I often get asked to help choose what style of window coverings will work best in a client’s home.  There are many things to consider when choosing your window treatments, but first I will talk about different styles that are popular now.
In terms of draperies, today’s window coverings are more simple in design than what your mother may have had.  Gone are the swags and elaborate drapings and gilded rods.  More popular now are simple, classic styles and more natural fabrics, hung on simple black, pewter or wood poles, often with rings.  Grommet top drapes also continue to be popular for a modern, sleek look.  If you prefer a more casual, relaxed look, stick with tab-top or plain top drapes.  The style will also be effected by how often you want to open and close the drapes, and how easy you want this to be.  I love using rings with my rods because they open and close very easily.  My metal rings even come with a plastic liner to make the sliding soundless, with no wear on the metals!

Plain Top Draperies
Grommet Top Draperies
Tap Top Drapes
Draperies hung for decorative purposes only on the sides of windows are called “side panels”  You may not need to cover the whole window, or may only want sheers or blinds on the rest of the window.  Just make sure your side panels have enough fullness in them, or they will look “skimpy”.  Side panels look best when they are floor length, or “puddled”.Decorative window valances are still popular.  Here are some of my favorite styles:

Simple Swag Valance
Mock Roman Valance
Fabric Valance with Pleats

Another style of window coverings that is very popular, are roman blinds.  Roman blinds can be made from a variety of fabrics and they can be very decorative, or very functional, or both!  If you have beautiful wood trim around your windows that you don’t want to cover, roman blinds mounted inside the window are a good solution.  They are also great for kitchen windows where you don’t want curtains hanging down where they could get dirty.  Roman blinds hung several inches higher than your window will create the illusion of taller windows.  Roman shades come in different styles.  I myself make them in classic, relaxed and top-down-bottom-up styles.  The classic style opens and closes easily, and can be lined with black out lining, which is great for total darkness in bedrooms.  The relaxed roman is more decorative and needs to be made from a fabric that drapes well.  TDBU shades give you the option of lowering them from the top or raising them from the bottom.  All my roman shades are attached with velcro and can be removed for washing.

Classic Roman Shades
Classic Roman Shade
Relaxed Roman Shade
TDBU Roman Shades
Two other treatments I often install are roller shades and horizontal wood or faux wood shades.   There are some eco-friendly options in both these styles and they are very practical for today’s homes.
Soft Screen Roller Blinds by Canadian Blind Manufacture, made from only environmentally friendly, recyclable, non-toxic, raw materials.


The most important thing to remember in choosing your window treatment style, is that it should suit your home and your decorating style.  Choose fabrics that coordinate with the rest of the room, and create the feel that you want in your home.  If you are not confident in doing this yourself, get help! Find pictures of styles that appeal to you and show them to a decorator.  Make sure that any draperies you buy are well-made, from good quality fabric.  If you can’t afford to do everything you want at once, start with the most functional layer (blinds, shades or sheers) and then add the next layer (draperies, valances, side panels) later.
 Next week I will talk more about how to choose your window coverings, based on the size, shape and location of your window, and the purpose of the treatment.
What is your favorite style of window covering?  I’d love to know!
Nikki MacCallumphoto credits (in order):  restoration hardware, Grand Windows Drapery, smartshopbuy.com, NikkiDesigns