Window treatments are an essential yet often overlooked element of home decor. The right window coverings can completely transform the look and feel of a room, strengthen its interior design, enhance natural light, and provide necessary privacy.
In this comprehensive guide, I’ll share the most popular styles of window treatments, from classic curtains to up-and-coming trends like Roman shades and plantation shutters. We’ll cover the advantages and disadvantages of each option so you can determine what’s best for your space, style, and budget.
You’ll learn insider tips on choosing the right fabrics, patterns, and hardware for any window. We’ll also provide advice on proper measuring and installation so your window treatments fit right and operate smoothly. Whether you live in a stately Victorian or a sleek contemporary home, this article will inspire you to rethink your windows and take your decor from drab to fab. Let’s get started on an inside look at the wonderful world of window treatments!
What are Window Treatments?
Window treatments are decorative and functional coverings for windows that serve several key purposes. Aesthetically, they are a vital part of interior design and decor, complementing a room’s color scheme, style, and furnishings.
Window treatments provide essential sunlight control, with curtains, blinds, and shades that allow you to block out natural light as needed. This comes in handy for darkening bedrooms for sleeping or living rooms for movie-watching.
For privacy, heavier window coverings like drapes and frosted window film prevent those outside from peering in.
Some treatments even provide insulation, as heavy blackout curtains or shutters can regulate interior temperatures by keeping heat or cold from coming in. Fabrics like blackout lining also protect furnishings from sun damage and fading.
Common types of window treatments include curtains made of woven fabrics and hung on rods above windows, adjustable blinds with horizontal slats, sliding blinds with vertical slats, roller shades or Roman shades, interior and exterior shutters that cover window openings, and decorative valances that cover curtain rods and the tops of window frames.
With so many window treatment styles to choose from, the options are truly endless when dressing up your windows!
Most Common Window Treatment Styles
These are the most popular kinds of window treatment styles for residential homes.
Curtains are made of fabric and hang from rods above windows. Some common types of curtains include blackout curtains that block out light and noise and sheer curtains that allow natural light to filter through. Curtain styles range from traditional pinch pleats to modern grommet tops. Most curtains are hung using small rings. They’re easy to open and close by sliding them along the rod.
Blinds feature horizontal or vertical slats that adjust to control light and privacy. Popular blind styles include Venetian, vertical, mini, and pleated. Blinds are also easy to open and close using either a twisting control rod or a string.
Shades roll up and down or raise and lower to allow adjustable light control. Common shade types include roller, Roman, cellular, bamboo, and solar. These are small, fitted window treatments that don’t take up much room.
Shutters are window coverings with louvers that open and close to regulate light and air. Interior shutters can be made of wood, faux wood, or vinyl while exterior shutters are typically wood or fiber cement.
Valances are decorative fabric pieces that sit atop curtain rods and window frames. Valances conceal hardware and make a bold statement. They were common in upscale, traditional homes, but are less common in modern residences.
Choosing the Right Window Treatment Fabric
There are several options for window treatment fabrics.
When selecting fabrics for window treatments, you’ll need to consider both aesthetics and performance. The fabric texture, color, and pattern should complement your room’s decor. But the fabric also needs to withstand sunlight, provide the right amount of privacy and light control, and be easy to care for. Factors like room type, the amount of light, and your design theme should all be considered.
Natural vs. Synthetic Fabrics
The two main categories of fabrics to consider are natural and synthetic. Natural options like cotton, linen, and silk offer a classic look and are more breathable. However, they must be maintained over time and require more careful cleaning. They’re prone to fade, wrinkle, and sag.
Synthetic fabrics like polyester and acrylic are generally more durable and easier to clean. They’re also more affordable and wrinkle-resistant. They can mimic the texture of natural fabrics quite well. Just be aware that cheaper synthetics may look artificial with time.
It’s essential to weigh the pros and cons of each type of fabric relative to where you’ll be placing the window treatment. For example, a bathroom with high humidity levels would benefit from synthetic materials that resist moisture.
Sheer, Light-Filtering, or Blackout Options
Another critical factor to consider is the degree of light filtration.
Sheer fabrics allow the most light to enter and offer minimal privacy. These are great for living rooms where you may want abundant natural light.
Light-filtering materials offer a middle-ground solution, providing privacy while still allowing some light in—ideal for a home office or dining room.
Blackout fabric options completely block light, offering maximum privacy and insulation, making them a good choice for bedrooms or media rooms.
Durability is a vital aspect to take into account, especially for window treatments in high-traffic areas or rooms used by children or pets. Fabrics that are stain-resistant and easy to clean offer an advantage in these situations. Performance window treatment fabrics with stain protection or blackout linings will last longer.
It’s wise to pick a tightly woven, good-quality fabric that will stand up to cleaning and sunlight. Pinch pleated, tab top, and goblet styles place less stress on the fabric.
Synthetic fabrics typically withstand wear and tear better than natural options and are often machine-washable. In contrast, delicate materials like silk may require professional cleaning.
Before making your final selection, consider the long-term maintenance requirements and the longevity of the fabric. Regularly dusting or vacuuming will prolong the life of any window treatment.
Window Treatment Patterns and Textures
The pattern and texture of your window treatments greatly impact the atmosphere of a room. Patterns are a critical element in your interior design scheme. A well-chosen pattern can bring life to a space, through harmonizing or contrasting with other elements.
Solids, Stripes, Prints
Solid fabrics offer a clean, uncluttered look and are easily matched with different decor styles. They’re excellent for creating a neutral backdrop that lets other design elements take center stage.
Stripes bring structure and can elongate a space when used vertically. Prints, like florals or geometric shapes, are excellent for bathrooms and kids’ rooms.
When choosing between solids, stripes, and prints, take into account the mood you want to set. For instance, a playful print could lighten up a children’s room, while a solid neutral might be better suited for a serene bedroom environment.
Texture is another element that adds depth and dimension to your window treatments. Different materials offer distinct tactile qualities, impacting both aesthetics and functionality.
Linen curtains provide a breezy, casual vibe, ideal for a relaxed atmosphere. It’s often used in living rooms or sunrooms where natural light and airiness are desired.
Conversely, velvet curtains offer a luxurious, rich texture perfect for creating opulence in spaces like formal living rooms or bedrooms.
Texture isn’t just about how a fabric feels to the touch; it’s also about how it plays with light. Some materials, like silk, have a light-reflecting quality, while others like wool are more matte, absorbing light for a cozier feel.
Trendy Window Treatment Ideas
Window treatments have evolved beyond simple utility to become an essential aspect of home décor. Keeping up with the latest window treatment trends helps you select the best window coverings that are functional and stylish. Here are some trendy window treatment ideas.
Layered Window Treatments
One significant trend is layering different types of window treatments for a richer look and greater functionality. For example, sheer curtains can be paired with blackout shades to provide light control and privacy without sacrificing style.
Sustainability is a big focus in home décor, and window treatments are no exception. Bamboo blinds or shades made from organic, responsibly sourced fabrics are increasingly popular. They offer a tactile richness while aligning with eco-friendly lifestyles.
Bold Patterns and Colors
Minimalism has made way for maximalism in some quarters, with bold patterns like geometric shapes, florals, and even animal prints making a splash. Similarly, vibrant, rich colors like deep blues, emerald greens, and mustards are being chosen to make a dramatic statement.
Smart Window Treatments
Smart home integration is another trend gaining momentum. Motorized blinds or shades that you can control with your smartphone, a remote control, or through voice commands offer both convenience and a modern appeal.
Materials like aluminum and stainless steel, often found in industrial settings, are making their way into home interiors. These materials work particularly well in loft spaces, urban apartments, or homes with a modern, industrial vibe.
Roman and roller shades are enjoying a resurgence, especially those with unique, textured fabrics. Roman shades create elegant, horizontal folds down the window, while roller shades provide a clean, neat appearance when raised.
High-tech, performance fabrics, designed to resist stains, manage light, and insulate rooms, are becoming increasingly popular. These are especially useful in rooms that experience extreme temperatures or high levels of light.
Measuring Windows Properly for Treatments
Measuring your windows correctly is crucial for achieving the best fit and look for your window treatments. Incorrect measurements can lead to ill-fitting curtains or blinds that either let in too much light or don’t offer the intended level of privacy. Before you start, arm yourself with a steel tape measure for accuracy, as well as a notepad and pen for recording measurements.
Begin by measuring the width of your window frame. If you’re installing curtains or drapes, measure the width of the rod rather than the window itself. For inside-mount treatments, measure the inside width at three points: top, middle, and bottom. Use the smallest of these three measurements to ensure the blinds will fit inside the window frame.
For the length, measure from the top of the window frame to your desired endpoint, which could be the windowsill, just below the windowsill, or the floor, depending on the type of window treatment. For inside-mount shades, calculate the inside height at three different points of the window: left, center, and right, and use the largest measurement.
Depth is essential to consider if you’re opting for inside-mount treatments. Measure the depth of your window frame to make sure it’s deep enough to hold your window treatment.
Watch for the Header and Protrusions
If you’re hanging curtains, take into account any headers or decorative elements on the curtain rod, as these could affect the overall length. Similarly, a window sill or any protrusion like a radiator or window seat could affect the length of your window treatments.
Double-Check and Round Off
Always double-check your measurements to avoid any errors. Round to the nearest 1/8 inch for precision. Having a second set of eyes can also ensure that you’re as accurate as possible.
Measure your windows carefully, you’ll save yourself both time and money, ensuring that your window treatments are a perfect fit for your space!
Installing Window Treatments
Installing window treatments must be done properly. While some people opt for professional installation, many treatments can be installed as a DIY project. You must have the right tools, accurate measurements, and a thorough understanding of the process for a smooth installation. Here is what to expect.
When hanging curtains, placement is everything. Install your curtain rod four to six inches above the window frame to give a sense of height to the room. Use a level to ensure the rod is straight. When attaching the brackets, make sure they are aligned vertically with the end of the window frame for a symmetrical look. Always use wall anchors if you can’t align the brackets with wall studs. Once the rod is securely in place, slide your curtains on, and affix any tiebacks or hooks that come with your curtain set.
Mounting Blinds and Shades
For blinds and shades, you’ll be dealing with either inside-mount or outside-mount installations. With an inside mount, blinds or shades are mounted inside the window frame, so make sure you’ve measured the depth of the frame to ensure a proper fit. Attach the brackets at the top corners of the inside window frame, using a level to confirm they are straight. Once the brackets are securely attached, clip the blinds or shades into place. For an outside mount, the brackets go on the wall above the window, so you’ll need to measure the width and height from those points.
Shutters are more complex to install and may require a professional. First, assemble all shutter panels as per the manufacturer’s instructions. Hold up the frame to the window opening and mark the drill holes. Pre-drill the holes, then align the frame within the window and secure it with screws. Once the frame is in place, attach the shutter panels by slipping them onto the frame’s hinges and then securing them with hinge pins.
Install your window treatments properly; they’ll look their best and function properly for years to come. Always adhere to the manufacturer’s guidelines! Don’t hesitate to seek professional help for complex installations either.
Caring for Window Treatments
Window treatments are often overlooked in regular cleaning routines, yet they accumulate dust, allergens, and even odors over time, just like other items in a home. Proper window treatment care can extend the lifespan of your curtains, blinds, and shutters while keeping them looking their best.
Cleaning Different Fabrics
Different fabrics require distinct cleaning methods. Cotton and polyester are generally machine-washable, making them easier to maintain. However, luxurious fabrics like silk or velvet usually require dry cleaning.
Sheer fabrics are delicate and may require hand washing or a gentle machine cycle. In the case of synthetic materials like vinyl or plastic, a damp cloth with a mild cleaner will usually suffice. Blinds made from wood or faux wood should be dusted and occasionally wiped down with a wood-friendly cleaner.
Always check the manufacturer’s care instructions before attempting to clean your window treatments.
Operating Proper Maintenance
Routine maintenance can prevent the build-up of grime and extend the life of your window treatments.
For curtains, shaking them out every few weeks can dislodge dust particles. For blinds or shutters, a regular pass-over with a duster can keep them looking fresh.
If your window treatments are in a high-humidity area like a bathroom or kitchen, consider a monthly cleaning to prevent mold or mildew.
Specialized tools like a handheld vacuum with a brush attachment or even a lint roller can be effective for spot-cleaning. Lubricating any mechanical parts, such as the pulleys on blinds, can also keep your window treatments operating smoothly.
Taking the time to clean and maintain your window treatments will improve the air quality of your space and save you money in the long run.
Frequently Asked Questions
What are the most popular window treatment styles right now?
The most popular and trendy window treatment styles currently include layered window treatments, Roman and roller shades, and smart, motorized options. Trends also lean towards natural materials like bamboo, as well as traditional patterns and dreamy colors for a dramatic design.
How much do custom window treatments cost?
The cost of custom window treatments can vary widely based on the material, type, and any added features like motorization. On the lower end, you might spend around $100-$200 per window, but for high-end materials and features, the cost can easily exceed $1,000 per window.
What fabrics work best for different rooms?
Different rooms require different fabrics; for example, moisture-resistant materials like polyester are good for bathrooms, while lavish fabrics like velvet and silk are best for formal living rooms. Light-filtering fabrics work well in home offices, and blackout options are preferred for bedrooms.
How often should I clean window treatments?
Window treatments should ideally be cleaned every three to six months to remove dust and allergens, although treatments in high-humidity areas like kitchens and bathrooms may require cleaning every month to prevent mold and mildew.