Draperies for windows with architraves

cfvhApril 16, 2014

We are approaching the end of a long renovation that turned into a near-total reconstruction. In rebuilding the house, we recreated a lot of the lost detail and even added more. One of the things we decided to do was to add architraves above nearly all of the doors and windows, as seen here:

One thing we are struggling with is how to dress these windows...

If draperies are fitted into the window frame, we will not be able to push them all the way to the side and will be depriving ourselves of some beautiful natural light.

We are also not keen to mount rods to the woodwork if that is not how it is usually done (but would like to know if that's how it generally goes...)

We are thinking it may be best to mount the rods outside of the woodwork but are at a loss as to whether the architrave remains exposed or if the rod gets mounted level with its to or above it,

How have you tackled this issue? Pictures would be of great help. Thank you so much!

Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Why wouldn't you mount curtain rods above the windows?

    Bookmark   April 16, 2014 at 12:42PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Is that the way it is usually done with such woodwork?

    Bookmark   April 16, 2014 at 12:44PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

There's another thread here where someone has her drapes inside the woodwork of the window, and it's beautiful. I'll see if I can find it.

    Bookmark   April 16, 2014 at 12:57PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

What do you need? Light control, privacy . . .? If not, I'd leave them as-is. They look gorgeous.

    Bookmark   April 16, 2014 at 12:58PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Thank you, however, we do not want bare windows. We need them for privacy and also, in particular, in one room for TV viewing where the optimal place for the TV is opposite a window.

Also, half of the house is going to be tenant occupied and we want to determine where the rods are going already and mount them to avoid holes all over the place.

We just want to mount a pair of drapery panels at each window. No valance, no lambrequin, etc.

    Bookmark   April 16, 2014 at 1:04PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Found it! Trailrunner's DR. So pretty, IMO.
Your woodwork is so pretty. Don't hide it.

    Bookmark   April 16, 2014 at 1:13PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

thank you tib. I am not sure that this would be helpful to the OP but maybe so. We used very lightweight pressure rods and mounted the lace curtains. They are imported Scottish handmade lace. Each window is 6ftx3ft interior measurement. We have 12 ft ceilings. I have 2 panels in almost all the windows of the house. I couldn't bear the thought of holes in the original 1890 woodwork. We were lucky that all previous owners of this home mounted huge drapes on rods attached to the wall.:) All I did was have my painter patch and paint and we were done...patching the woodwork would have been more of a job. c

    Bookmark   April 16, 2014 at 2:22PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I love both the curtains you've got and that you aren't hiding the window trim. As you can tell, that pic stuck in my head. Your DR is lovely. LOVE the darker wall color . I think they're not used enough! But they can create such rich and luxurious atmospheres, and some rooms just scream for that, DRs being one of those rooms, IMO.

    Bookmark   April 16, 2014 at 2:30PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Has anyone used drapery panels over and not in architraved windows?

    Bookmark   April 16, 2014 at 2:42PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

The design of your moldings doesn't dictate the type of window treatment you "have" to use, either literally or figurally. You can hang rods above the window and below the crown, extending out far enough to stack the curtains to the outside of the moldings. You can shirr the curtains on the rod by using panels with pocket header, or use rings with pins or clips.

    Bookmark   April 16, 2014 at 2:52PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Our 1908 house has these windows and after refinishing all the trim, I could not stand the idea of putting holes in the trim, so I too use tension rods. However, there are plenty of holes from previous owners installing drapery rods in the plaster on both sides of the windows. At least this was easier to patch. If you do not like the idea of tension rods, you could do this. Usually these are installed above and to the sides of the trim. I am sure there are pictures of this set up on Houzz.

    Bookmark   April 16, 2014 at 2:53PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

The Victorians did it all the time. I lived in an early 19th century neighborhood and I've seen interior photos, and seen the evidence of the hardware mounted right on or over the elaborate woodwork.

But in your case it might be nice to use simple hardware that mounts to the jamb so the treatments sit inside the woodwork so it can be seen.

    Bookmark   April 16, 2014 at 2:57PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I see no reason why you wouldn't put the rods above/outside the architrave.

    Bookmark   April 16, 2014 at 3:52PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I love your windows! Did you have the trim custom made or is it something you can find in a big box or lumberyard?

If you don't want just blinds that fit inside the window, you could put tension rod curtains just on the lower half. Or if you want full curtains (for the tv), I like this look:

Traditional Living Room by Portland Interior Designers & Decorators Garrison Hullinger Interior Design Inc.

    Bookmark   April 16, 2014 at 4:04PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I've never heard of that sort of trim called that, interesting. From looking at the picture, it looks as though you did trim around the window only, and not on the inside 4" wall space. Is that correct? It looks very nice and makes it doable for even someone like myself, a once-in-a-while do-it-yourselfer. Food for thought!! ;)

    Bookmark   April 16, 2014 at 4:28PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
Annie Deighnaugh

I would mount blinds to the inside of the window for privacy and then mount drapes above and outside the trim molding. If you mount drapes inside you will block a lot of light. If you do as I suggest you will continue to enjoy your architraves. Otherwise, why did you spend the money.

If this is too closed up for you, then you can just do an inside mount on shades or roman blinds.

Contemporary Bathroom by New York Interior Designers & Decorators MuseInteriors

Transitional Kitchen by Langley Interior Designers & Decorators McBurney Junction

Or you can do roller shades in a print that will roll up and leave the window almost completely clear. Duettes will do that as well.

Modern Lamp Shades by Port Chester Window Treatments The Shade Store

    Bookmark   April 16, 2014 at 5:22PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Yes, blinds or shades inside the window frame for privacy...panels on rods Mounted at least half way between top of window and crown moulding or just below crown.

    Bookmark   April 16, 2014 at 5:31PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Depending on the age of the house, a typical window treatment would have been a roller shade (dark green if light control was an issue), sheers mounted inside the window frame and curtains on a rod mounted to the flat, vertical part of the architrave just below the largest bit of molding.

    Bookmark   April 16, 2014 at 7:45PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo


Thank you for your note. We know that the sky is the limit, creatively speaking, but we wanted to try to figure out which looks best mounted outside of the window frame. It looks like we are going with above the architrave and below the crown moulding and extending the rods out past the edge of the window moulding so most of the window is exposed when the drapes are open.


We have all brand-new trim and drywall so, thankfully and not so thankfully, we get to chose where to put the holes and get to make them. :P


Inside the window frame was considered but since a lot of the windows are narrow compared with their height, we felt drapes within the window frames would crowd it up too much.


It seems now that is what we will do. Few people have suggested mounting the rod to the flat part of the architrave, which we are keen to avoid doing as best possible. It seems easier to patch and fill drywall rather than woodwork and we will be sure to use some generous/strong anchors.


Thank you! All of the moulding is a mixture of custom, milled to order, and moulding from Home Depot and Lowes. The fun part was arranging it all in such a way to give it a depth and richness that most people would never assume comes from a big box store. All of it is paint grade (we never had plans to stain it) and much of it is built up out of several pieces. I think in our coffered ceiling we utilized four or five different profiles. It was tedious at times but well worth it.


The windows were put in before the renovation started (long story...) and probably will be replaced a few years down the road *if* we can find someone who can use these windows (hate making waste!). Some of them have trim only on the outside (with a paintable inner composite frame) and others are boxed in with wood on the inside of the frame. It will all blend with some paint. It was easy to do with planning. Plenty of practice done on mitering corners and even used a coping saw!

All others who mentioned shades inside the frame... I totally forget to mention!: We are putting cellular shades inside every window. Sorry for neglecting to mention this.

    Bookmark   April 18, 2014 at 4:05PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
Circus Peanut

hi cfvh,

This may be a bit late, but I just saw your question. Here are some ways we did it in our former bungalow that had this same traditional original trim:

    Bookmark   April 18, 2014 at 8:06PM
Sign Up to comment
More Discussions
Help with floor plan - change keeping room to kitchen or dining?
I'd appreciate feedback on my modifications to the...
Help me style my living room!
I have no idea what to pair with this tan couch. I...
Tibbrix: Wolverine Brass
Starcraft researches faucets, and they have a post...
Help me find a powder room paint color
My painter is here fixing another problem (sheetrock,...
TV show Perception set decor
If you haven't watched the show, it's a good one. But...
Annie Deighnaugh
People viewed this after searching for:
© 2015 Houzz Inc. Houzz® The new way to design your home™