The window treatment is always the last thing you add and, as such, is often not considered as seriously as other interior design elements.
However, just as a jacket or coat can finish off an outfit, a good window dressing can make all the difference between a finished room full of light and a dark and empty spare room, with very little to offer.
So, if you want to bring the right amount of light to your room, the room’s window treatment is not something you should only consider at the end of your room design journey but something you should be keeping in mind right from the offset. Because it’s not just the icing on the cake, it’s one of the primary ingredients too.
Drapes – These floor-length formal-looking fabric panels are hung on a rod and quite literally drape down the wall – hence the name.
They are typically made from thick fabric and tend to absorb more light than other dressing treatments, though there are exceptions.
Curtains – The classic choice, these can be any length but are typically hung to drop just below the windowsill.
The more relaxed and informal alternative to drapes, curtains are often light enough to be blown by a gentle breeze, and while they do block the sun they also let a fair amount of it in, depending on the fabric.
Shades – Shades offer a more stylish and relaxed alternative window treatment and work on a lifting mechanism (like a cord) that raises a row of fabric panels to let light in or block it out.
Shades are perhaps the most flexible ‘traditional’ option and can be a great option for those looking at a middle ground between ‘fancy’ and informal.
Blinds – Like shades but made from hard slats instead of fabric, blinds are often found in more commercial locations and are seen as being less inviting than shades. They are, however, just as flexible and often more affordable.
Letting the light in
All four options can be used to control the light in your home and which you opt for will depend on the room, the window and its function. In the bedroom, for example, you might want to opt for large, heavy drapes, or thick blackout curtains that can be used to shield you from the sunlight during the early mornings.
In a conservatory or playroom, and particularly in a kitchen or bathroom, meanwhile, those same massive dressings would almost certainly get in the way.
Then there’s the design you’re going for and the shape of the architecture because the fact is that sometimes architecture dictates what we can or can’t use.
For example, if the shape of a room means it would be impossible to fit a rod for curtains or drapes, blinds or shades might be the only logical choice.
When it comes to choosing window treatments, generally speaking, if you want to be able to control the light in a room quickly and often then blinds or shades are the way to go.
However, if you value your privacy more than the natural light (in a bedroom or front-facing living room, for example) then drapes and curtains are often the way to go as they can always be drawn back fully to bring more light into your home.
It’s all about working with your favourite window specialists to go through the available options and treat each room and each window as an individual opportunity.
Because all window treatments exist to achieve three things – control light, frame your windows and finish off a room.
Finding the right treatments for each room in your home that achieve all three can be a challenge but it’s certainly one worth undertaking.