Pleats A Guide to Finding the Perfect Style for Your Home
When it comes to adding curtains or draperies to your home, one of the most important decisions is the pleat style. Pleat style not only impacts the overall look but can also influence the functionality of your window treatments. From classic to modern, there are numerous pleat styles to choose from. But fear not! In this guide I’ll walk you through my top 5 favorite drapery pleat styles and help you find the perfect fit for your home.
The French pleat, also known as a pinch pleat, is a classic and features evenly spaced pleats made from folds of fabric pinched together at the base. French pleats can be made with two or three folds depending on the desired fullness of the drapery. I find the French pleat style works with almost all fabrics from heavy velvet to sheer and everything in between. I made these extra tall draperies for a new home in south San Diego. The draperies frame the beautiful views but offer the ability to block the intense afternoon sun when needed.
One of my favorite pleat styles, the euro pleat, is very similar to the French pleat but with a twist to make it a little less traditional. As with the French pleat, it can contain two or three folds of fabric in each pleat, but it gets tacked at the very top instead of lower down like the more traditional version. As with the French pleat, most fabric weights work well with this pleat style. I find this look has an edgier, younger look but still suits almost any style of home decor. For the dining room drapes below I used a gorgeous, silk Kravet fabric studded with Swarovski crystals and handprinted hardware.
The Ripplefold pleat is a modern drapery style featuring evenly spaced folds to create a uniform, ripple-like pleat for a clean, streamlined effect. This style works well with contemporary or minimalist decor. One of the advantages of Ripplefold pleats is that it can be used with a wide range of fabrics. It also provides a smooth, continuous look whether the drapery is opened or closed. I used a Stroheim semi sheer fabric to create this beautiful drapery treatment over an arched window in this Rancho Santa Fe dining room. In the photo below, you can see the pleats stacked tightly together. In the second photo, it shows how the pleats spread out evenly while retaining the ripple effect.
Grommet pleats provide a modern touch to draperies and curtains. We use a special tool and double sided metal rings punched directly into the top of the fabric to create the grommet hole. The curtain rod is then threaded through the grommets, for a sleek, contemporary look. Grommets work well with heavier fabrics such as velvet, jacquard or suede, but we often use them for light weight fabrics like linen or cotton. This style is best for decorative side panels rather than functional drapes. Because there is no structure between the pleats, it has a tendency to flatten out when pulled, sort of like a shower curtain. If you love the look but want to make your drapes operational, opt for the ripplefold style discussed above. My client loved the sand and sea colors in this simple ikat pattern and the casual pleat suited her family room kitchen combo.
Inverted pleats can look casual or formal depending on the fabric and details used. Unlike most other pleat styles we create an inverted pleat by folding the fabric toward the back instead of the front. This creates a clean, tailored look that works particularly well for contemporary or transitional spaces. This style works best with medium to heavy fabrics and is a good choice if you want something a little out of the ordinary. For the drapery panels pictured below I used two different colors of linen fabrics from Fabricut. The one in cream creates a banded lead edge in high contrast to the bronze. The addition of one of my favorite beaded trims separates the colors and adds a little extra dress-maker detail. My client wanted to use her original acrylic and gold hardware for the crowning touch. How could I say no to these gorgeous drapery rods!?
So there you have it, my top five favorite pleat styles. Each one has its own unique benefits and can work well in a variety of settings. Whether you’re aiming for a causal, informal look or a more formal feel, there’s a drapery style just right for your home. Take time to consider what aesthetic you’re aiming for and what fabrics you tend to lean towards and you’ll be sure to find the perfect drapery pleat style for your space.
My addiction to fabrics and my love of drapery designing is a great advantage to my customers who want to create something special. If you are interested in exploring drapery ideas or any other window coverings for your home I encourage you to reach out and schedule an appointment.