Cathedral Window Treatments


Cathedral windows introduce a classic architectural element to any room. High windows with graceful arches can provide lots of sunlight if the homeowner selects window coverings that block undesired ultraviolet rays but do not obstruct the view. The right window dressings can go a long way in accentuating the grace of cathedral windows.

Goblet-Pleated Drapes

  • Cathedral windows can be the perfect accent for a room designed in a formal or Old World style. The famous Biltmore Estate home in Asheville, North Carolina, features a grand ballroom commissioned by Cornelius Vanderbilt; in it, the room's draperies are ornate, befitting the priceless Flemish tapestries decorating the walls. In a majestic but ordinary home, long, heavy drapes with lots of pleats create a similar effect. Curtains with goblet pleats in a regal color like dark blue or burgundy with leafy gold needlework require a heavy investment in drapery fabric. The goblet drapery heading--where the material gathers at the top and fastens to the curtain hardware--contributes to the flowing character of the drapes.

Traverse Drapes

  • Budget-minded homeowners seeking an inexpensive alternative to heavy, rich drapes can opt for the traverse drape window treatment, which uses less fabric. Hang an ornate rod horizontally across the window at the top of the lower (non-arched) part of the cathedral window. By covering only part of the window, less material is used. Use the money saved to splurge on a fashionable rod in a metallic finish like gold or silver and add a matching swag at the top. A fabulous custom print for the traverse drape and swag adds to the appeal of this window treatment.

Twin Panel Drapes

  • Cathedral windows sometimes accent homes with a vaulted cathedral ceiling. These windows are tall and require lots of covering, but may not have the Gothic arch at the top. If your intention is to achieve full privacy, use two monochrome, full-length panels in a solid tone. Match cream-colored panels, for example, to other textured surfaces in the room. In the bedroom, cream-colored panels might match tones in the carpet, furniture, bedding, wall hangings and lamp shades.

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