Window Treatment Ideas

You cannot stand it: same old dreary windows that do little to add life to your home. It is time for a change. But, where do you start? How do you keep from making an expensive or embarrassing mistake? In fact, how can you know what you really want?

1. Start with one room at a time.
There may be the temptation, especially when moving into a new home, to decorate all of the rooms at once. This takes far too much energy and can sap your creative juices, leaving the decorating flat and less interesting. It can also make decorating your home an overwhelming task. Go slow. Do one room at a time and then move on to the next one.

2. Assess, review your needs.
With pen and paper in hand, jot down some notes about all of the windows in the room. Measure them and note their size and shape. Rough sketches will help. Are the windows too large? Too small? Odd sizes? Mismatched sizes? Is there too much light in the room? Not enough light? Do you want to block an unattractive view? Do you want to enjoy the beautiful view? Do you need privacy? Daytime privacy? Nighttime privacy? Or both? Do you want to liven up a dreary room? How do other family members feel about these needs? What is your budget for the windows?

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3. Look for help, tips and ideas.
Seek inspiration. One thing is for certain, no matter what the challenge or situation that you are facing with your windows, someone else has already dealt with the same situation. There is a way, or many ways, to attractively treat the windows in your room. You can find examples of how others have decorated their windows in magazines, window decorating books, window decorating websites and by talking with friends and relatives.

4. Make a plan.
Using your list of needs, rank the needs in order of importance and then make a plan that addresses your needs in that order. There is a way to treat issue.

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5. Address your window coverings in stages.
This is especially if you are uncertain about your preferences or if you are working on a budget. Begin with the shades, blinds or shutters. Once these are selected and installed, move to draperies or curtains, including the traverse or curtain rod. Finally, add the finishing touches such as cornices, decorative tie backs and finishing hardware.

6. Combine and contrast colors.
Using color in your window treatment is an excellent way to put life and energy as well as set the tone and mood of a room. Experiment with mixing colors from opposite ends of the color spectrum.

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7. Mix fabrics for texture.
Fabric is composed of either natural or synthetic fibers and how they are woven, knitted or felted together. The type fiber and the weave or knitting will determine the texture of the material or fabric. Mixing fabrics and textures can be an excellent way to create interest and set the tone of your window treatments. For example, you may consider using velvet over organdy or silk over linen. Common fabrics for window treatments include brocade, cambric, canvas, chintz, cotton duck, crewel, damask, gingham, lace, linen, muslin, organdy, satin, silk, taffeta and velvet.

8. Mix patterns.
Mixing patterns can also liven up and set the mood for a room. Here are some tips for mixing patterns.

a. Match the scale, of the pattern to the area where it is going to be used. For example, use larger patterns on the drapes or curtains, medium patterns on valances or cornices and small patterns on accent pieces.


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b. Use geometric patterns with one another. For example, you can use stripes with checks, plaids or dots.

c. Common colors in mixed patterns tie the two together. For example, blue stripes mixed with matching blue dots will tie the two patterns together.

9. Make small windows big.
One of your goals should be to make the room harmonious. Mismatched windows or windows of dissimilar size and shape can disrupt this harmony. You can make small windows appear larger by placing a heading such as a valance or cornice on the wall above the window and using curtains or drapes of similar length. Large windows can be treated with a series of blinds or drapes breaking up the expanse. Large cathedral windows can be treated by installing a curtain or traverse rod on the lower part of the window and leaving the upper portion untreated.

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10. Let your window coverings evolve.
Like a garden, the interior decoration of your home, including window treatments will be subject to change. Let your windows evolve as the interior of your home changes to reflect changes in your lifestyle or tastes. The first order for your windows is to provide privacy and light control. This will be accomplished with shades, blinds, miniblinds or shutters. Then you can begin creating mood with decorative treatments of color, design and texture. As you gain confidence and experience with decorating, you can change and expand your window treatments.

If you are tired of the same old boring drapery and curtains, now is the time to make a change. Follow these steps. Look for tips and ideas in books, magazines and websites. You are on your way to a complete window make over.


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