Window treatments are more than just a home decorating element. The benefits of good window treatment design also include better thermal efficiency for your windows, enhanced privacy in your home and more flexible control of natural window light.
You can do window treatments on a budget with simple curtains, cellular blinds or Roman shades. Or, you can go all out and have a professional window treatment designer install designer cornice board window treatments and automated controls that set natural light levels and privacy at the touch of a button!
Planning Your Window Treatments
There are many factors to consider in planning window treatments. The theme, decor and colors in your rooms are important factors. Also important are your local climate and the amount of natural window light your rooms typically receive based on the size, type and placement of windows.
How much privacy does the intended room require? Remember to consider the views and window exposures. While sheer curtains may be great in the living or family room, you will probably want more privacy in the bedroom or bathroom!
You also want your window to open properly, so your window treatments shouldn’t interfere with how various window applications are designed to function.
So, for instance, vertical shades are typically not a good option for windows that open horizontally. For a simple treatment, fabric panels draped on a rod can work with almost any window. Cornice boards and valances offer a nice designer touch.
Consider the styles, colors, and patterns in upholstery and other fabrics in your rooms, selecting window treatments that blend and harmonize with your decor and design themes.
Also try to match the window treatment to the window application. For example, you many want to make a bay window treatment less elaborate, allowing the views and window seat take more prominence.
Measuring and Ordering Window Treatments
Correct measurement of your windows correctly is an important part of the planning process; you don’t want to order those custom wood shutters only to find that they are too wide for that picture window in the living room!
If you are uncertain, consult a professional or ask the shop or retailer from whom you are ordering window treatments to visit your home and take measurements.
This precaution also gives you some insurance that if the treatments don’t fit for some reason when delivered you won’t be to blame.
Matching Window Treatments to Your Room Decor:
- In rooms that have minimal pattern and texture on, window treatments can be an ideal way to give the space more depth and visual movement.
- Window treatments can also be coordinated with your choice of colors and patterns. Try using complementary prints and colors in the primary fabric or blinds, curtain linings, and window trim like a cornice board or valance.
- For rooms with a more complex theme and design elements, you can use a more subtle window treatment that does not overpower the room or detract from other visual elements.
- If your room decor and furniture is retro, you will want to design a matching retro window treatment; bright colors like fire engine red or lime green coordinated with other design elements in some style of modern blinds or shades will be appropriate.
- On the other hand, in a traditional Victorian style room, you will likely want to go with something more like draperies appointed in dark, rich colors and tie backs with tassels and gold embroidery.
- Window treatments should help balance a room, providing texture, color and natural light appropriate to the overall design. For example, wood blinds or shutters can complement and enhance the natural warmth and texture of wood grain and stone design elements in a country style room.
Window Treatment Elements and Options
Remember that combining different elements of window treatment options is often the best way to create a unique and artistic look!
Here is a run down on the various elements and options you can use in designing your window treatments:
Window Films and Tints
A good thing to consider first is whether window tinting makes sense for your windows. If you live in a warm climate with hot weather, then this is a necessity if your windows did not come with the right tinting from the factory. Window tinting can have a huge impact on the thermal efficiency of your home’s windows.
Curtains and Draperies
Curtains, when closed, will eliminate your view, which is great in rooms where more privacy is important. You can also use linings to enhance opacity and durability, arranging the center overlaps and eliminate openings between opposing curtains.
Use a sheer fabric to let more natural light into a room or a more opaque fabric to shut out sunlight, which is especially good for windows with a Southern exposure.
While sheer curtains and draperies offer some privacy during the day, at night they become almost transparent from the lighting inside a room. For better privacy, you can use shades underneath your sheer curtains that can be lowered.
Pleated and Cellular Shades
Cellular or honeycomb shades in non-sheer fabrics are a great option, offering privacy, good durability and insulating benefits. Cellular shades also come in many colors, styles and have various options, including top down or bottom up features that allow opening, closing, raising and lowering them for flexible light and privacy control. Automated electric controls are also available.
Fabric or Roller Shades
Most roller shades offer good privacy and light control, since they are typically made with opaque vinyl or fabric or vinyl materials. Most types of shades and blinds can be custom made to fit your exact window measurements correctly.
Mini Blinds, Wood Blinds, and Shutters
Most types of blinds and shutters provide good privacy, unless set to an angle that allows visibility between the slats or blinds. For more great information on shutters and blinds visit the Bamboo Blinds web site.
Cornice Boards and Valances
For that designer touch in your window treatments, the icing on the cake will be to have custom cornice boards or valances made. Like crown molding and other custom trim details, use these finishing options to enhance and complement your room decor!
Window Treatment Quick Tips:
Does your room receive lots of natural window light?
Use treatments that can be used to easily control light entering the room; a layered treatment that includes cellular shades or lined draperies works well.
Is Your Room Dark?
Use sheer or light weight fabrics without linings. If the room requires a more formal treatment, try using something that does not cover the entire window space, such as draperies with tie backs.
Are Your Windows Out of Proportion to the Room?
Hang window treatments six inches or more above the top of the window opening to give them a more vertical appearance. Using a valance or cornice board is a great way to add height to windows.
Is Your Budget Tight?
The selection of style and fabrics in your window treatments has a large impact on the cost. Choose smaller elements in your treatments for more expensive fabrics. For example, a valance can oftentimes be made with as little as one or two yards of fabric.
Use less expensive materials for the base elements in your window treatments, paired with more expensive fabrics for accent and highlight elements, you can keep your overall expense low.