Window Treatments - What, When and Where
I was recently helping a client navigate selecting window treatments for her home and it occurred to me how overwhelming this can be for home owners. As we went around the home, window by window she needed to consider what she wanted practically from each window - privacy, light filtering, breezes, views, UV blocking, light blocking or heat reduction - how that would function - motorised vs hand operated, which side to swing, bank and store, how to treat corners - and then ultimately what look and feel she wanted to create in each space. It was quite exhausting. Thank goodness for coffee!
So I though it might be handy to put together this blog about the what, when and where of Window Treatments i.e. What treatments to consider, When to use a treatment (or have none at all) and Where to use the various types of treatments.
Your window treatments are an important element to consider as they can actually make or break a room. There's a lot to consider and often these decisions are left to too late in the process, where choice are limited by ceiling finishes, window styles, ceiling heights, wall space or indeed just availability.
The main types of window treatments are curtains and drapes, roller blinds, roman blinds, plantation shutters, Venetian blinds, panel glides and of course tinting. Each type has pros and cons and create vastly different looks within a space. Traditional style houses tend to feature more curtains and drapes which can be layered with sheers to transition between privacy and light filtering. Plantation Shutters are a popular choice also along with Roman Blinds.
More modern homes tend to opt for roller blinds that create a more minimalist look or in fact no window treatment at all - tinting glass instead for privacy. Double blinds are increasingly popular as they can insulate helping the home be more energy efficient whilst still looking stylish. And Venetian Blinds have come along way from the 80s in terms of the look as they can be manufactured from different materials such as timber, PVC or aluminium and are excellent for light control and privacy.
Sheers are being increasingly used to soften spaces such a dining rooms, living rooms and master bedrooms. I'm a huge fan as they make a lovely transition between indoor and outdoor spaces. And can emphasize the height of a space.
When to use a window treatment comes back to the practical aspects. A window treatment is required to create privacy for neighbours or passer-byes, to block out heat or light, for security, to protect furniture and flooring, to create a soothing ambience or a restful place to sleep. They can be used to create energy efficiency blocking heat and light which in extreme climates also protects flooring and furniture. In some instances you wont want a treatment at all. Particularly if you have a feature window or door leading to a particular view. In this case, if you still require privacy from the outside looking in, you may opt for window tinting.
Bathrooms & Laundries - many people avoid window treatments in wet areas due to the complications of moisture. Frosting glass can provide the privacy required. But if that window is calling for a treatment - shutters or venetian blinds made from moisture resistant materials can create a lovely affect. In more modern bathrooms with good ventilation and enclosed showers it may still be possible to include fabrics such as sheers, shades or curtains.
Dining & Living Rooms - Often at play in these areas are doors opening onto the outdoors. As mentioned earlier, sheer curtains are a popular choice that not only soften but can create height and filter light. Panel glides and curtains work well in these spaces although you need to consider where they will bank or stack when not in use.
Bedrooms - curtains and blinds are popular choices for bedrooms. Many people choose a combination. Block out blinds or curtains for night and light filtering sheers for privacy during the day. Motorised controllers are popular in Master Bedrooms, allowing the occupant to open the block outs from the comfort of their bed and let the natural light in at the start of the day.
In new homes or extensions, it definitely pays to give your window treatments some thought when your builder is framing up. This allows for creating bulkheads to recess tracks, include noggins from which to mount brackets and drop cable for any wiring/automation needs. You may even find that the window treatment you want requires a change of window - e.g. if you like the look of plantation shutters in your living room, you're not going to be able to put this on a louvre window. You may need to change to a double hung instead.
If in doubt, engage an expert. Your Interior Designer will be able to guide you through these decisions while ensuring the look and feel of your home is not compromised.