Interior Design Tips for Curtains, Drapes and Window Treatments
The right window treatment, whether it’s curtains, drapes, valances, sheers or panels, can turn any room’s windows into a stunning focal point. For many of us, window treatments have always been a practicality – you just need something to give privacy and manage the incoming light. If that’s the case, it’s time to shift your thinking, because window treatments can become one of the key places to add style and color to your room’s look. Remember — you don’t have to decide between curtains and blinds. You can have them both. In fact, when you have both, it makes it easier to change out panel curtains to create a new look from season to season and keep the blinds as a neutral constant.
Don’t fall into common decorating traps when it comes to your windows, instead follow this interior design advice to makeover your windows, and your room, for the better. Handy Tip: Start by measuring your windows first.
Choosing Living Room Curtains
Consider the overall mood of the room. Do you envision a formal flair or a casual tone? Once you decide this, everything from color to texture to pattern can fall into place. A formal tone will call for distinctively upscale fabrics and prints, such as velvets, paisleys and heavy silks. A casual approach may see more practical fabrics such as cotton blends and linens.
Window Treatment Ideas to Make a Room Look Bigger
Window light can make a room appear larger. Here are two window treatment ideas to use natural lighting and to enlarge a smaller room:
- Make a small window look bigger by surrounding it with gathered tiebacks or flowing curtains that hang outside the frame.
- Raise the apparent height of a ceiling by mounting your curtain rod above the top of the window frame.
Complementing Your Space
Window coverings should complement the rest of your room, not work against it. Every room has four major decorative elements: furniture (upholstery fabric or bed coverings), floor, ceiling and walls, but only one can stand out as the star of the room. NO matter what role your living room curtains are playing, be sure to hang them as close to the ceiling as possible, leaving just enough room for access. This will make your room feel bigger and your windows seem grander.
Curtain Ideas for Your Bedroom
This is one location where fabrics can veer into the romantic and elegant zone, more than the other rooms in your home. If you are taking a romantic approach, consider complementing it with canopy bed curtains as well. If you’re looking for a way to balance between a feminine and masculine tone, consider chevron stripes or geometric patterns. Bedrooms are one place where heavier bedroom curtains or blinds that block out the light work especially well and allow late risers to sleep in.
How to Decorate Large Windows
When you have an extra-large pretty window in a main living space, such as your living room, be sure to steer clear from letting curtains overwhelm the space. Instead, choose living room curtains that match the wall color and don’t create too much contrast for a nice complement.
Adding a Little on Top
Valance curtains are a fabulous way to add style to your windows when floor-length drapes are impractical. This makes kitchens, bathrooms, hallways and foyers perfect candidates for a valance treatment. And be sure to look for matching pieces, like a table runner or placements, to complement kitchen valances.
Tie One On
When a room has a casual, welcoming decorating style, then a tie-up shade can be a perfect window covering. A tie-up shade provides window coverage that lets in some light, while the ties support an easygoing, less formal mood.
Cool It Down
Window coverings will not only help your room look great, but they can also help manage the temperature in the room. If you have windows that get a lot of heat from the direct sun, try thermal curtains in a pretty pattern to help beautify your window while blocking out the extreme temperatures.
Layered Curtain Ideas
Two panels are not going to do it when it comes to hanging curtains. To have the right kind of fullness, be sure to make your curtains at least twice, or two and a half times, the size of your window, so that they gather nicely. Layering sheers with heavier fabrics is also a nice way to achieve a full look. You can use a double curtain rod to layer a set of sheer curtains behind a set of heavier curtains.
Show Your Colors
When your room has an abundance of neutral tones, your windows can be the perfect place to add color beautifully. Think about long panel curtains in a deep rich shade to add warmth and depth, or a bright hue to bring an energetic vibrancy to the space. Adding color to your windows draws your eye to the outer edges of the room and enhances the room’s size.
Short curtains do a great job of framing a window and making it almost feel like a piece of artwork on the wall. Long curtains, on the other hand, extend the eye and bring greater awareness to the height of the room. Want to make your room feel even bigger? Hang your curtains far above the actual window. The added height draws the eye upward. Let curtains fall perfectly at the floor for a formal, traditional look or let them pool on the floor a few inches to feel more casual and relaxed.
It’s a general rule to choose a pattern or print for your window treatments when you have solid color furniture or bedding. It’s just enough real estate of the room where a pattern can provide the right accent without overpowering. Current trends in window coverings offer an extensive selection of patterns, from florals and paisleys to fresh stripes and exotic medallions. The smaller the pattern, the more it will feel like texture from across the room. Want a more dramatic effect? Go for a bold, graphic print that adds punctuation to your room’s look.
The Right Touch
Texture and fabric choice is key when selecting curtains and panels. A rich color in heavy velvet will set a very different mood to your room, compared to a lightweight linen panel in a lively color. Take time to go beyond general color and length and let texture and sheen be part of your decision.
Invite the Sunshine
Let the light in while still enjoying the decorative element that window treatments add when you choose a set of window sheers. Layer them with a darker panel so that you can let in the right amount of light while still adding the color of a panel. Or allow a window sheer go solo to add a light and airy feel to the room.
How wide should you hang your curtain brackets? The most traditional option is just above and outside your window’s molding. However, if you have a pretty detailed window frame that you want to show off, then consider an inside mount. When you want your window to feel big and grand, hang curtain rods well beyond the window frame. It will make the window feel bigger and lets in the most light, since the curtain hang against the wall rather than over the glass.
Where window sheers let light in, blackout curtains allow you to block the light coming in to your room. These are perfect for media rooms and rooms where outside light takes away from the room’s function. In addition, for night owls who need to catch their zzz’s during the daytime hours, blackout curtains can turn day into night with the pull of a curtain.
If you find yourself trying to manage the summer’s heat and the winter’s cold, then let your window coverings do the work. Thermal curtains can make a big difference in helping you maintain a comfortable living room. An added bonus, they can also provide room darkening and act as a sound barrier for unwanted outside noises.
Window Treatment Tips:
- Before diving into style choices, first, consider function. Do you need to block out the light or are you okay with light filtering in? Do you have a lot of windows in one room that all need to coordinate? Or just one big window that serves as a focal point. Always think function first.
- After you’ve tackled that – pinpoint the mood – is it casual, chic, trendy, formal, whimsical, crisp? The possibilities here are endless, but if you can narrow in on a few choice adjectives to describe the mood you are going for, then you’re on the path to the right look.
- Honing in on color and texture from there should be a breeze. As a rule of thumb, opt for solid color window treatments if you have patterned furniture or bedding. Conversely, a patterned window treatment adds texture and interest against solid-color furniture.
- Tiebacks offer another way to add style and pull your curtains away from the window. Be sure to match the style of your curtain rod with your tiebacks for a coordinated look. Try hanging your curtains higher than your window frame to create the illusion of taller ceilings and a bigger space.
- Window treatments can do for your decor what shoes do for your wardrobe – provide the perfect accessory to your overall look. Try a fresh new set of curtains or a decorative tieback to switch things up.
- Consider changing your curtains as often as you change your bed coverings, perhaps with the changing seasons. It can be a lovely way to bring a fresh look to any room, and an ideal way to try out patterns or colors without committing to too much.
Looking for more window covering inspiration?
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