How do you even start to choose a window treatment? What works best in the bathroom? Can you use just a valance in the living room? What the heck is a cornice anyway? Before you start the process of covering your windows, pare down your choices by analyzing the room with regard to the function of the window treatment and become familiar with different terms for window coverings.
First and foremost, a window treatment is for privacy. You don’t want people to see in your home, so you cover the window. Obviously, rooms that require privacy are the bathroom and bedroom. When considering window treatments in these rooms, consider shades, blinds, shutters and curtains.
Consider how the window treatment works. Is it stationary or does it need to be opened or closed like a blind? Is it on an upper window that you’ll need a ladder to reach? Keep this in mind regarding function:
Safety - No hanging cords within reach of children, cribs etc.
Reach - Stationary treatments are necessary for higher, out of reach windows such as a palladium window, you know, the large, arched window that you’ll have to buy an extension ladder to clean. You’ll need to consider a valance or a swag for these windows.
Do you need the window treatment to control the lighting in the room? Do you want to be able to darken the room by pulling the curtain shut, like in a bedroom? Do you need to keep out the glare of midday sun?
Consider your light control issues within the room. Also, it’s always nice to let the sun shine in, but you can end up with sun fade ruining expensive rugs and upholstery in the process. I’m not particularly keen on heavy drapes in living rooms, but they sure do keep the nicer furniture and fabrics from being ruined. Don’t forget the artwork, it can be adversely affected by the sun as well.
Last, but certainly not least, the window treatment will decorate your room. After you take care of the first three functions for window treatments, now the fun starts - finding a window treatment to suite your decor and budget and complement the room.
What's the Difference Anyway?
- Shades, not just pull down plastic shades, but Roman shades and pleated shades are made of fabric and pull up like blinds. Shades can not only be made from fabrics, but wood, bamboo, textured, or honeycomb designs.
- A blind is a specific type of window covering which is made with slats of fabric, wood or metal that adjust by rotating from an open position to to a closed position by allowing slats to overlap. Vertical blinds are often used to cover sliding doors, French doors, doors that lead to the outside and oversized windows. When opened the blinds stack to the side.
- Valances, cornices, swags, and scarves top a window. They can be used alone or with a drapes, shutters or shades. They can add a spark of color and pattern to the window treatment and are perfect for hiding unsightly hardware.
- Drapes and curtains - what’s the difference? Well, they differ in formality. Drapes are normally for a formal room with pleats while curtains, usually panels, bring an informal touch to a room.
Don't let yourself become overwhelmed when choosing window treatments - take it step by step taking the points above into consideration to narrow down your choices, then let your imagination run wild.