Window treatments are the finishing touches to a room. Most people think of window treatments as a functional necessity that they have to keep the sun from waking them up too early in the morning. But window treatments really are a major part of what gives a room its feeling. Have you ever walked into a room and felt like it was incomplete? Looked around the room and saw that there was the proper amount of furniture, an area rug, artwork and accessories. Then realized that there was nothing covering the windows? Or if there was something it completely did not go with the rest of the room. How many times have you walked into a room and there is a beautiful sofa in designer fabrics, with leather chairs, an oriental rug, and antique tables but verticals blinds on the windows? I see this all the time. Maybe not in that exact combination but something similar. Great furnishings and windows left to an after thought and one that only consisted of we need something to block the sun, or give us privacy. Well I am here to say that you can have function and style in window treatments.
Let’s step out of the mindset that it is just for function and into the thinking that window treatments are what ties your room together. And there are many different styles of window treatments. There are blinds, shades, shutters, draperies, cornices and valances.
Blinds can be horizontal or vertical and can be made from many different materials to give you different looks and functions. When blinds are used they are mostly for function. They can be made from wood, plastics, or fabric. These are your horizontal wood/faux wood blinds, vertical blinds, mini blinds etc. These are functional treatments and in my opinion usually need another softer treatment to make them feel finished in a room. The reason being is that they are usually set inside the window and without a decorative molding they do little more that block the window. They also tend to feel harsh since they are generally made from hard materials. So instead of adding a finishing touch that flows with the room they simply add function. This can be changed by adding a cornice or valence to the top or draperies along the side. Blinds can also be made in fabric for a softer touch but on the majority I feel they still need something to finish them.
Because of the harsh feelings that blinds tend to give there are shades. Shades came from the need to have a functional way to block light and give privacy while having a decorative side. And since they are generally made from fabrics they are softer feeling to begin with. Also shades tend to be a more finished look. Shades can consist of roman shades, roller shades, woven woods, and cellular shades. The roman shades and woven woods can be finished treatments on their own. Roman shades are made from fabric and can be hobbled or flat. Since they are made from fabric as designers we can add lots of details to give that finished look. It can be decorative banding, a decorative fabric, or trim that makes these treatments really complete the look of the room. Woven woods can also be done in either flat or hobbled and they come with an additional valence to their top to hide the workings and give a finished look. These can also be banded in fabric for a finished look. They have great function in which they can be raised from the bottom but also can go down from the top. This gives the home owner the ability to still have light and privacy at the same time.
Roller shades have come a long way since the days of the white vinyl that half the time when you pulled the bottom instead of going back up would just unwind itself. Do you remember these? How many times did you have to climb up and take it off the bracket and roll it back up manually? Ok they are very different now. The biggest trend in roller shades now is solar shades. These are great and they give the functionality of blocking the sun and uv rays while also giving a finished contemporary look. These can be banded and I prefer to do them with a matching valence. Roller shades can also be done in fabrics to match the style of decor in the room or home. They can also be used underneath decorative cornices, valances and draperies.
Of the shades cellulars are the only ones that I feel are the functional option that must have a softer finishing treatment with them. Cellular shades are exactly what they sound like. They look like a honeycomb and to me are basically a mini blind made out of fabric. These are not one of my favorite options for window treatments and do not bring much to the room.
Shutters are another option when it comes to window treatments. These are a great clean-looking treatment. When shutters are installed they have a decorative molding that goes around the window for the finishing touch. I love using these in tropical styled homes, Key West looks, cottage looks and beach looks. They can be made for every kind of window including doors and give a great continuous look throughout the home. They can be made of either wood or faux wood. The climate of the home takes a large part in the decision-making as to use wood or faux wood.
Now we come to my favorite kinds of window treatments. Draperies, cornices and valances. These treatments all add those finishing touches that really make a room pop. There are many different styles of draperies from the traditional pinch pleat, to inverted pleats, to grommetted and rod pockets and many versions in between. These treatments can be made from all different kinds of fabrics. They can be lined, banded or sheer. They can be functional or decorative. You can also have workable draperies underneath stationary draperies. And draperies can hang on their own or underneath cornices and valances. When hanging draperies there are many options for decorative hardware, everything from wood to wrought iron and tons in between.
Cornices and valances are what we call toppers. They go on top of the windows to complete the look. Cornices are hard and are built around a wood frame. Valances are soft and flowing and they are built off of a wood rail. Although they both do the same thing they give different looks to the room. Toppers are made from fabrics and can have decorative trim and banding. They can also be shaped to highlight the room. Most people think of rectangles but they can be all different shapes, I have done semi circles, scalloped, and triangles. The beauty of soft window treatments, (draperies, cornices and valances) is that you are only limited by your imagination.
So the next time that you think about windows and how they fit into your room think about what they are saying. Are they speaking of the beauty and warmth that you have created in your home? Are they fun and funky? Do they reflect you? Your windows are the eyes of your home make them work with it!