While some might call it a lost art, Linda Harmon, owner of Design Studio 407, says drapery is back in fashion, and more functional than ever.
Drapery is one of the oldest practices in interior design.
“It’s kind of a lost art,” Harmon said. “There are not as many people doing draperies, but I see draperies really coming back again.”
Harmon is an expert in drapery. She has worked with drapery in New Orleans, Buffalo and San Antonio, where she lived for 20 years before returning to Marion a little more than a year ago.
Aesthetic appeal, containing heat, cooling, and sound and light control are some of the reasons to consider adding drapery to a home.
In Harmon’s process, the first step in decorating with drapery is figuring out what the functional needs are.
“It’s not always just about the beauty. They have to function,” Harmon said. “The first thing we always do is find out what the needs are and try to meet those needs beautifully.”
Drapery can be used to highlight architectural details in a home, accentuating the height of a room, or softening the space, Harmon said.
With the decrease in the use of carpet and the increase in open spaces, homes have become noisier than ever.
“Open space homes are great until someone turns on a faucet while someone is watching TV,” Linda said. “These noises we would not have heard when homes were more compartmentalized.”
Drapery can be used to keep both heat and cold in a home, depending on the need.
“I spent the last 20 years in Texas where heat and glare was our biggest enemy,” Harmon said. “So (in Indiana), it’s not quite that, but we want to keep the heat in our homes when it is cold.”
Drapery can help those who live in the city with light and sound from busy streets, as well as protect furniture from fading from sun damage, Harmon said.
Once homeowners identify the needs in their homes, then Harmon will begin to look at fabrics and design.
“So then I have a list of what I need (the drapery) to achieve, what look do we want,” Harmon said. “It’s a marriage of those things.”
The act of designing drapery is more complicated than merely picking fabric or color; there’s an art to it, Harmon said.
“The little details, how you pleat the top of the drapery is either going to hang very tailored and sleek or very romantic and ball gown looking,” she said. “If a tie back is placed low on a window, it gives one look when it is placed high on a window it gives a completely different emotional feeling when you’re looking at it.”
Harmon said she sometimes mixes fabrics and patterns to add a dynamic twist to the design.
The process of creating drapery is lengthy and may take up to 8 weeks if done well, Harmon said.
But once the drapery is hung, the work is not done.
Keeping the finished product well maintained is essential to the longevity of the drapery. Harmon suggests keeping the fabric dusted and vacuumed.
“Pets and smoking are the enemies of cleaning draperies,” she said. “However, most of the fabrics available contain man-made materials or coatings that help keep dirt off.
Harmon said she believes drapery can be pricey, but the investment will pay off in the long run.
“Doing drapery is one of the most expensive things you can do for your home, but they can solve a lot of issues and highlight a lot of features,” she said. “It’s well worth it.”
However, Harmon said window treatments can be affordable and still meet the needs of a home.
“There are ways of solving every problem in any price range. It’s just finding them,” she said. “We do everything from a simple wood blind to full draperies, so there is a product to meet everyone’s needs.”
Window treatments, however costly, can effectively and efficiently change the way a home feels.
“Drapery can make a home can go from feeling very cold and empty to all of a sudden sound is different, music is different, and it’s just a pleasant environment to be around,” Harmon said.