What are Balloon Curtains?

Angela Crout-Mitchell

Balloon curtains are window treatments designed to billow or balloon at the bottom of the curtain. They can be used in a variety of ways and are most commonly seen in either valance or full-window length forms, though they are available in varying lengths as well. Manufacturers use a great number of different materials to create these traditional-styled curtains, and there are many different designs from which to choose. This style of curtain can run the gauntlet from homey and simple, to elegant and ornate. Balloon curtains can be used with great success in a number of rooms in the house, including the dining room, living room, and bedrooms.

Satin is a popular fabric choice for balloon curtains.
Satin is a popular fabric choice for balloon curtains.

One of the primary considerations when selecting balloon curtains is the desired length. For more formal rooms and decor, as in a dining room, it is popular to choose curtains that hang from the top of the window to the floor with the characteristic flounce at the bottom, brushing the floor. Many home decorating specialists recommend hanging these curtains to the bottom of the window for less-formal applications, as in the family or living rooms. Valance-style balloon curtains are ideal for bathrooms and kitchens, especially when partnered with a regular curtain design on the bottom half of the window.

A valance is sometimes combined with balloon curtains.
A valance is sometimes combined with balloon curtains.

The materials used for balloon curtains varies as much as the lengths available, and it is not uncommon to see a wide range of fabrics used. Velvet, lace, and satin are popular choices for adding elegance and richness to the room and are often seen in formal homes, especially in areas used for entertainment and in master bedrooms. Heavy brocade fabrics are another option often used in more formal applications. Lighter materials are usually employed for a child's bedroom, the kitchen or bath. Cotton, gingham, and sheer materials often are suggested in those situations.

There is virtually no limit to the colors and patterns available for balloon curtains. In addition to solid-colored curtains, these curtains can be made with a number of motifs to match the buyer's preference. Plaids are common as well as designs featuring any number of specific decorating themes, including horses, leaves, paisleys, and a host of others. These curtains also can be custom ordered in any color necessary to complete a room's window treatment to the client's satisfaction. Often thought of as traditional and old-fashioned by some, balloon curtains continue to be one of the most common and popular style of window treatments available.

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