Texture affects the adaptability of the hangings. Texture is the quality of material made known to us originally, as its name signifies, through touch, but by experience is equally recognizable through sight. Words used to describe textures are accordingly descriptive of feeling, such as rough, smooth, hard, soft, velvety, silky, crepy, coarse, fine, firm, loose. Burlap, for example, is rough and coarse compared with India silk. Tightly woven linen is firm and hard in effect. Velvets and velours are soft. Burlap, monk's cloth, canvas, and similar textures are appropriate in rooms finished in rough plaster with oak woodwork and mission furniture. Silk and satin or mercerized fabrics are more appropriately used with wood of such grain or texture as mahogany or satinwood or with painted wood. Variations in texture produced by different weaves, patterns, or colorings may give even inexpensive materials so distinguished a quality as to make them appropriate for use in very dignified surroundings. Some of the designs from priceless tapestries in European museums have been printed on linen and may thus be enjoyed at moderate cost.
Treatment as to number in one window.
Ordinarily one pair of curtains is sufficient to answer the purpose of a window drapery. Especially in rooms with few or very small windows, swathing with drapery should be avoided since it produces a stuffy effect. Casement cloth, many of the heavy nets, and sunfast materials, cretonnes, chintzes, and printed linens are very effective when used as single hangings. It is sometimes necessary to think of curtains as screens to shut out the public or a disagreeable view. Curtains may be so chosen as to perform this service and yet admit light. Sash curtains hung across the lower half of the window are the most natural answer to this problem. They are often useful in a bathroom or kitchen.
Two sets of curtains are sometimes required for practical or decorative reasons. For example, in windows near a street, one set of curtains may shut out the gaze of passers-by while admitting the light, and the other serve as a screen in the evening and a decorative note at all times. In recessed windows, such as are found in brick or stone houses, or in a bay window or a group of windows, thin curtains may be used next the glass, and heavier draperies harmoniously related to the side wall may be hung on the trim and drawn to shut off the recess or the whole window group when desired.
If two sets of curtains are used, one pair is hung next the glass. These are called glass, or sometimes sash, curtains. As the function of these is to cut out the view but admit the light, they should be of thin material, such as net, plain lace, scrim, gauze, thin silk, mercerized cotton, sunfast fabric, or casement cloth. Such an inner curtain should be consistent in texture with the outer drapery; for example, with velvet or silk or any rich material, net of good quality or possibly marquisette is a good choice. With linen or cretonne, scrim is better. With cretonne or similar patterned hangings, the inner curtains should match the ground in tone; white, if the ground is white, cream or ecru if the ground is of that color; otherwise, one is likely to look faded or discolored. In thin materials, too coarse a mesh should be avoided on account of shrinking; an even weave is more easily made up and hangs better. These glass curtains soften the glare and are a protection for the heavier window draperies. They are always in evidence on the outside of a house and should be selected with this in mind. If all the glass curtains in the house are alike, or if in the city those in the front of the house are alike, a pleasing unity of effect from the outside is conserved.
The over, or outer, pair of curtains which is in more direct relation with the walls of the room may be made of any of the heavy materials already mentioned. This over-drapery may be used to regulate the light during the day, and, by shutting out the outside world, to give an effect of intimacy at night. At any time it may furnish a decorative note in the room.