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Tips for Choosing Your Custom Drapes

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Drapes, sometimes called shutters or sheers, are decorative window coverings intended for windows. They usually have a flat top or a slat that can be lifted and lowered to change the way the drapes open and close. A curtain, like a blind, is a horizontal piece of fabric meant to block or limit light, or draft, or water from entering a room. A curtain is the movable or semi-transparent screen or drape in a movie theater which separates the viewing area from the theater floor or which serves as a background/foreground on the stage.

Curtains and blinds are similar, but they differ primarily in the fabric used, style, and mechanism. Curtains are often referred to as horizontal blinds, while blinds are more commonly known as vertical blinds. A curtain may contain a variety of sheers of fabric that have been woven together, or they may be composed of several layers of thin fabric covered by a thick backing. For smaller windows, slats or louvers are sometimes used instead of actual curtains.

Curtains are generally drawn up into a fan-style, with each slat of fabric on one side blocking light as it passes through, and one side allowing light to come in. The actual design and function of the fabric are only secondary, since the slats in the curtain panels are typically horizontal. The slats may be made of fabric covered with a plastic laminate, wood grain, or metal braid, with each having different properties. Many blinds are comprised of several separate slats, but most of the larger window treatments consist of just one set of slats on one side of the blind. These slats are usually located near the top or bottom edge of the window covering, with the open spaces at the top or bottom of the blinds acting as a gap. In the case of curtain panels, the open spaces are on one side of the panels, and the slats on that side are designed to overlap each other to provide privacy.

The slats are usually held in place with a dowel, by tucking the cloth right between the slats. If there are no eyelets near the top or bottom of the window treatments, then hooks or valances may be used instead. In the case of fabric panels, blinds, or curtain panels, the slats are arranged vertically, while the fabric panels are designed to overlap horizontally. Horizontal slats, as well as vertical ones, can be found in roller, halo, and ogee styles, with the latter two designs featuring a wire frame that runs across the top of the slats to provide more privacy.

Prices for drapes typically range from one hundred dollars to five hundred dollars, with higher quality fabrics costing even more. Some of the higher end fabric choices include velvet, satin, and chenille. These fabrics offer a more elegant, elaborate look to formal window treatments than many other options, and are often used in very large, cathedral-style buildings and very formal living rooms. Fabric choices for this type of room are very important, so it is critical to find the right one. This is not the time to settle for less.

Because these window treatments are custom made, the amount of fabric that can be used is limited only by your imagination and budget. Because there are no standard measurements, you will want to make sure to get a few different quotes so that you can have a good idea of how much this type of treatment will cost. In addition to light control, privacy, and decorative aspects, you also need to decide if you would like additional draperies or valances. These will obviously increase the price. Regardless of your final decision, remember that the drapes you choose will define the exterior of your home, so choose carefully.

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