What are Tiebacks?

Mary McMahon
Mary McMahon

Tiebacks are interior design accessories which are used to hold curtains to the side, allowing light through the window which the curtains normally cover. There are a number of ways to use tiebacks, and a number of tieback styles which people can choose from. Several manufacturers of interior design accessories make a range of tieback styles, and they can also be made at home from a variety of materials.

Tiebacks may be used to hold drapes to the side.
Tiebacks may be used to hold drapes to the side.

Often, tiebacks are used to create a specific look and feel with a window treatment. Sheers may be left in place at all times for privacy, with heavier drapes pulled to the side to frame the window and soften the edges of the window. It is also possible to use tiebacks to hold back curtains without sheers in place, in which case people will be able to see in from the outside.

People can also simply use tiebacks as a way to hold drapery open when a window is to be uncovered. The disadvantage using them in this way is that some can require some fussing with the drapes to create a smooth, elegant look, and people may not want to do this every time they pull back the drapes.

Materials like metal, wood, and even glass can be used to create hooks through which drapery is looped. Fabric and cord styles may be designed with velcro, snaps, or hooks so that they can be looped around the drapes and then pulled snug to pull the drapes open. A tieback is often decorative in nature, with ornamental features such as tassels to make it more visually interesting.

Desired height is an important thing to think about when positioning a tieback. Depending on the height, the drapery will curve, billow, and fall differently. It's a good idea to experiment with tiebacks loosely tacked in place to find the perfect height for the window and the fabric. Once the best position is found, tiebacks can be permanently attached.

Some creative home made approaches to tiebacks can be used to save money or play with design schemes. People can make their own cord and tassel tiebacks with supplies from a fabric or sewing store, and they can also make fabric tiebacks with strips of material from the drapes themselves. For a whimsical home made tieback, people may want to consider bending forks or spoons to create a metal loop; the loops can be positioned handle outwards to show off the pattern.

Mary McMahon
Mary McMahon

Ever since she began contributing to the site several years ago, Mary has embraced the exciting challenge of being a wiseGEEK researcher and writer. Mary has a liberal arts degree from Goddard College and spends her free time reading, cooking, and exploring the great outdoors.

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