Monday, October 1, 2012

Optical Illusions

I remember seeing these optical illusions as a kid in Highlights magazine.  They are fun to look at and timeless.  My 6 year old niece tells me they are still in the magazine.  You might be wondering how this relates to window treatments.  I have found you have to be careful of optical illusions when you have a valance with a shaped hem and different size windows in the same room.
In the top example, the hem shape on the larger valance looks almost flat, even though it has the same long point and short point as the smaller valance.  You have to exaggerate the shape on the wider window to get it to look the same.  Because the valances are side by side on the same wall, I chose to make the short point shorter, rather than making the long point longer.

Let's look at another example from start to finish.  The work order included a sketch of the treatment style (shown left) along with the window dimensions and the valance short point and long point.  The actual window was wider than the diagram on the work order.  My first step was to draw the valance to scale (shown below left).  Just like the arched valance illustration, the hem shape looks flatter on a wider valance.  In this case, making the short point shorter made the valance look skimpy and out of scale.  The customer didn't want the long point longer because the valance would cover too much of the window.   

I experimented with making the shape narrower and repeating it to get the needed valance width.  Can you believe the long point and short point are the same on all three examples below?  I should submit this to Highlights!

After some changes to the design, this is the finished valance.  There's no illusion here -- just a lovely window treatment.

Janis Reed, Interior Design Source 

I can't pull a rabbit out of a hat or make a coin appear behind your ear, but if you are looking for a workroom that can make your designs look their best, contact me at