Homes and Garden Journal

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Curtain Tie Backs In All Shapes, Sizes and Styles

Often rather overlooked, or bought as an afterthought, the curtain tie back is really an amazing accessory that can change the look of a curtain or a room. Many store bought curtains come complete with a tie back made from exactly the same material as the curtain itself. Occasionally you may find a tie back included that matches the trim of the curtains bought. To most people this is sufficient, it does the job of holding back the curtains when they are opened which is all that is required.

Tie backs can be found at most curtain accessories stores, where they can be bought separately if you desire. That gives you an opportunity to use something other than the regular curtain tiebacks that came with your curtains. You can find curtain hold backs made from plain material or from patterned material. You can also find things such as curtain tassels which are great to use on more formal full wall length curtains or even rope curtain tie backs which resemble tassels often, but without the long tassels on the end. You can, incidentally, also usually purchase curtain tie back hooks at the same store.

A little tip when it comes to tie back hooks; make sure they are large enough to comfortably and easily hold your tiebacks. Too often I see people struggling to tie back their curtains when the problem is simply that the hook is too small to hold the material. Tiebacks are kept out of sight, so while you do not want one that looks unseemly and ugly, you can at least make sure the one you buy is large enough for the curtain ties.

There are other types of tiebacks too; not all are made from material. Beaded curtain tie backs look great, especially when they are used with curtains made from plain fabric. While may be personal preference, but I feel that they look absolutely stunning when used to tie back curtains made from dark material, such as dark blues, greens, reds or black curtains. They seem to lose a bit of their charm when used to tie back patterned curtains as the actual design of the beaded tieback gets swallowed up by the pattern of the curtains.

Glass curtain tie backs are quite delicate usually. Allowing one to drop on the floor can often result in the glass part of the tie back either chipping or shattering all together, depending on the type of floor covering you have.  Dropping it on carpet usually will not matter that much, but any other hard surface will be sure to damage the tie back. These are usually made with a glass decorative section that has rope attached. They really are very classy and can add a very elegant air to any curtains. Again I would highly recommend their use with darker plain colored curtains, as that will help them to stand out. You can buy glass curtain tie backs with specific colored glass, thus you are able to match curtains quite well without having to stick to only transparent or white glass.  I would not recommend this type of tie back in a busy home with lots of children and pets running around.

Iron curtain tie backs are very unique and, as with other metal curtain tie backs, usually very decorative. Iron tie backs are usually black, whereas tie backs made from other metal can be other colors.  This type of tie back is a more permanent fixture that is often fastened to the wall beside the curtain. The curtain is often slipped back behind it, where it is held in place.  I have seen these type of curtain tiebacks used very tastefully, though they usually fit with a more formal setting. Of course some metal tie backs are really just glorified metal hooks, and they look great in any setting.

You will find that by far the most common tie back are the fabric curtain tie backs. These can be made from the same fabric as the curtain or a totally different color or style of fabric. Sometimes it is very effective to choose a different material than the curtain itself. If you have a patterned curtain, adding a plain colored fabric tie back can be very effective.  If you have plain colored curtains, alternatively adding a colorful patterned fabric tie back can look very good also.

Did you know that with a little inventiveness and creativity you can really liven up your store bought Waverly curtains, for example, and add a certain ‘something’ to a room that most people will not even be able to pinpoint. Here are some curtain tie back ideas that you can make on your own.  When making curtain tie backs you get to choose the style, color and material to make them from.

  • Buy some beads and make your own beaded curtain tiebacks
  • Buy sequins and sew them onto plain dark material for a sparkling effect
  • Use up your button collection, a great look for country curtains, sew colored buttons on material
  • Buy a length of gold chain and tie your curtains back with that, just loop it around the curtains and pull the tail of the chain through the loop
  • Use artificial vines as a tieback
  • Sew lace tiebacks, if you are only using the lace for a tieback you can afford to splurge a little on the cost of the lace you buy
  • Use shoestrings!
  • Save scraps of material leftover from sewing projects and transform them into curtain tiebacks.
  • Dried cane can be twisted into tiebacks

As you can see, there is no limit to the different ideas for making your own tiebacks. The great thing is that if you get tired of one particular style of tie back you can always simply make a new one.

Finally, the question I am always asked. Where should you place your curtain tiebacks? How far down the curtain level should they be. The answer is very simple; it’s up to you. Some prefer them to be placed mid way, or towards the lower section, or even up above the half way mark. It does not matter. Just do what looks best to you. Oh, and if you have several windows with curtains make sure the curtain tie back placement is on the same level for the sake of continuity.

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