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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

drapesShopping for drapes and window treatments online is easy once you know what you want.

Window treatments cover the full range from simple swags, shades and blinds to shutters, curtains and stunning floor length drapes.

How you finish your windows and what treatments you choose reflects and complements the decor and the lifestyle of the people in your home. You can mix and match the treatments that you choose. For instance, you may decide to use drapes in the living room and add shutters to the den or home office.

Whether you pick out modern or classic window treatments, they will be the finishing touch that completes the room. Your window treatments announce your tastes and fashion sense to visitors inside, and to everyone passing by.


Drapes and curtains are functional

Besides being the first bit of decoration that guests see as they approach your home, the coverings on your windows serve other purposes. They are gentle protection from the damage that sunlight can do to your interior furnishings.

The sun may rise long before you are ready to wake up. Your window treatments make sure that the morning sun waits outside until you are ready to greet it.

With the focus on conservation, dressing your windows is one way to be earth friendly. Your curtains or drapes can help keep the warmth inside when it's freezing out — or maintain the coolness of your rooms on hot summer days... saving lots of energy and lowering the cost of maintaining your home!

Window coverings provide privacy and add a pleasant note to any decor. No matter how wonderful the view from your windows, bare windows leave the room looking unfinished. The window treatments frame the view and draw the eye to the windows adding to the feeling of space in the room.


Window treatments come in many forms

Drapes - The classic look in window treatments, drapes can flow from floor to ceiling, just cover the windows or any variation that fits your rooms. Traditionally, the top of the drapes are covered— or crowned — by a valence or cornice. This adds to the dramatic effect and hides the hardware, the rods and hangers, that allow the drapes to hang and be drawn back from the windows to allow light in and highlight the view.

The material used for drapes is just about anything that will "drape." The more traditional look of heavy flowing fabric is facing competition from modern metallic and natural materials.

Curtains - Curtains are a simpler form of drapes. Drapes are pleated and are more formal. Curtains are usually gathered, creating a more informal look. They also may be lined or insulated.

Lighter curtains, called sheers, are often used in combination with drapes. These are made from lacy or sheer fabric/ Sheers covers the windows when the drapes are pulled back to maintain privacy while allowing you to see through to the outside.

Swags & Cascades - These window treatments are intended to frame windows without blocking them. Swags are draped across the top of the window frame and cascades flow down the sides. They can be used alone in combination or added to curtains to give a more dramatic look to the window.

Blinds - Also called Venetian blinds, these are strips of vinyl, wood, aluminum or other material that are held together by sturdy strings allowing then to be opened or closed. They also have a rotator tilt rod or string that allows the slats to move so you can see through the blinds without raising or lowering them. Blinds are almost always used inside the window from to block the light and provide privacy. Many blinds provide good insulation as well as blocking light.

Horizontal blinds and vertical blinds are two variations. You can find blinds that lower from the top or are raised from the bottom... or both. There are now remote controlled blinds that are motorized and can be let up or down without you needing to get at the window. These are ideal for rooms with very high ceilings and windows near the top. Swags at the top of the window or cascades on the side can be used to hide the blinds when they are open.

A word of caution about child safety and blind cords. The cords form a loop that children and small animals find interesting to play with which have sometimes caused fatal accidents. It is never a good idea to use blinds in a room near a crib or small child's bed. There are now child safety attachments to attach to Venetian blind cords to prevent tragedy. These are now recommended for use with all blinds.

Shades - Traditional shades were made from paper or a thin material on a wooden roller. The shades were rolled up and down to cover the window or let the light in. Modern shades are based on the same principle, but there are many variations. Most of the shades available today work on the same principle as blinds, with strings to raise and lower them. Roman shades are made of fabric that folds neatly flat when drawn. Cellular shades have a honeycomb of air pockets between two layers of fabric to increase the insulation factor of the window covering. The layering a not visible from the front or back and the shade still folds into a neat line when drawn.

Shadings - A newer offering that merges the shade and blind concepts. Fabric panels are suspended between two panels of a sheer polyester material. These window treatments are raised and lowered like shades but the fabric panels can also be tilted to allow more or less light in, like blinds. Unlike traditional blinds, shadings can be raised with the fabric panels in any position.

Shutters - Traditionally made from wood, shutters are now available in a variety of materials. Shutters may be used inside the home or as an external window treatment.

When used inside the home, shutters are normally not combined with other window treatments. Some shutters are fixed, but many styles offer adjustable slats, or louvers, to adjust the amount of light that is available.

Attractive, sturdy, motorized shutters used on the outside of the home can offer protection in severe wind storms — even as powerful as tornadoes and hurricanes — and make it harder for anyone to break into your home while the shutters are closed.


Shopping For window treatments

If you are using an interior designer, they will be able to steer you to outlets to purchase the window treatments you've agreed on. For the do-it-yourself re-decorator, most major department and home supply stores have window treatment departments with a wide selection and trained staff to answer your questions.

For bargains on window treatments, there are many manufacturer's outlets where drapes and other window treatments can be purchased direct from the factory at significant savings. Most have a web site that allows you to order online and have your materials delivered. You will have to assemble the window treatment yourself, so make sure that there is an email address or phone number for customer service to walk you through any problems you have during the installation.


Double check measurements of custom orders

Most shops will not accept a return on a custom order because you specified the wrong measurements. The guides here explain how to properly measure your window for an inside mount or an outside mount. An inside mount in for any window treatment set in the window frame, an outside mount would be on the wall outside the window frame.

Just to clarify, an outside mount is still inside the house, just not inside the frame. Use an outside mount if there is not enough depth in the window frame, if you have alarms, safety locks or other hardware that would interfere with the window treatment on the wall inside the window frame or if you want to hide an r unattractive window frame.

also see -> Do It Yourself Window Treatments | Drape Designer Tips

Tips for a Professional Window Treatment Look

 

Window treatment buying information around the Web:

Biz Rate Window Treatments - Biz Rate is a comparison shopping site. Their window treatments category lists tons of products with dozens of shops that stock them. Check the prices and reviews from past customers.

12 Tips for Buying Curtains - The basic guide to comparing costs, styles, and fabric with more on choosing curtain rods and related tips for sprucing up the house from Homemakers Daily.

Also check out what manufacturer's, designers and other home owners are doing with window treatments to get ideas for your home or office...

  • Window Treatment tips from Bed Bath & Beyond - tips on how to choose the right window treatment of your room, hardware & measuring tips with specific guides to drapery panels, scarf and blouson valences, sheers, fabric type and more.


also see -> Baby Nursery Decorating


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