Window Treatments- A Worthy Splurge!

Some windows are commanding enough to stand alone, but most need window treatments for privacy, light diffusion, and the added softness it lends to the interior.

Costs are often a concern and rightly so, as window treatments, like most home improvements run the gamut!  For a 36” wide window you can look to a $200-$600 range, for more custom treatments $600-$1,200.  With windows larger than 36” wide and customized to make a statement, you can estimate between $1,200-$3,000 per window!  Still, in most cases, window treatments are a worthy splurge!

It can be exhausting trying to choose from an endless array of materials, fabrics, and styles.  It can also be confusing trying to envision treatment for small, tall or oddly shaped windows.  Here are the broad strokes of one of the most intimidating interior design subjects.

First step when determining the design, is to consider how the windows need to function.  Does the room have ample light?  Does it need air?  Will the window be opened?  Is there a nice view?  Is outside noise a problem?  What direction does it face?  If South & West- do you need to reduce heat gain & glare, if North & East- do you need to reduce heat loss?  Do you need complete privacy or darkness?

After you’ve answered the basic questions measure the windows or have a professional window installer measure for you.  Fabric gets expensive so you want to make sure you order the absolute least amount you need to achieve the desired fullness effect.  After this all-important step you can move on to the fun stuff.

Drapery/Curtains

If you have taller and larger doors and windows, drapery is often the best solution.  You can decide whether to treat a bank of windows as a single entity or to individually treat them.

(Does anyone else immediately picture the resplendent drapery of the Oval Office when thinking about window treatments?  Here, as to not be controversial, is a photo of Claire Underwood’s Oval Office, plus it’s the prettiest in my humble opinion.)

(Image: Modsy)

Hardware

Where possible drapery hardware should extend 4”-8” beyond the window casing.  The wider the window treatment the larger the window will appear and the more impact the window treatments will have.

Similarly consider mounting the hardware as high as possible, especially in a low ceiling room and when you have smaller windows, to create maximum impact.

Traversing versus Stationery- this is fairly obvious- traversing moves, stationery stays put.

If you choose traversing and have especially large rods with many rings and brackets, it’s a good idea to invest in actual traversing hardware.  The carriers are built-into the drapery hardware, and it tends to be less clunky on the window.  If it’s a standard size window regular rings and brackets work well.

Height & Width

For the fabric width it’s best to estimate about 1.5 – 2x’s the width of the window for the right fabric fullness. Quantity needed will depend on the pleat style as well as the return (back to the wall).

Floor Length refers to kissing the floor (1/2” of fabric on floor), and this works well particularly for traversing drapes.  (It’s a nice middle ground between “geeky flood pants,” and dust mop.)  Trouser Break is about 1”-2” on the floor, and that works well for stationery drapes.  Puddle Length is not quite as popular, 6”-12” resting on the floor, but adds lots of drama to living and dining rooms.

 

Fabric

The best fabrics to choose for drapery are cotton, linen and occasionally synthetics.  Silk works in a North facing window but must be lined.  Wool works as well but should also avoid Southern exposure.  Most fabrics are generally okay to use for window treatments, but you’ll almost always want to get the fabric lined to protect the material from solar rays, dirt and condensation.  This also adds insulation.  Blackout liners are great for nurseries and bedrooms.  If diffusing light or letting the breeze blow is a priority you can skip the lining. 

Shades

Shades tend to cost less than drapery, and there are tons of great options to suit most styles.  From simple roller or solar shades, to honeycomb shades, to beautiful wovens and Roman shades, these options work best to create simple, modern luxury.  Woven natural materials add a lot of warmth to the room.  Roman shades add a tailored look and you have limitless options in terms of fabric pattern.

Inside or Outside Mounts

Inside is the cleanest look and it allows moldings to show.  If you want to hide ugly or non-existing molding outside mount is the best route.  This also serves to make the window appear larger and grants the most privacy.

If you’re going to really splurge on window treatments it seems the best place to plunk down is a formal dining room, living room or a bedroom.  If you want to add drama to the space, soften the room and invite celebration, this all can be accomplished by adding drapery.  To keep it tidy, and more modern, shades are the way to go.

There is loads to think about when it comes to window treatments.  We’ve only scratched the surface here (haven’t even gotten into gussying up with passementerie, cords, tassels gimps and fringes!) but perhaps you now have a bit more confidence to start really considering that pretty valance or café curtain over the kitchen sink or adding some dramatic drapery to your bedroom.

Take our breakfast nook- the windows and trim are attractive enough but when the blinding mid-afternoon Southern sun comes blasting through it is just begging for some slouchy Roman shades!

Window Treatments need not be an intimidating endeavor, call me to set up a consultation and we can get into the nitty gritty!

 

 

Interim Decorating

Rushing to renovate often leads to taking generic “builder basic” recommendations from general contractors.  It may work, but is it what you really want?  While being all moved into a newly renovated house feels great, hasty decisions made during construction mean things will get overlooked, mistakes will be made, and the outcome may not be ideal.

Often times it is invaluable to live in your new home for a while before you renovate, even if you absolutely hate it and are desperate to “fix-er upper!”  Assuming you don’t have concrete ideas going in, give yourself plenty of time to ease into the space and see how you (…your family and your pets) live there.

Converting an as-is home into a dream home is complicated business.  While you may be quite clear on the major updates- like completely renovating the master bathroom, the minor things like where you want an extra bath robe hook may reveal themselves in time, or perhaps you’ll find you love eating outdoors in summer and realize you would love easier access from the kitchen to the BBQ.  Not every design decision is obvious upon move-in.

In the meantime, load up a Pinterest board with inspiration, then seek design assistance if compiling those ideas into a concrete plan seems overwhelming.

Inspiration Page

In fact, hiring a designer is always helpful for speeding up the design & decorating process as we are here to guide you in crafting your vision, and navigating you through the limitless number of possibilities.

During this interim period, don’t spend too much on anything you’re not certain will survive the renovation, but also don’t starve yourselves of what would make your space work, perhaps swap out old faucets and fixtures with new ones you love, or buy some new patio furniture and outdoor lighting.

Don’t neglect the easy magic of fresh paint, a good deep clean, and an uncluttered house!  Settle into your home with your things but don’t necessarily unpack every single item.  Determine what you need, what is useful, and what is beautiful…and then determine what exactly you want!

Interim decorating is for renters too.  Certainly, you’ll want to limit investing in other people’s investment, but don’t deny yourself a pleasant home!  Maximize the fun updates that you can take with you when you go; layer large area rugs over ugly floors, perhaps swap out dated lighting fixtures or hardware (hang on to the old ones to them swap back upon move-out), or if the architectural elements aren’t very interesting paint them to make them more special.  Consider painting the trim and doors a vibrant fun color.  Another dramatic short-term option is temporary wall-coverings like this beauty from Tempaper Designs.

Whatever your housing situation is, you’re always safe if you follow the Golden Rule-

 

 

 

Summer Clothes For Your Home

Your home wants summer clothes too! Just because you don’t necessarily own waterfront property or a summer cottage, doesn’t mean you can’t brighten up your home and dwell in the coming long summer days.  Here are some simple summer spruce ups for less than you spend on Christmas decor.

Fold and stow away the heavy stuff just as you would stow your sweaters for winter.

  • Swap out bedding & blankets– think lightweight cotton throw not luxe faux fur blanket.
  • Roll up the heavy rugs for summer. Choose natural fiber rugs like sisal or jute, or just go bare!
  • Similarly, for window treatments, consider swapping out heavy drapery for natural woven shades or simple sheers. Let there be light!
  • A white slip-cover for the sofa may sound like a splurge, but depending on what you choose these can run less than $100.

Rattan chairs have become immensely popular year round and now come in all sorts of fabulous shapes and sizes.  They work well both indoors and out.  This high back patio chair is darling!

Crank open the weather loving umbrellas!  Indestructible Sunbrella fabric now comes in plenty of summery options like mint, blueberry and pink lemonade.  Coordinate it with piped outdoor pillows. Sunbrella resists fading and mildew so you can enjoy for many summers to come.

Another option synonymous with good weather is the classic yellow & white stripe fabric; besides canopies, it’s lovely on throw pillows and seat cushions.

Bring some greenery inside by putting a flower box of lavender in the window and filling a vase with fragrant white summer lilies.

String a few strands of weatherproof bistro lights for inviting alfresco dining!

No picnic table is complete without gingham– the ultimate summer fabric!

Or re-dress an entire table for less than a tank of gas with these Opalhouse beauties from Target (they really are ingenious at luring us in for the impulse buy, aren’t they!?!)

Put a fresh batch of lemonade (or margaritas) in a beautiful pitcher to liven up your table.  Also when dressing the table, never forget your classic unscented white candles- loads of them!

Need a fresh coat of paint? These cool summertime favorites are always in season- Benjamin Moore- Glass Slipper or Sherwin Williams- Sea Salt.

Give in to your patriotic side and show off some Americana, because no one does summer better than the good old USA!