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Balloon Shades are Back, and Other New Drapery Ideas

March 8, 2012

Balloon Shades are back, so says Agatha Bak, a vibrant and beautiful young woman who runs her own company, Custom Home Décor, in Oakville.  You could say balloon shades are back to Bak (ha-ha!).  She is a drapery fabricator and workshop owner who works exclusively for area designers, from Niagara-on-the-Lake, to Toronto and Muskoka.

Agatha recently presented a seminar about the latest window drapery designs and tips to designers at The Decorating Centre, an exclusive designer’s only supplier in Burlington.

She says balloon shades may be back in fashion, but not the way we remember them; they have been re-invented.  Fabrics are all natural: linen, cotton sheers, silk, not the synthetics of the 80’s and 90’s.

Agatha’s background is not what you would expect; she started in the theatre industry, making period costumes.  After that, she apprenticed with a milliner, doing meticulous and painstaking sewing of hats.  Both gave her a creative start and love of fabrics and design.

Now, she uses that creativity to inspire and support designers, something she prefers to working directly with a customer.

Here is a taste of what Agatha says you should consider when approaching the design of challenging windows, such as, stacked double high, corner windows and arches.  She also presented her latest tips, and favourite treatments.

Paris Texas Hardware, available through decorators and designers, makes rods to fit any shape of window, including arches, pointed peaks, corner windows, and bay windows, to name a few.

Always hang draperies as high as possible to avoid making the window look squat.

You don’t have to treat all windows in a large room the same way.  Bak showed examples of two walls of windows, one with Roman shades, and the other in long drapery panels, but you must use the identical fabric for both.

Large grommets and stitched top pleats stack tighter, which is better when you need the panels to take up little window space, and expose the view.  She prefers very long and thin panels when the ceilings are high.

Flat panels of embroidered and patterned sheers are good replacements for tight sheers, with rods top and bottom.

Don’t be afraid to embellish your drapery.  She hand sews Swarovski crystals onto the panels to add sparkle when the room calls for it.

Grosgrain ribbon is a great add-on to Roman shades and drapery panels to customize them.

Roman Shades are very popular and have many advantages:  relaxed (softly draping folds instead of straight across), hobbled, and sheer are three popular styles.

London Shades, a cross between a Roman and a balloon shade, pull up and take up little space in a room, but are a pretty and functional window treatment.

Upholstered valances are a good way to add a tailored top to a window and hide hardware, but make sure it is long enough.  Bak isn’t fond of valances that are too short and look out of proportion to the ceiling and window height.

You can have an arched top on your window treatment to fake an arch-top window and make the window look much taller.

Please share a comment below…  
Do you like balloon shades?  Do you prefer roman shades?  Why?

About Adele Barrett

Adele Barrett is a consulting interior designer in Hamilton and Dundas. Over twenty years of conferences and continuing education classes keep Adele Barrett Interiors design practice both on trend and timelessly classic. She started collecting paint chips from the local lumber yard when she was 3 years old, and a seed was planted that grew into a career. Continue reading...