When you walk into a room, you respond to the aesthetics, quality of light and overall feeling. Usually, the eyes are drawn to windows, which are the natural source of light and often act as the focal point of the room's décor. As important as windows are, many people consider window dressings as an afterthought.
Window treatments enhance the beauty of windows and, when carefully selected and properly installed, become an integral part of the interior design scheme and style of your home or business.
If you are planning a redo, be sure to include window dressings as part of the new look. Here, we share a few basic do's and don'ts of window treatments to help you make your windows look attractive as they can.
Do: Evaluate Your WindowsThe size, shape and condition of your windows affect the window dressings you choose. Windows with attractive moldings or other interesting architectural details add texture and depth to the look of the windows and room. Hanging blinds, shades or curtains inside the frame highlights the beauty of these elements. Another option is to install extra-long rods so that when open, draperies hang beyond the frame to showcase the window detailing. If the window frames are unattractive, install curtains so they hide the frame.
If windows are short, hanging curtains close to the ceiling makes the windows look bigger. To make narrow windows look wider, extend drapery several inches beyond the frame on each side. If the windows in a room are different sizes, buy panels of the same size for all the windows to make them look uniform.
Do: Consider the Function of the Window DressingsCurtains, blinds, shutters and shades do more than add to the aesthetics of a room. They modulate light, muffle noise and control temperatures and drafts. They can hide an unattractive view or frame a beautiful view. Curtains add street appeal and provide privacy.
Today's window dressings include attractive options such as blackout curtains that block light and honeycomb shades that insulate from heat and cold. Layered window dressings are popular because they can modulate privacy, light and temperature throughout the day. Blinds can be used as a single window dressing or part of a layered look.
As you make your selections, think about how you use the room and what purpose the curtains will serve. You may want blackout curtains in your bedroom. However, if you have a home office, you will probably want to maximize natural light.
Do: Evaluate Your Décor
Window treatments can serve as the focal point of a room or be used to complement the décor. If you have beautiful windows or a great view, take advantage of these features. However, if you want windows and curtains to be a decorative backdrop, integrate them into the overall look by choosing colors, textures and patterns that blend in.
Evaluate the dominant and secondary colors in the room. Choose colors for draperies, blinds and shades that echo the palette. To be sure the undertones match, get swatches and hold them up next to walls, furnishings and carpets.
The texture and pattern of curtains, blinds and shades add to the look. Textured fabrics, such as velvet, linens, brocades and raw silk, add depth and drama. Use patterns to pick up colors and designs in furnishings, accessories and wall art. However, if your room is already alive with color and pattern, let the window dressings serve as a neutralizing background.
Do: Take Measurements
To make sure your window treatments look stunning, measure the windows before you buy fabric or order window dressings. Although windows may look symmetrical, often there are variations not discernible to the eye. To get accurate figures, measure the length inside the frame from top to bottom in at least two places. For width, measure across the inside of the frame at the top, middle and bottom. Take the same measurements outside the frame. Round up to the nearest 1/8-inch. Drawing a sketch of the window and writing the measurements on the sketch gives you a handy tool to use as you calculate sizes and make your purchases.
Measure the distance from the outside edge of the frame to the wall if the window is near a corner. Finally, measure from the top of the frame to the ceiling and the bottom of the frame to the floor. Add these figures to your sketch. Blinds, shades and some types of curtains are often installed inside the frame. However, most curtains are hung outside the frame.
To determine rod length, rods should extend at least six inches to each side of the window if space allows. For proper fullness for draperies, experts recommend that panels should be 2 ½ to 3 times the width of the rod.
Curtain length is a matter of taste. If you plan on installing blackout or thermal curtains, professionals recommend using full-length panels that sit just above the floor. Sill-length curtains should brush the top of the sill. For an elegant look, add enough extra length to allow curtains to puddle on the floor.
Now that we have covered the "do's," here are the "don'ts" in the do's and don'ts of window dressings.
Don't: Forget the Hardware
Curtain hardware is often overlooked or considered an insignificant detail of the window treatment. However, it serves several important functions. It must be able to support the weight of the curtains, be easy to use and contribute to the décor of the room. Hardware includes the rod, brackets, rings or hooks and finials. We've written about the difference between rod pocket, grommet and backtab curtains here.
Rods come in an array of materials, including several metals, powder-coated aluminum, stainless steel, wrought iron, wood, plastic and crystal. They come in several standard diameters ranging from one-half inch to three inches. Heavier curtains require stronger rods.
Curtain poles are made in several shapes and styles, including carved, beveled and painted, adding a unique touch to the window treatment. To complete the look, add decorative finials, the end caps that keep the curtains on the rod. These pieces come in every material and style imaginable, adding an individual touch that expresses your style.
Don't: Scrimp on Quality
It may be tempting to forgo quality for price or a specific look. Unless you plan on changing the window treatments frequently, you will want a product that wears well. High-quality window treatments can last for years if properly cared for.
Don't: Be Afraid to Ask for Help
If you do not know where to start, ask for help. The professionals at Deconovo are ready to help you find styles, colors, fabrics and sizes that will meet your budget and design needs.
By following these basic do's and don'ts of window treatments, you can create a unique look for each room of your home. Use natural light, color and the attractive features of your windows to create an eye-catching focal point or install a soothing backdrop in the room's decor.
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