This section is from the book "Your Home And Its Decoration", by The Sherwin-Williams Company. See also: Nell Hill's Feather Your Nest: It's All in the Details.
After the backgrounds of walls and woodwork are properly established, the question of window treatment is of next importance. In rooms where such furniture will be introduced, the fabric selected for the draperies should be of silk or satin brocade, or similar material, and designed and hung with the period idea well in mind. The two designs shown here give suggestions which could be readily followed in the fitting of windows in rooms where the furnishing is after that of the time of Louis XV. or XVI. This question of correct period decoration and ornament will be considered at greater length in a later chapter.
For door curtains and upholstering purposes, wool tapestries of close, hard weave, reproducing many of the designs and colors of the old weavers, may be purchased at prices ranging from $4.50 a yard upward. These are fifty inches in width. The Verdue pattern is particularly adaptable to a variety of color schemes, as the boles of the trees show brown while the foliage in tones of olive to deep rich green and blue against a smoke-gray ground harmonizes with wall treatment in any one of these tones. This particular pattern is close and all over, retreating well into the fabric.
Another grade of tapestries, which are a mixture of cotton and wool, come in beautiful designs also. One, a reproduction of an old French pattern, shows a close conventionalized floral design of leaves and blossoms in tones of brown, dull red, olive, and old blue on a tan ground. This tapestry also lends itself to a variety of color schemes, and will be found effective as a covering for chairs, davenports, window-seats, etc.
Plate XLIV. Suggestions for Window Treatment Room Furnished After the Louis XVI. Period.
There are many designs suited to a variety of rooms which can be readily found in these fabrics. Although tapestries suggest rooms of dignified proportions with high wainscot of dark wood, it is possible and practical to use them successfully in very simple rooms, where their strength of color and fitness of design work well into the general scheme. In Colonial rooms these fabrics may also often be appropriately and effectively used.
The double-faced velour,which seems to have established itself in the minds of upholsterers as the one material to use for inexpensive door curtains, is not a bad choice if properly treated. Curtains of this fabric should be made simply, finished with a three-inch hem at the bottom, and run by a casing of the material at the top of sufficient depth to allow it to slip readily on the rod. The edges of the curtain may be finished by a narrow guimp or moss fringe, a quarter of an inch in width, exactly matching the curtains in color. The applique of galloon and many embroideries, which frequently find their way on such curtains, are usually misapplied, and should, as a rule, be avoided. This velour is fifty inches wide and runs in price from $2.75 a yard to $3.50, according to the quality.
This comes in a good range of colors, and often successfully fills all requirements.
Brunswick, cut velvet, figured and plain wool damasks, and arras cloth are all fabrics which lend themselves well to special decorative effects.
In rooms where old mahogany furniture is used against a low wainscot finished with ivory white enamel, the dull soft folds of velvet as door curtains, and as upholstery as well, fit perfectly into the picture - or the satin sheen of wool damask is suited to such rooms.
Plate XLV. Suggestions for Window Treatment in a Room Furnished After the Louis XV. Period.
Where Craftsman or Mission furniture is used these fabrics may also be introduced, but the coarsely-woven arras cloth treated with stencil borders is often preferred. This material sells for $1.25 a square yard.
A point for the amateur house decorator and furnisher to have well in mind in having her curtains made is that there should be no interlining. In this regard many upholsterers and decorators have held, and still hold, adverse opinions. When the question is raised, it is invariably met by the workman with the reply, "I have never made them without interlining," and, therefore, he feels he must, of necessity, go on interlining them to the end.
The stiff, stuffy effect that this interlining gives the curtains, however beautiful the fabric, is noticeable in many otherwise well-decorated and furnished rooms. The several thicknesses of foreign material which are introduced between the exterior sides of the curtains successfully does away with all softness of folds and beauty of outline. To hang the curtain properly is also important. There is now a decided tendency to discard the curtain ring so long considered a necessity. The effect of the fabric is greatly enhanced where it is run directly upon the rod, carrying thus the idea of a drapery thrown over the rod. When the curtain is allowed to hang softly (without interlining) the full beauty of the folds is obtained by using the casing, and there is no possibility of sagging. Plate XLVI shows the advantage of this method over that of using rings.
There is no single decorative feature of greater importance to the completed success of the interior of the house than the proper selection and placing of curtains for doors and windows.
Plate XLVI. Improper and Proper Way to Hang Door Curtains.
Rooms, otherwise perfect in detail, color, and furnishing, may be utterly spoiled by incorrect curtaining. More important than the fabric used for the curtains is the way they are made and hung.
The correct treatment for the side lights, transom, or squared or full-length glass of the front door, is often a difficult point to decide. Where the hall is not well lighted by other windows, net or some diaphanous material should be used.
If net curtains are used, they should be run upon small brass rods, one pair to the opening, allowing of slight fullness; they should exactly fill the space, or a flat, perfectly stretched piece of the net showing a central lace motif may be preferred. This must be fitted perfectly into the opening and well secured on upper and lower edges as well as on the two sides. This same treatment may be used for full-length glass, with the slight change of fastening the lower edge of the curtains by running them also on a rod.
If there are side-lights, they should be covered with the net or thin material, held by a rod at top and bottom, allowing slight fullness.
If the transom is fan shaped, the suggestions made for the circular window may be followed.
Where the hall is well lighted, thin crinkled silk or raw silk, in color harmonizing with the treatment of the hall, may be used. The over-draperies at the hall windows to be of the same silk.
Cheese cloth at five cents a yard, or any other inexpensive material, will give better and much more artistic efFects, properly made and hung, than the elaborate lace curtains favored almost exclusively a few years ago, and used entirely without regard to the type of the room in which they were placed. These, fortunately, have been relegated to the past in most modern homes, and where lace or net curtains are to be used, they are made to exactly fit the window, that is, reaching to the sill and run by a casing at the top on a small brass rod set next the glass.
We have endeavored, in this brief chapter, to give suggestions which may be utilized in houses of various types. As a final word, we would add that in the windows of most interiors the best effects are obtained by hanging curtains which reach only to the sill, these to hang straight or be draped back, as best suit the tastes of the occupants. There are, of course, exceptions where it is necessary to treat windows with full-length curtains, that is, curtains extending to the floor line, as in the illustrations Plates XLIII, XLIV, XLV.
PLATE E. Hand-woven Rag Rugs in Colors Harmonizing with the General Schemes are Used in the Various Chambers See Specifications, Chapter XXI (The Importance Of Working Specifications).