Jan 9, 2012

Draping the Walls

As some of you may know (and if not - Really, where have you been??) that today is the launch of a 2 week Curtain Marathon on the blog.

I hope to be able to cover every aspect of Drapery & Curtains styles, some inspired by the past; different uses for them; all the details and trimmings that make them unique; windows that pose a challenge; romans & blinds.... and much, MUCH, more.

Then, this Friday January 13th, Dec-a-Porter's first ever Giveaway challenge begins. With 2 fantastic prizes graciously being provided by The Curtain Exchange ~ and specifically the New Jersey and Westchester locations, so I promise you will not want to miss it!


But how to begin?

I was inspired by the HBO mini series, Mildred Pierce which reminded of how draperies and fabric panels were used as wall treatments..even in situations where there was no window at all. 

Mildred Pierce via HBO

Curtain/Drapery treatments today, have many functions:
  1. To Provide Privacy
  2. Energy Conservation
  3. Light Control
  4. View Enhancement/Repair (creating false symmetry, diffusing the unpleasing view, framing the windows, etc)
  5. Noise Control
  6. Decorative (Bed canopies, doorways, wall coverings, etc)
So that's where I am going to start, with "Draping the Walls".

There are so many details that must be considered when defining the style and materials used in every window treatment, and they are in a constant subject to change with the Trends, Culture & Location of the space.

Napoleon's Bedroom (Chateau Malmaison) / Kelly Hoppen

Wall drapery has been used in the most classical of settings as well as the most contemporary. Whether framing an entrance or passageway, or creating symmetry where otherwise it would not exist.

Queen Hortense's Tented Boudoir Paris 1811

Fabric panels and draped walls can achieve amazing results, such as in this example below.
These very small windows above the bed if not for this treatment, would seem to small and completely out of proportion in this room.

Now, they have been framed and centered within the layout, while adding a sense style and drama.

Pinterest / Richard Holley

Draping the walls with fabric can be very useful in bedrooms in order to help frame a bed within the space, especially in situations where the bed needs to be up against a window, or against a wall where the symmetry has been lost.

This creates a strong visual impact while simultaneously remaining functional.


Another more modern version is a layering of panels, such as in this bedroom below, which creates a backdrop to the bed frame itself, almost like a Tapestry in a classical setting would have been used.

via Elle Decor

Walls created by drapery can be very useful in wide open spaces. If there is a need to create a sense of enclosure and privacy, this can be achieved very successfully through the use of fabric in this way. Not only does it have an outstanding visual impact, it will help with noise control as well as energy conservation in such open/loft like spaces.

Jay Jeffers - Office

Christian Liagre

By washing the walls with draping fabric with a contrasting color ... or all in white, neutrals or sheers...

This adds to the overall comfort & ambiance of room, in a way that no other material can.

Elle Decor /

Blue Door @ Delano

and sometimes, these panels are meant to simply represent walls, like in the Blue Door from The Delano Hotel Restaurant or  from one of my favorite entrances from the Shore Club Hotel both Phillipe Stark design.

Shore Club Hotel

So tomorrow  continues the Curtain Marathon by taking a look back at some Classical Styles in drapery and how we have adapted them to our design aesthetic today.

So much more this week on the blog before Friday's launch of the Giveaway, so stay tuned!


  1. Lots of great curtain examples! I look forward to your series.

  2. I'm excited for your series on window treatments, my favorite subject !

  3. Great post Jennifer! Love the lux/lush pics!

  4. Dear Jennifer:

    I can't thank you enough for the time you've dedicated to the kick off post in this series for my company's client, The Curtain Exchange (@TheCurtainExch)and their sponsoring store locations: @CurtainExch_NJ,and @CurtainWest of Westchester, NY.

    You have done an amazing job and I sincerely appreciate it. Not only will our client be assisted, Jennifer, but, really, so will designers worldwide as they learn from you over the next two weeks. I can't wait to meet you in real life at the Design Bloggers Conference in LA at the end of next month.

    Have a wonderful day!

    Warmest Regards,

    Leslie Carothers, CEO of The Kaleidoscope Partnership @tkpleslie on Twitter.

  5. Can't wait for another post! xo Irma

  6. Jennifer,
    I really enjoyed this post. You have some great photos.I love using fabrics in unusual ways!

  7. I have to say that the information here was the most complete that I found anywhere. It is very fascinating, You’re a very professional blogger. I can’t wait to read more from you.

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