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.
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.)
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.
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 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!