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The Globe and Mail

Should drapes always hit the floor?

The question: I was in the bar of a swank new hotel recently. The room was very pretty but I noticed that the drapes along some windows hung well short of the floor to accommodate floor vents. To me, the look seemed less than polished. Aren't drapes always supposed to hit the floor?

The answer: So the drapes looked like bad flood pants, eh? That is so unattractive, but it's fantastic that you noticed; you may be a designer in the making. While there are no hard rules when it comes to the length of drapes, they must be pleasing to the eye.

The ideal gap between the floor and the bottom of the drape is a quarter of an inch. Really, though, it's a matter of personal taste; the once-common "puddling" of drapes on the floor, for instance, is not as popular as it used to be. In this case, a better solution might have been a horizontal shade that is of fabulous material and can be raised and lowered as required. Drapes are tough in commercial settings: If they sit on the floor, they tend to get grimy. I just finished a bar where I put a fabric-covered pelmet, which is a decorative valance, in the window, but really just for aesthetics and softening.

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Follow architect and interior designer Dee Dee Taylor Eustace, president of Taylor Hannah Architect Inc., on Twitter: @ddtaylordd. Have a design dilemma? E-mail style@globeandmail.com.

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