By Sandy Powell
Window treatments can be one of the most significant design elements in a room making the design process a bit overwhelming. Window treatments can become the focal point of the room if you choose color, contrast, large fabric patterns, layers of fabric, or large-scale fabric treatments. So the choice of a fabric pattern can impact the final outcome of the room.
As a comparison, drapery panels that have little pattern and match the wall color will fade into the background. These draperies will appear muted and not provide much contrast. This effect is desired if you already have strong design elements in the room or desire a "calm" effect.
Drapery panels with a large pattern and contrasting colors will become a stronger design element. Using large fabric patterns requires special considerations; do you have competing fabric patterns already in use in the room (upholstery, bedding, etc.)? Large fabric patterns work best with smaller, coordinating patterns. As an example, using a large 20" traditional pattern for the draperies will coordinate nicely with stripes, solids, smaller diamond patterns, or small 1" patterns. Some of the smaller 1" patterns available on the market today have been designed to coordinate well with other patterns. They appear to be a two-tone solid from a distance while adding a texture-effect to the room.
Larger patterns work well on drapery panels since the panels are large in size. Comparatively, larger patterns do not always work as well on smaller top treatments. Also large fabric patterns are more pronounced on flat treatments (flat valances) in contrast to drapery panels that offer a "peek-a-boo" effect with the pleated fabric. Larger fabric patterns that have low-contrast colors will have a more muted effect.
Working with a design-professional who has abundant experience with fabric patterns can offer practical guidance. Please take a look at my portfolio on my website to see some different window treatments and different fabrics: www.signaturedraperies.com
Sandy Powell is the owner of Signature Draperies & Design in Los Altos, CA.
Member: WCAA, WFCP, ASID