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What is a Lace Curtain?

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  • Written By: Paulla Estes
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Images By: Gary Denham, Jmfontecha
  • Last Modified Date: 03 November 2016
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Lace is a fabric made from threadwork which is braided, knotted, looped, tied, and otherwise woven to create intricate patterns. These patterns are made from tiny holes within the woven fabric, giving off a delicate, airy appearance. A lace curtain is a panel or other form of window treatment made from this woven fabric.

Hanging a lace curtain in the window of a home or office is an easy and inexpensive way to beautify the window, provide privacy, and soften the lighting in a room. A lace curtain is appealing to the eye of the dweller inside the room, as well as passersby.

In the distant past, having a lace curtain was an unknown concept, as all lace was hand woven up through the 18th century. Lace, instead, was used to trim clothing, curtains, and other household items, but only in the homes of the affluent and the wealthy. In 1804, Jacquard invented the mechanical loom which opened up many new possibilities in the world of lace, and the idea of the lace curtain was born.

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Choosing a lace curtain for a window is easy, as there are many different types available to the consumer, with many colors from which to choose. Yet, traditional lace is found only in white and ivory. The rule of thumb for choosing one of these two colors is that white woodwork requires white lace while beige or ivory woodwork requires ivory lace. When the woodwork is any other color, it is up to the decorator to decide.

A lace curtain can be used in a variety of ways. Many decorators prefer a single lace curtain panel which covers the full length of the window glass and is used as a type of transparent shade. This is usually coupled with a swag, valance, festoon, or other type of curtain set up and over the lace curtain, to give the window more of a frame, as well as add a measure of privacy. Yet, many times, the swag, valance or festoon itself is made of lace, hung with or without the lace panel.

While lace is beautiful and pleasing to the eye, if privacy is an issue, it cannot be used alone. The aforementioned second curtain is an attractive way to cover a lace panel when privacy is necessary. A simple pull-down shade or set of blinds hung behind the lace panel or under the lace swag can be very appealing.

Not only is a lace curtain pretty, it is durable, if made well and cared for properly. Most laces can be machine washed in cold water and hung to dry. For a quick way to smarten and soften a room, a lace curtain will provide beauty and elegance.

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zanehovell
Post 5

I usually combine lace curtains with outdoor blinds perth back home. The lace curtains take care of the privacy whenever needed, while the outdoor blinds takes care of the privacy when I don't want my visitors to see what's inside. Great combination!

sunshined
Post 3

When we remodeled part of our house I wanted a very elegant look in my dining room. I went with some ivory lace balloon shades for the window treatments in my dining room.

These sheer curtains really bring a special look to the room and I have received several compliments on them. I have 6 windows in the room, so the elegant lace curtains give a very light, airy feeling to the room.

golf07
Post 2

My daughter was married several years ago in Ireland. I knew that one of the things I wanted to come home with were some Irish lace curtains.

We had several days to sight see and look around that beautiful country while we were there for her wedding. I found some beautiful lace curtains that I bought and put in my kitchen. They are a wonderful reminder of her special day and a place that truly is beautiful.

Lace curtains have such a feminine look that is different from many other styles. I have enjoyed those curtains every day since I brought them home and hung them up.

Mykol
Post 1

While spending a weekend visiting antique shops, I bought a hand made lace valance that is absolutely beautiful. It adds the perfect touch for the small window I hung it in.

I have always loved the look of lace curtains and valances and know you can find them as inexpensive or as pricey as you want to pay for them. They can add a lot of charm to any room and complement many types of decor.

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