimation, a little like a kid wearing pants that are too short for them. Or, at the floor and direct the air up along the window rather than into the room.
    Some thoughts…

  • Wendy says:

    NAY. Puddling = pretentious.

  • Nataly says:

    This is quite timely for me because I just had silk drapes installed in my home. For years, we had only white plantation shutters, which made the rooms look cold-something was definitely missing! My drapes just “kiss” the floor, which seems more practical than the puddles of fabric. Also, the tailored look really pulls the rooms together. If I were you, I would go with drapes that perfectly hit the floor. If you want a richer look, go with 3x the fabric instead of the traditional 2x!
    About those baseboard radiators, have you looked into radiator cabinet covers?

    I hope that I helped a little, you have helped me so much through the years with your blog!

  • Wendy says:

    Since you’re having bleaching issues on sofa, the drapes will be pulled closed all the time? Only on sunny days? Maybe shades with straight drop of fabric flanking the window, or nice wide plantation shutters would be crisper, and more in keeping with your modern spaces.

  • Jane says:

    Nay on the puddling drapes.

  • Jena says:

    I understand the majority argument that puddling doesn’t “go” with your streamlined, modern look, but I think it would add significantly to a well-thought eclectic look. It could soften the room. I think you could pull it off rather well. That inspiration photo is the perfect small puddle. If it’s what you love, I say go for it.

  • Bans Loyd says:

    aren’t Plantation Shutters dated now? They are a pain to keep clean. There are new shades on the market which block UV rays but have see-thru spaces to allow sight, but can be closed for complete light-blocking and they can be controlled electronically. Your living and dining areas are very appealing. Of course I love the colors.

  • Sharon says:

    Your sofa is in front of the window, so you won’t see the puddle. So, Nope, is my vote!

  • Roberta says:

    Yes…yes….YES to puddling Maria. It’s elegant and lovely and would look divine in your home. Go ahead, bring it up a notch and puddle:))

  • Jill Baum says:

    I’m no expert but I am currently doing drapes now too in my bedroom. I also love, love the puddled drapes but have unsuccessfully attempted this look with no luck. Being the precise person you are you would as I am, constantly be fiddling with them trying to make them be perfect. Also the fabric would have to be something fairly crispy to hold that shape and on top of that be fade resistant. I’m sorry to say you will likely have to go with something like white linen which is beautiful but in a simpler and unfussy way. I’m ending up with cream linen and silhouettes for black out. (Don’t forget about all those wood floor dust bunnies which will permanently afix themselves to the bottom of your beautifully puddled curtains)!

  • vmdaily says:

    Maria! Life is short….you love puddling….this is not a life or death matter….Try the puddling and enjoy it to the fullest. If, after six months, you feel it’s a mistake, have them hemmed and sally forth!
    Sometimes we need a little puddling to make things that are too streamlined feel a little more over-the-top….I’m a fan of doing what makes your heart sing!.
    Best of luck!

  • Debbie says:

    I vote nay. Your sofa will hide the effect . With a puddled drape in your elevated dining room the eye will go there when you enter the living room. Consider traffic around the dining table when entertaining. Is there enough space? Can’t wait to see what you choose.

  • Judy Janzen says:

    I say no to puddling..

  • Mary says:

    Nay, Nay, & Nay. You don’t live in a castle.

  • Peggy L says:

    Nay on the puddle. Looking at your room, I can’t see that much yellow fabric working with all the other yellow you already have. I think that a fabric with a white background with one or two other colors from the room would harmonize nicely and not upstage the beautiful yellow sofa. Thanks for letting us weigh in.

  • Aussie Girl says:

    Nay to puddles. I love that view looking into your dining room, it is sleek and uncluttered. You would put an opposing look into this lovely space, which I believe is too small to accommodate it.
    You have created interest with your accessories, and I like to let my eye roam over the lamp shapes, mirror, mantle, fabrics. I like the light of the space. Is there not a way to cover the windows with a blind that cuts UV , but lets you see out?
    Thanks for generously letting us share your renovating journey, I look forward to all your new pics. You have created a lovely home.

  • Filomena says:

    I’m in the same predicament. I have a fairly contemporary room with electric baseboard heaters below them. After having read the comments, will nix the puddling for all the great reasons noted above. Love the silhouettes but have been told that bugs/spiders (ack!) will enter into the open vents on the sides and they are hell to get out. Especially if your windows are wide like mine (94 inches). I always thought plantation shutters were too hard looking but may reconsider (husband loves them).

    Love your blog, Maria. It has come in handy too many times to count.

  • Deb Bruna says:

    I love puddled draperies, but I think no puddle would work well in your space. I see a light celery color or even white with a subtle green print or white with a green banding. I love the tri-colored draperies you designed for Cooper’s Lookout. They are among my favorites.

  • Sangeetha says:

    One more ‘no’ vote for puddle. Even if you put in the puddle, your yellow sofa would probably hide it totally. I think puddle would work if the area around the window is free without any furniture. Please do let us know what you go in for. I can already visualize a beautiful plain white grommet curtain.

  • Betsy OShea says:

    No puddle! Room has a crisp, tailored look which would look best w/ a pair of simple 2 width pinch pleat panels in white linen and straight romans maybe in yellow linen w white grosgrain ribbon trim…hung under the rod. Rod at ceiling. Oh think rug is too narrow/small. Furniture appears to be falling off the edge. A wider rug expands the space visually and brings proportion to more square..which is the ideal. Love the barcelona chrs

  • Maggi K says:

    No puddle please. Curtains will certainly finish off the look which looks incomplete. You are wise to have waited and weighing up the pros and cons. Do you have a UV filter on the windows? This is transparent and cuts rays up to 95%, saving your furniture and is also a good security feature.

  • Betsy OShea says:

    Oh, you could do a 1-2″ break. That looks crisp too.

  • Megan says:

    NO PUDDLE!! Full stop! A 1/2″ break off the floor would be best. The only place “puddling” looks good is at Versaille! Your look is way too tailored to have puddling. Having drapes that lay on the floor is nothing but a dust trap. Does a silk Taffeta Drape that puddles on the floor look lovely in print-Absolutely! Real life is something different. Do yourself a favour and have them hemmed and not puddled. It’s like when I see Hollywood stars or models with hems on their pants to the floor. I think to myself….couldn’t they or their stylist PROPERLY get those pants hemmed? Just one of my pet peeves I guess. Good Luck!

  • chez says:

    No puddle! I don’t like that look at all. It just seems messy and dusty to me. I think drapes should barely touch the floor… like a well-hemmed pair of pants when wearing fabulous heels.

  • Linn says:

    Personally I’d say Nay. Here’s why: you have a fresh and clean look in that room. Crisp. Modern. Pooled drapes are beautiful, they they are for an ethereal room, traditional room, shabby chic room, etc in my feeling. They just don’t seem to go with your crisp and bright decor. Now, what you do I have no clue. I’m having the same problem myself…. Too bad you can’t get windows that dim with the flick of a switch.

  • Linda says:

    I love a bit of puddling on drapes when the fabric is silk or linen and stationary. However, you have enough softness with the sofa and chairs, so keep the crisp, clean look with a larger blind, at least 2.5 inches, that gives a lovely invisible sight line when opened and can be tilted to catch the sun’s rays. If you add drapery panels, I’d suggest deep folds pulled well to the sides, showing off the windows. Another option is a way-up-high tailored valance in that lovely yellow, above blinds.

  • Sydney says:

    HI Maria:
    Since you gave me some nice free professional advice about my kitchen backsplash, I’ll give you some nice free advice from a professional workroom. First off as many mentioned before, puddling is for stationary drapes only. When I talk to my customers two of the questions I often ask are if they are looking for privacy and/or light control You stated you need light control Stationary panels are not going keep the sunlight out of the room so you are either going to need to go with traversing drapes that close or a combination of stationary panels and some other shade blind, (roman, wood, woven wood, roller shades) or sheer and panels to help protect your furniture. Also with your baseboard registers there, extra puddling fabric is going to cover them up and you will lose a lot of air control. Puddling is also sort of a “messy” look and you seem to have a rather clean interior and I think it would be too much of a contrast.
    As you often suggest I would consult with a professional drapery consultant who can help you choose the best treatments for both the light issue and design.
    One last thing. If sunlight is a bad issue stay away from silk panels which the top picture seems to be as they will fade out and even rot very quickly with a lot of sunlight. You may even want to consider putting a band of a different color down the lead (front) edge of your panels so if that fades out from the sun you can replace just the band rather than the entire drape. Maybe even ask the workroom professional if they can velcro the band on so it can be easily changed out. If it were my choice alone I’d go with some nice white wood blinds inside mounted on each window and a nice drapery rod with stationary side panels on both the dining room and living room, mounted outside the windows right below the moulding.
    Good luck I look forward to seeing what you decide to go with.

  • Sydney says:

    P.S. Forgot to mention the air from the registers will also blow puddled panels around and they won’t stay looking nice. You may have the same problem with stationary panels that just touch the floor, but there are several products available to a professional that can be used on the back of the panels to keep them from blowing away. Also I’m not a big fan of the 1″ break. I think they should just touch the floor. The bottom hems of professionally made panels are 4″ and when they are made an inch longer they don’t nicely “break” they just look like you hemmed them incorrectly.

  • Patricia says:

    I love puddled drapes as you inspirational photo shot. However, I see your room as very tailored and would install tailored drapes 1/4-1/2″ off the floor. Get the fullness horizontally instead of vertically. I have drapes on four sliding doors and for that reason I stuck with no puddle as I knew they would constantly be disturbed with in and out and I would be fussing all the time with them. I did not read all comments but the one that said styling the puddle is important is dead on.

  • Definite Nay…the clean crisp lines in the room do not warrant puddling, in the least…if you must puddle, try the master bedroom or guest room perhaps where more romance is infused?

  • Babs Loyd says:

    Bali makes sheer to opaque window covers. Some rise from the bottom up, many shades of white available. they can be ordered ffrom Home Depot, Lowe’s, JCPenney, etc.

  • I say follow your heart! I think it would look better and be easier to maintain with NO puddle. Draperies are a major investment, so not feel rushed into a decision. I just purchased inexpensive solar shade fabric that can be used for indoor or outdoor shading with a UV protection up to 94%. I am just moving into a newly rehabbed property and anticipate living drapery free for a while. I plan to use solar shade fabric to shield my sunniest rooms with custom/homemade shades, some inside under my blinds and some outside. I will probably take them down during the winter.

  • Doris says:

    Nay! I don’t think the puddle style lends well to your style. Also, I think since the window is behind the sofa it will not be as dramatic as in your inspiration photo.

  • emilia says:

    Before you affirm that you are wrong Maria, please look at this home from Houzz. I think that it is one of the most beautiful living rooms on the site. The slight and gentle puddle of the drapes (wonderful fabric from Clarence House) forces the drapes to “drape” properly and maintain the fall and weight of the folds. Be sure to check out the photo with the yellow chair. It is from RLH studios in Minneapolis.

  • Carol J says:

    I’m going to look at it from a very practical stance. If you have furry shedding pets that like to hang out by the window, don’t puddle. If not, the world is your cantaloupe (hey, I’m a vegan.)

  • I am in the NAY camp. You would be forever annoyed with the dirt that gathers on the bottom, no matter how meticulous your housekeeping. I suggest you wear a beautiful summer dress in a sumptuous fabric instead! Good luck. I am loving the transformation of your home. Thanks for sharing!

  • DAS says:

    You received great advice here. In the end it depends on which way of the “transitional eclectic” end you are leaning–ultimately whatever you like. Your George Smith classic English sofa strikes a traditional tone while the Barcelona chairs tips the scale the other way. Which way do you want the scales to tip?

  • Cara says:

    I love the look of puddling! With light curtains, it can look fresh, airy, breezy. It is informal, however, I do not have a formal house so I wouldn’t want formal drapery that looks too rigid and stifling. That being said, one would not want puddling drapes if you will be opening and closing the curtains often since they will pick up dust. I have puddling curtains in a front room (that is closed off from my animals) and I don’t close or open them except on the rare occassion. It works very well for me. In the end, it is what you find aesthetically pleasing.

  • narilyn says:

    I agree with Kelly T 100% – puddled drapes look like a designer was in a hurry; liked the color but received the wrong length, was in a hurry, put them up anyway and hoped clients would buy in to the “puddled” look – NOT , in most cases. Does look sloppy and just looks like a huge measuring error. Nothing like a nice clean line at the bottom of any drape – much more pleasing to the eye, they look finished – when I see puddled I want to ask when the seamstress is coming back to hem them correctly. Yes, I DO NOT LIKE PUDDLED DRAPES – can you tell? Have been in a few very expensive palaces in Italy and didn’t see any puddled drapes – the drapery materials were exquisite but they show off their wealth in their homes in other ways, not puddling a yard or two of extra material on their marble floors.

  • Louise says:

    If you want them to open and close very often, I say nay. I had them in my living room, wanted to close the drapes at night in the winter and had to fuss with re-arranging the drapes to close and then re-adjusting the puddles in the morning. I am remodeling my house and will be raising the drapes higher so they no longer puddle.

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