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MAIN Arrow to Home LifeHome Life Arrow to Home Life - ShoppingShopping Arrow to Home Life - Shopping Drapes & Window TreatmentsDrapes & Window Treatments Guide

How to Design Window Treatments

drapes with decorative holdbackInterior designers have years of training and practice that helps them to create the fabulous window treatments that you see showcased in design centers and home decorating articles.

It's easy to see the windows in your home in a whole new light with insights from a professional designer, but you'll spend quite a bit to get that professional look. Don't you wish you knew a few of the trade secrets that make those drapes, blinds or curtains look so amazing?

Someone has heard your wishful thinking and come to your rescue. Smith+Noble, one of America's leading retailers of custom window treatments, is sharing some tips from a top interior designer, Michael Payne.

Mr. Payne, a member of the American Society of Interior Designers, has a history of helping amateur interior designers create professional results. He gives ambitious do-it-yourselfers the benefit of his expert tips on the weekly show, "Designing for the Sexes," on HGTV.

Getting your windows to look like the ones that impress you the most in the top design magazines is not beyond your ability. It will just take some planning and a little bit of thought about the look you are trying to achieve — combined with the design savvy of a window treatment expert!

Here are five tips to get you started designing your own spectacular window treatments.

color swatchesBe bold with your colors.

Inexperienced designers tend to go with safe, neutral colors for window treatments. Mixing two bolder, colorful window treatments is a simple way to inject personality, energy and excitement into a room. Choose tones from opposite sides of the color wheel. For example, pair a golden honeycomb shade with deep aubergine velvet panels -- to brighten and add punch to your windows. Pull small accent colors from rugs or furniture to tie in the windows with the rest of the room.

Give life to subtle colors with patterns and textures. Bright colors are just not for you or for the room you're decorating? If you are after a more peaceful, quiet space you'll want to tone down the colors. Neutral, light pastels and warm colors — lighter shades of red, yellow and orange — are used to create restful spaces like bedrooms. Add elegance and life to your soothing colors with a mixture of patterns and textures. For example, combining rich silk in an earthy bronze with delicate, sheer georgette in a creamy color results in a beautiful effect that goes with any décor.

Turn a problem corner into a panoramic view. If your window treatment will be featured on two corner windows with wall space in between, don't panic... think out of the box. Use your fabrics to turn two windows into one wide vista. Plan the panels or draperies with one side stacking to the left, the other to the right. Panels meet in the corner for the dramatic look of one continuous window.

In modern homes where corner windows form an angle with no wall space in between, honeycomb shades are a wonderful solution. When closed, the windows appear as bold bands of color; when open, shades virtually disappear for a clean, unobstructed view.

Give small windows big impact. Don't be stumped by small or unattractive windows. One terrific way to make small windows appear larger and more dramatic is by using light-colored panels that start well above the window and puddle onto the floor. To enhance the width of a narrow window, use panels significantly wider than the window and hold them open with tiebacks — the effect draws the eye outward. Then, build on the visual impact with details like ring tops, prominent wood poles, finials and brackets.

Design in stages. If your dream windows are a little out of reach right now budget-wise, don't fret. Designing windows is an evolving process that doesn't have to be finished all at once. When you move into a home, privacy and light control are most important, so focus on installing functional blinds and shades that will be the foundation for your window treatment masterpieces later.

Later, when time and budget allow, layer luxurious panels, sheers and draperies or add architectural details like cornices and sconces.

"Designing beautiful windows can seem intimidating, but it's really not," says Karin Miller, vice president of merchandising for Smith+Noble and member of the Color Marketing Group.

Smith+Noble - Courtesy of ARA Content

also see -> DIY Window Treaments | Tips for Designing Window Treatments

Sewing Patterns for Window Treatments | Window Treatment Online Design Tools

Accessorize Your Window Treatments


Window Treatment design tips around the Web:

Window Treatment Ideas for Corner Windows

Window Treatments 101

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