The style, shape and function of a home's windows can underscore a home's elegance, coziness or cutting-edge style.
On top of the actual window design, you also have to think about the window covering, are you going to go for blinds, curtains, drapes, shutters or roller shades?
Below we'll outline some of the options available as well as some of the pro's and con's.
Window Design Solutions
Blinds have become increasingly popular compared to curtains, especially in offices and public buildings.
Blinds can be the best choice because they give great overall coverage and protection, they come in various styles and colors, and can be made to fit all size of windows.
Blinds generally last longer than any fabric material, are easier to clean, easy to maintain and, most importantly, they can protect your furniture and carpet from the bright ultraviolet light of the sun.
Getting blinds is an investment; they should last until you get tired of them or until they have worn out beyond their years.
Getting the right blinds to suit your taste is also important, because they are going to be ‘hanging’ around for awhile. Blinds should also be easy to handle, which means opening and closing them should be a breeze.
There are literally hundreds of different styles and colors to pick from, ranging from simple to exotic and funky. Whatever you fancy, choose the blinds that best suit your home or wherever you intend to place them, and make sure the color is also in perfect coordination with the color of the walls and tiles. The following are types of blinds you can choose from:
Vertical window blinds: these may not be the best choice of blinds because they can easily break if not handled carefully, and changing them can also be a bit troublesome. However, they are still widely used because they are a cheaper alternative.
Plantation shutter window blinds: newly constructed homes now have opted for this kind of blinds as a standard choice because they are easy to clean and gives a homely touch. The only drawback is that to open them all the way you need to stand clear.
Roman shade window blinds: these are great since they come in various fabrics and styles, but lack in 100% protection. They do not block out enough light, as we would like, especially in more private rooms like the bedroom.
If you are thinking of purchasing blinds remember to look for the kind of material you would like, whether it be wood, plastic or bamboo, and also if you would prefer the cords or cordless types.
Curtains are materials that are hung over a window for decoration and other purposes. The main purposes are to provide privacy, block sunlight and for decoration.
If the window looks onto streets or sidewalks, then curtains can be used for privacy. Translucent curtains like net curtains or sheer curtains will only block sunlight partially. These types of curtains do not provide any privacy, especially at night. For privacy opaque curtains are better.
Curtains are also used for light control to prevent glare, for sleeping during the day, or watching TV etc. Opaque curtains are suited for light control. For partial light control sheer or net type curtains are better suited.
Curtains are also used for increasing the aesthetic appeal of a room. An elegant curtain greatly increases the aesthetics of a room and gives an opulent look. On the contrary dirty or ill matched curtains can give a room a gloomy look. When the window looks onto a street it is better to give thought to the underside of the curtain as the curtain can be seen from outside and will dictate the appearance of the house.
Types of Curtains.
There are lots of varieties of curtains available in the market today. Some of them are:
Curtain Valance: These have deep frill fabrics framing the window and usually the curtain rod is hidden. They generally have pleated heading. The pleated headings can be decorated using braid, ribbons, tassels and trimmings.
Cascade Curtains: Cascaded curtains consist of two or more curtains hung over the window. The tiers are hung from transoms.
Shirred Curtains: These types of curtains have the fabric threaded through curtain rods at the top and bottom.
Tie back curtains: These curtains are gathered at the sides of the window and decoratively tied back at the lower part of the curtain with a sleeve or cord.
Café curtains: These are designed to cover only half of the window and are stationary. They are usually used in kitchens and bathrooms for privacy and are made form scalloped headings.
Pelmets: Pelmets are structures mounted above the windows on which the curtain rod is fixed.
The choice of curtains depends on the purpose for which the curtains are being installed. Color, fabric and style of curtain give the room a formal or informal appearance. There are lots of decorative rods, pelmets, cordings, sleeves, beads, fringes, rings, eyelets available in the market to decorate curtains.
Also a thought should be given on safety for floor length curtains when pets and children are present in the house.
Don't forget the rods and finials!
Probably one of the most overlooked features of window are the curtain rods and finials. For a lot of people this is the last thing they think about if they’ve chosen a curtain that covers most (if not all) of the curtain rod anyway. Who cares what it looks like? Well, someday you may fall in love with a curtain style, such as a button tabbed curtain, that prominently displays the rod underneath.
You don’t want a £2 tin stick beside your adorable window treatments, you need something that makes a similar statement as the curtains.
This overlooked feature can really bring pizzazz to your décor and needs to complement both the window and the curtains you have chosen, as well as be appropriately functional.
Hardware for window treatments is available in a wide variety of styles. Some curtain rods are designed to be covered by the curtains, while others are best displayed prominently due to their highly decorative nature. If the rod is meant to be featured you could hang the curtains from decorative rings sewn into the top panel. Considering both the curtain and the rod at the same time will save you the disappointment of having pieces that don’t complement each other.
Do you know what finials are? They are the decorative ends on the curtain rod. I didn’t know their official name for several years. I just called them “ends of the curtain rod.” They can be wooden, wrought-iron, glass, or plastic.
The most standard types are:
Finials can range widely in price, from the £2 plastic pieces to £100 very heavy, fancy pieces.
Consider your budget but also know that what you choose will make a certain statement in the room and that statement will last longer than the effects of spending a little extra money. You also have to be sure the finials will fit where you are hanging the curtain. Consider the shape of your window and the molding around it. In some cases there just isn’t room for large fancy finials, nor is it always appropriate for the style of curtain you’ve chosen.
Drapes are basically long curtains.
They are used to dress the windows up. Window coverings come in so many varieties these days that it may be hard to decide what you want.
The decision may come down to personal taste, but you can help yourself by doing some research on the different varieties of window coverings.
There are many types of drapes like draw drapes, stationary drapes, lace, sheers, casual swags and many more.
Drapes compliment the look of your house and give it a touch which is both traditional and stylish. They come in a variety of fabrics ranging from cotton to silk to linen to lace to net and many more. You should choose the one which goes best with the décor of your home.
What could be more enchanting than silk drapes?
They look royal and give a traditional and rich look to your house. They bring a certain finesse to your home. Richness and exuberance flows with this material.
Striped silk gives a dual effect and shine in two colors when lights come on. It shimmers in two shades. If the stripes are of different color then you have the privilege of another glowing color.
Stripes in the same color or darker hue are mostly preferred as they blend in with the décor of the house.
You can also settle for textured silk.
They are thick and give that solid look. Partnered silk is another outstanding option as the pattern makes the drapery look lively and gives a look that is definitely a class apart. These fabrics are classic and every designers delight.
Silk draperies come in a variety of colors and you can choose the one which best suits your interior design.
Velvet drapes are another classic statement for your home.
The material is so rich and soft that it automatically draws the attention of your guests.
Velvet drapes are luxuriant and heavy which helps keep the light out and the heat in.
Velvet has a soft deep pile which feels almost furry when you brush your hands over it and gives depth and richness to the color with a strong contrast between light and dark.
Velvet drapes are ideal for bedrooms as once they are drawn they keep the room completely dark. Although the material is heavy it flows like a cascade of water.
A very important factor when selecting any window treatment that is usually not taken into consideration by designers and interior decorators is the upkeep and maintenance necessary in order to keep the product looking attractive and enhancing.
Proper upkeep of the product can undo the ambience that it was originally meant to create in a specific setting and also diminish the effect that other furnishings should bring into the room.
Fauxwood plantation shutters are more resistant to wear and tear than natural wood plantation shutters in both the short and long run.
Plantation shutters have the ability to be tilted and adjusted to allow a moderating amount of light into a room.
While it is true that wood blinds do block less of the window, while the shutters are in the windows, it is quite easy to turn the shutters out, based on their high quality hinges, and move them to cover none of your views.
This is unique in the window treatments industry, and plantation shutters thus take a special advantage over basswood blinds in their ability to be moved entirely out of the view.
If the shutters need to come down to be cleaned, the hinges also allow them to be removed without major construction.
This also allows for easier access to cleaning the windows, which blinds do not permit as easily.
If you're looking for a window fitter - check out our find a tradesman tool below to find glazers in your area.
This information is for general purposes only, does not constitute legal, financial or professional advice and should not be relied on or treated as a substitute for specific advice relevant to particular circumstances.
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