Here are some tips to make sure your curtain proportions are always appropriate:

  • Even the simplest treatment needs the correct proportions. Most fabrics come in 54-inch widths. Once that fabric is hemmed and shirred or pleated, you end up with about 18 inches of width, which is just not enough fullness for any but the smallest window, so buy at least one and a half widths for the proportions to be right.
  • Most decorator fabrics are dry clean only, and even then you must be very careful, as the linings might disintegrate from sun exposure. Frequent, careful vacuuming is all they need.
  • Getting tieback placement right is also a matter of proportion, as is the size of the tieback itself. The tieback should not be placed in the middle of the panel, because it cuts the panel in half. Rather, the tieback should be placed at either the one-third or two-third point on the panel (somewhat above or below center).
  • When you add a shade or a valance to panels, the relationship between those elements is also a matter of proportion. The size of the window and where the panels are hung (at the ceiling, slightly above the window frame or inside the window) affect the length of the accompanying shade.