This post is in partnership with Bali Blinds.
Hanging curtains high and wide is a design trick loved by many to make a space feel larger, and we’re no exception! Curtains can make all the difference – whether they’re adding a subtle texture (us) or a big, punchy pattern (we’re too scared, ha!) – they have the ability to inject instant coziness. Whether your home is minimal or you’re a lover of All the Things, curtains can add an extra layer of warmth – literally and figuratively! – while making your ceilings appear taller, your rooms larger. They’re like a magic trick that never fails to amaze us every single time.
Recently, we’d been second guessing our inoffensive white curtain panels in our living room; you can see those here. The large window at the front of our house has always been one of our favorite features, and years ago, we highlighted it with floor to ceiling panels. To give the illusion of thickness, we picked up four panels, two to flank each side. And while we absolutely love that idea in theory, in everyday life, the hassle of pulling them all closed (for a movie-marathon-day-in) was a rare occasion. I had also ‘fake’ pinch-pleated the top, so when closed, the fabric pulled funny and they looked… not so good? So-so? They were best left alone as an accent to the room, rather than a functional design element.
Fast forward to that day when we hung grommet topped curtains to our Tree House. Game. Changer! The ease of pulling them open and closed was one thing, but no longer having a need for clips felt very casual and fuss-free. Grommets help to keep the curtain pleat nice and neat (be still my heart), and just as you can choose the finish of a curtain clip, there are also options to a grommet finish! Until then, I never considered the grommet top, and now? Give me all the grommets!
Why Choose Custom Drapery?
For extra wide windows, it was an easy decisions to go the custom route with our longtime partner, Bali Blinds. The reason for this is two – nay, tri – fold. Let’s break it down:
1| Custom drapery would allow us to have two panels that would completely cover the almost-10′-wide window when closed while adding height, texture and sound deadening (and major style points).
2| Our living room windows currently have Bali solar shades that are integrated into our home automation system, and we couldn’t love them more. The solar shades already help to block harmful UV rays, but by adding appropriately sized curtain panels, we’d have a form-meets-function ability to trap heat and keep our home energy efficient. This would have been really handy during our recent polar vortex, where Chicago had a wind chill of -40!
3| We were on the hunt for something that would mimic the Bali curtains in our home studio, and we liked the idea of a complementary style for a cohesive whole-home feel.
The idea of custom drapery doesn’t have to be intimidating, and Bali Blinds makes it easy enough with free sample swatches so that you can see and feel the fabrics in your own home, against your own wall colors and furnishings. We even called their customer service to ask for samples of their liner fabrics, so we could test our winning fabric against a standard cotton liner versus, say, a blackout or thermal liner! We documented our process in this fun video (you can also view it on YouTube here):
The video illustrates this, but to break it down, we gather up a measuring tape, pencil and paper. Then we measure from the top of our rod to the floor in 3 places – left, center and right. We solidify fabric and liner choices, too.
The Ordering Process
When we’re ready to place our order, we give the customer service representative those measurements and tell them where we’d like our curtains to hit (some may like their panels to skim the floor or even puddle, but we prefer a teeny float for #pethairproblems). They take our measurements into account with our desired length and run with it! Then we tell them our preferred hanging option (such as grommets, pinch pleats, etc), our fabric and liner choices, and any embellishments. Bali’s customer service can answer any of your questions, like, We want our curtains to float a half inch off the floor, can you do that? (Yup.) Or, This is the width of our window, but you will add extra width to the curtains so they look nice and full when closed… right? (Yes!)
The Winning Combination
Our custom drapery winning fabric was Tazewell Sidewall, a warm putty grey with a linen-like look. It reminded us of a grey version of Coletti Blizzard, our favorite cream colored fabric that we’ve used throughout Tree House. So, so beautiful! We already have and love this brass rod, so we opted for satin gold grommets to match and added a 1.5″ brush fringe in Rock Gray as a special touch. Out of sight but just as important is the thermal liner we chose. It’s our secret bonus boost for energy efficiency during especially cold or hot days!
Layering Curtains for Energy Efficiency
Custom drapery has already come in handy for us on a handful of occasions, and we find the investment is worth it for a special case, such as extra wide or tall windows, casement windows or even doorways, for example! (We’ve hit all three of those.) But what makes a curtain so much more than an accessory is when you they serve a purpose, too. Layering them with our solar panels make for a healthier, more energy efficient home, and going custom gives you the flexibility to put the finishing touch on a room.
We say it every time we open a Bali box, but their quality is top notch and their customer service is one to beat. Would you or have you considered going custom in your home?
This post is sponsored by Bali Blinds, a brand we’ve used for years and continue to love. Our living room and studio windows are outfitted in Skylar White solars, and they’re layered with custom drapery panels in Tazewell Sidewalk with a 1.5″ Rock Gray brush fringe. Fabric samples are always free, and Bali Blinds can be purchased at any of these retailers or you can call their customer service directly. (PS: Did you know that Bali Blinds has a selection of custom Roman Shades available at West Elm? Check those out here!)