Front Entry Doorway Curtain Portiere Doorway Curtain Portiere

Between the front entry and living room, I’m using a doorway curtain, (also known as a ‘portiere’). who knows, maybe you’ll find cause to do the same.

Here are the reasons why I’ve installed a portiere…

I just need to pause a moment and show you what ‘real life’ is like at my house whenever I get out my camera to do a photo shoot…

1 Chester looking too

We have this adorable little dog that follows me around, and wherever I point the camera he always gets between me and the subject matter and stares at what I’m looking at with the camera, earnestly waiting for ‘the great thing to happen’. I have so many photos I’ve not been able to use because he’s, unknowingly to me, quietly planted himself in them.

Ok, back to the main focus of this… the portiere, or doorway curtain…

I’ve installed one in our 100 year old house for several reasons, here are a few:

1. At night, when the living room lights are on, it feels a little creepy to me with that large glass on the front door just bare open to the front porch and street.

2. In the winter, the small front entry of our 100 year old house is a bit chilly.

Though most of the rest of the house is over a full basement, that little front entry has only a crawl space, and no heat source, so it does get a little chilly. By having the curtain closed during cold spells, (and remember, we’re in the Midwest… it gets below zero up here) can really make a big difference in the drafty feel of the adjoining living room.

3. I already had the drapery from our former house. chinoiserie curtain in former house

I had used it in the library there, incorporating a chinoiserie, or chinese influence to the decor in that room, but when we put the house on the market, I took it down, to do the ‘de-cluttering’  and ‘de-personalization’ one is supposed to do before trying to sell their house. So if I can re-use or repurpose something and have it look and work well, I will.

4. Although I’m not a diehard towards only doing what’s historically accurate in my house, I do for sure listen to the influence of that historical lesson.

A portiere is very historically accurate for our 100 year old house. Though I already had my doorway curtain installed before I read this, The Old House Guy blog, wrote an interesting post about the historical use of portieres a few weeks ago.

I also found these two pictures as examples in Victoriana Magazine to share with you: victorian style

Portieres started around the mid 1800’s and continued through the Victorian era, both to keep drafts at bay as well as for the visual appeal, being embellished very beautifully. arts and crafts style

This historical sketch shows how portieres were still being incorporated into the Arts and Crafts movement in the early 1900’s. craftsman style house with built in rings for doorway curtain

In my daughter-in-law and son’s home, an arts and crafts bungalow, they have all the original woodwork.

Here you can see the doorway that is between the living room and hall leading to the kitchen has the original little runner with rings meant to hold a doorway curtain.

5. Lastly,  I felt a drapery hanging in the doorway between the living room and entry would really look good and add charm.

However, I must clearly state that being an interior designer myself, I strongly believe in the principle: “form follows function”. I considered the use, (ie: function) of the portiere first, then figured out what would look the best (ie: form) with that function.

So, for my doorway curtain, doorway curtain in entry

I used a 2″ diameter wood rod, finials, and brackets with rings. Here are several great choices of rods. (affiliate link) close up of holdback

The rings, and this gorgeously chunky drapery holdback (affiliates) that holds the large tassled tie back that holds the curtain open,  were already the lovely dark brown finish, but the rod and finials were unfinished, so I painted it in a mottled effect with some leftover latex paint to match the rings.

***Here’s a little tip: after I got everything done and mounted it all, the rings didn’t glide across the newly painted rod very well, so I vigorously rubbed the rod with a piece of wax paper. That’s all the latex paint needed to be super slippery for the rings.

When I first made this doorway curtain for the library in our former house, I had found the chinoiserie fabric on Ebay. chinoiserie fabric

They had just enough for me to do one side of the curtain, so I used a brown crushed pattern faux silk for the back, which does show a little, so I wanted it to look a bit more decorative than just white drapery lining. Here is a link for a huge selection of fabrics! (affiliate)

Then with scraps of different fabrics I always have in my sewing room, I fashioned a very simple attached black valance to the curtain. Repeating the same black fabric for a flange edge along just the one side that is the open side. and adding a fun accent of animal print welt cord I made from leftover fabric. tassle and trim detail

I sewed a beautifully detailed tassel trim across the top. There are so many gorgeous trims out there available on the market!

1 tassle up close

The tasseled tieback is a coordinating one from the same line as the top beaded tassel trim.

So should you install a portiere too? Only you can answer that, but maybe you found some of my reasons compelling enough to consider putting one in your home as well.

Although I really enjoy sewing and all the choices available to me if I custom make it, if you want a portiere, but don’t want to sew one, a ready-made drapery panel would work just fine too. (I would recommend a lined panel though if you are hoping to keep drafts out)

Here are a few examples of ready-made drapery panels I found:

Here are many drapery panels to select from, most are quite inexpensive.

And of course this place has so many choices of finished drapery panels, I’m sure you could find one or two if you have a wide doorway, that would coordinate well with your home.

Another option is to embellish a ready made drapery panel with trims, (you wouldn’t need to sew either, there are great fabric glue options available!)

I found this beautiful fabric HERE! It is a fantastic resource for soooo many things. Check it out, see if they have what you’re looking for:

Thanks so much for stopping by! Please feel free to follow and share this blog with your friends, as well as on Facebook, Pinterest, Flipboard, Bloglovin, YouTube and now Instagram!  I appreciate you reading along.

This post is linked up at these other sites: Between Naps on the PorchUncommon DesignMy Uncommon Slice of SurburbiaHome Stories A to ZA Stroll Thru LifeStoneGableA Bowl Full of LemonsCoastal CharmTip JunkieSavvy Southern StyleDIY By DesignFrom My Front Porch to YoursPosed PerfectionFrench Country CottageThe Charm of HomeMy Repurposed LifeDesign, Dining & DiapersToo Much Time on My HandsMy Romantic HomeThe Shabby NestSerenity NowChic on a ShoestringFunky Junk InteriorsUnder the Table and DreamingIt's OverflowingNifty Thrifty Things

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  1. Paula says

    I too love using portieres, having used them in my former house a sweet little ivy covered bungalow. However we now own a 100+ yr old basic victorian farmhouse, and instead of a squared wood framed archway between the dining and parlor (aka “living room” ), it is arched, with no framing. Any suggestions on how to install a portiere? The difficulties are that the ceilings are very high, and installing a rod above looks odd in the room, and installing one within leaves a gap on top for heat toescape, thus defeating the practical purpose.

    • Liz says

      Very interesting question, Paula! My mind is reeling with how you could install some sort of an attached rod inside the curved doorway… whether it be stationery at the top and you pull the curtain back at the sides with some sort of tiebacks, or a drapery rod that would allow the top of the curtain to move. I’d check online for an arched drapery rod and see what there is out there. I’d imagine someone is selling something like that, because there are a lot of arched windows that would need it, right? I’d love to hear what you find! Thanks for stopping by! ๐Ÿ™‚

  2. Bess says

    I also live in a very old home and it has drafts no mater what I do , so I have one of these between my kitchen and living room , it is amazing how much it helps when it is windy and cold . I close it when I am done in the Kitchen for the morning and when the day warmes up I open it till after the evening chores are done .It also saves some money on the electric bill

  3. Ellen says

    Oh, my word, I love this! I did something similar (but I just used a tension rod) in my last house between the study and the kitchen, since the study was always a mess! I want to do the same thing in this house between the kitchen and DR. There’s a door now, but I never close it, since the DR gets a lot of sun and the kitchen doesn’t. So I thought about trying to install a pocket door or just take the door off the hinges and leave it open. But the portiere idea is the best.

  4. alaskafaught says

    I really like the drama of the colorful Portiere against your gray wall and the way the touches of gold in it are highlighted by you door. Overall a great re-do of your entryway and you get the added advantage of controlling the cold draft. Bravo!
    Sherry in Alaska

    • LIz says

      Thank you so much Sherry! So you being in Alaska, probably know all about cold winters… depending on how far from the coast you are, right?

      • alaskafaught says

        I’m 49 miles outside Fairbanks, so yes, I know about cold winters. I actually have a portiere separating the living, dining, kitchen areas of my home from the bedroom and bath area in the back to help regulate sleeping temperature in the winter.

        • LIz says

          Oh my, I know you can get cold there for sure… My sister lived by Tok, which was relatively close to Fairbanks, and she would tell me how cold it got there… it’d make their truck tires go flat and turn the oil to sludge.. Brrr! you are a brave soul.

  5. NorthShoreBungalow says

    Oh my goodness, we live in an Arts & Crafts 100 year old bungalow AND the entryway looks very similar to yours. Our entry way has two doors instead of an entry door and curtain like yours. We live off the coast of Lake Michigan. I just found your blog at The Scoop #157 and I’m a new follower (p.s. I hope you do a lot of nautical stuff). ๐Ÿ™‚ -Bev

    • LIz says

      Yay! Thanks Bev! Oh yes, this summer when I will be able to get in the cottage and start sharing some of that, you’ll see lots of fun nautical stuff. I love it, but feel it can look kinda silly in this landlocked area of Wisconsin. I am so drawn to the ocean, and yet live just about the furthest possible in all directions from it. Haha oh well, I’ll bloom where I’m planted, hopefully. So glad to have you following along. Liz

  6. Donnamae says

    The fabric you used is wonderful! And it really fits your home. We have a 70’s home, 1970’s that is, so a Portiere wouldn’t look right. Keeping the cold out, is a fantastic reason…but, you have to admit….there is a coolness factor involved here too! ๐Ÿ˜‰

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