It's Time To Come Home ~ Window Treatments

Home Stager with Creative Home Expressions

drapeDrape Photo courtesy of Smith & Noble

Due to the abundance of information on window treatments, this post will be in two parts.

Window treatments -- besides "color" these two words alone can strike fear into the hearts of homeowners.  When you think about all the choices to make about window treatments - material, fabric, color, size, options and hardware, it's not surprising that many new homeowners still have paper shades on their windows five years later.  However, if you break it down, deciding what kind of window treatments to use on your windows can be a stress-free decision. 

Let's start with some basic prerequisites:  privacy, light control and style. 

Privacy - If your property backs onto a wooded area or you have no neighbors behind you, you may not need window coverings for privacy.  Even then, some people feel more comfortable having their windows covered at night.  If you have a bathroom window that looks directly into your neighbor's hallway, you need privacy.  If your dining room looks out onto your front walkway, or an area where people can easily look into your windows, you may want to use window coverings.

Some good choices for privacy include:

Fabric or Roller shades generally offer complete window coverage.  Most roller shades are made of vinyl or fabric, that is usually opaque, while fabric shades (such as Roman or Balloon), are lined and usually custom made to exactly fit your window measurements.

roller shadeRoller Shade Photo courtesy of Smith & Noble

Curtains and Drapes when closed will also close off the view.  Lined curtains and drapes add to the opacity and durability.  Curtains and drapes can also be helpful in keeping drafts out in winter and block the sun in summer.  Most fabrics can be used in the fabrication of curtains or drapes.

Pleated and Cellular shades have full glass coverage for privacy.  Many styles can be ordered with a "top down" feature so a portion of the glass can be visible at the top of the window to let in light and have a view.  Cellular shades also have insulating benefits.

cellular shadesCellular Shades Photo courtesy of Smith & Noble

Sheer curtains and draperies may afford a bit of daytime privacy, however at night most will turn practically transparent with indoor lighting.  If you love sheers, but want privacy, then use shades underneath for privacy after dark.

drapes with sheersDrapes with Sheers Photo courtesy Smith & Noble

Mini blinds, wood blinds and shutters will all provide a nearly private environment.  Be aware however, that with each of these there is a small possibility of seeing through the slats at certain angles.

Light Control - You want to keep glare down when someone is sleeping in the daytime, or when watching television, or working at a desk near a bright window.  UV rays from bright sunlight will adversely affect fabrics, furnishings, flooring and artwork in your home.  Full sun can quickly fade expensive upholstery and rugs, eventually causing some fibers to break down and rot. 

As with privacy, window coverings can be used to control light.  Consider these possibilities:

  • Light blocking treatments can be installed for rooms that need to be fully darkened.  Look for room darkening roller shades as well as light blocking linings (usually blackout lining) for fabric shades and draperies.
  • Metal or wood blinds can be tilted to keep direct sun out of your room, while still affording some view and light.
  • Natural blinds, such as bamboo and matchstick, will filter the light and cut down on much of the glare, and can be ordered with an exterior privacy lining.
  • Cellular shades in non-sheer fabrics will cut down on light.
  • Window tinting in areas of very strong sunlight, where a film is attached directly to the glass.  This will reduce UV rays and is available in several levels of tint.

Style - The fun part of window treatments - choosing the fabrics, colors and styles that will add some interest to your room.  If you've gone neutral in furnishings and wall color, adding a colorful or patterned window treatment can be just the touch you need to bring some interest into the room.  You can repeat fabrics and colors used in other parts of your home for continuity throughout the house.  You can add to solid or plain window treatments with contrasting borders, cording or fringe.  The unique touches you add to your window treatments are a reflection of your personal style.

fabricFabric and Trim Photo courtesy of Greenhouse Fabrics

Draperies have options in rod styles with tab tops, tie tops, many types of pleats, grommets, rod pockets (large or small), flouncy tops or plain rings.

Valances can be gathered, pleated, shirred, swagged, bundled, formal, casual, scalloped or flat.

valanceValance Photo courtesy of Pate Meadows

The possibilities are endless and custom made window treatments allow you to pick your own unique design.

This series of articles is intended for entertainment purposes.  Any resources listed are not an endorsement, but resources I have researched personally and professionally for ideas, trends and client projects.  I welcome comments, e-mails or questions about the articles, or even your own home décor dilemmas. 

Copyright 2009 Kathy Passarette, Creative Home Expressions

Kathy Passarette and Creative Home Expressions are based on Long Island, New York, and offer interior decorating, home staging, interior redesign, color consultations and much more.  Please visit our website at for more information on our services and fees.


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  1. Sandi Gerrard 01/21/2009 05:53 AM
New York
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Danny Thornton
R & D Art - Knoxville, TN
WordPress Guru

Kathy, I have ran into so many homes that do not use window treatments and I can not understand it.

Jan 21, 2009 10:51 AM #1
Laura Cerrano
Feng Shui Manhattan Long Island - Locust Valley, NY
Certified Feng Shui Expert, Speaker & Researcher

Kathy, Coming back home to my renovated house I had discarded all (every one) of my old window treatments :(  It is SO hard for me to find exactly what I like.  But I have seen those cellular shades and do like them very much--now the color choices are driving me nuts.  If you're ever in my neighborhood, stop in!  This was a wonderful post.

Jan 21, 2009 11:12 AM #2
Susan Gonzalez Faux painting murals atlanta
Marietta Mural & Decorative Design - Atlanta, GA

Great post, Kathy! I usually change my window tretments and then have to change everything else in the room to match!

Jan 21, 2009 11:20 AM #3
Kathy Passarette
Creative Home Expressions - Mount Sinai, NY
L.I. Staging/Decorating

Danny ~ If anything, I like to have something up for the privacy.  There is a house I pass quite a bit, it gets kind of busy in the evenings and they have no window treatments up.  Sitting at the traffic light in front of their house, you can see into every room they have lights on.  I would not be comfortable with that.

Carole ~ Thanks! That's too bad, but at least you know what you like to replace them; it's sometimes difficult to get to that point.  They do come in a lot of colors now, which can be a blessing and a curse!

Susan ~ Thank you! I'm sure you're not alone in that!

Jan 21, 2009 10:14 PM #4
Margaret Oscilia
Creative Concepts-Home Staging and Contracting, Salem Oregon - Salem, OR
Home Stager, Salem Oregon

Kathy -- These are great examples of some of the options available and so valuable for your readers.  Window coverings are so important in achieving a finished look!

Jan 25, 2009 01:57 AM #5
Kathy Passarette
Creative Home Expressions - Mount Sinai, NY
L.I. Staging/Decorating

Margaret ~ Thank you!  I am a big fan of window treatments; I agree they can finish off a room nicely.

Jan 25, 2009 05:39 AM #6
Charlene Storozuk
Dezigner Digz - Burlington, ON
Home Stager - Burlington Ontario

It's so true what you said that window treatments can really be intimidating to homeowners because there is SO much information.  You did an excellent job of breaking down the info and helping homeowners make sense of it all.  I'm looking forward to Part 2 Kathy!

Jan 25, 2009 11:57 PM #7
Kathy Passarette
Creative Home Expressions - Mount Sinai, NY
L.I. Staging/Decorating

Charlene ~ Thank you!  I try and do that in my own home; I break down what I actually want from the window treatment and that can help figure out what to do a lot.

Jan 26, 2009 01:06 AM #8
Window Blinds

This a great post i believe that having a nice looking well design Window Blinds is a plus factor of having a nice good looking interior desinging.

Feb 05, 2009 01:56 PM #9
aaa bbb
Ewing Township, NJ

this is great, i think a lot of people underutilize window treatments because they just dont understand their design impact. nice post!

Apr 26, 2013 06:27 AM #10
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