This was a trend during the Victorian era. It was a way to express opulence and wealth and fit into the notion that “more is better.” Door draperies are still being used, but it’s uncommon to see them. A potential client once asked for an estimate, but it didn’t translate into a project!
Today, door draperies are commonly used in European villages, sometimes to cover an unsightly old door, other times to combat drafts and increase insulation.
When using door draperies, one must consider the operation of the door and perhaps use a bar that is hinged to the wall so it can be moved when the door is in use. Or, if there is room on each side of the door, one can install the draperies on a rod and pull the draperies to the side. Alternatively, it can be split in the middle, and the draperies can be drawn to each side.
Room dividers are often used when one wants to have a dual function in one large room, or perhaps in some commercial buildings (such as restaurants), the space can be divided into several sections to separate different parties and give each group some privacy. In cases like that, one must make sure that both sides have fabrics facing the room. Also important is heavy interlining functions as an acoustical barrier (although the noise can’t be eliminated completely). Draperies are also sometimes used in beauty salons and spas, to divide the areas between stylist stations or pedicure chairs.
Wall draperies were common in Europe – France, in particular, during the 16th and 17th centuries – and the practice was adopted later in many other European countries. The primary purpose was decorative; it was a way to bring colors and patterns to walls (a bit like wallpaper, only with draperies, they can be cleaned and re-hung). Wall draperies were an easy way to cover imperfections in the walls, and they were also useful in providing insulation during frigid winter months.
Wall draperies are still used in homes today, but in a different way than in the past. For example, we might have floor-to-ceiling draperies on a wall with windows, and when the draperies are drawn closed, the wall is totally covered. The high cost of fabrics and labor might be a factor in the decline in this home-fashion trend. The increased fire hazard that accompanies such an expanse of fabric and the accumulation of dust that can be harmful to people with allergies have also played a role in the smaller number of homes with wall draperies.
Closet or Alcove Draperies:
Adding fabrics to cupboards, closets, and shelves can be an attractive way to introduce colors and add design elements to a room. One can be creative by adding trims or contrast colors to the edges of the curtain or use unusual fastening methods, such as buttons or decorative buckles, which add visual appeal, depth and character.