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Decorating Advice

Easy way to create Drama with Curtains

By 02/18/2009January 23rd, 201720 Comments

I subscribe to Style at Home Magazine because I do so much decorating and styling in my business, I always get at least one (usually more) idea that I can actually use with one of my clients. When I saw these little attic rooms Sarah Richardson designed, I had to show you the curtains. Here these small windows are totally transformed by hanging the drapery so much higher than the window.

By the way, the white drapery above, probably came from IKEA, these panels are a heavy cotton so as long as you don’t use a skinny rod from IKEA (that’s what makes them look cheap) you can create a really great custom look inexpensively. I used them in a media room to cover up some really ugly metal closet doors.

I would have painted this room Pink Pearl (Benjamin Moore) it’s my favourite pink, it goes with all the pink furniture you buy off the shelf, it’s just the perfect girly colour, I spec it all the time.
With pink you have to be careful because the colour you think looks good on the chip, can look like bubblegum on the walls. Not good unless that’s the look you’re going for!

Anyways, back to the drapery I was talking about, look how high they are installed! So great. Two little panels and the whole room appears taller.

See the drapes below? They are also from IKEA. Since drapery can get expensive custom made, the smart way to do it for a song (especially for children’s rooms) is to buy the drapes first and then decorate around them. Notice how the drapes have been hung from a rod with clips or rings instead of sliding them through the pocket (which is how they are designed) for a custom look once again. I used them last year in a condo I staged for a client.

Sarah generally chooses very pale colours for the walls but I truly believe interior designers that haven’t spent 10 years and close to 1,500 consultations specifying colour, [like me] looking at it, and analyzing it, should actually hire a colour professional when finalizing wall colour for their clients because it’s not easy – as you all know!

If you would like to schedule a Colour and Design consultation with Maria in person or via email, please call 604.318.9725 or email me at [email protected].
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  • Suzanne says:

    New to your blog and appreciating many of your insights. What do you mean when you say that Sarah Richardson chooses pale colours for walls but you believe that designers should hire a colour professional such as yourself for finalizing wall colour? Not sure I understand the relation between the two statements. I can certainly appreciate the versatility of light neutral walls. I have a lot of colour in my home (dictated by my decor schemes) and honestly, I’m starting to find it limiting. If I want to change the soft furnishings, I have to change the wall colour too. I hate to paint! 🙂 I’ve also noticed that I tire of dark wall colours faster than light ones.

  • Colour Me Happy says:

    Actually light colours are the hardest to specify if you want the undertone to be right. Wall colour is hard for a lot of designers only because they haven’t spent as much time doing it as a colour expert. I work with a design/build firm that calls me every time they are ready to pick all the colours to go with all the finishes. I just think more designers could take advantage of this kind of service.

  • DesignTies says:

    Up until a year ago, we had no drapery in our house. Now that we have curtains in the living room, kitchen, and bedroom, I wish I’d done it sooner — curtains are a great way to add colour and pattern to a room. And dressed-up windows look a lot better than naked windows 🙂

    My favourite look is pleated curtains hanging from rings.

    And yep, I know how hard choosing the right colour can be!! I’ve repainted a just-painted room more times than I care to remember…. eeeek!!!


  • Brett Walther says:

    The Stockholm Blad drapes in the Brown colourway (in the last shot) are my fave IKEA pattern… It’s such a charming autumnal print!

  • Anita says:

    I solemnly swear I will not paint my (insert room in my home) without calling you first . .

  • Suzanne says:

    Thanks for the reply, Maria. Am I understanding correctly that you think these wall colours aren’t optimal?

    Thanks for the tip about “customizing” store bought draperies. Wish I had known how to do this before dressing my windows. I went custom for four large windows in my home and honestly, I wish I had spent the money elsewhere (on a colour consultation, for one!)

    Thanks for the great blog – keep it up! I’m going through your archives to catch up.

  • Colour Me Happy says:

    Hi Suzanne, thanks for your comment. I think store-bought draperies mostly work on smaller windows, I’m sure the money you spent on your large windows was worth it (selection with off-the-shelf drapery is limited and usually restricted to solids)! My comment about the light colours was simply a plug (for me) for interior designers to consider hiring a colour expert when finalizing their colours, not to criticize what Sarah had done.

  • Ivy Lane says:

    I love Sarah Richardson’s show on Fine Living … Design Inc.. been waiting for the new season..she is such a great talent. I love the draperies in this post.. I need something clean like this for my master bedroom! Glad I popped in today! 🙂

  • Pam Kersting says:

    I loved all of those rooms! They were so small, yet they seemed inviting and very tastefully done! Loved the look! And you are correct — good color is so hard to achieve!

  • Lauren says:

    great trick with the drapes!! it’s such a great way to add something special inexpensively.

  • Pam Kersting says:

    I have one more question. Where do you start with color in rooms like these? A chair, a drape, a rug or … the wall?

  • Colour Me Happy says:

    In a perfect world you should always pick the paint colour last, after the fabrics have been selected. If you can’t wait until then. . . pick the colour of the walls and go from there. It helps if you have SOMETHING for inspiration. A piece of art, the fabric for the drapery or furniture, I find that most people have a hard time getting excited just looking at a paint chip if it doesn’t relate to anything.

  • michelle says:

    Clients get really nervous when they don’t see a paint colour first thing in the process, and I don’t know how many times I have urged them to wait until the end, only to to have them ask 60 times, what the paint colour will be.

    When my mom starts improving around her house, it’s the first thing she gets. Drives me crazy. She’s at it right now…with no plan…again.

    Great post!

  • pve design says:

    marvelous eye for color and detail!
    love your picks!

  • The Finishing Touch says:

    Great post! Most people don’t realize the illusions they can create with draperies. They’re a really useful design tool, and they don’t have to be super pricey.

    I have so many paint and color questions, so glad I found your blog!

  • Kat says:

    Could you do yellow with the pink chair room too?

  • Maria Killam says:

    Yes I would, yellow and pink work when they are combined like flowers (brighter and cleaner shades).

  • Linda/"Mom" says:

    * Great read, Maria! Your points make SUCH GOOD SENSE!!!…

    I ended up buying 16 (yep, count 'em!… 16!!!) small sample bottles trying to find T*H*E* right color/s for our MBR redo ("FIRST"!)… Not UNTIL I found "T*H*E drapery fabric & the stone FP wall was almost completed, did I REALIZE one of my EARLIER picks was right on!!! I was trying to pick my wall color waaaaay too early!!!!~~~

    Everything ELSE was "relatively" easy, but oh!!! Did I wish I had YOU (annnnd/or stock in Excedrin)!!! It's all "done" now, & Jim & I absolutely LOVE it, but again, what HEADACHES you could have saved me, girlfriend!

    I always learn something valuable from you~~~ sometimes a bit "late" for what I'm doing at the time… BUUUUT, I am redoing my study next, and feel soooo much more confident w/ alot of the upcoming things & choices that need to be done/made, so THANKS, kiddo!

    Linda in AZ *
    [email protected]

  • Anonymous says:

    You have really great taste on catch article titles, even when you are not interested in this topic you push to read it

  • Gilda says:

    Linda’s Mom should have bought your e-book first AND your large samples! Honestly, I dont’ know why the sales are so low..these are GREAT and the book calmly leads the reader through the process. It’s a no-fail system and why even non-professional decorators like I am don’t rush to purchase these important tools….okay, so you go and buy 16 pots of paint…you could’ve bought the samples and the e-book…………!!!!Come on, people!!

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