Q:

A couple of years ago, I bought expensive new drapes for all my front rooms. This summer, I had the exterior of my house painted medium gray with black trim. The house used to be white with black trim. Now, the drapes look just awful from the outside because of the white backing fabric. What should I do? Is this standard practice?

- L.
A: That must be a big difference if you are used to looking at a white house. Almost every lined drape I've ever seen has a white or off-white backing. And this is for several reasons, though I'm convinced matching the exterior of a house is not one of them.

White or off-white is the most common house color in the United States. Other popular colors also are light, and include variations of beige, light gray, and pale yellow. White is the most common trim color for exteriors and interiors, too.

So it makes sense that drapery liner fabrics are white. A white or light-colored liner filters light without changing the color of the fabric you carefully chose. White also neutralizes the colors of your drapes from the outside.

Since the white bothers you, consider adding a dark-colored sheer or wood shutters or blinds in front of your drapes. If you don't already have a sheer, you may need to add a rod. Ask your installer or a decorator for ideas. Black or dark-gray mesh fabrics add drama and filter light beautifully and would tone down the white to coordinate better with your exterior. Or think about tying in the white on the outside with some white trim around your windows for a more cohesive look.

Jennifer Adams is a designer, author, and TV personality.

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