Most people logically think about colors and textures and textures when decorating. We want to blend colors together and maybe even splash in a pop of color as a defining touch. From paint to carpet to window treatments, there are many decisions to make.
Another thing worth considering is matching your window treatments to suit your window as well as your style. Windows come in all shapes and sizes and so do window treatments. The size, shape, and function of curtains, shades, or blinds vary greatly. Let’s discuss some popular window styles along with their complementary window coverings.
Function is not something you should overlook. For instance, not all windows slide up and down to open. An awning window is hinged on the top. It opens outward from the bottom so that you can enjoy the outside air without worrying about rain. Many times, awning windows are installed higher up on the wall for privacy or above larger windows to create a broader view. A casement window also opens out, though the hinges are on the side. You’ll often find them in pairs within a frame.
For awning and casement windows, go with a window treatment you can install outside the window frame. That way, you don’t block your access to the window. Valances, curtain panels, or Roman shades work well, provided you use an outside mount. Roman shades allow you to mount it clear of the window altogether, allowing the window to open and close with ease.
Single-hung windows are standard in most homes, apartments, and some offices. A single-hung window opens from the bottom panel, also called a sash. It opens and closes vertically, and the top sash stays in place. Double-hung windows have an extra feature. The top sash also opens and tilts for better airflow and ease of cleaning.
A perfect way to decorate around single or double-hung windows is to mount shades or curtains between two pieces of trim. An outside mount is usually best unless there’s enough depth to accommodate an inside mount.
Due to their functional design, sliding windows require outside-mount shades, curtains, or valances. These windows can open from the right or left side and give you a full view of the outdoors. Many sliding windows are longer than they are wide, though even a custom size pairs well with curtains or drapes. Formal living rooms and dining rooms look more sophisticated with extended panels.
For full curtains, be sure to install your rod up to 10 inches on either side of the window. That way, you can open your curtains without obstructing your view or the light. Of course, if you don’t need to control light or create privacy, a simple valance is enough if your décor matches.
For blinds and shades, mount your chosen window treatments at least 4 inches above the frame. Inside mount Roman shades or blinds can work, but only if there are at least 4 inches of depth to the frame.
Bay and bow windows are both picture windows that differ in the number of openings. A bay window has three windows that are arranged at angles rather than flush along the wall. A bow window has four or five openings and looks more round than angled from the outside. Both types are designed to be the focal point of the room, and your window treatments should accent the windows but not obstruct the view you are intended to see.
Due to their curve, bow windows look their best when matched with valances or curtain panels on a curved rod. Roman shades don’t work here because you can only mount them on a straight block.
Bay windows, on the other hand, look best with Roman shades. You can go with curtains as well, though you must consider the amount of space between each of the three windows in your overall measurements. If your windows are close together, two panels of curtains should suffice as long as they cover the width of all three windows. If you have ample space between the windows, however, you may need more than two panels. You’ll want one on each end of the window group, with enough smaller, half panels in between to fill the space.
Specialty windows, like arched windows, for example, are challenging to dress, as regular window coverings may not accent them well. Specialty windows come in unique shapes and often open in non-traditional ways. Such customisations add character as well as aesthetics to your home. Many times, people combine standard windows with custom windows to create a one-of-a-kind visual statement.
Of course, the custom shapes and operating styles often require creative solutions for window dressings that enhance the shape of the window. One solution is to choose complementary curtains, and then hang them on decorative pegs that follow the arch of the frame. You won’t be able to slide the curtains open and closed as you would along a rod, but you could add tie-backs for those times you want the curtains drawn. Naturally, you may also choose to omit shades or blinds, as they would create a visual line where you may not want it.
Windows are a room’s connection to outside air and light. Window treatments allow us to control those aspects while adding aesthetic value to the windows as well as the whole room.
Indeed, choosing window coverings is no easy task. Sometimes, one window covering isn’t enough. You may be selecting a combination of curtains and shades. Though, understanding which styles best complement which type of window means you’re closer to finding just the right shade, curtain, valance, or blind for your windows. Here's also a the A to Z guide to blinds and shades for windows.