Lots of people think that no window treatment is the best treatment, but that is not the best solution for many rooms.
There are functional issues to be addressed such as privacy, light and heat control, softening and warming up the looks of a sterile room, enhancing the architectural features and balancing the furniture and color in the room.
For privacy, blinds or shades are the first choice because they can be used alone or under a drapery or valance. We use them alone when clients are starting the decorating process and need to address heat or privacy but the rest of the room hasn’t been designed yet. We can layer the finished treatment over them when we are ready. They come in sheer fabric, opaque fabric, wooden slats, metal slats and grass and woven wood fabrics and they can be mounted inside the window sill or outside.
Plantation shutters are still popular and offer light and privacy control and a more architectural look.
Roman shades are a decorative shade that is used alone or in combination with other treatments and can be operable or purely decorative. There are quite a few styles available and they can be mounted inside the window or on the outside. They should always be lined.
These Roman shades operate from the bottom up to offer privacy while still letting in a lot of light.
These Duette shades are often used in a bathtub so privacy can be addressed without sacrificing natural light. They can be motorized so you won’t have to climb in the tub to operate them!
If light control is a concern we recommend black out lining in both Roman shades and draperies. This lining also helps insulate and keep out heat and keep the room heat inside. Be sure that the window treatment extends beyond the glass so there is no light leakage at the sides. That also includes having returns on the sides of draperies so the light doesn’t peek out from the sides. Draperies should always be lined unless they are sheers.
Don’t be afraid to use draperies because they will be too dominant in the room – you can always use a fabric that is the same color as the walls to help it blend in but still create a soft frame for the windows.
If you are looking for a luxurious look have your draperies interlined (an extra layer of a specific fabric that increases insulation). This is often done on silk draperies to give them body. There is no other way to get that full beautiful draping and it has the benefit of adding extra insulation as well.
Full height draperies can be used to frame a view and draw attention to it. They can be operable if needed for privacy or sun protection or just as stationary panels for decorative purposes. They also add to the formality of a room, where shorter curtains are used in less formal spaces (kitchens, kids bedrooms, family rooms). They can also be used to enlarge the look of windows that are too small for the room or uneven in width. By extending them well past the ends of the windows they give the impression that the windows are larger than they really are.
Top treatments can be used decoratively or to balance uneven heights of window in a room as well as add a decorative touch. By mounting them all at the same height the windows will appear to all be the same height from inside the room.
Bow and bay windows usually look best dressed with some type of window treatment. Bare bow or bay windows in a living room for instance, make the room look unfinished. Depending on the type of treatment you select, they may require special rods or custom valances but the finished result will greatly enhance the looks of the room. This room has Silouettes in the windows, a valance to hide the Silhouette when it is fully open and drapery panels flanking the window. Notice that the bay window panels are mounted higher than the ones in the adjoining room in order to emphasize the tall windows.
Solar shades look great in a more contemporary room and also cut the glare and help keep out the heat of the sun. The advantage to them is that they are minimalistic and don’t block the view when down and can be raise all the way for a full unobstructed view. There are several light densities and colors available. The darkest ones offer the best visibility.
Vertical blinds are another option, although I have never liked them. The newer sliding panels on a track are much more attractive and don’t give the room that sterile look. They come in many different opacities and weaves.
Windows coverings are often the finishing touch for a room so have fun with them!!