Whether you are freshening up a single room or remodeling your entire home, new window treatments are an exciting opportunity to drastically rethink and reshape your space. Create a chic café look in the kitchen or a sleek and elegant solution for your living room. But, with so many options to choose from, selecting the right window treatment can be a challenge, especially if this is your first serious foray into the wide world of window treatments.
Before we dive right into an examination of some of the most popular solutions for each room, a few guiding principles to keep in your back pocket as you embark on this project:
- Different rooms call for different styles of window treatments. The drapes that look lovely in your living room might look downright bizarre in your first floor powder room! Let the space guide the window solution and not the other way around.
- If you see something you like but aren’t sure if it will work for your space, ask an expert! Window treatments are highly customizable because they have to be – with so many different sizes and styles of windows out there, a one size fits all approach would definitely not work. We also recommend getting a swatch sample to test in your window. Make sure you look at it from the inside of your home and outside, during the day and at night when the lights are on. Sometimes when a shade is perfectly “private” during the day, at night someone might be able to see into your home.
- Looks aren’t everything (but they are important!). It is perhaps smartest to begin your window treatment search by visualizing the problem that you are trying to solve or the effect you are trying to create rather than finding a style you like and hoping it will just happen to suit your needs. That said, window treatments can be layered. If you want motorized shades for convenience, you can still add decorative draperies over them to achieve the look you’re going for.
- Again, when in doubt…ask! All the options and lingo can feel overwhelming, but people who work on window treatments are experts, and they love sharing their knowledge.
When considering window treatment options for your bathroom, it is likely that privacy will be your number one concern, especially if your bathroom is situated on the front of the home or faces a close neighbor. Solutions include café shutters, roman shades, drapes with tiebacks, and natural fiber shades. Other concerns that might inform your search?
Light: Many bathrooms, especially bathrooms in older homes that haven’t been renovated recently aren’t always as bright as we might like. If your bathroom lacks light, you will want to stay away from dark, heavy materials and instead opt for something sheer. Consider a solar shade in a light color to maximize privacy while still allowing light in.
Ventilation: Bathrooms can get moldy and stuffy, and you don’t want your window treatments to contribute to the problem. Choose lightweight materials that will dry quickly on their own, or your new curtains could quickly end up smelling like an old towel.
Custom window films or clings are a creative and quirky way to add flair to your bathroom windows while ensuring privacy. An added bonus? Take a sponge or a rag to them the next time you clean the bathroom and they are good as new. They come in a variety of patterns and colors.
When selecting window treatments for the bedroom, it is important to find a solution that balances light blocking ability and your desire to not live in a cave.
Blackout curtains are an obvious choice for the bedroom, but drawbacks include the fact that they block out light during the day as well. Blackout curtains, like most curtains, can be motorized, however, which means it is a snap to open and shut them depending on the time of day.
Plantation shutters are an elegant option for the bedroom. These full-length shutters can be opened completely or angled to allow some light in. When they are fully closed, they create a snug, light tight room that is perfect for relaxing.
Roman shades are another popular solution for the bedroom, and one that works well as a motorized solution. The gently layered folds that characterize roman shades lend themselves well to the bedroom. A light, neutral color contributes to a feeling of calm that helps you unwind at the end of the day.
The most important thing to remember when you are considering window treatments for a child’s room is that the cords and chains that are so common on traditional blinds are a no-no. Young children can get tangled in these cords, and the chain link strings on many blinds are a definite choking hazard. Steer clear and stick with a roller shade, drapes (without ties) or window clings. Motorized roller shades, cellular/pleated or drapes work very well in kids’ rooms since they typically are cordless. When it comes to kids, safety is always first, and window treatments are no exception.
Living rooms are among the most varied and versatile of all room types, which means that when it comes to choosing window treatments, almost any type goes! Because the living room is so often a gathering place for company, the tendency is to pick a solution based on what will look best from an aesthetic standpoint. However, when it comes to window treatments, both form and function must suit your needs.
A sheer curtain that matches perfectly with your couch but that leaves guests blinded by sun, for example, is no one’s idea of a good solution. Before making your selection, return to our guiding principles (above) and determine what problem you need your window treatments to be a solution to.
If you are looking to save on energy bills, honeycomb or cellular shades are winning options. Heat, or cold air in the winter, is trapped in between the different layers that make up these shades, so it never makes it into your home.
Living rooms or dens that have valuable electronics or artwork in them may be good candidates for heavier drapes. Drapes not only come in a vast number of shades, hues, and textures, but they are sturdy enough to block out any nosy neighbors or strangers who might want to see what kind of TV or other gadgets you have.
Solar shades are one of the most common solutions for the living room. They are low profile, can be cut to fit almost any size window (even tricky and high up windows), and they can be motorized. Solar shades allow some light to come in, but do a wonderful job of protecting furniture, floors, and photos from the discoloration that comes from constant sun exposure.
When it comes to selecting window treatments for your kitchen, we have two words for you: grease stains! The kitchen is the hub of activity in many homes, and window treatments have a tough job. Finding a solution that keeps the kitchen cool (at least when the oven is off), can be washed or wiped down easily, and won’t mean a lot of cords or chains is a tall order.
Café shutters, a popular solution in many coffee shops and restaurants, cover the lower part of a window, and usually sit at table level. They create a cozy kitchen environment, while still allowing some light in.
Wood or faux wood blinds are another great choice, because they can withstand some abuse and are a dream to clean. We recommend that you steer clear of heavy drapes and light gauzy materials. Heavy materials will soak up odors and require frequent washing or dry cleaning, while light and gauzy materials are too stain prone to be practical.
Hallways and Skylights
These tricky spaces need quality window treatments as well! Too often they are left naked and bare because it is difficult to find a solution to suit. Roller shades, solar shades, and wood or composite wood blinds are great options for these transitional spaces. Best of all, the solutions just mentioned, can be motorized. Especially for skylights and other hard to reach windows, motorized options can mean the difference between changing blind positions once a day or once a year!
Now that you have a sense of which window treatment options will play nicely in your space, it is time for the fun part! Shopping. Our advice? Whenever possible, try to see a product or at least a material swatch in person rather than just online or in a catalogue.
A picture is worth a thousand words, but having the chance to touch and see a product before you commit to it is worth ten thousand words. Good luck in your search and may the best window treatments win!