November 22, 2017
When it’s time to have a new window treatment installed, many homeowners will gravitate toward fabrics in shades of brown, black, and white. These neutral tones coordinate well with nearly everything, which means that there’s little risk of the new drapery clashing with furniture or being an eyesore. But while neutrals are the safe option, it’s hard to deny that they can also be a bit plain—perhaps even dull.
If beige has got you feeling blue, then the solution may be to integrate real color into your drapes. Doing so isn’t as tricky as many folks assume, and the end result is often something beautiful and truly unique!
You don’t have to be an artist or an expert on color theory to know that some shades are easier on the eyes than others. Even people who absolutely love bright red, yellow, or orange may find them extremely overbearing in large amounts. Though they radiate energy and enthusiasm, they also tend to insist upon themselves and steal attention away from everything else in the room. So unless you want to spend a lot of time squinting at the new window treatment instead of enjoying it, these colors shouldn’t dominate your design. On the other hand, blue, purple, and green tend to give off a calmer vibe and invite observers to relax. Large amounts of these hues are a little easier for our eyes to “swallow!”
That’s not to say that red, orange, and yellow should never be used in window treatments—life would be pretty boring if people only decorated with cool colors and neutrals, and an overabundance of deep purple, blue, and green can actually make a room seem cold or uninviting. It’s all about balance.
As you’re picking a visual scheme for your drapery, one of the first things you’ll have to decide is whether you want to go with strong, dramatic hues or soft, desaturated pastels. Saying that you want “blue” drapes is one thing; picking the right shade of blue from dozens (or even hundreds) of options is another matter entirely.
Though design trends (including popular color choices) come and go, the “correct” option will really depend upon the shape of the room, the style of drapery you’re planning to have installed, and the mood you want for the space to suggest. A good rule of thumb is to remember that opposites attract. Too many bold colors in an enclosed area can make the space feel cluttered or even suffocating. Too many pastels, on the other hand, can lead to a washed-out appearance and evoke a sense of drabness.
Once again, it’s really all about balance. Just as drapery professionals will use fabrics of different weights and textures to create a visually interesting display, the colors of your window treatment can provide striking—but not eye-searing—contrast with the rest of the room. Areas full of pastels and neutrals might benefit from a “pop” of bold color in the drapery, while rooms with dramatically painted walls or upholstered furniture can use pastel drapes as a way to tone things down a bit.
One of the biggest interior design mistakes that a person can make is to zero in on a single aspect (in this case, the window treatment) and forget about the room as a whole. Doing so is an almost surefire way to create a disaster of clashing hues, fabrics, and patterns! Not everything has to match exactly; the space won’t necessarily be “ruined” if you have an emerald green chair in the same room as a mostly tea green window treatment. But if your couch is flame red and you install Celtic blue drapery, neither of them are going to look very good.
Unless you’re planning to buy all-new furniture or redecorate a room from the bottom up, it can help to look at your belongings for inspiration. For example, if you adore your lemon-yellow coffee maker, then consider using lemon-yellow as the accent color on the kitchen window treatment. If most of your living room furniture is stark white, then drapery in a playful shade of purple may bring a sense of creativity and warmth to the space. And if your daughter’s bedroom is a veritable rainbow of wall posters, toys, and art projects, then neutral-colored drapery could actually be exactly what the area needs to bring it all together!
There’s nothing “wrong” with picking a totally neutral window treatment; it’s entirely possible to create a beautiful display without dragging out a color wheel. However, you shouldn’t opt for a monochromatic project just because you’re afraid of the design challenges that color may pose. When assembled by a drapery professional, colorful window treatments will breathe new life into a space and give it a vibrant, lively appearance. White, black, and brown will pair well with almost anything, but orange or green might be much better for creating a room that’s truly “you!”