Article Summary:If you're looking for window treatment ideas, what should you consider first?
Besides the obvious functions of providing light and ventilation to the rooms of our home, windows are also our connection to the outside world. We can view the outdoors and see what is going on around us and we can bring the outside inward with the sounds and smells of nature. Dressing our windows with coverings have special functions also, both necessary and aesthetic. We can control the natural elements that our windows introduce into our home through the use of window treatments. We can also stylize our rooms and enhance our decor with the statement our window treatments present. With both roles to fill, the following tips should be considered when making decisions about the correct coverings for our windows.
The effect of the UV rays of sunlight can be damaging to our interiors. Draperies, furniture, carpeting and wood flooring can suffer from prolonged exposure to sunlight. Added to this is the consequence resulting from directional sun exposure. For example, windows facing south will be flooded with a good amount of direct sunlight. This element can be controlled with the use of hard and soft window treatment. Window shades, blinds, and shutters can redirect sunlight away from furniture and carpeting in our rooms throughout the course of the day. Soft treatments such as semi-sheers and fabric shades can diffuse sunlight. Draperies can be lined to protect the fabric from fading from direct sunlight.
With the ability to view outward from our windows during daytime, is the ability to see inward at night as well. Woven shades, lightweight roller and fabric shades, sheers and semi-sheers provide enought daytime privacy. However, at night window treatments need to adequately provide privacy control. Privacy or blackout linings can be added to most treatments by the manufacturer of the product. Draperies can be lined as well and drawn easily at night, especially those installed on a traverse rod.
With our minds constantly on energy efficency and fuel costs, we can conserve energy through the use of window treatments. Heat gained throughout the day can be lost without coverings on our windows in cold climates. Alternately, air conditioning can be lost in warmer climates. Insulated draperies and insulated shades can accomplish both tasks. While providing visual warmth to our rooms, insulated draperies can prevent cold drafts from coming into the space and prevent heat loss through the windows at night.
The Window as a Focal Point
Many rooms lack an obvious focal point such as a fireplace. Window treatments can transform even a mundane window into the focal point of the space. An eye catching pattern or color can draw attention to this area. Elaborate fabrics or elegant silks can dress up an ordinary view. A window fitted with a cornice or upholstered in coordinating fabric with the underlying draperies can add interest. The use of swags and cascades can dramatize and complete the look. Windows can also appear longer or wider when draperies are hung a few inches above and beside the window.
Noise emitted from windows facing busy urban streets can be controlled with the use of draperies or window panels. Sound will be absorbed into the fabric and muffle the noise coming into the room. Sounds from televisions, radio and stereos can be obstructed from entering adjoining rooms as well.
Repeating the Decorating Theme
The graceful look of a light filtering laced fabric tied back to one side of a window may be all that's needed to accomplish a peaceful feel in a space. The window of a child's room can be adorned with brightly colored fabrics to repeat a playful color scheme. A wooden tree branch in place of a standard drapery rod on which to hang a window treatment can compliment a rustic room theme. A bedroom ensemble can be completed with a coordinating shower curtain for an adjoing bathroom. Blue painted walls of a room contrasted with an intense orange fabric curtain can create a dramatic look. Window treatments are part of the room's decor and should be in incorporated with all the design elements. Providing repetition in the room's theme, creating a fun and interesting look or an elegant touch to a space, window treatments play a vital role in our interiors.
Disguise or Accentuate an Architectural Feature
Windows of different heights can be disguised with the use of window treatments. Drapery rods can be installed at the same distance from the ceiling above all the windows creating the illusion that the windows are of equal height. An off-centered window on a wall will appear centered when draperies are installed to cover the entire wall. Window treatments can also bring attention to an architectural detail. Arched or Palladian windows can be dressed in treatments that bring attention to them by repeating the curve. Interesting crown molding in a room will likely be noticed when a window treatment draws the eye up to the ceiling. Interior French doors command prominence when drapery panels are hung beside them from a beautiful decorative pole.
The Comfort of Window Fabrics
Soft window treatments surround us with a sense of comfort and luxury. The choice of fabric and pattern can also alter the overall impression of the room. A silk fabric window dressing will lend a different feel than the relaxed look of cotton or linen. However, we are not limited to fabric based on a particular design style. Imagine a window in a traditional room design dressed in silk fabric, adorned with fringe and tied back with a large tassel. Now imagine how that same fabric will look in a contemporary setting without the embellishments and hung straight without a tieback. A very different look is achieved in each situation. Choosing fabrics that please us will increase our desire to be in that space. There are limitless possibilities when choosing window treatments. The variety of colors, textures and patterns in window fabrics make our spaces unique. There is nothing like the aesthetic pleasure we receive when we are surrounded by the warmth and charm of window treatments.
Mary M. Bajor is the owner of A Beautiful Room, an Interior Redesign and Decorating company in Brewster NY, specializing in custom window treatments. She is a Certified Window Treatment Consultant and affiliate IDS member. She also provides decorating to sell-home staging services to prepare homes for the real estate market. For more info, visit abeautifulroom.net