There is a popular expression about a person’s eyes being the window to their soul; if that is the case, then windows must be the eyes of your home. Windows are an important aspect of a home and although drapery treatments may not always be a functional necessity, they are essential in bringing a design to its full potential. When it comes to actually selecting these window treatments, things can get complicated and overwhelming very quickly. With every home comes windows of different shapes and sizes and they can’t always be treated the same way. That is why we have come up with a guide to help with selecting window treatments that will take a lot of the guess work out of the equation.
1. Consider the Function of the Window
The first thing you need to do to be successful in dressing your windows is to think about how your window needs to be used. What is the desired amount of privacy or sunlight? Is there a view from this window that you don’t want to distract people from seeing? Is the window an architectural feature, or is it a problem window that needs something to hide some of its flaws? These are important factors in deciding what is going to work best for your window and your overall design.
This is always an important factor in designing anything. Fabric prices can range from low to high, as well as the yardage needed for different types of treatments. Other types of treatments vary in price as well, such as: shutters or shades. These may be considered more simple treatments but they may not be the most cost effective option. Figuring out the type of treatment that fits your needs, style and budget can be tricky. Hiring a designer with knowledge and experience in using and selecting these treatments can be a huge benefit to getting the most out of your budget.
3. Consider Different types of Treatments
There are so many styles and selections available for window coverings that range from elaborate and formal to simple and casual. Most people probably have one of these two images pop into their mind when the words “window treatments” are spoken. In reality, the style of treatments you have in your home probably vary from room to room, depending on the need and style of that space. For example living and dining rooms tend to be more ornate while family rooms, bedrooms and bathrooms are more functional and simplified. Knowing your options is important as it helps you to get everything you need out of your window coverings. Below are some examples of using combinations of coverings that helped to create beautiful and unique designs.
• Decorative Glass and Valances
This master bathroom needed a few things incorporated into the window treatments to make it function the way the clients wanted it too. When we remodeled the bathroom we used a large fixed window for the natural light the clients craved but used a privacy glass with leaded glass inlay for a customized focal point. Adding a working window at the foot of the bath added the function they needed for a cross breeze and we added a simple valance at the top to add warmth and softness.
This kitchen is another good example of using the leaded glass for privacy but keeping the natural light and adding to the ambiance of the Spanish design. Over the sink window we wanted to keep the view of the yard intact so we used a soft board mounted valance in a neutral color with a small bullion trim for added style. Underneath we hid a duette shade to help filter light and give privacy when needed.
This family room had a rich Tuscan style. Adding drapery hardware to a board mounted valance brought touch of elegance to a casual balloon valance. Adding bead trim to the bottom of the valance also gave a nice pop against the deep plum colored silk balloon shades beneath the valance. Using simple silk fabrics in a unique application made this a nice addition to soften the wall of cabinetry it helps to highlight.
• Cornice Boxes and Drapery panels
This dining room had a regal design style and large window that shared both an amazing view and strong afternoon sun. To keep with the design style, combining a small cornice treatment with swags and cascades gave it sophistication while the working drapery panels and balloon shade offered privacy and light control options. Having the ability to open it up and for the fabrics to beautifully frame the amazing view was just the right touch for this space.
This family room had large center open sliding doors that needed to be addressed. A shaped cornice box in a fun print was added to compliment the architectural elements in the room while putting brush fringe along the sections of the cornice created definition. Cream drapery panels added softness to the cornice boxes’ structure. The panels were center opening like the doors and they stacked away to make room for the beautiful garden outside. Thinking about the design and architectural style is important when selecting these elements.
These windows were tall and plain before adding these layered treatments. A shaped cornice with swags, cascades and tied back panels added a soft sophistication while faux iron was placed in the upper windows as an added design feature. Covering the lower windows to block out the afternoon sun were silhouette shades in a soft cream color that stacked at the top of the window barely noticeable with most of the attention on the rest of the treatment.
4. Working and Non-working treatments
These are used for function and style. As discussed above these treatments help with many things, but most commonly are used for privacy and light control. Layering these types of treatments can be good for your design, your budget and the unique ways you may use your windows.
Sometimes people need shutters or shades to best deal with the windows in their home. There are so many options available and in some cases your home already has them installed. Adding stationary panel treatments or valances can add softness to shutters or frame a window and hide a shade underneath.
These rooms’ windows were covered with woven shades which added a nice texture and function but lacked elegance in the living room and a finished feel in the family room. Pairing these shades with fabrics made a huge impact on the rooms overall feel and design style. The fabrics soft texture and color added warmth and interest.
5. Unusual or Difficult windows
Some homes have areas with windows that may not be the easiest to address. While it may be harsh angles or a rounded area sometimes dressing them in a useful yet stylish way can be difficult to accomplish. Using a board mounted valance can help in these areas because the boards can be placed on these angles in multiple ways. The fabric on these valances help because they cover any awkward gaps or can hide ugly hardware or shades that may go underneath.
With so many options and combinations the possibilities for window treatments are endless. Shutters, shades, fabrics and drapery hardware alone have so many different ways you can dress your windows. Using a professional designer is the best way to ensure you get what you are looking for without the stress and headache of searching through all of the options on your own. Using their years of knowledge and experience with these elements will not only save you time but also can help you stay on budget. Window treatments are the makeup on the “eyes” of your home. They can enhance architectural elements, pull a design together and hide problem areas you don’t want to draw attention to, it is essential to get them right. If you aren’t hiring a professional to help in the task of dressing your windows make sure to research. Select pictures of things you like and narrow down your options before making your final choices.