Selecting the right window treatments for your home
Sep 8, 2022, 3:30 PM
With so many options available, how do you select window treatments that best fit your needs?
Not only do you want window treatments that complement the room, but they also need to meet practical needs. When comparing choices, think about how you want the treatments to perform. Do you want them to block all light, let in a little bit of light or are you looking for something to keep the heat and cold out of the room?
Sheers allow plenty of light into a room, reducing the need for lamps during the day. They are a solid option for living rooms, family rooms and patios.
Types of Window Treatments:
Heavy drapes, like the one Carol Burnett wore in her famous Away with the Wind skit, are less common in Arizona. Many homeowners don’t want to block their views. Heavy drapes are also unpopular in Arizona because they collect so much dust and can be hard to keep clean and smelling fresh.
From an energy standpoint, the U.S. Department of Energy claims that draperies with white plastic backings can reduce heat gain by up to 33 percent. So, consider that when looking at your options.
Valances & Cornices
Valances and cornices add a decorative touch and work well on kitchen windows. A valance is a sheet of fabric stretched across the top of the window. Simple valances made from cotton fabric and a basic rod bring a burst of color to casual rooms, while tailored valances with crisp pleats relax a formal room. Cornices are valances made from wood and painted or covered with fabric or wallpaper. Mounted to the wall, cornices are well-suited for rooms without architectural details like crown molding. Both valances and cornices pair well with sheers, curtains or shades for privacy.
Plantation shutters with louvers that allow you to adjust the light coming in from outside are still popular. Closed louvers provide insulation against the heat and appeal to buyers when you sell your home.
Shutters are one of the most long-lasting options. They are sold by the square foot. Shutters can be constructed from wood or from a faux material that looks like wood. Dusting or washing the louvers is relatively easy to do. You can let in more light by opening the louvers on shutters or opening the entire shutter itself.
Roller Blind Shades
These so-called solar shades are installed on rollers inside the window frame and come in various levels of opaqueness or transparency. That means you can block out the UV rays and still see the fairway or mountain view outside. Install darkened versions to function as blackout shades in bedrooms. The fabric can be textured or patterned. Roller blinds operate with chains or cords. There are also motorized versions.
Install shades lined with blackout fabric to completely block light from the outside, which is ideal for people who need total darkness for a restful slumber. Pair shades with drapes or curtains to provide maximum privacy at any time of day or night.
Honeycomb or Cellular Shades
Cellular shades provide insulation against heat by trapping air in the cells of the shade. They are available in double-cell or single-cell rows. Choose double-celled rows for a higher insulating factor against heat.
Sheers are airy, transparent and allow plenty of light, making them ideal for softened sunlit rooms. They offer little privacy, work best in kitchens and combined with heavier fabrics or shades. They also work well as swags draped across the tops of windows.
High-reflectivity films installed on your current windows will block heat. Silver, mirror-like films are more effective than colored, more transparent ones. East and west-facing windows can benefit the most from these films. However, they have some disadvantages. They can impair your views of the outdoors, require extra care when cleaning windows and can make your home darker.
IMPORTANT: If you have windows with low-e or low-emissivity coating, the film can void the warranty on the low-e coating. Investigate this option and carefully read the window’s warranty before adhering the film to a window.
Mounting Window Treatments
Pottery Barn explains that blinds, shades, sheers, and valances can be mounted inside or outside the window frame. Curtains, drapes, and cornices are often mounted on the wall around the window frame, with one to three inches on each side between the hardware and the frame.
To figure the size of an inside-mounted treatment, measure the distance between the sides of the window casing where you plan to place the hardware to hold the treatment in place. Knowing the vertical distance of the casing also helps you determine the proper length of the blinds or shade needed.
For outside-mounted window treatments, note the length and width of the window frame. Measure the distance between the top of the window and the ceiling and the distance between the bottom of the window and the floor. If the room has multiple windows in a row, measure the distances between the windows. These measurements will be very important when choosing the width and length of the window treatment and the hardware placement.
The hardware puts the finishing touch on window treatments and creates the desired look. Brass adds elegance to a traditional room; brushed aluminum, nickel, and stainless steel are sleek and modern; and wood tones add warmth.
Curtain rods suspend the fabric over the window. Pottery Barn notes that substantial rods with wide diameters are dramatic and create a focal point. Narrow cafe rods are well-suited for kitchens and bathrooms with lightweight curtains. Tension rods fit inside the window casing and are useful for hanging sheer and lace panels inside a window. Pick an adjustable rod that is wide enough, so you don’t need to fully extend it to span the window. This provides extra support for the rod and reduces sagging where the rods join in the middle.
Double Drape Rods
Double curtain rods feature a set of two rods to frame the window. They are just like you see in many hotel rooms. The inner rod holds sheer or lace fabric and is usually smaller in diameter than the outer rod. This rod makes it possible to hang two distinct curtains at once. You can let in some light yet, maintain privacy by opening the outer curtains and leaving the sheers in place.
Finials are ornamental pieces added to the ends of curtain rods. They are usually made from wood, metal or glass and add a decorative touch to the window treatment. You can find finials in the shape of seashells, animals, flowers and unusual shapes. Glass finials offer a glamorous vintage look.
Tiebacks & Tassels
Use tiebacks and tassels to open curtains without sliding them along the curtain rod. Tie the fabric to hooks or knobs attached to the wall near the window.
Clip rings attach directly to the tops of curtain panels through hooks or clips that slide over a curtain rod. They are easy to use because the curtains slide over the rod to open. Clip rings come in a multitude of colors and designs.
Mix & Match
You don’t need to be matchy-matchy. Mix colors, fabrics and hardware to create an assortment of design combinations that complement your personal style. Change the look from room to room or create a uniform look throughout the house. There are no rules when it comes to window treatments.
Join Rosie on the House every Saturday morning from 8 a.m.-11 a.m. on KTAR News 92.3. If you’d like to send us questions or comments, email mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow us on Twitter and “Like” us on Facebook. For more do-it-yourself tips, go to rosieonthehouse.com. An Arizona home building and remodeling industry expert since 1988, Rosie Romero is the host of the syndicated Saturday morning Rosie on the House radio program. Call 888-767-4348 with questions & comments.