Even the smallest fireplace stands out in a room. When it's flanked by two windows, the features combine to create a focal point. The addition of curtains adds visual weight and completes the overall look, but the wrong type and style of window treatment throws off the balance of the room. A streamlined design, or treating the three elements as one, adds polish without overwhelming a smaller space, while dressing each window separately from the fireplace or turning the entire combination into a feature wall works beautifully in a larger room. With any curtain arrangement, keep window treatments at least 3 feet from the fireplace for safety.
Highlight the Architecture
Floor-length curtain panels can swallow windows framed in ornate trim and overwhelm a fireplace outfitted with an elaborate surround. Instead, install inside-mounted shades or shutters to showcase the architectural details. Creamy off-white roman shades set off dark wood trim; shutters finished to match craft a faux built-in look. A subtle sheen running through tie-up or balloon shades balances a texture-heavy fireplace, and the shape of the treatments softens the sometimes harsh lines of intricate wood trim.
Frame the Fireplace
Treat the fireplace and windows as one by arranging panels to frame the three components. Secure a decorative rod above each window, installing them at the same height as the artwork or decor above the mantel, or at least 6 inches above the top edge of the window frame. Slide two or more panels onto each rod. Pull the left window’s panels to the left of the fireplace and the right’s panels to the right. Because there’s so much going on between the curtains, stick to solid or subtly patterned fabrics. Brighten a gray stone fireplace with saffron yellow canvas drapery, or add a touch of elegance and movement with light gray silk curtains embroidered with white pinstripes.
Larger rooms with a big gap between the windows and fireplace look appealing with traditional curtains or drapes hung over each window and pulled open to frame the outside views. Mount the rod so that it’s wide enough to camouflage the excess space between the windows and the fireplace, leaving 3 feet between the firebox and the outside edge of the closest panel. Opt for curtains that complement the fireplace without perfectly matching it. Add soft gray linen to the windows around a bright red brick fireplace, which creates contrast without clashing. Navy panels with intricate coral damask prints add vibrancy when paired with whitewashed brick or cool gray stone. If the space still looks too empty, mount cornice boxes that coordinate with the curtains above each window.
Craft a Feature Wall
Floor-to-ceiling, wall-to-wall window treatments are perfect for huge rooms. Install two rods at ceiling height, one starting at the left corner of the wall and running to the left corner of the fireplace, and one from the right corner of the fireplace to the right corner of the wall. Outfit each rod with curtains that puddle slightly at the floor, multiplying the length of each rod by two to find the total width of each set of panels. Unless the room borders on ballroom size, stick with barely opaque drapes or sheer curtains in a solid color; thick fabric is often too heavy. Add a pattern by choosing two coordinating panels and alternating them along the rods; soft beige and sunny yellow, pastel orange and steely gray or two slightly different shades of white work well together.
- Photo Credit Christian J. Stewart/iStock/Getty Images
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