Choosing Window Treatments

Some time or other, all of us have stood in front of a window with curtains that are old, or were another homeowner’s, or somehow unwillingly got there. We’ve stood there staring at them trying to figure out what in the world we should replace them with.

  • What kind will look best on the window?
  • What type will be most functional?
  • What type of fabric would be best?
  • What style will go with the room best?

All of these are important questions, because window treatments are one of the most important design statements in a room. Let’s address each of these questions individually.

What kind will look best on the window?

This is the first question that should be answered since most of us don’t have the option of moving or changing the actual window.

Consider the size and placement of the window compared to the rest of the room and furnishings.

Does the window look too small? You’ll want to use a treatment that will visually enlarge the window by hanging several inches outside of the window frame. Is the window or set of windows too large?

Consider treating a set as individual windows instead of one large window, or opt for a simple style that will make the large size less obvious.

Does the window feel off-center compared to the room? Perhaps you should choose a style that will have more weight on the ‘off’ side of the window and help draw it towards the center of the room.

Many of us have windows that are too short… they’re not the long beautiful windows shown in all the magazines.

The answer to this is to maximize the space under the window by placing a dresser, wall table, or other furnishing under it.

Then either do a valance treatment only, or drape your curtains down either side to the floor and treat the window and furniture piece as one.

The next consideration is that of practicality.

We want to enjoy using whatever style of curtain we choose. It must be functional for our needs. So consider… will you need draperies to keep heat in? Will you need something to filter sunshine? How much privacy will this room need at night? Is the view outside something you want to enjoy or hide? Do you want to draw the curtains shut every night, or use a blind or shade instead? Consider all these questions and keep them in mind as you narrow your options. Many of these functions can be performed by a shade or blind, or by the fabric of your window treatments. You’ll need to decide which you’ll want to use.

Fabric adds a lot to a room

The type, color, print, amount, weight, etc. There are several questions you must keep in mind when choosing materials. First is the practicality that we just discussed. If you need something to keep heat in, then you’ll need to use either heavier fabrics or waffle-weave thermal shades. If you need something to filter light or provide minimal privacy, then you’ll need to use a blind, shade, sheers, or lace. Total privacy requires heavier treatments that can be closed at night.

Then consider the rest of your room’s decor.

You’ll want to use fabrics that match and coordinate with the rest of your furnishings. Remember to compare colors, textures, prints, and the weight of the fabrics before you decide.

And finally it’s time to decide on the exact style.

All the questions that you answered above will have narrowed down your options considerably. You’ll also want to make sure that the style and balance of the window treatments is suited to the rest of the room. Will a full and dramatic valance make the window look top-heavy – or do you have enough wall furnishings around the room to balance it? Will a simple, elegant scarf be the perfect subtle dressing for your window, or will it get lost among your other dramatic furnishings? If you know you want long draperies, figure out what type of valance, trims, and tiebacks will compliment them and make them blend in with the rest of the room.

If you get to this last step, and one of your earlier decisions is just getting in the way and keeping you from getting anywhere, don’t be afraid to toss out that earlier decision! Just evaluate what is most important to you before doing so. And try some other the other options available for fulfilling that qualification. Perhaps it would be better to just install a shade out of site for night-time privacy, so you can still have your simple, light, and airy look during the day!

The process of choosing window treatments can be summed up as one simple goal – to find something you’ll like to look at and like to use. That’s really all there is to it!


After living in various countries across Europe Lola settled back in Philadelphia where she spends her time reading and writing about property and interior design.

One thought on “Choosing Window Treatments

  • April 11, 2017 at 11:06 am

    That initghs’s perfect for what I need. Thanks!


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