Combine several coordinated prints in French Country-style rooms

French Country Window Treatments

by D Ann Kross

French Country is a lifestyle choice as much as a beloved design style that celebrates the details. Appearance is never sacrificed for the sake of comfort, as evidenced by French Country furnishings that include button-tufting and corded edges in kid-friendly prints. Window treatments with French Country style follow suit with details that include puddled hems, ruffles, fringes, tassels and trimmings on familiar traditional styles, such as rod-pocket curtains.

1. Layers Upon Layers

Layered window treatments adapt well to French Country style. Diffuse outside light with delicate lace sheers and include an inside-mounted roller shade in a neutral color beneath, if extra light or privacy control are required. Complete the treatment with a decorative shirred valance, mounted on either a board or with a drapery rod, in an all-over floral print, and include side-gathered jabots to soften the outside window edges. Add pleated ruffles or tasseled fringe to valance edges. For a stand-alone inside window treatment, consider the softening influences of an operable box-pleated or gathered balloon shade with corded embellishments, such as bullion fringe, along the bottom edges for a romantic and practical window treatment. Remember to install with a cord system out of reach of children.

2. Prints and More Prints

Large floral prints, paisley designs, stripes and monochromatic scenic toile fabrics are all good choices for French Country window treatment styles. Textured fabrics, such as boucle, damask and brocade, work well in formal areas and for bedroom window treatments such as board-mounted swags and cascades. Silk tapestries and toiles that feature French countryside scenes provide a stunning finish for a scallop-edged, padded cornice or board-mounted, soft-fold swag valance. Generous use of lacy eyelet cotton or simple batiste sheers beneath an embellished window treatment softens the frame. Off-white and cream shades are preferred over pure white sheers.

3. Transform What You've Got

It only requires a little imagination and some basic sewing skills to transform an ordinary window treatment into a French Country original. Sew ruffles along the inside edges and hemline of ready-made drapery panels for instant French Country style. Busy moms can shop for ready-made ruffles at local fabric stores to streamline the task. Turn an ordinary sheer panel into a soft, billowy balloon valance by attaching a square grid of plastic rings evenly across the back. Thread nylon cord through each vertical row to draw up the fullness evenly across and tie loose knots at the bottom to adjust the desired height. Trim excess cording lengths and tuck ends to the back of the valance to keep them out of reach of small fingers.

4. Pulling the Look Together

Rely on the warmth of wood elements to flatter the French-themed treatment, such as rich cherry or dark walnut decorative rods and window moldings. Include French-inspired accents in the room, such as a fabric-covered folding screen that coordinates with the window treatment. Add an extra foot or more of fabric to create opulent puddles with full-length drapery panels in formal areas. Select one large overall pattern and at least three complementary fabrics to add contrasting cording, ruffles and covered buttons to your original window treatment. Layer the entire room with mix-and-match pillows made from coordinating fabrics to complete the French Country-inspired setting.

About the Author

As an allied ASID member, D'Ann Kross co-owned and managed an Interior design business serving the greater New Orleans area for 20 years, and has been the lead designer for a major home furnishings franchise. She has published several articles as a contributing editor for "Gulf Coast Woman Magazine."

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