Certain things are nothing more than mere window dressing.

But window dressing isn’t one of them.

“It’s what brings everything together,” says Loni Morgan Spiker of Dunn’s Furniture and Interiors.

While curtains are certainly the icing on the cake, they are a vital element in completing the look of a room, adding a kind of softness as well as function.

“They can do a lot for a room in the way of helping with echo,” Spiker says before noting how very cozy a room can become with the addition of curtains.

The beauty of curtains is how quickly they can be hung and how easily they can be changed. For a more serious, dramatic feel, look toward heavy drapes in fabrics like velvet. For a lighter mood, look toward linens and lighter weights.

Spiker says she’s seeing a move toward more casual curtains, as more transitional interior designs give heavy pieces the boot.

“People are going for something with a lighter feel and more banding rather than trims,” Spiker notes.

Instead of ruffles, fringes and more traditional trims, homeowners are using a simple band in a contrasting color for the finishing touch. And speaking of color, curtains — much like pillows on a couch — offer the chance to show some color without long term commitment.

Invest in a neutral curtain of quality fabric and bring in a bold color — or print that you may not want long term — in the way of a swag or topper.

“Do something fun with the topper and then when you want something new you can do it without changing the whole thing,” Spiker advises.

Photo by Robin May

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