Windows in a home are much more than an ordinary light source; they are an essential function as they provide light, safety, and set the vibe. Windows are the starting point for creating the mood and style of a home. After all, when building a new home, you can never have too many well-placed natural light sources.
While having ample windows in a new home is key, leaving them blank and unadorned is not. How do you infuse style, safety, and function to a window? Enter window treatments. These treatments include blinds, shades, and drapes, among others. This product can be often overlooked, but it shouldn’t be. A bare window can leave much to be desired as it creates a disruption and lack of harmony in a room. Window treatments blend function with aesthetics. Think of window treatments as the accessory for an outfit: like adding a belt, scarf, or a hat for a bit of sparkle.
There’s quite an array of window treatments on the market. So, how does one get started? We pulled together the ultimate guide to what’s what on window treatments. Read on to discover the best guidelines for finding the best window treatment for your home.
Before You Start Dressing up Your Windows
You will have a checklist to finalize before you purchase window treatments. To begin, you need to assess how many windows are in the new home and how many window treatments are required. To note, a home’s natural light sources will vary by each room’s purpose and vary in size, so you’ll need to take proper measurements and categorize the types of window treatments needed. Then, determine how often each room and its window treatment will have a frequency of use. You’ll want to determine the purpose of each window treatment, too. Are they to block out light, add extra shade or privacy, protect from UV rays, or are they purely for style and design? Once your list is in place, finalize a budget for materials and installation by your contractor or the product manufacturer.
After this is all set, create a moodboard for each room with window treatments. Then, you’ll be on your way to creating a perfectly relaxing home in no time.
Types of Window Treatments
Many new homes have a variety of window shapes and sizes, which makes choosing window treatments an involved process. Window types include: awning, arc, bay, casement, circle, double hung, rectangle, and sliding. Double hung and rectangle are some of the most classic and popular window styles in bedrooms and living spaces. Bay windows, circle, and sliding are common ways to add in more natural light in living rooms, kitchens, studies, and dining spaces.
Blinds. Blinds are window treatments composed of hard slats that can be altered to let light in or block it. The slats create angles, allowing direct light to pool in varying degrees. Typically blinds have horizontal slats, but vertical blinds create the same effect and function with long strips. Panel blinds–like vertical blinds–are the same construction for sliding doors and oversized windows. Blinds are available in many materials: aluminum, bamboo, wood, vinyl, fabric, and faux wood.
Curtains. Curtains are light fabric panels that can be sheer or opaque that tend to be more visual statements than light blockers or privacy makers. Fabric window treatments are often cotton-based or polyester.
Drapes. Similar to curtains, drapes are heavy duty fabrics that can block out heavy light and grant more privacy. This thicker material choices are velvet, cotton, silk, or linen.
Shades. Large panels that function via a pull cord to add in light or create light-blocking privacy. Shades can only be moved up or down. When we think of shades, it’s most common to think of blackout styles that block all natural light. Shades come in other styles like honeycomb, pleated, roller, and Roman.
Valances. Decorative fabric, like short drape which hangs above a curtain. Valances are commonly used to hide or dress up a boring curtain rod.
Tips for Choosing the Best Window Treatment
Window treatments should elevate a room, not overpower it.
It’s tempting to add fixtures, hardware, and other products that create more and more design elements to a space. But that can confuse the eye and make it difficult to relax on a focal point. Besides disrupting a room’s flow, a window treatment that is too large for the space can make corners and walls appear darker, shrouding natural light.
Choose based on ease of function and cleaning.
A beautiful window treatment isn’t so beautiful if it’s hard to reach and properly maintain. That being said, a window treatment isn’t helpful or functional if it’s hard to open, use, or increase or decrease light for viewing or just safety purposes.
Keep purpose and relaxation top of mind.
The frequency and usage of a room and the window’s location make a huge impact on choosing the right treatment. Whether it’s a full-length sliding door, floor-to-ceiling, a circle, or a rectangle, the window treatment is specific to the light source. Once function is underway, always consider what will make the room feel harmonized, relaxing, and put together. The window treatment is like an accessory, it’s a tool that will help boost the mood and create an inviting space.
Stephanie Valente is a Content Director and Editor in Brooklyn, NY. She’s previously held writing and social media positions at Barkbox, Men’s Journal, and currently works at a full-service advertising agency. She’s a self-confessed home and design enthusiast. Stephanie is an award-winning poet and fiction writer. When she’s offline, you can find her taking a yoga class, running, hanging out with her rescue dog Pepper. Find her on stephanievalente.com.