With literally millions of options for window treatments, are you confused, puzzled and unsure what to choose?
Do you have large windows, tall windows, narrow windows? Or do you have arched, corner, bowed, bay or downright tiny windows?
Regardless of your window treatment design challenges or your design objectives, you need to know how to “dress” windows, how to make a statement with them.
The good news is, you have options. Millions of combinations of draperies, shades, blinds, café curtains, and shutters can be designed and installed. The bad news is, it’s confusing!
Most homeowners discover all the options and they are overwhelmed. That is where a window treatment design specialist can come in handy.
Here are some suggestions that might be helpful.
- Privacy: Is your bathroom or bedroom so close to your neighbor’s house that you feel as though you are living in a fishbowl? Then you need a window covering that will give you privacy. Most bedrooms need at least the first layer of covering to give privacy. Working with clients, I have noticed that if the bedrooms are on the second floor, the trees will give them at least some privacy – but once winter rolls around, they will need fuller coverage to feel comfortable. Bedrooms and bathrooms on the first floor almost always need more privacy. Full draperies, or vertical sheers, such as Luminettes by Hunter Douglas, can beautifully serve that purpose. Bathrooms often need some sort of shades; cellular shades are great because they provide the option of having the top down, leaving an opening at the top to allow some natural light into the room. And automated shades are perfect over the tub or in an area that is hard to reach.
- Light control: If you want to control how much light is in a room – such as to cut down on the glare at certain times of the day or if you have a skylight in the bathroom and you need to protect perfumes and makeup from direct sunlight – you need easy-to-operate shades to control the light and decide when to open and close the shade.
- Black-out shades: This type of coverage is most necessary in bedrooms, babies’ rooms, and media rooms. On the market today, there are so many choices from which to select – but you must be certain that what you select will give you the darkness you prefer. Silhouettes by Hunter Douglas, even when you select room-darkening fabrics, do not provide a total black-out. My tip to homeowners: If you want a pitch-black room, then you might consider going beyond the molding by four or five inches – and above the window, as well. Or add a cornice or board-mounted valance to cut the light at the top. And we often recommend (and clients LOVE) side panels to cut the light on the sides and add a bit of depth and texture to the window. For media rooms, my recommendation is to have a very heavy lining, and to layer the draperies with two layers or more. You need to think not only about cutting the light, but also about enhancing the acoustics in the room.
- Energy savings: Who does not want to reduce their electric bill? All of us want to conserve energy! Regardless of whether we are environmentally conscious or merely want to save money, window coverings will help reduce energy costs. Some manufacturers have conducted studies on heat/coolness loss through windows and doors, and the results have been astonishing! About 40% of the energy is lost, even if you have new dual-pane windows.
- You like the view, but … the room still needs the warmth, depth and visual interest that comes from adding patterns and color to window treatments. Consider valances, cornices, or small-stack shades. Place them as high as possible so you have maximum window glass (and to keep the big, beautiful view).
- If you have large windows and the stack will affect the view? In those cases, we recommend treatments with small-stack back. Or we go with draperies. If there is enough room on each side of the window, we can go beyond the window on each side to allow the draperies to draw all the way and leave the window glass exposed.
- Bow windows are so hard to dress! Many hardware manufacturers produce bowed rods. If you provide a template of the curve, they will give you the exact curved rod to use for the draperies for bow windows.
- Bay windows? How to dress them? There are so many ways to design window treatments for bay windows! You can leave the bay open and provide side panels. You can use shades only, or shades and side panels, or swags inside the bay. The sky is (almost) the limit.
- Very high windows: I admit, sometimes it is hard for homeowners to think of ideas on how to dress overly high or massively wide windows. In most cases, what we decide on depends on the look they want to create and the purpose of the window treatment. We have used just tall, elegant panels on the sides, panels with swags or scarfs, or we have come up with unique designs and installation techniques that have turned windows into works of art!
- Arched windows: They are my favorite! One can be really creative in enhancing the arches. To keep the grace and beauty of the arch, I recommend “dressing” the window by allowing a large part of the arch to remain open, or uncovered. To enhance the height, one can start at the very top and not chop the window. It all depends on the style of the home, the clients’ preferences, and the budget.
- Shutters: They are the furniture to the windows! They are energy savers, they can be very affordable, they add value to the home when one wants to sell, and they can hide imperfections in the windows of old houses. They can be stained or painted to any color. Louvers come in 2.5”, 3.5” and 4.5”. Some companies offer even wider louvers. One can use them on arches, sliding doors, and specialty shaped windows. The louvers can be motorized to open and close to the opening one prefers.