living room sun shine in bright through curtained windows on a sofa

Windows are an important part of a building. When seen from the street, they contribute to the architectural style, add to curb appeal and complement the detailing of the outside of a structure. On the interior, windows let in light and fresh air and serve as a way to bring the outside in. Windows and window coverings also enhance the interior décor. A room without windows, or with windows that are too small or improperly placed, may make you feel uncomfortable and closed in. In contrast, a wall of windows can serve as a focal point of a room or as artwork, bringing the colors and beauty of nature to the interior. 

Window dressings can play up the attractive features of windows. They can also make windows appear a different size or hide an unpleasant view. When integrated into the decorative scheme of a room, window treatments contribute to the overall look and aesthetic of a space. Color, texture and design of window treatments should add zing, depth and beauty. Window treatments also control light and function as a thermal barrier between the outside and the living space. If you have been wonder how to style your windows read on...

Windows as a Focal Point

how to style windows
If you are fortunate enough to have beautiful windows in your home, use them as a focal point. If privacy is not an issue and you live in a moderate climate, your windows may not need any embellishment. You can let Palladian windows, French doors, bays and windows with ornate detailing speak for themselves. There are in fact  many different style of window.

If you want window dressings to modulate light and air without obscuring the window, install flowing sheers. You can also to try something unusual such as hanging a curtain of crystal beads. The crystals reflect light but don't detract from the innate beauty of the window. 

Window dressings can play a supportive role by subtly echoing a theme in pattern, enhancing a color scheme or accentuating a texture. Mount a Roman shade in a solid pastel color within a window frame to modulate outside light and provide a soft glow. 

Disguise Unattractive Windows 

Not all windows are beautiful. If you have windows that detract from the décor, use window treatments to dress them up or disguise them. Make narrow windows appear wider by extending the rod and draperies several inches beyond the width of the frame. Make short windows look taller by hanging window dressings several inches above the frame or letting them fall below the sill. 

Hide unsightly frames with layers. Hang inner panels to cover the glass. Depending on the climate where you live, inner panels can be sheers that filter light or a heavier material that has a thermal effect. The color or texture of the fabric draws attention to the window treatment and not the window itself. The outer panels should cover the frame. By drawing the fabric to the sides of the window, the frame is hidden but light still enters. 

Hide a Bad View

A bad view can spoil the aesthetics of a room. By changing the focal point with window treatments, the view can be covered, disguised or minimized. Mount curtain rods or shades at the sill and pull them up to allow light to enter at the top. This provides privacy and hides unattractive features that are outside. 

Experiment with different types of glass or films to obscure the view. This also gives privacy without sacrificing light. Apply frosted film, or use an assortment of types of glass, such as etched, patterned, ribbed or colored panels, to add interest and texture. 

Installing a window box full of foliage outside the window pulls the eye to the foliage. If you have room to install a living privacy fence just outside the window, the eye is drawn to the greenery but doesn't focus on what lies just a few feet beyond. 

Try placing decorative screen panels in front of a window. Wood, velvet, glass and metal are just a few materials that can be used. It's fun to find salvaged materials that can be adapted to a new use. Just make sure that the color, design and scale of the pieces blend with your interior. 

Coordinate Window Treatments with Décor
If you want to highlight other elements of a room's décor, it is a good idea to coordinate the window treatments to complement the decorative scheme. Although curtains are usually used to frame windows, they can also be used to frame artwork or highlight pieces of furniture. Place an unusual piece furniture, mirror or painting on a wall between two windows. When the curtains are opened, they act as a frame for the objects, creating a visual alcove. 

Use the same fabric for upholstery and curtains if you want to accentuate the color and texture of the textiles. In a bedroom, using the same print for curtains, headboard and throw pillows ties the look together. In a living room, use textiles to accessorize. Cover a lampshade to match the draperies, and use complementary textures in upholstery. Patterns that contrast with furnishings and carpeting enliven the scheme. A variation in size or shape of geometric motifs adds visual interest. Create contrasting borders and decorative motifs with trim and tapes that highlight other colors in the room or accentuate a line. 

The type of material also contributes to the look. Heavy silks work well as formal window treatments. Precise pleats in crisp fabrics such as taffeta create a linear design that can play off of a beamed ceiling or echo line and pattern within a room. Let soft fabrics fall from ceiling to floor to soften large windows. Layering textiles and color adds depth and interest. 

Chose colors for window coverings that blend with the palette of the room. If the room décor is soft or monochrome, consider a complementary color that makes a bold statement and ties it together. If your main palette is bold, go for a softer look at the windows, picking up the hues of the furnishings and echoing them in muted shades. 

Change with the Seasons

As seasons change, so do moods and light. By varying window treatments throughout the year, you can create different atmospheres using color, light and texture. Heavy materials may serve as thermal barriers during extremes of weather. However, why not enjoy a lighter fabric during spring and fall to accentuate natural light and breezes? Play with materials to enhance a season. Matchstick blinds provide privacy and modulate light while creating a feeling of a seaside retreat. They can be paired with curtains or used as an inexpensive, stand-alone window treatment. 

More ideas for window treatments

Top treatments can add drama and interest to windows and accentuate the style and line of draperies. Pelmets, cornices and valances extend the height of a window or highlight a style. Swags add to a decorative style or make a statement when draped gracefully along the sides of a window. Tie them back with tassels or gather them into soft folds for visual effect. Valances in kitchens add a pop of color and pattern without obscuring light and views. 

Lambrequins offer a great solution as a top treatment without overwhelming the overall effect. Bold color, shape and pattern make a statement and define the window. A well-constructed lambrequin doesn't need voluminous panels to accentuate a window. They can, however, be paired with sheers or panels to create a formal line. 

Puddling, or the graceful pooling of drapery material on the floor, adds a romantic touch to a room. Puddling can give a look of casual elegance to any décor. Extending curtains below the sill so that they just brush the floor gives a clean look. Hemming gives a finished look to the bottom edge. 

Don't be afraid to experiment. Combinations of color, texture and design add visual interest to a room. Using a combination of window treatments, such as Roman shades, roller blinds, matchstick blinds and fabric, adds a sense of style and individuality. Whether your style is formal, casual, minimalist or romantic, curtains and window treatments can play up the look.
September 27, 2020 — Kyle H