If done properly, window treatments can become the highlight of your Victorian home. Read on to learn how to determine what kind of fabrics and styles will work best as window treatments in your home.
The Victorian era was all about opulence and, in many ways, over doing and over stating. Layers of luscious fabrics were used in various fabrics. The thought was to present yourself as wealthy and of means in the community. Your drapery treatments should be of opulent fabrics such as velvets, satin, silk and laces, very often used together. It was not uncommon to have lace underpanels covered by heavy velvet draperies trimmed in satin or silk and tied back with silk ropes. Luckily, these fabrics are now available in washable varieties that can be easily cleaned by machine instead of dry cleaning or just leaving them to hang and dusting them as the Victorians did.
Patterned fabrics were used mostly in dining areas and less formal rooms. Plain fabrics or fabrics that were all one color with a high low weave in a pattern were popular in formal parlors and sitting rooms.
Think opulence and wealth when designing your window treatments. Draperies were usually hung from ceiling to floor in Victorian homes and sometimes the fabric was even pooled on the floor beneath the window in a very dramatic fashion. Draperies generally were tied back during the daytime to allow in air and light with cords then untied for privacy at night. The panels were long and straight with a tall header that stood up above the rod to form a ruffle of sorts. Sometimes a topper or valance was added over these panels.
Another popular style during the Victorian era was Roman or balloon shades of gathered fabric that formed poofs. These were usually made of lace or thinner silks and satins. These could be raised and lowered like window shades and were either used alone or underneath draperies. Lace was generally imported from Ireland and France and was considered to be a luxury so its use was limited to rooms where it could be seen.
Victorians liked color, especially deep colors such as kelly green, ruby, gold, purple and black. Since oriental style carpets were used a lot in Victorian homes, you can use your favorite carpet to choose colors for your window treatments. Victorians liked to mix patterns in rooms and imports from the oriental traders were very important to the upper society, so think along those lines with your entire decor.
With our modern technologies we can decorate and add window treatments to our Victorian home without having to worry about dark or deep colors fading or the sun rotting them. Most of our fabrics, even the most opulent, are washable and very durable yet have the look of posh velvets and satins. Lace is plentiful for us so we aren't limited in its use. Since most of us have air conditioning we don't have to be concerned about being able to open and close the curtains to let in light and air.