On the lookout FOR some fashion and privacy—perhaps much more than ever—without transferring walls? Look at incorporating hanging cloth panels in a doorway, a favored trick of interior designers. “Portieres are a clever and flexible resource,” said Birmingham, Ala., inside inside designer Stephanie Lyton. When the drapes are shut, relatives members know to stay absent (”I’m performing!”). Inside drapes also dampen sounds and test the chill coming from actual doors that open up on to the blustery entire world at substantial. On the decorating entrance, they soften hard edges and spend basic previous portals with a little bit of mystery and drama. Listed here, a number of facts.

The Enchantment

Portieres proficiently incorporate colour, pattern and texture to two rooms. “Plus, they carry a sprint of romance,” reported Stephanie Lynton, an inside designer in Birmingham, Ala., who added additional pink to a big room’s rose-inflected décor by hanging blush linen portieres in the doorway frames. Ms. Lynton also notes that portieres carry the coziness and beauty of drapes to a home with couple of or no home windows, or to a generously windowed room whose light or sights you would somewhat not block with traditional curtains.

Portieres soften an entrance in designer Stephanie Lynton’s Birmingham, Ala., property.


Jean Allsopp

On the functional aspect, portieres deliver privateness and the means to separate, any time daily life necessitates, spaces that connect with no a reliable door—say, a kitchen area and a dining home doubling as a household office. The rosy drapes that Ms. Lynton deployed helped block drafts from close by exterior exits. Atlanta interior designer Jackye Lanham discovered a further pragmatic use for a material barrier: sealing off a hallway that qualified prospects to guest rooms. “When they are shut, I know my friends are even now sleeping.”

The Suggestions

When choosing the fabric, consider the portieres’ function. Should you want to block a draft or sounds, dense velvet will work effectively. Just make sure your rod is potent more than enough to assistance the fabric’s fat, cautioned Ms. Lynton. Lightweight elements will soften a place with a large amount a lot more Gatsby-esque billow, but Ms. Lanham endorses shunning stretchy materials “that will get rid of condition and sag above time.”

Ms. Lanham likes to use two complementary materials for both aspect of a portiere’s panels to orchestrate a diverse visual expertise in each individual connecting space, and hews to the rule that materials ought to align with the all round inside décor. To changeover from a marble-tiled lobby to a heart-of-pine living space in a stately Atlanta home, for example, Ms. Lanham utilized a de Gournay silk edged with hand-tied knots. “You want to think about the sought after fullness as very well,” she explained, outlining that in a modern context, tailored panels glimpse ideal, but for much more passionate rooms, a flouncier remedy with tiebacks might stir hearts extra efficiently. And get innovative with your resources, she said. Classic textiles, embroideries, desk linens and even quilts can be conscripted as portieres.

The Caveats

Portieres’ terrific marketing-point—that they adorn two rooms at once—obliges you to spend a lot more. Visible from both equally sides, they require 2 times as considerably cloth as window drapes, which is probably dear. Also, you can not put in them any place that could possibly impede their function, “such as too close to an oven doorway or to drawers that pull out,” stated Ms. Lynton. Continue to, reported Ms. Lanham, “I feel portieres get the job done in most spaces, even in more-up to date layouts.”


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Appeared in the March 5, 2022, print version as ‘When Is a Door Not a Door? When It’s a Portiere.’