Window treatments often are the finishing touches for your room. They can add softness, color, texture, privacy and personality. As an interior designer, it’s my job to help my clients define their style, create spaces that reflect their personalities and bring functionality to their everyday living. I take my cues from the style and architecture of the house, the lifestyle of the homeowner, and even something special like a piece of artwork that they bought on their trip to Europe.
Following are some simple tips that will help you make the right decisions when you’re ready to dress your windows.
• Always hang your draperies as close to the ceiling as possible. This simple trick will help to lift the eye and will make your ceilings look higher and your room look larger.
• You can use side panels for softness and style as well as blinds for privacy on your windows. Just determine style when making this choice—if your style is more casual, make sure all the elements stay relaxed.
• Don’t ever worry about your windows or doors being too large—it’s really not possible, like being too pretty! You can choose to highlight large windows by bringing color or pattern into your treatments. If you don’t want to overwhelm your room, choose a fabric that is closer to the wall color that doesn’t create contrast.
• Drapery length is a matter of preference. The easiest is to have the panels “float” just an inch above the floor, allowing your drapes to hang perfectly straight for a cleaner look. You can also opt to have them just “kiss” the floor, creating a more custom and intentional look. If formal is your style, you can choose to “puddle” your drapes. This can be a beautiful look, but make sure that you are using quality fabric—it should be thick and rich, not a casual cotton.
• Make sure your window treatments complement your room. Not every element in the room can be the star. If you choose bold patterned draperies, only do so if the rest of your fabrics are in a supporting role—solids, soft prints and patterns.
• For bedrooms, you might consider blackout shades, particularly if you like to sleep in. These are made with a heavier lining that will completely block out light.
• Bring nature into your home! Some of my favorite window treatments are natural woven shades made from rattan, bamboo or other natural fibers. They add visual interest with their texture while letting the light and the view filter in. These easily roll up like a traditional Roman shade.
• For those windows that look out at something unattractive but let in needed light, consider using stained glass. Not only will you have a focal point in your room, but it completely blocks the view while allowing light to filter in.
• Today we are using smaller rods—usually 1 inch is a good size. For your finial, consider the style of your room. Extend the rod 6 to 10 inches on either side of the window if you have the space, so when the drapes are pushed open, you can see most of the pretty window as well as the view.
• For a finished look, consider a cornice board or valance over a blind or shade. Not only will it hide the sharp edges and mechanics of the shade, it also adds a custom look to your window.
• When planning an update for your space, or a new build, take your window treatments into consideration early in the project and budget for them, even if you won’t be making final decisions on them until later. Custom window treatments are expensive, but will have a significant impact on both the style and the functionality of your space.
• Since selecting the proper window treatments can be a daunting and costly task, we always suggest hiring a professional. They’ll make sure the style, fit and function are exactly what your space calls for.
Like so many other elements of design, window treatments have a substantial influence on the way you live. They have many jobs: light control, noise control, privacy, and design aesthetic, and when done well, will both enhance and enrich your home and the way you live in it. It’s an element worth spending some time on so that you get it right.