Window treatments are an important part of any room, whether their purpose is functional or decorative. They are an opportunity to further complement the style of your space. To begin, focus on the function of the treatments, because these options are more limited. Then, consider the decorative options because they can help achieve the final design. Panels have dominated window treatment design in the past, but recently, more detailed treatments have surfaced — perhaps not swags and jabots, but we are definitely seeing more details.
Do your window treatments need to provide privacy, room darkening, temperature regulation or sun and glare control? Shutters and blinds are excellent choices when you want to tilt while not blocking out light completely. I like the 3-inch Norman shutters and the 2-inch blinds. The wider slats allow entry of more light, as well as providing a more updated look.
I also like a cellular shade in combination with fabric panels. Cellular shades are window coverings made from pleated fabric that forms honeycomb-shaped cellular compartments. The cellular shade is available in semi-opaque or room-darkening options. It provides another layer of insulation but can be concealed in a smaller head rail. They are also available with a top-down function to offer privacy.
For sun and glare control, solar shades are becoming more and more popular. This is a roller shade made out of perforated vinyl. It can look modern standing alone or can be softened with the help of fabric treatments.
One of my favorite treatments for privacy — without having to compromise style — is the fabric Roman shade. These shades are great for any style and are very customizable, depending on the fabric choice. Use solid, textured linen with a fabulous decorative tape to add softness and privacy, or opt for a bold geometric pattern to make a statement. The natural woven shade is available in a variety of woven materials, such as bamboo and rattan. Gray tones and more traditional natural colors are available, as well. These treatments are lovely when layered with stationary panels, or are just as appealing alone.
Fabric drapes can add softness or texture or can be statement pieces. However, only one element should be the wow factor in a room. Airy sheers with a tone-on-tone pattern or embroidery are perfect for creating a soft, serene bedroom. Add white panels to a farmhouse style to create a billowy, simple look. Unless I am using sheer fabric, I prefer lining and interning the panels to provide weight and drapability.
To make 8-foot ceilings appear higher, hang your rod directly below the crown molding. The rod should be 8 to 12 inches (no more than 12) above the window casing. To allow maximum light into your home, extend the rod outside of the window molding. Panels can also draw to provide privacy. Use a blackout lining to completely block out light, which offers a hotel-like experience in your home. Much like rugs, fabric treatments can also help with sound control.
Drapery hardware is another important element to consider. I prefer 1-inch rods with a simple finial, or a French rod that returns to the wall. A wide selection of finishes to complement any style is available. I prefer a French pleat as the header of panels.
In addition, I am seeing more valances now than I have in the past. They are perfect options in bathrooms and kitchens where panels may not be appropriate.
Don’t underestimate what window treatments can do for your room. Remember: Window treatments can be the “something’s missing” design element in any room. Carefully plan for function and style to complete your room and give the designer look that everyone will admire.
Interior designer Barbara Dalton is an American Society of Interior Designers (ASID) associate member who serves Upstate clients from her downtown Greenville office.