Windows must be curtained with relation to their shape and position and the nature of the room. The lower floor of the house, being naturally the heavier, can be curtained in a statelier manner than the lighter upper story. Here is the proper place for our handsome curtains of Irish point and other appliques of muslin or lace on net, and of scrim with insertions and edges of Renaissance, Cluny, and other laces. These curtains are manufactured in three shades - dark cream or ecru, light ivory, and pure white, the ivory being the richest and most desirable - and in simple, inexpensive designs as well as those costly and elaborate, and usually run about 50, 54, and 60 inches wide, and 3 1/2 yards long. The applique curtain wears better in an elaborate all-over design which holds the net together and gives it body, cheaper designs which can be had as low as $8 being coarser in quality and pattern. Nottingham curtains must be discredited among other imitations; they are well-meaning but both tasteless and cheaply ostentatious. Lace curtains are rarely draped, but hang in straight simplicity, most of the fullness being arranged in the body that the border design may not be lost in the folds. They are shirred with an inch heading on rods fastened outside of the window casing over which they extend, and care must be taken, if the pattern is prominent, that corresponding figures hang opposite each other. The double hem at the top is nearly twice the diameter of the pole, with the extra length turned over next to the window, the curtains, when hung, clearing the floor about 2 inches. They usually stretch down another inch, which brings them to just the right length. There is no between length in curtains; they must be either sill or floor length. Over curtains may or may not be used with the lace curtains. They are not necessary but have a certain decorative value, particularly in a large room. Raw silk, 30 inches wide, and costing from $0.75 to $1.50 a yard, is the only fabric sold now for this purpose for drawing-room use. The inner curtains may be simply side curtains, or made with a valance as well, and hang from a separate pole to obscure the top of the casement and just escape the floor, covering the outside edges of the lace curtains without concealing their borders. The over curtain should reproduce the coloring of the side wall and ceiling in a shade between the two in density, but if just the right tint cannot be caught, recourse to some soft, harmonious neutral tint will be necessary. Lining is not used unless there is an objection to the colored curtain showing from the street, when the lining silk or sateen must be of the shade of the lace curtain.
Almost any sort of pretty net or scrim curtain is appropriate for the downstairs windows, with a preference in favor of the more dignified lace in the drawing-room. With the other rooms we can take more liberty. The ruffled curtain is sash length and looped with a band of the same, or with a white cotton cord and tassel at the middle sash if the window be short, otherwise midway between it and the sill. There are fine fish nets, or tulle de Cadiz, 45, 50, and 60 inches wide at 50 cents a yard, which make charming living- or dining-room curtains, edged on three sides with the new 3/4-inch fringe or fancy edge, at 5 and 10 cents a yard, which comes for that purpose; and madras, plain or figured, is also good, a pretty combination being the fish net with colored madras over curtain. Eaw-silk curtains are in use, too, but anything which stands too much between the home dwellers and the air and light is best avoided. Silk curtains are usually trimmed with a brush edge. Glass curtains are only necessary as a screen or to soften the harsh outline of a heavy curtain, and must be as transparent and inconspicuous as possible, the right side toward the glass. They are sill length, shirred to a small brass rod set inside the casing, and draped if the over curtain hangs straight, to maintain a balance. Those used on windows visible at once from the same quarter must be alike. The lace panels with a center design which we sometimes see in windows, but more frequently in doors, are too severe to be either graceful or ornamental. The vestibule door is best treated to correspond with the drawing-room windows, with an additional silk curtain to be drawn at night; or the silk curtain harmonizing with the woodwork of the hall may be used alone.
The curtaining of bedroom windows has already been discussed at some length. Swisses, dimities, figured muslins, and madras, either alone or supplemented by a valance, an over curtain, or both, of madras, chintz or cretonne, are preeminently the bedroom curtains, and may either be draped or hang straight, depending somewhat on the shape of the window. The long, narrow window needs the broadening effect of the draped curtain, the illusion of width being further increased by extending the curtain out to cover the casement, while the straight-hanging curtain gives additional length to the short window. Frilled curtains are usually looped, and seemingly increase the size of the room by enlarging the area of vision. An extra allowance of 6 inches is made for draping, with an additional inch or two for shrinkage. The charm of simplicity is always to be borne in mind when curtaining a room.