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
Drapes and curtains
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
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
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
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
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
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
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.
treatment buying information around the Web:
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.
out what manufacturer's, designers and other home owners are doing
with window treatments to get ideas for your home or office...
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.