Traditional Curtain Tiebacks

Written by gail cohen
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Traditional Curtain Tiebacks
Traditional curtain tiebacks are small but mighty decorative accessories. (Comstock/Comstock/Getty Images)

Little things mean a lot; especially when you're putting the finishing touches on a room redo that's set you back serious cash. Once wall colours, carpet and furniture details are settled, it's time to choose window treatments, but for a homemaker focused on the smallest detail, you know that even the tiebacks you choose to hold back drapes or curtains will influence your room design. There are plenty of contemporary tiebacks on the market, but the traditional ones remain classics, and you might be surprised to discover how many types are available.

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Traditional Braided Tiebacks

They're not expensive but they sure add an element of style and class: Braided tiebacks come in a variety of widths, and many are made to emulate styles popular during the Victorian era. Most braided tiebacks use just two colours of thin, rolled satin cord to achieve a beautiful, uniform braid, but if you look closely, you'll see that it takes multiple cords plaited in three groups to achieve this elegant braid. Don't ignore extra touches found on some braided tiebacks: Many traditional styles are trimmed with tassels and other cloth and ribbon embellishments. Single cord loops fastened to braided tiebacks hold the curtains or drapes back -- so they're as practical as they are lovely.

Traditional Cloth Tiebacks

Easy to make, perfectly appropriate and sometimes contrast-rich, cloth tiebacks may be the most inexpensive way to pull back a curtain or drape on the planet, but your ingenuity can turn this traditional band into a stand-alone decorating statement if you choose the right fabric or contrasting trim. Most traditional cloth tiebacks are stiffened with buckram so they hold their shape and since they take only a yard or two of material to make, you can afford to pick a finer fabric and embellishments (covered buttons, cord, tassels, fringe) to make one or more sets.

Traditional Metal Tiebacks

For hundreds of years, metal smiths have manipulated iron and other minerals into ornate curtain tiebacks, and while you may not be able to find muscular men standing over fires to beat metal into home accessories these days, the romance of hammered metal decorative accessories remains. Choose from a range of shapes, materials and colours. Whether you prefer extravagant finials in black hammered iron or the simple lines of coffee-coloured brass swirls, these types of tiebacks come with the hardware needed to mount them once your curtains are hung.

Post Tiebacks

They look like beautifully decorated, bas relief door knobs. Traditional post tiebacks have been in fashion for so long, you'll find replicas of original Baroque, Georgian and Louis XVI posts everywhere from antique shops to the catalogues of companies in the business of forging metal replicas from Old World designs. The post tieback is as easy to install as it is beautiful; no mounting hardware is required unless you happen to find authentic originals, at which point you'll have to improvise. Contemporary replicas are manufactured with screw ends, so all you need are anchors to connect these traditional tiebacks to walls.

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