Wood shutters, like these, can be painted to match any room in your house. (Photo courtesy of Angie's List member Melissa B.)
Types of window treatments
Curtains and drapes: Curtains and drapes are window coverings for the home that are created from cloth materials. Homeowners can select solid color curtains or draperies for a room or choose from a printed pattern that will complement the decor or theme that is desired for the room. These window treatments can be closed to block light from entering a room or left open. Most commonly, curtains and draperies are pulled to the sides of the window and secured with a tie.
While curtains and draperies are very similar in their purposes and looks, they do have their differences. Curtains are often measured to fit the height and length of the window for a clean and trimmed appeal. Draperies are often created to hang from the top of the window to the length of the floor for a look of grandeur within the room. There are also differences in how to clean draperies and curtains.
Blinds: Blinds are window coverings which allow an individual to adjust the amount of light in which they can filter into a room. These window treatments are comprised of slats, which are positioned in a horizontal or vertical manner and can be adjusted with the use of a cord or blind stick. Most blinds are capable of having all slats pulled to the top of the window so it allows homeowners to have a full view of the outside. Originally manufactured from plastic, today window blinds are created with materials such as wood, faux wood, metal and more. This provides home decorators with styles that will truly complement the room in which they are decorating.
Shutters: Interior window shutters are window coverings that are secured to the interior of the window frame in front of the window. Shutters feature slats of wood, fabric and other materials which are secured to a wooden box frame and can be adjusted to allow light in or out out of a room. Window shutters come in many different color options, and depending on the materials in which they are constructed of, they can be painted to match the color scheme of any room.
Shades: Window shades are window coverings constructed of solid plastic, fabric and other materials that are wrapped around a roller that fits into the top of the window frame. Shades can be adjusted by mechanisms within the roller that allow an individual to control the length in which the shade will hang down. These window options provide the individual with the ability to control the amount of light that is allowed within a room and provides protection from glares that can occur in different areas within the room as well. Shades are available in a variety of colors that enhance the feel of the room.
Valances and other decorative accents: There are many different types of window treatment enhancements that can be purchased to create a more decorative look. Some of these enhancements include a valance, which covers the uppermost part of the window, and lace sheers, which typically hang down the sides of a window.
Professional window treatment companies can often match bedding to draperies. (Photo courtesy of Angie's List member Kimberly H.)
Tips for buying window treatments
The process of selecting window treatments should begin with the homeowner’s tastes, preferences, likes and dislikes; however, there are some types of window treatments that do work better in one room than in others. Here are some tips to keep in mind the next time you shop for window treatments.
Master bedrooms: Privacy is a big concern for individuals when selecting window treatments for master bedrooms. Many people want to have large amounts of light shine in during the day, but want their privacy at night. Windows in the bedroom should also be easy to access so that extra ventilation can be achieved when necessary or the ability to utilize the window for escape practices in emergencies is available.
Children's rooms: Safety should always be the number one consideration when choosing window treatments for a child's bedroom or nursery. Cords can present a choking hazard. Longer drapery or blinds can easily fall down on the child should they pull or grab them when playing or for stability purposes. Window treatments should not create a problem should the child need to make an emergency exit. In these situations, some window treatments can act as a barrier and prevent the child from getting out of the home safely.
The second consideration should be the lighting factor. While allowing adequate lighting into the room can provide the child with an easier viewing ability, it is also important to have the ability to block out light during daytime hours for napping or relaxation.
Living room: Many homeowners want their living rooms to have a luxurious and elegant look, and opt for drapes. However, in order to make sure the room doesn't appear cramped, the drapes should be proportional in size. A living room window treatment should have the ability to block out glare on TVs or when reading in the room.
Kitchen: For many people, the kitchen is the heart of their home. Homeowners that are purchasing window treatments for their kitchen should decide on a selection that will not hold in grease, food odors and moisture that is often prevalent in a kitchen. Privacy is not often a concern within the kitchen, but having the ability to gain access to open and close windows for ventilation should be considered.
Bathroom: Bathroom window treatments should be resistant to moisture. It is best to have a fast drying, easy-to-disinfect window treatment selection for preventing mold formation. Having access to open windows for ventilation is another requirement that should be addressed.
Den or office space: Window treatments for a den or office space should provide adequate lighting. Individuals should have the ability to adjust the lighting to prevent glare on computer screens or while reading.
Window treatment considerations
Purchasing window treatments for the home is not as simple as selecting a style and color that complement each other. There are many factors that will contribute to making a selection. Individuals should consider these following factors before purchasing new window treatments for the home.
Window's exposure: Windows that are facing towards the east or south can produce large amounts of heat and sunlight. This can cause furniture, carpeting and other areas of the home to fade if some level of sun blockage is not used.
What's outside?: Every house sits relative to its neighbors, and this can affect window treatment choices. For example, if the side of your house is only a few feet from the neighbor's you may opt for window treatments that let in light while blocking the view.
Energy efficiency: Homeowners trying to maintain an energy efficient home will want to choose a window treatment that provides some shade. Sunlight can increase temperatures during summer and decrease the efficiency of cooling systems.
Window access: Individuals that want access to their windows will want to consider an option that provides easy access. Shutters which are fastened to the window frame can complicate the process.
Children and pets: Homes that have small children or pets should look at the safety factors first before purchasing window treatments. Options that require cords or tie backs can pose serious hazards.
Customized window treatments can add style to a room's existing decor. (Photo courtesy of Angie's List member Theresa C.)
Window treatment ideas
There are many different types of accents that can be purchased to dress up window treatments for the home. From expensive curtain rods with lavish end caps, to accents that clip onto the window treatments, these items are everywhere. Individuals can get the same effect for a fraction of the costs of the retail stores by using a little creative thinking. Here are some ideas that you can use in your home.
Valances: Dress up plain blinds and sheers by adding a valance over the top of the window. You can stuff the valance with tissue paper or cotton batting to give it a fuller, more ballooned effect. You can also create your own valance by visiting your local fabric store and purchasing a piece of complementary fabric that is larger than your window. Using a dropped draping method, drape the fabric over a curtain rod. Various pieces of different colored and textured fabrics can be utilized for a more dramatic and customized look.
Mural shades: These shades can customize the look of a child's bedroom or toy room as you can paint a mural onto a white roller shade that matches the theme of the room.
Embellishments: There are many different types of embellishments that can be purchased from a craft store. They include seashells, drilled crystals, clip-on accents and more. You can dress up almost any window treatment by attaching these embellishments with a hot glue gun or heavy sewing thread.