Ask the Pros: Draperies

Interior designer Anne McDonald, founder and principal designer of Anne McDonald Design, answers the question, “How does drapery contribute to the feel of a space?”

Photo courtesy of Anne McDonald Design

Many homeowners perceive draperies as luxuries, or unneeded additions for a space. Many designers, however, know the value of them and advocate for their inclusion in home design. “To me, draperies are a very important vertical element of a room,” says Anne McDonald, founder and principal designer of Anne McDonald Design.

While architecture offers a more masculine way to think about vertical space, “the drapes add softness and balance,” she explains. In fact, these seemingly simple fabric panels are able to transform the ambience of any space. Beyond the practical functions of light control and privacy, the selection of color, pattern, and fabric can significantly affect the overall aesthetic of a room. The way they’re hung also affects their visual appeal, whether puddled on the floor for a relaxed, romantic feel or tailored for a more contemporary look.

But the investment in quality draperies does not boil down to only aesthetics. One common misconception of drapes is that they are designed to obscure natural light. However, in many instances, they can effortlessly frame windows and control the mood of a space. McDonald notes that “many people think [drapery] covers up light, but it’s actually pulling your eye toward it.”

Photo by Taylor Hall O'Brien; Styling by Liz Gardner

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