Retaining Purpose And Enhancing Decorative Value. Length And Arrangement Of Curtains. Valances. Materials And Employment. Coloured Sash Curtains. Overcurtains. Unhackneyed Effects. Fixtures. Door-Hangings.

THE windows in many abodes suggest that the householder has forgotten that their primary purpose is the admission of light and air. To be sure there are seasons when the latter is needed but sufficiently for ventilation, and many times when we may have too much sunlight: it is for the modification of light that window hangings have been devised. It is also but right to remember that nothing gives so bare and desolate an appearance to a room as an undraped window, and that upon the quality and quantity of admitted light much of its charm depends. The two necessities of light and ventilation on the one hand and modification and decoration on the other will not be found conflicting if we proceed with proper information and judgment. Beginning with the simpler treatments we shall find before we have finished that many things may be done to give special interest.

The most generally sensible treatment for the usual double-sash window is that of simple curtains of white or ivory white on rings, suspended from a simple brass rod. Traverse rings and cord will be found a great convenience. When it is desired that the window be entirely unobstructed for light, for air, or for cleaning, the curtains may be drawn fully back at the sides and secured by simple cords to knobs or catches.

To the above may be added, if desired, one-sash curtains of the same material or of thin silk, suspended on rings from a brass rod attached in this case to the upper part of the lower sash. The long side-curtains may then be left undrawn, and, if the shade is pulled half way down, the room is in the daytime obscured from outside view.

For the sake of privacy when the lights are lighted and also for the tempering of glare by day it is necessary that further obstruction be provided; either in the form of blinds or shades, or heavy inside curtains which may be drawn across the windows.

The good old Venetian blind is unsurpassed and adds to the advantage of shades that of admitting more air. It may be painted any tint to agree with its surroundings. If shades are used they should be heavy and opaque. White or light tints are certainly best with white curtains. The idea of the two-colour shade - white within and dark outside - is good as the opacity is increased, but the green outside usually seen does not properly accompany exterior architecture. Perhaps other shades and colours may be secured.

If coloured curtains are added to the shade and long curtains of white, the one-sash curtains had better be omitted, as the long white curtains may then continuously be drawn across the window. Decorators sometimes employ two or three sets of sash curtains of gauze for the tempering of light to the exact tone they desire, but one curtain of silk can usually be secured of a shade which accomplishes this result. A voluminous and "befrazzling" window "dressing" - we might then call it - is too apt to remind one of the maze of lingerie, silk and furbelows with which women of a former time (not now!) felt compelled to bedeck their persons. Nevertheless, sometimes a shimmering effect is desirable and this can be achieved by the use of double gauze curtains of different shades, such as rose and aquamarine, blue and silver-grey, etc.

Our own feeling is that in simple and small rooms and especially in bedrooms, the simplest arrangement is the very best, while other rooms of a more ornamental character may well be more elaborately treated.

When shades or blinds are used heavy curtains are no longer a necessity (the pulling down of the shades totally excluding the view from outside) so that we are free to choose medium or light-weight fabrics, as, frequently, we may prefer.

Sash curtains, whether of white goods or casement cloth or silk, may be arranged in two tiers - one for each sash - so that the upper set may remain closed to modify light and the lower set be drawn back to admit it (Plate 82 A).