(written for DREA Designs)
The popular design currently used in contemporary homes favor the use of tall glass walls. The doors in such walls usually open up to a courtyard, a garden or a pool. More often, these are door-less glass walls showing an expansive view which forms part of the interior in place of paintings or tapestries. Such settings call for extra long drapes.
Regardless of how beautiful the view is, extra long drapes are needed for privacy and to protect from daylight glare or evening chill. An extra long, 144-inch curtain of heavier fabric is best suited for rooms with higher ceilings and in lofts where the tall glass wall begins from the floor of the first-level living area and ends at the ceiling of the upper level sleeping area.
Fabric Choices for Its Special Role
Because of its role in protecting from heat, chilly temperatures, and sound, extra long drapes along glass walls require heavier fabric so that their weight pulls them straight down and close to the glass. Dual layering is necessary when covering wide expanses of glass walls to allow some light while still keeping privacy. Brocade, velvet, gabardine, and denim are good choices for the inner layer. A white or light-colored semi sheer chiffon with loose pleats works well as an outer layer. Keep in mind that your glass wall is also visible from the outside. A white or light colored outer fabric will not interfere with the color of the exterior wall and will be sheer enough to still show the color of your inner fabric.
Installation of extra long drapes requires planning. Select a thicker rod to hold the weight of the drapes and apply enough support braces. Installing a 144-inch curtain or floor-to-ceiling drape would be best left to professionals, particularly if you have moldings or a drop ceiling which could affect installation and aesthetics. Opening/drawing 144-inch curtains would require double-rod split-draw traverse style mechanisms. An automated system is helpful but expensive. For most extra long curtains, the use of gliders and cords is adequate. The simplest choice by far is a handsome-looking exposed wood rod with matching large rings for easy manual gliding. Add curtain draw rods to eliminate touching and tugging on the fabric. It may very well be that the curtain draw rods which come in various hues and finishes would be the defining detail to your whole look.