The Different Faces of Color
Color selection can psychologically warm up or cool down an interior.
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When considering the right fabric treatment for your windows, several elements should be weighed. Let's start with color, as this is the most prominent aspect you will notice when viewing the completed window treatment.
When purchasing a sheer fabric for your window, be aware that the color you select will wash the room in that hue when the sun shines through it. That can be very good or very bad, depending on your color choice and its compatibility with the rest of the room. A sheer material will be fabricated into a three-to-one fullness, which will intensify the color. A small swatch on the sample board might look soft and innocent, but gathered to triple fullness, and strewn across the entire window, will intensify the value of its hue, possibly creating a monster. A larger sample of the sheer fabric should be ordered before buying the bolt because here again, a small swatch of what appears to be pink might actually be peachy. Blues may vary greatly from the small sample to the larger one. Caveat emptor! 'Nuff said?
More on color: The color selection can psychologically warm up or cool down an interior. This is a great design tool. Consider what the temperature of the room is as well as the climate desired for the particular use of the room. Let's say blue is your favorite color. Do you want a cool yet intense room? Perhaps an electric blue will be a wise choice. If subdued sophistication is your preference, try a navy blue. If your mood tends to be geared towards the country look, then Wedgwood blue will fit the bill.
The value of color in the room through the use of draperies can be altered with a layered look. An over drapery of a darker fabric creates deep, dramatic color in the room when closed, while an under drapery of lighter value will decorate the room in another color or shade when it is drawn with the over drapery open. Oh, color, you have so many faces.
The clean-ability of the fabric should be considered if you intend to wash or dry clean the drapes periodically. Some fabrics are easily cleaned while others may shrink, discolor or loose their strength. Check the contents of the fabric and the cleaning recommendations.
If a great amount of sun hits the fabric, you need to concern yourself with the colorfastness of the material. Some fibers such as synthetics withstand intense heat and light well, while others such as real silk, wilt and fade away at the slightest provocation. Here again, the contents should be a good indicator of the stability of the fabric.
Some yarns such as pure cotton might stretch with gravity because of their heaviness and bulkiness. Be sure you don't end up with a heavy open weave drapery that looks great the day it is hung, but seems to grow daily until you have puddles of fabric on the floor from a window treatment that has stretched so long it qualifies for the NBA.
The drape-ability of a fabric is important too. Light to medium weight fabrics work best. Too soft of a fabric, though, will hand limply and without body. A very stiff fabric, such as linen, will not hang gracefully as a drape but is an excellent choice for a flat treatment such as a roman valance.
Common sense reigns here, and don't forget the subtleties of color and fabric weight as they will make a big difference in your finished product.
Rosemary Sadez Friedmann, an interior designer in Naples, Fla., is author of Mystery of Color. Distributed by Scripps Howard News Service.
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