All About Windows
Dressing windows for both privacy and beauty can be quite complicated. In my opinion, window treatments are one of the most difficult parts of my job. I often work closely with local workrooms to make sure they measure even more accurately than I do, since they will be the ones fabricating the finished products. For starters, I classify windows two ways: Are we covering for privacy? If so, I call them window coverings. Are we dressing for beauty? I call them window treatments. Some clients only want one or the other. Other clients want a combination of both, either throughout the home or in a handful of rooms. This photo below shows an example of a client of mine who chose only window coverings for privacy.
This room shows an example of no window coverings being used, but instead, stationary panels dress the windows, which I call window treatments.
This photo is the perfect example of a client choosing a combination of both window coverings AND window treatments. They chose a woven grass bamboo shade for privacy, and sheer panels for dressing the windows. In my opinion, a combination of both is the ideal choice for every room! But understandably, not every client can afford the combined costs of both, and often opt for just one or the other.
Types of Window COVERINGS
- The most commonly known window coverings are blinds. These are so common, in fact, that almost every house I go in for consultations has mini-blinds or 2” blinds in at least some of their rooms. These are fairly outdated, and I do try to encourage my clients to remove them and replace with updated window coverings.
- Plantation Shutters are also very common, but cost quite a bit more than blinds. Plantation shutters are usually high quality, and have a very nicely finished look when installed. These can be stained or painted, and are very common in homes where the architectural and decorating styles are more traditional. Transitional styles also carry off shutters very well!
- Woven wood blinds are becoming more common, and mesh very well with several styles of decorating. These happen to be my personal favorite. I love the casual vibe they give off, and they look very nice paired with drapery panels!
4. Shades are another option for window coverings. There are many styles of shades, such as honeycomb shades, roller shades, or Roman shades. All of these options can be motorized and even operated with a remote control! Roller shades, as well as some Roman shades, mesh very well with more modern interiors. Honeycomb shades don’t get selected by my clients very often, but they go with any decorating style. Some Roman shades, when sewn a certain way, become wonderful traditional window coverings, which even double as window treatments!
Types of Window TREATMENTS
- The main type of window treatment I specify is drapery panels on a rod. These can be stationary (non-functional, merely for looks) or functioning panels. These can be custom (preferred for the most tailored look), ready-made (purchased ready to press and hang), or a combination of both. The client’s budget is the ultimate determining factor of which route we take to complete their windows. Within this treatment, the options are endless, from how the top of the panel is designed (pleats? grommets? Rod pocket?) to how it lands at the floor, whether it has trim or tassels or fringe, or traditional tiebacks, etc. This options can be as simple or as complication as you want. It’s fun to be creative here! These pleated drapes (below) were a combination. We bought them ready-made, then had them hemmed to fit the space right. The tops are pleated and hang by rings with hooks.
- Valances are another type of window treatment. These are fabric pieces designed to hang over the tops of windows only. Some swag down on the sides. Some run straight across. Some are tied on to the rod. Again, the variations here are endless! I will say that I have yet to have a client request valances, and I almost never recommends them. They remind me of my grandmother’s house!
- Cornices are similar to valances in that they usually only cover the tops of windows. But Cornices are fabrics that are applied to plywood with padding and trim. These are heavy and hang almost in a construction/attached to wall sort of way. I have had clients request these in the past, but it’s very infrequent that I specify these, mainly because they are not really currently in style. These can look very cute in children’s spaces, though!
4. Like I explained above, Roman Shades can be merely functional and simple and used more for privacy, or they can be purely decorative and non-functional. It completely depends on the client’s needs and wants. I consider some Roman shades to be window coverings, and some to be window treatments, depending on how we go about creating them!