How to Choose the Right Window Coverings
Why use window coverings at all?
Esthetically, window treatments like roman shades, curtains and blinds not only soften the hard lines of a room, they also emphasize the architectural qualities of a window and help pull your look together. Custom roman shades and draperies also add colour, texture, pattern and a feeling of warmth and intimacy to a room. Practically, they keep out light, insulate the room from cold and heat, protect furniture and carpets from fading, and reduce noise.
The most important aspect of your window coverings is that they are well-made and perfectly finished.
How to choose the right window treatment?
In choosing window coverings for your home or office there are many things to consider. Analyze your windows and make a list of all the answers to the following questions.
What shape and size are your windows? Do they look too small?
Are your windows matched in a room?
What type of molding surrounds the window?
Is there room for stack backs on either side?
Do the windows open? How?
What style will suit your window(s)?
What is your decorating style? (country, shabby chic, classic, contemporary, eclectic, etc)
What colours do you want to use? Bold colours and patterns will make your window treatment stand out in a room, while soft and neutral colours will blend into the background.
Do you want multiple layers? (blinds, valances, sheers, drapes). Layering that incorporates a sheer curtain or shade with something that blocks out light will provide both privacy when you need it, and light when you want it, making it an ideal solution for bedrooms.
Choose a style that coordinates with the rest of your furnishings. If the rest of your home is simple and casual, do not choose a window covering style that is fussy and too detailed.
What purpose will the window coverings serve? To block light, black-out lining may be needed. To add insulation to a window, use a heavy lining.
Do you need privacy? Blinds, shades and sheers all filter light and unsightly views.
Will the drapes/shades by opened and closed frequently? Make sure they slide easily or are easy to reach. For high up windows, a remote control may be added.
Do you want to provide a focal point for the room? If you don’t already have a focal point, your window coverings can provide one. By using a contrasting colour, an eye-catching print, or an elaborate design, your window treatment can be the “wow” factor that your room needs.
What type of hardware do you want to use? Is there room for it? Drapery hardware for curtains comes in many finishes and styles. Make sure you choose the style that suits your home. You also need to consider the size of the drapery pole. Lined draperies require a larger pole than sheer or unlined draperies.
What type of fabric should you use? Do you want to use all natural or organic fabrics? For draperies and roman shades, using high-quality fabric that hangs well is very important. Linen, organic cotton, hemp, and tencel are all good choices. If you want to be able to wash your window treatment, choose fabrics that are pre-shrunk and washable. Unlined curtains with a pocket top or flat heading are a good choice because they are also easy to iron. Roman shades that are attached with velcro can also be hand-washed.
Here are some ideas for different types of windows:
Standard (small to med. sized)
Use light fabrics, both in colour and weight. Do not use a large 2” pole, it will look out of place. Simple styles, roman shades, blinds and roller blinds or shutters all work well. A single curtain caught back to one side is a good alternative to a pair of drapes.
Styles may range from classic, formal arrangements to simpler, more contemporary styles. Don’t skimp on fabric and use tie-backs to allow plenty of light and air in. Blinds should be mounted inside the frame. If you have a low ceiling use a deep valance or tie-backs set down quite low. Use floor-length draperies for best effect.
You will usually need to provide some privacy and insulation. If you have a great view, avoid anything fussy. If you need to hide a view, try simple sheers. A single curtain hung from a pole or valance, preferably floor length, balances the proportions of the window. Plain fabrics or large designs work well.
You must allow for doors or sliding windows to open and close freely. If doors open in, poles and valances must be above the top of the window frame and the curtains must pull far back enough at the sides. An alternative is to attach light-weight curtains, roll-up shades, or roman blinds to the doors themselves.
The possibilities for style are endless, you are only limited by your imagination.
Want some more ideas?