Curtain tiebacks are functional accessories that give your curtains a finished look, add contrast and embellishment, hold curtains back from windows to allow light to come in and allow you to easily close the curtains at night or when there is too much glare. Tiebacks give shape to curtains, whether pulled to the side, centred in an hourglass shape or ballooned over the tieback.
General Rules for Tieback Height
For long curtains, fasten the tieback hook about 30 to 40 per cent of the length of the curtain, measuring from the bottom. For short curtains, fasten the tieback hook to the wall about 10 inches from the bottom of the curtain. However, there is no hard and fast rule. For instance, you could fasten the curtain tiebacks for a long curtain even with the windowsill to emphasise the size and shape of the window.
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Where the tieback hook is placed also depends on the fabric and the amount of the curtain you want stacked to the side. Generally, place the tieback hook on the wall near the window and in line with the outermost curtain ring or glider of the curtain rod so the fabric will hang straight at the sides from the curtain rod to the floor. If your curtain rod extends 4 inches to the outside of your window frame, not counting the finials, then your tieback hook should also be 4 inches outside of the window frame.
There are some exceptions to the usual height for tiebacks. For instance, portieres--which are curtains that cover a doorway--often have the tieback placed near the top of the door frame so the curtain doesn't block the doorway. To obtain an hourglass shape, sometimes the tieback is wrapped around the curtain panels in the centre of the window. Very soft curtains with good draping qualities might be puffed out over the tieback for a balloon effect.
Tiebacks, at whatever height they are placed, can enhance the curtains with elegant trim and materials. Tiebacks can be made of the same fabric as the curtain, or contrasting fabric. They can be plain, ruched, ruffles, beaded or fringed, and can be made of braid, cord, rope, chain or ribbons. You can add embellishments like silk flowers, bows, shells or anything that strikes your fancy and harmonises with your curtains.
- "Big Book of Window Treatments"; Editors of Sunset Books; 2006
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