How To Buy Draperies That Look Great & Work

How To Buy Draperies

How Hard Can It Be To Buy Draperies?

Anyone who has bought draperies knows that it is not as easy as it seems at first glance.  How long and how wide is just the start of all of the things you need to consider when buying drapes for windows in your home.  But admit it. How many of us have been disappointed at the outcome of drapes that we have bought at the store?  There are a few things that you need to consider.  Ask yourself, what are you trying to accomplish with draperies at your windows? Fabric at the window can really soften a room’s look from all of the hard surfaces.  They can help to muffle sounds that echo  from same such surfaces.  Draperies that close completely can help darken a room and add to privacy.  But how hard is it?  Here are a few things you may not even know, or did know but forgot, about buying panels of draperies.

How To Buy Draperies With Valances


Fabric at the window can really soften a room’s look from all of the hard angles and surfaces. Valances need enough projection to allow for the draperies hardware under it. Typically add three inches of projection for each layer of window treatment.  So if you have sheers underneath, they would be at a three inch projection. Then the drapes   would be at six inches and the valance at nine inches.


How To Buy Draperies for the Bedroom

Draperies, like carpeting in a room, help to muffle sounds that echo from outside and hard surfaces. If you like patterned fabrics, it helps to unify a design theme like the circle motif here.

How To Buy Draperies For Room Darkening


 Draperies that close completely can help darken a room and add to privacy. Sheers are great for diffusing the light during the day.  For a better night’s sleep, use room darkening lining on over draperies.

How to Buy Draperies for Privacy


Draperies are great for privacy.  Ideally, If you will open and close draperies, they should be on a traversing rod or rings for easy open and close.

How to Buy Draperies That Puddle


Puddled draperies lend elegance  to a room.  If you opt for puddled draperies to be hung at French doors or sliding doors, while elegant, they will need to be re-styled with each use. Better to have drapes just kiss the floor in this instance.

How to Buy Draperies for Added Layering in a Room.

 Layers are important for achieving a finished custom look. Obtaining a custom look takes planning and custom workmanship. For a custom look in window coverings, contact Mary Etta Designs for your custom window treatments including draperies.  Southern California residents –

Color Undertones for Interiors

Color is back in interior design in a big way.  Color undertones are everything when pulling off a color combination that is fun and polished.  As a True Color Expert I am certified to see the difference in  color undertones. It’s important when choosing paint colors, upholstery, cabinets or any element in your home.  An undertone is the color underlying a color.  What does that mean? Keep in mind that all colors start from the three primary colors of red, blue and yellow. The rainbow of colors are from combining different colors in different proportions. And that’s why there is always a color hiding beneath. The knockout living room in the home of Ali Wentworth and George Stephanopoulis (shown above), the walls have undertones of green-gray.  In the beautiful bathroom pictured below, the cabinetry and wall color have a violet-gray undertone.

Color and Undertones Mary Etta Designs Orange County Interior Designer Mary Etta Designs Orange County Interior Designer

And contrary to the way that most people want to approach painting the inside of their home, paint is the last color you should pick.  Start with your hard surfaces like counters, cabinets, flooring. Next, choose your upholstery, rugs, drape, and the like.  And finally, you get to decide what colors go on the wall. Your paint color will cue off of the color and undertones of all these choices.  Otherwise, you will be basing all of the other large purchasing decisions on the color and undertones of a paint color.  That makes shopping for the bigger investment pieces a lot trickier.


light or dark color

When comparing colors to see if they work together, decide which color is in charge. The one that is darker will stand out more and usually rule the design.  And darker does not mean a dark color, it just means that the darker of the two or three colors used in the room.  The one with the most “mass” will draw the eye to it and make us pay attention. If the color undertone is a darker value of green for example, even if the two colors being compared are considered light green to the eye, one of them will appear darker.

cool or warm

If You have a Tuscan themed kitchen, you have warm color undertones in your cabinetry, flooring and counters.  So, today is not the day to introduce a blue gray paint color to the mix.  Are you changing out the warm woods of the cabinets or warm and muted tones of your floors and countertop to brighter colors?  Great. Then grays and true whites will work well in your room.  But if that is not the case, stick with warm color undertones. Your whites should be in the warmer cream colors and off whites.

clean or dirty

The current of trend using bright and fresh colors is a nod to the fresh and clean Parisian look.  Knowing how to make this work is a matter of not mixing clean and dirty colors.  Take a look at the picture labeled “clean” above.   Those colors are bright, clean and not considered dirty, or muted.

The bright white backdrop of the walls and table make an excellent canvas for the clean, bright jewel colors in this room designed by southern California’s Jessica McClendon.  The current gray trend makes an excellent backdrop to clean fresh colors.

help when you need it most

Do you need help getting started? Then our Design Consultations will get you going in the right direction.  As a certified trained Marie Killiam True Color Expert, Mary Etta Designs uses larger paint samples to specifiy paint colors for the interior or exterior of you homes.  This gives a truer read of what your colors will look like.  And, we are there when you need help selecting furniture, fabrics, draperies, or finishes for any room.

Save Money: Hire An Interior Designer – Mary Etta Designs.  Contact us at

Mary Etta Designs Orange County Interior DesignerYour Southern Gal in The SoCal

Save Money: Hire An Interior Designer

For those of us who believe that our homes are our sanctuary, it matters a lot what home looks like.  Home is where you go when work day is done.  Home is where you can hide out from all the noise, the crazy and the busy parts of life.  Home is a place of celebration.  So, for us, home wears better clothes than we do at times.

It is for you that I write this blog post. Stop throwing your money away.  What do I mean?  Are you shocked at the amount that a sofa costs?  Well, don’t be surprised when you are buying a new one every 5 years from a store like (fictitious)  Breathing Places.  If you plan on sitting on said sofa  on a regular basis, you will need to replace it on a regular basis.

What we, as design professionals do, is help you find the right size, style and fabric in your upholstery piece that fits within your budget and function.  One that is going to last long enough to get reupholstered maybe when you want it to have a different color.


Save Money: Hire An Interior Designer Orange County Interior Designer Mary Etta Designs

analysis paralysis

Ok, maybe it’s not to the extreme of pulling two chairs together like the lady in the picture above.  But you might be fighting over who gets to stretch out to watch TV and who has to make it work wherever they sit.  Let’s say you need to make that purchase.  It’s the weekend.  After a long work week, weekend activities, and errands, the last thing you want is to hunt for the right sized sofa, pick out a durable and attractive fabric and still wonder if it will go with all of the other pieces in your home.

You’ve lost precious time, brain cells, rest you thought you would get in on your weekend off.  And quite honestly, you’ve probably spent more money on a lesser quality product than you would with an interior designer.  Our job as design professionals is to present you with the right proportioned pieces that coordinate with your style and will function for the purpose that you say that you want. You may as well save money: hire an interior designer.


Save Money: Hire An Interior Designer Symmetrical Orange County Interior Designer Mary Etta Designs

weigh the tradeoff

When people learn that I decorate for a living, their eyes light up and they smile.  And they say, “how fun!”  I love what I do.  But it is a job, a service that I provide for people who treasure their personal spaces.  People trust that I will do the research for them.  They trust me with finding a quality product that fits the bill to the best that their budget will allow.  It is serious enough work when people trust that their hard-earned dollars will be spent and that the final effect is what we together determine that it will be. It is hard work.  I gladly to my job so that you can do yours and not worry about the details until it is time for decisions to be made.

I save you time, angst over what works best, and where to find the pieces for the room you want to decorate.  As a specialist in window treatments and interior decorating, I attend the same market shows on the west coast as well as High Point Market in North Carolina. This is where new pieces are being introduced to all buyers in the design world.  I am right there with reps from furniture stores and other interior designers.  It is my job to advise you on how far into the trend a color or metal finish is when you are ready to buy.  It is my job to make sure that your home doesn’t look outdated as soon as you buy it.  These are not everyday purchases so that is important to you.

save money: hire an interior designer

At Mary Etta Designs, we have a variety of ways that you can take advantage of our services. Do you need help getting started? Then our Design Consultations will get you going in the right direction.  We recently introduced our new, online design consultation services so that we can help our clients who live anywhere in the country.  As a certified trained Marie Killiam True Color Expert, Mary Etta specifies paint colors for the interior or exterior of you homes(on line or in person in the Orange County, California).  And, if you need help selecting furniture, fabrics, draperies, or finishes for any room, that is an area in which we excel.

So Save Money: Hire An Interior Designer – Mary Etta Designs.  Contact us at Or schedule a consultation on our online booking system here.

Mary Etta Designs Orange County Interior DesignerYour Southern Gal in The SoCal

High Point Market Fashion Week for Furniture

High Point Market Mary Etta Designs Jamie Drake Coffee Table

Every April and October for a week, High Point Market is the event to attend.  Design professionals make their pilgrimage to High Point, North Carolina to see what’s new and what’s next in home decor and furniture design.  This fall I made my way to what I call “fashion week for furniture” and it was exciting, enlightening, and exhausting.  And it was eye opening as to why it’s necessary for serious design professionals like me to make the trip.




High Point Market Mary Etta Designs Furniture Trend

Being on the left coast, I’ve attended Las Vegas Market where many of the vendors and showrooms show their newest products. But even the suppliers that I met in Vegas kicked it up a couple notches for high Point Market. The three mile radius of endless showrooms and party-like atmosphere could have your head spinning.  So a plan is a must.

The goal for me during this market was to see how I could educate my clients on what will work in their designs while they incorporate new styling that they will enjoy for years. One recurring theme I noticed was that coffee tables are getting much larger.  In addition, there is a visual play so as not to overwhelm the room with such a large piece.

design legacy.Mary Etta Designs High Point Market

Look at this beautiful live edge wood table that floats glass in the middle.  Visually this gives the eye a rest.

High Point Market is known for showing furniture trends for upcoming seasons.  We also get to see future innovations in interior design.  This beautiful piece by Noir of Los Angeles was actually two separate wood pieces that could be used like you see it here allowing guests to walk through or pull the tables closer for use. The actual footprint of these pieces give you the  ability to have more surface space while  entertaining. And it also gives you flexibility. How cool that they can be used as side tables too.

High Point Market Coffee Table Noir

High Point Market Mary Etta Designs Noir Multi Level Coffee Table

Talk about innovation!  Who says that the surface has to be all at the same level.  Interesting, functional and fun has to be the theme of this coffee table.  Put your personality in your home.  Give Mary Etta Designs a call for more ideas on how you can decorate with design pieces that will last you for years to come.

Anaheim Hills Interior Designer Mary Etta Designs. We've Got Your Windows Covered.

2016 Fall Colors Trend Report

2016 Fall Colors Trend Report.jpg

Tranquility, Strength, Optimism.

According to the Pantone Color Institute‘s 2016 Fall Colors Trend Report, it’s what we want right now.  So look for the fashion and design world to design in these colors this fall and winter.   We will see everything from handbag, sweaters and jewelry to dinnerware, throw pillows and area rugs.

Every season, the gurus at Pantone, the go-to color guide for all things in the creative field, give us the predictors of what is to come.  The big influencer will be blue in a fresh new way.  We welcome blue sky colors. They represent constancy as they are always above us. Grays become steely, give a feeling of stability,

Always confident red tones have a hint of coral warmth.  And the Pinkish Purples and Spicy Mustard Yellows suggest a touch of the exotic.  See all the 2016 Fall Colors Trend Report here.

Enjoy fall y’all.


Fall 2016 Color Trends Airy Blue.jpg
2016 Fall Colors Trend Report Riverside.jpg
Fall 2016 Colors Trend Strip

Letting Clutter Go

 Anaheim Hills Interior Designer Bar Area Staged.jpg

  Hubby and I have put our home of 14 years on the market.  And we are learning first hand about letting clutter go.  As empty nesters (with an occasional boomerang adult child), we still have some of our adult offspring’s clutter mixed in with our own.  

So when our realtor brought along a professional home stager, I figured, no problem.  As a design professional, I know staging your home properly will allow potential buyers to more easily see the home as theirs.  A couple of tweaks here and there and we’re done, right? 

Mary Etta Designs Letting Clutter Go Bar Area Before

WRONG!  We had gotten so used to all the things around us that hold our fondest memories, that they’d become part of the scenery.  The bar area above to us looked just fine.  But we needed to get rid of the knick knacks and a few art pieces.  I must admit it was a big deal to let go of those mementos.  Letting clutter go in the form of pictures, books, art, even food items was like saying goodbye to family members.

  No drapes at my French doors and nothing on the table to suggest that we actually live here is like fingernails on a chalkboard to me.  But it allows a potential buyer to imagine their tastes in decor for this room.  Make a great first impression to lure buyers to see more of your home.  Eliminate clutter whoever possible.  I tell my husband there should be no signs that we live here.  

Mary Etta Designs Letting Clutter Go.jpg

   The home stager was kind, but ruthless in telling us what should be put in storage and what could stay while showing our house to potential buyers. She even offered to help me pack for a small fee. And though I turned her down, it might have been less painful.

Who knew that emptying a curio would bring tears to my eyes? That packing my angel collection would bring a rush of sentimental thoughts of the gift giver or the vacation that gave me that treasure. Taking down art pieces from my “designer’s gallery” wall was like painfully moving me out of my home before actually selling it.  But I have to admit it is a head start on packing.

Mary Etta Designs Letting Clutter Go Chair

The anticipation of what’s in store for our future is exciting. I am being forced to let go. I am not only letting clutter go, but I am making way for the next family to make memories here.interior Spaces Blog Orange County Interior Decorator Mary Etta./logo

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