How Do I Choose a Drapery Style?

How Do I Choose a Drapery Style?

Window Treatments are the finishing touch to any room, and drapery panels can make the biggest impact.  Think of it as jewelry for your outfit.  So many ways to accessorize but regardless a must in completing the over-all look to a room.

In today’s post I’d like to talk with you about the different types of Drapery Styles.   Some people feel drapery panels might be too formal at first, but you can make it as casual or formal as you want just by choosing the style and fabric choice.  I have yet to have a client say, “it looks okay.”  It always “Wow” and they end up wanting to add them to other rooms.  I will go over a few and then let you know what my favorite window treatments are.



Drapery panels that have grommets are one of the more common drapery panels that are found in every box store out there.  Which is why I usually don’t specify this type.  Why?  Well, I like my clients to have a more custom look.  However, at times when I have a client that is very casual and prefers grommets, I will give them what they want.  Remember, it’s about what our clients like, not what we want as designers.

I start by asking my client what her favorite colors are.  One particular client wasn’t sure, then I asked what colors she loved to wear.  That’s usually a good indicator of what makes my clients feel good, and that’s what we want in their space.  I asked her to pull out a few of her favorite tops and take a picture.  She had blues, greens, and a burgundy.  So, I used the blues and greens she liked based on her family and then came up with this selection of fabrics.  This was an out of town client, but it was very easy for me to send her the samples so she can feel comfortable in her choice.

She loved it!  The colors were perfect, and she liked the whimsical fabric without it being too floral or feminine.  She wanted her husband and son to also enjoy the space.  We decided to make the drapery panels functional with black out fabric for when they were watching movies.  However, they have a beautiful view, so we also took the mini blinds off completely (thank goodness!), giving them the fantastic view when the drapes were open.  As I stated in my last blog post… I will never source mini blinds… so don’t ask (smiling pleasantly).

Photo Credit: Katelyn Howerton

As you can see, even though we used grommets, we were able to give our clients a custom look.  We also gave her a custom rod so that the grommets would not catch on your typical store-bought telescoping rod, a common problem with grommets.  When its custom made, the rod is built for your size window, so you don’t run into that problem.

Quick tip:  If you have a telescoping rod and your grommets keep getting caught, cut a long metal tape measure the length of your rod and mount to the top of your rod with glue (Gorilla super glue works great!).  If you’re measuring tape is a different color, just spray paint it.  It will be at the top of your rod, so not very noticeable from eye level.  When finished, you will then have a smooth track for the grommets to slide across.

3 Finger Pinch Pleat


Unlike the Grommet, the 3-Finger Pinch Pleat is a more formal look and what a lot of people think of when they think of drapery, often thinking of their grandmother’s drapes with big bold floral prints in velvet.  Did I just date myself?  Okay, moving on. This is a more tailored look and something I might use in a space that calls for more drama.  However, the fabric you choose will dictate how formal this look will be.

3 Finger Euro Pleat


If the pleat is gathered at the very top it’s considered a Euro Pleat.  This is a more casual feel than the previous one, but again, depending on your fabric selection can be less or more casual.  Both types of Pleats can be a 3 Finger or 2 Finger… which brings us to my favorite.

2 Finger Euro Pleat


I like using the 2 Finger Euro Pleat because it gives my clients that custom look but still casual enough to make it feel comfortable.  Again, depending on the type of fabric you use you can dress it up or down based on the design of the room.  Below is the drapery panel that’s in my studio using the 2 Finger Euro Pleat.

Fabric for drape panels is from the Hampstead Collection by Ashley Wilde Designs.

My studio has a more casual feel as you can see above.  However, my client’s room has a little bit more formal feel and all we did was change the fabric and added a more traditional finial to the rod, instead of the french return I used in my studio.  It’s still using the same 2 Finger Euro Pleat, but by making a few adjustments it gives a more formal feel.

Fabric for drape panels is from the Hampstead Collection by Ashley Wilde Designs

The fabric you choose is important.  For window treatments natural fibers are best from a fabrication standpoint because of the ease of sewing, easy to train, and does not stretch (except for linen).  The drawback to natural fibers, however, is it’s susceptible to fading from the sunlight.  Here in Arizona we have a lot of sunlight, so your drape panels will fade if precautions are not taken.  Therefore, all the drapes I have designed have blackout liners.  This helps slow down the fading process, reduces the heat coming in, and prevents the pattern showing to the outside world.  The liner also helps you to see the pattern beautifully.  When choosing a fabric look at natural fibers with some man-made fibers added.

Rod Pocket


One of the more casual and simpler drape panels is the Rod Pocket.  You can use these when layering window coverings.  A soft sheer looks great on this rod behind a pleated or grommet panel.  Just keep in mind your rod pocket opening needs to be ½” larger than the rod circumference.  Typical Rod Pocket rod is 2” so the rod pocket opening needs to be 2 1/2”.


I’ve only touched on some of the drapery styles.  There are so many more, and with each design I consider all styles to make sure it’s the right fit for my client, in functionality and style.  But, for the sake of time, I’ve gone over the more common ones.  We have more to cover on window treatments so please come back for our next post, the different types of Roman Shades and why custom made window treatments will give you the best bang for your buck.  Did you miss Part 1?  No worries, go here.

Photo Credit: @earlymorninglightstudio

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