Dear Nyla: Are curtains making a comeback?

Answer: Curtains never really went out of style. They are just often overlooked here in the Southwest. Most people focus on mitigating the damage sun can cause in their homes and forego soft treatments like curtains and valances. It doesn't matter whether you select elegant draperies, Roman shades, or a simple swath of fabric, window treatments will complement every room in your home. There are amazing new fabrics available, which make draperies with blackout lining just as effective and energy efficient as blinds and shades. The options for windows are unbelievable these days. Helen Rossi of Nyla Simone Home is a window treatment aficionado and is always available to answer questions -

Dear Nyla: My living room is the first room you see when you walk into my home. It is fully furnished and still just looks put together. What am I missing?

Answer: Well, it is hard to say without seeing the room. Please correct me if I am misinterpreting what you are saying, but I think you are trying to achieve a polished, designer effect. The most efficient way to get the "aha" look in a statement room is to hire a professional designer. If you don't want to hire a designer, I would suggest looking at magazine photos and design books. It sounds like you might need a few personal touches. Consider adding a tray to group a collection of things together or a throw to add color and warmth. Artwork/photos, plants and candles are also great ways to soften a room and bring in additional character.

I liken this situation to styling your hair. I can do a great job styling my hair, but I can't ever get it to look like I just left the salon. I have to consult a professional to get it to look exactly like I want it to look.

• Maria Bailey Benson is owner of Nyla Simone Home, a full-service showroom offering a wide range of design services, furniture, artwork and accessories. Reach her at (480) 422-6178 or

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