Decor Score

Where There's a Wall There's a Way

Q:"What's the rule on hanging drapes on windows that are close together, but have wall space between them? Can I just hang the drapes over the space so it looks like one really big window, or should they be divided in pairs?"

A: It depends on the net effect you're after. If your room is small, a smooth, unbroken flow of fabric will eliminate contrast and make it seem larger.
    But if you have plenty of space to play with, it could be wasteful to tuck that between-windows wall out of sight behind an expanse of material, not when there are attractive ways to put it to work in the room.
    Take a look at the visual mileage designer Amanda Nisbet gets out of three feet or so of wall space between windows in the fresh, blue-and-white living room we show here. It's in a beach house, so the color scheme-marine blue, sandy beige and white-is a natural choice. But it's no clichÈ in the hands of this designer (who has gathered her fave rooms in a new book aptly entitled, Dazzling Design, just published by Stewart, Tabori & Chang).
    Amanda writes, "How does one design a 'themed' room that doesn't become kitschy or cute ... using an ensemble of sea-going references you'd find in a seafood restaurant on a pier?"
    Answering her own question, the designer says she wanted her clients "to be able to kick back in a stylish, comfortable setting." This guided her to the somewhat formal, but very comely, tableau she's created on the bare wall between the windows: a classic arrangement of mirrors over a natural-wood table, flanked by floor-length linen curtains.

Rose Bennett Gilbert is the co-author of "Manhattan Style" and six other books on interior design.

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