Velvet Drapery Update & A Little Preview

I’m back with a curtain update, I couldn’t leave you hanging the whole weekend. Thanks so much for all your suggestions, including your tips on dealing with wrinkles in velvet fabric that’s been folded and creased. You are awesome and I always appreciate hearing your excellent ideas and suggestions!

This morning I headed off to the Ballard Designs Outlet. The BD outlets here in the Atlanta area are known for not accepting any returns. They have signs all around the registers announcing this policy. Still, I felt completely comfortable going back there today with my two, large Ballard Designs shopping bags filled with draperies, since I knew I had a valid reason for possibly having to return them.

It wasn’t because I had just changed my mind or was suffering buyer’s remorse. No, I was back because one of the panels had been incorrectly labeled “Sage” on the packaging, and on the panel itself. After I removed it from the packaging and noticed that the panel didn’t match the others, I noticed the other side of the original label on the panel, was stamped: Evergreen. (Ignore the price sticker. Panels were on sale 40% off which came out to $63.50 per panel.)

Velvet Drapes4


Since this was obviously a store error, I felt sure I’d have no problem returning them if they didn’t have another sage panel. I headed off to Ballards today with a positive attitude, not expecting a problem. I think sometimes we worry and bring into our lives that which we most fear. I’m a Class A worrier from way back, I can fret with the best of ’em. But as I’ve gotten older, I try to not anticipate and worry about things that haven’t even happened, yet. Sometimes I’m successful and sometimes I’m not.

I love this Mark Twain quote.

Mark Twain Quote


I don’t think I’ve ever been in this particular Ballard Designs on a Saturday and it was really busy. You could hear, “Excuse me” and “Can I get by” going on all over the place as shoppers, who were almost all women, attempted to maneuver around each other to see a particular item they had spotted. I made a mental note to myself to avoid shopping there on Saturday whenever possible.

I got in the line for the checkout counter and as the line moved along, I lifted and scooted my two, large, bags along. After I’d been in line for about 10 minutes, one of the two ladies in front of me, turned, looked down at my bags, and said “You know they don’t accept returns.”

Ha! I wasn’t even up to the counter yet, and even the other customers were trying to convince me I was wasting my time. In a matter-of-fact voice, I replied, “They’ll accept this one.” She looked surprised and said, “Oh!” I didn’t offer any further explanation and she didn’t ask.

Another register was opened up since the line had gotten a bit longer and another customer ended up checking out next. She was trying to exchange something and the sales associate who was looking at her computer reminded her that she had done this 3-4 times during the previous year. She was politely advised that customers are allowed only one return or exchange a year. I had never heard that rule before. Interesting! It’s nice to know they do allow it once in a while. An exception was made but she was gently warned that this would be the last time she could exchange something for a while.

She took it well. I felt kind of bad for her, it was like being told that you had used up all your get-out-of-jail-free cards. You would think after witnessing that exchange and just a few minutes before being warned by another shopper that they didn’t take returns, I’d be feeling a bit nervous about my exchange or possible return, but I wasn’t. I knew as long as I didn’t get someone completely unreasonable, everything should go well.

It was finally my time at the register and I politely asked to speak with the manager who I had noticed was nearby. She came over, listened to my dilemma, and never once implied that I wouldn’t be allowed to return the curtains. She was great and got right to work attempting to find another sage panel while I headed over to the curtain area of the store to see if there were any left.

I had no luck and though I was disappointed, I had prepared myself for this outcome. If there’s one thing I’ve learned over the years is when you miss out on one thing, often something much better comes along. Then you find yourself thanking your lucky stars that the other thing hadn’t worked out. Have you ever had that happen? I have lots of times.

This day luck was with me. The manager was successful in tracking down one more sage panel and I returned the Evergreen panel. As we were talking, the manager told me something very interesting. She said Ballard Designs had never actually stocked this drapery in the Evergreen color and that this panel was a “sample” panel. She said that they often get samples in, but may not always decide to stock a particular color.

I commented that it seems like it would be almost impossible to sell just one panel, since not too many folks have a need for a single panel. She told me that I’d be surprised and that they sell them frequently. I wonder if folks buy and use them to make pillows.

Velvet Drapes2


Just for grins and giggles, I opened up my shutters in the living room today and draped the three sage curtains over the shutter panels to see how the color looked against the walls and how it looked with the other furnishings in the room. I did this yesterday, too, but was curious to see it again.

Velvet Drapes for Paneled Room


I’ll be hanging the panels outside the windows so they won’t be blocking the window/view. The drapery panels are full, but not super wide, so I think they’ll fit comfortably alongside the windows. I’ll also hang them up nice and high as I did with the curtains in the office and those in the dining room.

Green Velvet Drapes for Cozy Paneled Room


So what do you think? Can you envision them hanging high on either side of the windows, framing out the windows in this room? Do you like the color? Initially, I thought I liked the Evergreen color better, but it was so dark, it lacked some of the depth/richness I see in the sage panels. I like the way the lamp-light plays off these panels.

Velvet Drapes for Living Room, Cozy for Winter


I took this picture with the lamp on the table turned off. I’m looking forward to hemming them or having them hemmed. I may leave it up to a pro since it’s velvet and I’ve never sewn or worked with that fabric.

Velvet Curtains for Winter


Looking forward to sharing the final look soon!

Green Velvet Drapes for Cozy Paneled Room

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  1. I do like a happy ending! Success! πŸ˜‰
    I like the look, Susan. Very classic for this room that I’ve long admired.

  2. Why those look like Miss Ellen’s portiers!! You could make a dress to meet Rhett.

  3. So glad they located another panel for you because they are going to look fabulous!

  4. karen amatangelo says

    Susan you are one tough cookie. I am glad you weren’t afraid to return the evergreen panel. The sage color is lovely in your room and coordinates well with your furniture. Sage is one of my favorite colors to decorate with. Can’t wait to see the finished product. And by the way, I think velvet is sort of difficult to work with and hem to make it look right. I think a professional is a good choice.


  5. I cannot wait to see the drapes up and hanging. They are going to be a beautiful asset to your home…Keep us posted!!

  6. I love the color, in your room with the furniture and wall paneling . I like the puddling on the floor too! I had that in my bedroom, and it wasn’t the problem I’d envisioned. However, velvet, hmm, will attract dust. Mine were interlined silk, and I loved them puddled.

    • I was trying to decide if I should puddle them. I keep wondering if one day I’ll move to an older cottage with higher ceilings and will wish my curtains were all longer. But the other part of me says go ahead and make them the way you want them now and don’t worry about that mythical future house. I noticed at the Ballard Designs website, in all the photos they have their curtains “bumping” against the floor. Not sure what the technical term is for that length, but all the drapes are just a tad longer than necessary so they actually stack a bit onto the floor. Maybe that’s the latest trend for hanging curtains…not sure. Yeah, that’s a good point about how Velvet attracks dust. Puddling is very pretty, though.

      • Yes, i had that look, just a “break”, at the floor, in the sewing room, and loved that look as well, and think it might be more appropriate for velvet. Whatever you choose will be lovely, I know. That room is so cosy and welcoming.

  7. Renee Cook says

    I like your sage very much. I like the softness of the color and I think it goes well with your wingback chair. I’m glad you were able to make your exchange with no problem. I’m grateful for all the times the Lord has blessed me with His favor! I look forward to seeing it when they’re hung! I think you’ll enjoy them.

    • Thanks, Renee! I’m looking forward to getting them up. I still want to tweak a few more things in this room, a room is never done, is it? lol

  8. I am a new subscriber to your blog and we have a similar style. Love the sage velvet! Absolutely beautiful in that room. Very lucky they had a 4th panel and yes, I think single panels are often bought for pillows or small upholstery projects as they are often less expensive per yard than other fabric options. Nice that it all worked out, because so often it doesn’t.

    • Thanks so much, Carrie! Oh, that’s a great point. I handn’t thought about small upholstery projects. They would be perfect for covering a small chair or a few chair seats. I know, I was lucky this time!

  9. Susan,

    So glad for you !! Look so nice, like an English den !! πŸ™‚


  10. It is almost never that I disagree with your choices, and I fully expected to not like these drapes in this room. But I do!!! Most definitely. (Although you mentioned perhaps going drapeless in the summer, and I think that would be a good look for then.) But yay for you πŸ™‚

  11. I LOVE them! The style and color is great for your room and I can’t wait to see the final unveiling! I’m so glad everything worked out for you, too.

  12. Susan, I think your panels are just perfect! They are rich in color and texture and go very well with your room. We don’t have a Ballard Designs Outlet here, but we do have Pottery Barn and Williams-Sonoma outlets. PB has recently adopted a “no return” policy, and I can’t but imagine it has cut down on their business. I think that is very poor customer relations. People sometimes have to get something home to see how it looks in their setting and lighting. Sometimes it’s not right. I think 2 and 3 times now before buying from the outlet.
    BTW, I bought the plaid W-S chargers this year and am still enjoying using them. They will be good fall through winter, don’t you think? They were a little pricey, but so worth it. And thanks to your inspiration, I am going to set up a hot chocolate bar soon for some of my friends. I can’t wait! I even bought some stirrer sticks and some white wooden snowflake buttons to glue on the top of each. With a high of only 36 here tomorrow, it’s time for lots of hot chocolate! And I suppose we’re sending you these frigid temperatures in a few days. Sorry!

  13. So glad you posted an update! And I’m equally glad they were able to find another sage panel for you! LOVE the look of these in your room, and I like them puddled a bit as well. One question… is your armoire a Henkel piece?

    • Thanks, Sondra! Actually, the armoire is from Hickory White, bought in Richs about 20 years ago. I wanted a piece with the golden-colored inlay to play off the walls in this room and it was perfect for that. I know everyone is getting rid of their armoires but I still love having the TV hidden away when not in use.
      The table that’s beside the flamestitch wing back is a Henkel piece found in Furniture Craftsman, a store that has sadly closed. I miss that store so much!
      It took me a while to furnish this room, pulling pieces together from different stores. The two tapestry chairs with the ottoman are from Hickory Chair, also from Furniture Craftsman. They have down cushions and were a bit of an investment, but they are so comfortable, I knew I’d keep them forever and just have them reupholstered over the years.
      The bird-cage, tilt-top table is a Baker piece from a wonderful store in Atlanta called Matthews Furniture. They are still in business, thankfully! The sofa is from another store that closed just a few years ago called Classic Home Furnishings and the coffee table was a bargain find at A Classy Flea. It has the same banding/inlay seen in the armoire. That was way more than you wanted to know. lol I get sentimental when I think about all the great stores that are no more in this area.

  14. Jane Franks says

    So glad you found another sage drape, Susan. I think the color is fabulous with your furniture, and imo has more life to it than the darker color. Can’t wait to see the finished product!

  15. Those panels look GREAT in this room!!!!! This is a pretty classic room also. I love Velvet….on windows, chairs, sofas, velvet is very rich and classic.
    So glad you could get another panel. When you are nice and in the right it will always turn out right is my belief….whether that curtain or another curtain that looks better!

  16. I love sage ~ such a wonderful neutral and it gives a touch of the forest to your lovely paneled room. Thanks for the Mark Twain quote. I am copying it down and memorizing it for whenever my next debilitating bit of needless worry tries to overwhelm me again. Worry is such a waste of precious time. Glad everything worked out for you and I know you will love these drapes for a very long time!

    • Susan, I know exactly what you mean! Another quote I have pinned at Pinterest is by Mary Engelbreit. She said, “Worrying does not empty tomorrow of its troubles, it empties today of its strength.” I like that one a lot, too.

  17. How thoughtful to share almost instantly the results of your trip to make
    store error right, and happy for you it could be done with such great service.
    Having been in retail I know that most successful businesses want to please the customer and you were right in your optimism …good life lesson for the rest of us. Thanks for sharing your experience, your optimism…and most especially….want to say I think those sage draperies are the cat’s pajamas! Figuratively speaking. Completes the loveliness of this charming and winsomely cozy room. I also like the suggestion of taking them down in warm weather too. They may seem oppressive then when the 3 H’s arrive.
    I think wise to have professionally altered having not worked on velvet but
    you might find the puddle look charming too as well as cozy. Try the look first and see how you like…the room looks large enough to withstand the
    look and I think velvet would drape beautifully.

    • Thanks, Alyce…I will definitely do that, have them professionally hemmed. So glad you like to velvet…I’ve never used it in a room before so looking forward to that.

  18. Robin Consani says

    Very interestIng post, thank you. As a retailer myself, I relate to the travails you experienced. Very nice customer service from Ballard Designs, kudos to them. I hope you can give Ballard Designs positive feedback on yelp, etc. that is VERY important to retailers. Sounds like the manager was very into customer service. (No, I don’t work for Ballard Design)

    • pam ~ crumpety cottage says

      Honestly, I don’t think this is exceptional customer service at all. They simply did the right thing considering this was a mistake on their end, not remorse on the customer’s side. And it’s no loss of money for them as it is essentially an exchange. They certainly aren’t worthy of praise for doing that, in my opinion.

      It reminds me of a time years ago when something similar happened to us and again, it was not in any way a problem we had created. We were back at the store within an hour to return the item. The store also had a ‘no returns’ policy, which we questioned in light of the fact that the item was not working and we had returned it immediately. We pointed out that that would be a pretty slick way of reducing ‘inventory.’ Sell broken items as though they are perfect and then refuse to issue refunds when the customer brought them back. That company went out of business within a couple of years of that incident, so we must not have been the only ones who took issue with their questionable business practices.

    • The manager did go above and beyond. Since they are an outlet, they pretty much never try to track one down for you. It’s usually you get what you can find in the store. I really appreciated that she took the time to do that.

  19. Becky Howard says

    I have always loved this room. The sage is perfect, matches the chair perfectly. We have the same style. I’m excited to see the end result.

  20. You were smart to go directly to the store manager. Clearly this was not an ordinary return and I hope it doesn’t count against you if you should need to return something else to Ballard Design. The drapes look wonderful in your room. Vikki in VA

  21. Defiantly worth waiting for as they are beautiful and luxurious. You’re going to love them and a perfect fit for this room. You probably initially liked the evergreen better because it is winter. I think the sage will be more beautiful in every season. I’ve always wanted velvet drapes but they just don’t work in our South Florida climate

    • That’s a good point, Pamela! I’ll see how they feel in the Georgia temps this summer. I may leave them up just because I think they will look at home in that room and the only time I open the door in that room during the summer, is in the early morning or late evening. The door goes to the screened porch so I do love opening it when its cool out.

  22. I had to go back and read the first part of this. So glad you were able to get what you wanted. I know some fabrics relax after their up a while- otherwise I’d use my steamer coming in from the backside. These look like the color is perfect with everything else that you have in the room. I think you’re headed for a happy ending!

    • Thanks, Liz! I really hope so. I didn’t realize that about velvet but a couple of folks mentioned it might relax so I should wait to hem them. I guess I should hang them up and let them hang for a week or something before I take them to be hemmed.

  23. Lovely! I have several friends who have bare windows and/or shutters and plenty of light in their rooms but I am a drape and curtain person and I think they make a home cozy and cottagey. Your room looks complete and welcoming and that color blends beautifully with your furniture and pillows.

  24. Betty Marie says

    Glad all went well for you. The color is perfect for your room and the way you want to hang them couldn’t be better. “Enjoy”

  25. They look so pretty and add such beautiful softness and texture to the windows. Great choice.

  26. Elizabeth Jane says

    Thanks for not leaving us hanging (pun intended)! Your room is going to be magnificent.

    Initially, I had hoped you would go with evergreen, since it sounded like such a rich effect. However, the sage color is absolutely perfect for your room. It is a neutral that will pull your room together without adding too much emphasis to the draperies. I, too, love the simple wooden blind effect, but after adding draperies to my bedroom window during the winter months, I find that I sleep sounder and save much energy. So cozy and quiet!

  27. Pamela Krugman says

    I love this room. I’ve loved it for years. I think these drapes are “safe”. Not sure they add anything to that room though. I’d rather see a little more color-a rich red or green.

  28. “They will this time…” Hah!! You go girl!!! *hearts* franki

  29. Hi Susan I like the color and the fabric but not the position outside the window! With all respect…. Just my opinion.

  30. Mary from Virginia says

    I am glad to hear they locating a panel for you. I wouldn’t have been afraid to return them, sign or no sign! You had a very valid reason to make a return. Lucky you to live so close to great stores. We are limited in my neck of the woods.

    Not that my vote counts but I vote for the professional to hem the panels. Less headache!

  31. pam ~ crumpety cottage says

    Hi Susan,

    I think they’re very pretty and will be a great addition to that room. The color seems to match the green in your chevron striped chair! I’m glad they were able to find another one for you and didn’t give you any troubles.

    I had never heard of Ballard Designs until recently. I somehow got a coupon from them in my email. I decided to purchase something I was needing anyway, and purchase from them, since I had the coupon. Do you know what? They wouldn’t accept the coupon! They said they wouldn’t accept it on ‘that item.’ But the coupon itself had no exclusions. None. I was so disgusted with them I vowed never to buy from them again AND to report them to my state attorney general for deceptive business practices. (Thanks for reminding me about that – I still have to do it, lol.) So there will be no Ballard Designs for me, which is no loss since I had never even heard of them before. But I’m glad you found some great looking curtains there and will soon have an even cozier, even snugger downstairs family room for the winter. πŸ˜€ Stay warm!

  32. Sherry Stuifbergen says

    I like the velvet for a “winter look.” At first I was not sure. Your photo looks good with them, a muted, grayed color, not a “pure” color. Happy it worked out for you at Ballard’s. I like their catalog for decorating ideas and accents. I immediately thought of Scarlett with the “velvet drapes!” A good choice.

  33. Barb from Ohio says

    Hi Susan,
    I’m glad it worked out so well for you, but you knew you had a legitimate reason to take the drapes back and no fault of your own. They will look great in your room. It’s a shame you had to go through all that just because of a mistake in packaging. I have seen pictures of very narrow windows where they would have just one panel hanging and pulled back with a tie back, perhaps that’s how some one would use just one panel. This might apply if the window is in an odd place in the wall where a full treatment just wouldn’t work. Good for you for persevering amid the comments from other shoppers that could have discouraged you!

  34. I am glad you were able to get another sage panel. They will look great in this room. Since you got the panels at such a good price, I think you should have them professionally hemmed. Velvet is such a heavy fabric and I think it is difficult to sew. I would also keep what they cut off and make pillow covers with the left over fabric. You could piece it if necessary and make an interesting design with it.

  35. The drapes are just perfect for your room, Susan. Back in the 1970s thru 90s I had a business custom sewing and alterations. People always asked what the proper length was for window treatments and depending on style and fabric the answer was “to the sill, to the apron, to the baseboard or to the floor”. Now the answer is “wherever you like them. Personally, I think soft fabrics of any weight look lovely puddled. Our bedroom has two windows separated by 4′ on one wall. Each has a semi sheer 6-yard long scarve that hangs a third down on the inner side of the window and form lovely, billowy puddles on the outer side. Also, if you do choose to shorten them, you’re wise to have them done professionally. Velvet and velveteen are delicate fabrics despite their density and care needs to be taken to avoid pressing and stitching marks. A velvet board is used and the fabrics don’t recover from pin holes or heat streaks. Find someone who specializes in speciality fabrics and ask to see some of their work with these fabrics.

    • Chris, thanks so much for that information about sewing velvet/velveteen. I didn’t realize it was so delicate. I’ll be very careful about who I use to hem them. Since these are sooo long, I think I’ll have to shorten them. I can’t decide if I should let them puddle or have them just bump on the floor. I’m not sure if they are wide enough to puddle. I think they are only 50 inches wide.

  36. Cyndi Raines says

    So glad for the happy ending! They are beautiful Susan and with the extra material you can get some extra pillows made!

  37. You had me going there for a bit. I thought they were going to give you a hard time and I was going to have to send my cousin Nunzio over there ;).

    Velvet is by far my favorite fabric. Love these in your beautiful room!

  38. They soften the whole room. They look lovely.

  39. Susan,
    I am so glad all went well and you are getting the last one. Your preview looks amazing.
    When you get the panels hemmed you may want to save the extra fabric to make throw pillows. I think if you have needlework or tapestry type fabric the velvet would work for piping and the back side and tie in with the rest of the room.

    I also purchase tablecloths, shower curtains and other items for the fabric. the fabric and size of piece works for some sewing projects better and cheaper than yard goods. It can also look more custom when it matches other items in room or you can make something that is not available in the fabric.

  40. I want to thank you for your wonderful blog! Your “style” speaks to those of us who love classic dΓ©cor and don’t feel compelled to follow the disposable trends being pushed on us by so many decorators. I love the velvet drape selection and agree with your decision to have a professional alter the length. Velvet is so easy to crush when it is pressed that unless you have experience with that type of fabric it is easy to ruin. It also takes specific ironing tools (needle board) so between purchase expense and personal damage from pulling out your hair in frustration, best to let a professional do it. Again, thanks for a wonderful blog!

    • Thanks so much, Risa! Appreciate that info about velvet fabric, too. I will definitely find someone to hem them for me. Like you mentioned, by the time I buy everything I’d need and try to figure it all out on my own, I’m sure I’d gladly have paid a pro to do it. Looking forward to sharing how they look again, once they are up.

      • Susan, if you do take them to a professional for hemming chances are she/he will use what they call a ‘needle board’ for pressing which is basically used on fabrics that have a nap. (In laymen’s term…. a raised texture … ☺.) -Brenda-

  41. Connie Callahan says

    You are right about hanging them on the outside of the window. Will make the room look bigger and give you more sun light. Please hang the curtains as high up as you can go with the length. This also will make the room look bigger and more custom. The drapes should hang about one inch from the floor. This will keep the dust off the and be easier to vaccum. Your room is beautiful. (by the way, I am a professional interior designer)

  42. Susan, I am so glad to hear that you were able to exchange the odd panel and found what you needed as they are a perfect window covering for your room. Regarding the policy of no returns I can certainly understand why some establishments may not do so, particularly if it is linen goods as I recall an acquaintance of my Mother was the type of person who wouldn’t hesitate to make a purchase and use the item for an occasion then have no conscience of returning it. That said; one time I had bought a beautiful table cloth and though I wasn’t going to use it immediately I opened the package up when I got home and to my surprise it was full of candle and grease drippings to such an extent that I felt it must have been used for buffet purposes as could not see anyone being so neglectful. (It was a real mess!) In summary; I was fortunate to be in a position that I was able to return it the same day within a very short time frame so had no problem in exchanging it as otherwise probably would have been stuck with it and learned a lesson to check such items ASPO regardless if it appears that it hasn’t been re-packaged. -Brenda-

    • Thanks, Brenda for that info. I called a local shop today and I’m going to take the drapes by on Monday to have them look at them. I will make sure they have that type equipment before I leave them. Even though they aren’t super expensive, I still want them to be hemmed correctly.
      That’s amazing that someone got away with returning that tablecloth…or that they even had the nerve to return it. Glad they let you return it without any problem and that you got a new one.

  43. @Reesibits says

    They look beautiful and what a bargain at Ballards! Ballard has beautiful things and I enjoy their catalog.
    Sometimes the Restoration Outlet has bargains on drapes – that’s how I found my 4 panels of Belgian linen Lined 120″ panels then I also could have cried when I needed to purchase another two at full price.

  44. The panels look great in that room. It gives it a cozy feeling.

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