This design element is fun and functional.

By Southern Living
October 03, 2017

My grandmother knows that when one door closes, a window opens. And in her case, that window always opens to a gorgeous window treatment. She'd advise: When you're doubting your home's designs and decor, make the windows beautiful, and the rest of the room will follow. It's a secret—or, if not a secret, then a too-rarely-touted—decorating weapon that makes a huge difference in your home's style.

Where to begin? Window treatments. Drapes. Curtains. Shades. Valances. Fabrics in beautiful colors and patterns and textures. The options are endless. Is there anything a window treatment can't do?

They're the unsung heroes and the workhorses of any room. They'll do whatever you need them to do in any interior design. Act as a neutral base? Check. Add a punch of color? Voila. Unify the room's color scheme? Presto. Block external light? But of course. Well-chosen window treatments are fun and functional. They can bring any room together, providing elegance and visual interest, and adding contrast or cohesiveness to your design scheme. (And, you know, they also help create the optimal environment for a midday nap.)

In her choices of drapery, my grandmother tends toward bold patterns in unexpected hues. In fact, one set of curtains I remember vividly from childhood was patterned with vertical robin's egg blue-and-cream stripes alternated with intertwined roots, birds, and flowers in vegetal columns stretching from hem to hook. There were also matching valances emerging from the top of each window, artfully hiding the curtain rods—and tricking the eye while making each window look just a bit larger.

Now we all have this in our decorating arsenals, but the key is to deploy it in a smart and considered way. When it comes to window treatments, bare panes just won't do. There are so many possibilities out there, and a few inspired options are rounded up below. I find myself wanting to try each and every one in my own home. Grandma would be proud.

An Injection of Color

Credit: Laurey W. Glenn

A Dose of Pattern

Credit: Photo: Laurey W. Glenn; Styling: Buffy Hargett Miller
Credit: Photo: Laurey W. Glenn

A Touch of Texture

Credit: Laurey W. Glenn
Credit: Laurey W. Glenn

A Spot of Subtlety

Credit: Photo: Laurey Glenn
Credit: Laurey W. Glenn

A Dash of Contrast

Credit: Photography: Laura Moss, Styling: Natasha Louise King
Credit: Ngoc Minh Ngo

An Infusion of Cohesion

Credit: Laurey W. Glenn
Credit: Photo: J. Savage Gibson; Styling: Heather Chadduck Hillegas

Cheery Valances

Credit: Photo: Laurey W. Glenn; Styling: Buffy Hargett Miller
Credit: Photo by: Lisa Romerein, Styling by: Rebecca Omweg

Fun(ctional) Shades

Credit: Photo: Melanie Acevedo, Styling: Olga Naiman
Credit: Photo: Laurey W. Glenn; Styling: Buffy Hargett Miller