When certain parts of life run too long—meetings, for example, or neckties, or wedding toasts—there's a good case for trying for an abridged version next time. But when you're talking curtains, bed skirts, slipcovers, or any fabric that flirts with the ground in your home, adding a few extra inches is all that stands between you and a much more relaxed (and yet smartly styled) feel.
And with so much of home design tending towards minimalism, a little bit of pooling fabric might just be the touch that makes things feel cozy and homey rather than austere (plus, it's extra forgiving of sloping old floors).
Here are a few tips for pulling off the look.
1. Use a quality fabric.
Whether you go with something silkier (like organza), more structured (like velvet), or airy (like linen), the pooling effect will show off its structure—so cheap fabric will read that way.
2. Don't do it everywhere.
This look can give off a messy feel if you overdo it, so don't pool more than one fabric or furnishing in a room. Metal or wood pieces on furniture legs will keep the overall appearance cleaner.
Linen maintains its structure as it gathers.
3. Aim for an added 1 to 3 extra inches.
Going even more overboard (adding six whole inches, let's say) will look extra—maybe overly—romantic, and at that length you might be fluffing and futzing with them, to get them to way the way you like, more than admiring them.
4. Skip other frills.
Adding trim along the bottom, pleating, or ruffles will take this look from casual to fruffy very quick; a simple panel, doubling over or puffing up, is more elegant than any bells and whistles could be.
Quilts and blankets can spill over the sides of a bed, too.
In the literal sense, it's going to be easier to get this effect if you have an upholsterer create a custom panel length—though alternatively, you could let out a standard curtain length's hem a few inches to make it work.
6. Don't limit pooling to curtains.
Think beyond curtains and bed skirts: Slip covers, tablecloths, and shower curtains (the washable, don't-mind-getting-wet variety) could all be barely pooled, too.
This post was originally published in June 2016.