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A more casual look for these changing times

Simple cotton drapes are all a room needs to give off an air of elegance.

Simple cotton drapes are all a room needs to give off an air of elegance.

Now more than ever, a casual approach to home fashions is in vogue for the wise interior decorator. As the entire country adjusts to a new way of living, filled with higher gas prices and a turbulent economy, being overtly flashy with your house's decor is no longer considered in the best taste.

Instead, a clean and casual look is the best route to go with when laying out the design scheme of your home. Even in formal spaces, being conservative with your decorative choices will go a long way in establishing a comfortable aesthetic. A good place to start is in choosing the right window treatments.

Drapes are a good choice throughout the house because even when they are of a very simple fabric, they are more dramatic and functional than a shorter design. If you go with too heavy a fabric, like a velvet, a room may be weighed down. However, if you go with too light a material such as a sheer, the design may not be seasonally appropriate.

A happy-medium is a Cotenza cotton drape, which is substantial enough to anchor a room's design but is airy enough to not seem too imposing or formal, no matter what space they are decorating.

One good spot to start with when using Cotenza drapes is in your main living room. Since this place is already more formal than a den or family room, but still less stuffy than your dining room, it is a good area to begin establishing a more casual look for the home.

A good way to keep your home casual but maintain visual interest is to contrast the drapes with the colors on your wall. A darker drape against a white wall, or vice versa, will keep the look interesting.