Should my Living Room Drapes Puddle? Yay or Nay

Should my Living Room Drapes Puddle? Yay or Nay

Okay so I desperately need drapery in my living room. I can’t believe we’ve lived here over one year and still don’t have drapery anywhere in the house.

At first I thought I’d just wait and install everything at the same time but that has caused all the windows to remain unhappily uncovered.

The biggest reason my living room is an emergency is because the sun is bleaching out my sunflower yellow sofa.

Should I get Pooling Drapes? Yay or Nay

I have been in love with that first image (above) for a long time, when I showed Terreeia the picture, she said she’s not a fan of puddling drapes. She knows I care way more than she does though, so she’ll let me do it if that’s what I think will look the best.

Should the Drapes Puddle in my Living Room? Yay or Nay

So now I’m waffling. What do you think my lovelies?

Tomorrow is the second week of Summer School on How to Specify Colour for Interiors. We will be doing a step-by-step on every paintable and unpaintable surface of your house. We’ll also be talking about White. What makes white look cheap and when does white just just look plain wrong?

Sign up here and we’ll send you last weeks recording and the homework. It’s not too late to catch up!

Don’t forget to weigh in on the puddling drapery. Yay or nay?

Related posts:

Maria’s New Laundry Room: Before & After

The Shocking Truth About your Ceilings

Are Sunken Living Rooms 70’s? Yay or Nay (Before photo of my living room)


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  1. Nay to puddles. I love that view looking into your dining room, it is sleek and uncluttered. You would put an opposing look into this lovely space, which I believe is too small to accommodate it.
    You have created interest with your accessories, and I like to let my eye roam over the lamp shapes, mirror, mantle, fabrics. I like the light of the space. Is there not a way to cover the windows with a blind that cuts UV , but lets you see out?
    Thanks for generously letting us share your renovating journey, I look forward to all your new pics. You have created a lovely home.

  2. I’m in the same predicament. I have a fairly contemporary room with electric baseboard heaters below them. After having read the comments, will nix the puddling for all the great reasons noted above. Love the silhouettes but have been told that bugs/spiders (ack!) will enter into the open vents on the sides and they are hell to get out. Especially if your windows are wide like mine (94 inches). I always thought plantation shutters were too hard looking but may reconsider (husband loves them).

    Love your blog, Maria. It has come in handy too many times to count.

  3. I love puddled draperies, but I think no puddle would work well in your space. I see a light celery color or even white with a subtle green print or white with a green banding. I love the tri-colored draperies you designed for Cooper’s Lookout. They are among my favorites.

  4. One more ‘no’ vote for puddle. Even if you put in the puddle, your yellow sofa would probably hide it totally. I think puddle would work if the area around the window is free without any furniture. Please do let us know what you go in for. I can already visualize a beautiful plain white grommet curtain.

  5. No puddle! Room has a crisp, tailored look which would look best w/ a pair of simple 2 width pinch pleat panels in white linen and straight romans maybe in yellow linen w white grosgrain ribbon trim…hung under the rod. Rod at ceiling. Oh think rug is too narrow/small. Furniture appears to be falling off the edge. A wider rug expands the space visually and brings proportion to more square..which is the ideal. Love the barcelona chrs

  6. No puddle please. Curtains will certainly finish off the look which looks incomplete. You are wise to have waited and weighing up the pros and cons. Do you have a UV filter on the windows? This is transparent and cuts rays up to 95%, saving your furniture and is also a good security feature.

  7. NO PUDDLE!! Full stop! A 1/2″ break off the floor would be best. The only place “puddling” looks good is at Versaille! Your look is way too tailored to have puddling. Having drapes that lay on the floor is nothing but a dust trap. Does a silk Taffeta Drape that puddles on the floor look lovely in print-Absolutely! Real life is something different. Do yourself a favour and have them hemmed and not puddled. It’s like when I see Hollywood stars or models with hems on their pants to the floor. I think to myself….couldn’t they or their stylist PROPERLY get those pants hemmed? Just one of my pet peeves I guess. Good Luck!

  8. No puddle! I don’t like that look at all. It just seems messy and dusty to me. I think drapes should barely touch the floor… like a well-hemmed pair of pants when wearing fabulous heels.

  9. Personally I’d say Nay. Here’s why: you have a fresh and clean look in that room. Crisp. Modern. Pooled drapes are beautiful, they they are for an ethereal room, traditional room, shabby chic room, etc in my feeling. They just don’t seem to go with your crisp and bright decor. Now, what you do I have no clue. I’m having the same problem myself…. Too bad you can’t get windows that dim with the flick of a switch.

  10. I love a bit of puddling on drapes when the fabric is silk or linen and stationary. However, you have enough softness with the sofa and chairs, so keep the crisp, clean look with a larger blind, at least 2.5 inches, that gives a lovely invisible sight line when opened and can be tilted to catch the sun’s rays. If you add drapery panels, I’d suggest deep folds pulled well to the sides, showing off the windows. Another option is a way-up-high tailored valance in that lovely yellow, above blinds.

  11. HI Maria:
    Since you gave me some nice free professional advice about my kitchen backsplash, I’ll give you some nice free advice from a professional workroom. First off as many mentioned before, puddling is for stationary drapes only. When I talk to my customers two of the questions I often ask are if they are looking for privacy and/or light control You stated you need light control Stationary panels are not going keep the sunlight out of the room so you are either going to need to go with traversing drapes that close or a combination of stationary panels and some other shade blind, (roman, wood, woven wood, roller shades) or sheer and panels to help protect your furniture. Also with your baseboard registers there, extra puddling fabric is going to cover them up and you will lose a lot of air control. Puddling is also sort of a “messy” look and you seem to have a rather clean interior and I think it would be too much of a contrast.
    As you often suggest I would consult with a professional drapery consultant who can help you choose the best treatments for both the light issue and design.
    One last thing. If sunlight is a bad issue stay away from silk panels which the top picture seems to be as they will fade out and even rot very quickly with a lot of sunlight. You may even want to consider putting a band of a different color down the lead (front) edge of your panels so if that fades out from the sun you can replace just the band rather than the entire drape. Maybe even ask the workroom professional if they can velcro the band on so it can be easily changed out. If it were my choice alone I’d go with some nice white wood blinds inside mounted on each window and a nice drapery rod with stationary side panels on both the dining room and living room, mounted outside the windows right below the moulding.
    Good luck I look forward to seeing what you decide to go with.

  12. P.S. Forgot to mention the air from the registers will also blow puddled panels around and they won’t stay looking nice. You may have the same problem with stationary panels that just touch the floor, but there are several products available to a professional that can be used on the back of the panels to keep them from blowing away. Also I’m not a big fan of the 1″ break. I think they should just touch the floor. The bottom hems of professionally made panels are 4″ and when they are made an inch longer they don’t nicely “break” they just look like you hemmed them incorrectly.

  13. I love puddled drapes as you inspirational photo shot. However, I see your room as very tailored and would install tailored drapes 1/4-1/2″ off the floor. Get the fullness horizontally instead of vertically. I have drapes on four sliding doors and for that reason I stuck with no puddle as I knew they would constantly be disturbed with in and out and I would be fussing all the time with them. I did not read all comments but the one that said styling the puddle is important is dead on.

  14. Bali makes sheer to opaque window covers. Some rise from the bottom up, many shades of white available. they can be ordered ffrom Home Depot, Lowe’s, JCPenney, etc.

  15. I say follow your heart! I think it would look better and be easier to maintain with NO puddle. Draperies are a major investment, so not feel rushed into a decision. I just purchased inexpensive solar shade fabric that can be used for indoor or outdoor shading with a UV protection up to 94%. I am just moving into a newly rehabbed property and anticipate living drapery free for a while. I plan to use solar shade fabric to shield my sunniest rooms with custom/homemade shades, some inside under my blinds and some outside. I will probably take them down during the winter.

  16. Nay! I don’t think the puddle style lends well to your style. Also, I think since the window is behind the sofa it will not be as dramatic as in your inspiration photo.

  17. Before you affirm that you are wrong Maria, please look at this home from Houzz. I think that it is one of the most beautiful living rooms on the site. The slight and gentle puddle of the drapes (wonderful fabric from Clarence House) forces the drapes to “drape” properly and maintain the fall and weight of the folds. Be sure to check out the photo with the yellow chair. It is from RLH studios in Minneapolis.

  18. I’m going to look at it from a very practical stance. If you have furry shedding pets that like to hang out by the window, don’t puddle. If not, the world is your cantaloupe (hey, I’m a vegan.)

  19. I am in the NAY camp. You would be forever annoyed with the dirt that gathers on the bottom, no matter how meticulous your housekeeping. I suggest you wear a beautiful summer dress in a sumptuous fabric instead! Good luck. I am loving the transformation of your home. Thanks for sharing!

  20. You received great advice here. In the end it depends on which way of the “transitional eclectic” end you are leaning–ultimately whatever you like. Your George Smith classic English sofa strikes a traditional tone while the Barcelona chairs tips the scale the other way. Which way do you want the scales to tip?

  21. I love the look of puddling! With light curtains, it can look fresh, airy, breezy. It is informal, however, I do not have a formal house so I wouldn’t want formal drapery that looks too rigid and stifling. That being said, one would not want puddling drapes if you will be opening and closing the curtains often since they will pick up dust. I have puddling curtains in a front room (that is closed off from my animals) and I don’t close or open them except on the rare occassion. It works very well for me. In the end, it is what you find aesthetically pleasing.

  22. I agree with Kelly T 100% – puddled drapes look like a designer was in a hurry; liked the color but received the wrong length, was in a hurry, put them up anyway and hoped clients would buy in to the “puddled” look – NOT , in most cases. Does look sloppy and just looks like a huge measuring error. Nothing like a nice clean line at the bottom of any drape – much more pleasing to the eye, they look finished – when I see puddled I want to ask when the seamstress is coming back to hem them correctly. Yes, I DO NOT LIKE PUDDLED DRAPES – can you tell? Have been in a few very expensive palaces in Italy and didn’t see any puddled drapes – the drapery materials were exquisite but they show off their wealth in their homes in other ways, not puddling a yard or two of extra material on their marble floors.

  23. If you want them to open and close very often, I say nay. I had them in my living room, wanted to close the drapes at night in the winter and had to fuss with re-arranging the drapes to close and then re-adjusting the puddles in the morning. I am remodeling my house and will be raising the drapes higher so they no longer puddle.