Thursday, January 22, 2009

It's Time To Come Home ~ Window Treatments, Part I

Photo courtesy of Smith & Noble

Due to the abundance of information on window treatments, this post will be in two parts.

Window treatments -- besides "color" these two words alone can strike fear into the hearts of homeowners. When you think about all the choices to make about window treatments - material, fabric, color, size, options and hardware, it's not surprising that many new homeowners still have paper shades on their windows five years later. However, if you break it down, deciding what kind of window treatments to use on your windows can be a stress-free decision.
Let's start with some basic prerequisites: privacy, light control and style.

Privacy - If your property backs onto a wooded area or you have no neighbors behind you, you may not need window coverings for privacy. Even then, some people feel more comfortable having their windows covered at night. If you have a bathroom window that looks directly into your neighbor's hallway, you need privacy. If your dining room looks out onto your front walkway, or an area where people can easily look into your windows, you may want to use window coverings.

Some good choices for privacy include:

Fabric or Roller shades generally offer complete window coverage. Most roller shades are made of vinyl or fabric, that is usually opaque, while fabric shades (such as Roman or Balloon), are lined and usually custom made to exactly fit your window measurements.

Roller shades Photo courtesy of Smith & Noble

Curtains and Drapes when closed will also close off the view. Lined curtains and drapes add to the opacity and durability. Curtains and drapes can also be helpful in keeping drafts out in winter and block the sun in summer. Most fabrics can be used in the fabrication of curtains or drapes.

Pleated and Cellular shades have full glass coverage for privacy. Many styles can be ordered with a "top down" feature so a portion of the glass can be visible at the top of the window to let in light and have a view. Cellular shades also have insulating benefits.

Cellular shades Photo courtesy of Smith & Noble

Sheer curtains and draperies may afford a bit of daytime privacy, however at night most will turn practically transparent with indoor lighting. If you love sheers, but want privacy, then use shades underneath for privacy after dark.

Drapes and Sheers Photo courtesy of Smith & Noble

Mini blinds, wood blinds and shutters will all provide a nearly private environment. Be aware however, that with each of these there is a small possibility of seeing through the slats at certain angles.

Light Control - You want to keep glare down when someone is sleeping in the daytime, or when watching television, or working at a desk near a bright window. UV rays from bright sunlight will adversely affect fabrics, furnishings, flooring and artwork in your home. Full sun can quickly fade expensive upholstery and rugs, eventually causing some fibers to break down and rot.

As with privacy, window coverings can be used to control light. Consider these possibilities:

  • Light blocking treatments can be installed for rooms that need to be fully darkened. Look for room darkening roller shades as well as light blocking linings (usually blackout lining) for fabric shades and draperies.
  • Metal or wood blinds can be tilted to keep direct sun out of your room, while still affording some view and light.
  • Natural blinds, such as bamboo and matchstick, will filter the light and cut down on much of the glare, and can be ordered with an exterior privacy lining.
  • Cellular shades in non-sheer fabrics will cut down on light.
  • Window tinting in areas of very strong sunlight, where a film is attached directly to the glass. This will reduce UV rays and is available in several levels of tint.

Style - The fun part of window treatments - choosing the fabrics, colors and styles that will add some interest to your room. If you've gone neutral in furnishings and wall color, adding a colorful or patterned window treatment can be just the touch you need to bring some interest into the room. You can repeat fabrics and colors used in other parts of your home for continuity throughout the house. You can add to solid or plain window treatments with contrasting borders, cording or fringe. The unique touches you add to your window treatments are a reflection of your personal style.

Photo courtesy of Greenhouse Design

Draperies have options in rod styles with tab tops, tie tops, many types of pleats, grommets, rod pockets (large or small), flouncy tops or plain rings.

Valances can be gathered, pleated, shirred, swagged, bundled, formal, casual, scalloped or flat.

Valance Photo courtesy of Pate Meadows

The possibilities are endless and custom made window treatments allow you to pick your own unique design.

This series of articles is intended for entertainment purposes. Any resources listed are not an endorsement, but resources I have researched personally and professionally for ideas, trends and client projects. I welcome comments, e-mails or questions about the articles, or even your own home d├ęcor dilemmas.

Copyright 2009 Kathy Passarette, Creative Home Expressions

Kathy Passarette and Creative Home Expressions are based on Long Island, New York, and offer interior decorating, home staging, interior redesign, color consultations and much more. Please visit our website at for more information on our services and fees.


Tammy@InStitches said...

I love, love, love, Pate meadows !

Silver MLM said...

What kind of window treatments will work with 3 different sized windows in same area?

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