published Saturday, March 5th, 2011

Curtain call

The curtain is coming down on blinds.

According to Jim Sharp, owner of Associated Fabrics on Dodds Avenue, many

interior designers are reporting a dramatic increase in people wanting

drapery treatments on their windows instead of blinds and shutters.

Blinds are on the way out, said Sharp, whose store carries upholstery and

home decor fabrics. Blinds have been trendy, but people are finding them

boring. They obstruct views and collect dust.

Draperies, on the other hand, are virtually care-free and practical, with

beautiful prints and textures being produced by fabric designers, said

Jane Mitchell, an Associated Fabric consultant who owns Cherokee Rose, a

local custom sewing and design company.

Draperies are energy-efficient. They save you money, Mitchell said,

explaining that today's sun-blocking drapes are made from fabrics that can

include a window-insulating felt lining.

Mitchell credits part of the turnaround to a younger group of buyers.

We still have the older generation who prefers draperies [and now] a

younger generation who wants them, and I do think it's for economic reasons.

Drapes offer efficiency, she said.

University of Tennessee Extension agent June Puett said young adults are

eager to save money and to live a simpler life than their parents.

I've observed some young people learning from the overspending mistakes by

older generations and [they] are learning basic skills like sewing to make

their own home furnishings instead of purchasing them, she said.

In the 1980s, the curtain and drapery industry was dramatically affected by

shifts in home-decorating tastes, reported American

window-blind manufacturers developed new technology that opened up a whole

new area of hard window treatments, the aluminum miniblind. Soon Taiwan

restructured its lightweight plastics industry to produce vinyl imitations

of the miniblind that were cheaper than miniblinds manufactured in the

United States. By the 1990s miniblinds were standard window coverings in

millions of households across the United States.

Blinds are great and have a function, Sharp said, but a lot of people

refer to them as dust catchers, and they are not as energy efficient as


Interior designer Haskell Hank Matheny, owner of Haskell Interiors in

Cleveland, Tenn., agreed that draperies are making a comeback.

With the right fabric and design, draperies can draw your eye to a

wonderful view outside, complementing rather than competing with it.

Draperies are still very tailored, but we are seeing a trend toward clients

ready to use brighter colors and more elaborate details. It can heighten the


Contact Karen Nazor Hill at or 423-757-6396.

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about Karen Nazor Hill...

Feature writer Karen Nazor Hill covers fashion, design, home and gardening, pets, entertainment, human interest features and more. She also is an occasional news reporter and the Town Talk columnist. She previously worked for the Catholic newspaper Tennessee Register and was a reporter at the Chattanooga Free Press from 1985 to 1999, when the newspaper merged with the Chattanooga Times. She won a Society of Professional Journalists Golden Press third-place award in feature writing for ...

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