How to Choose the Best Window Treatments
After spending so much time choosing the perfect paint color, a cohesive array of furniture, and the perfect area rug, your window treatments can often feel like an after thought. As long as they look good and can properly open and close, they're good enough, right? Well, not exactly. Just because your window treatments serve a utilitarian purpose—to keep harsh sunlight out and get some privacy from nosy neighbors—doesn't mean they can't look good, too. In fact, the right window treatment can tie the entire room together.
"Window treatments can transform a room in ways both subtle and dramatic, giving a space the finishing touch that I feel nothing else does," explains Davina Ogilvie, founder of Wovn Home, a direct-to-consumer brand that makes custom window treatments. "The right drapery can add texture and softness, elevating an interior from simple to spectacular."
The number of styles presents a challenge, though, and finding the right treatment for your home can be the design equivalent to a needle in a haystack. To help, Ogilvie is sharing her professional tips for finding the right option for your space. Thanks to her advice, throwing shade has never looked so good.
What are Your Options?
Drapes, curtains, blinds, and Roman shades. The are so many words to describe window treatments that we often use them interchangeably. But, in reality, every style has tiny nuances—and knowing the difference between each option can help you make the best decision for your space. Take drapes and curtains, for example, which are two pieces fabric that travel across the width of your window.
"They're sometimes referred to as curtains, although the term 'drapes' is more commonly used to indicate custom made, fully lined fabric panels with added fullness to ensure the folds and pleats form and gather beautifully," Ogilvie shares.
Though curtains are very similar to drapes, they're typically sold in pairs and are not always lined. As for Roman shades? They're window treatments that are placed at the top of the window and propel down.
"[They] are more often a go-to choice for smaller windows and spaces because they don't occupy the same footprint as full-length drapes," she adds. Since most Roman shades are made with fabric, they're an elevated upgrade to unsightly blinds.
What's the Look You're Trying to Achieve?
Contrary to popular belief, window treatments can make or break the overall look of your space. So before you decide on a style, it's a good idea to consider the look and feel you're aiming for in the room.
"Roman shades—the more minimalist approach—are the favored choice for rooms that can't support the formality of drapes such as kitchens, nurseries, and powder rooms," Ogilvie says.
Since drapes occupy more space beyond the window, Roman shades are also a great option for bay windows, areas with built-in cabinetry, and setups with heating or cooling systems below. (After all, positioning drapes around these obstacles can look and feel a little awkward.)
"Rooms with high ceilings or ample space benefit from drapery versus other window treatments," Ogilvie explains. "Spaces that have taller or larger windows tend to better support drapes, as small or narrow windows can be easily overwhelmed by the fabric."
When addressing atmosphere, it's also important to think critically about the aesthetic you are aiming for before choosing fabric colors and patterns. While vibrant hues and patterns are great for a maximum effect, neutrals are better suited for a minimalist approach.
What About the Lining?
Of course, window treatments still need to serve a purpose, so you'll want to add some lining to your setup. Whether you buy window treatments from a major retailer or get a custom option through Wovn Home, blackout and privacy linings are available with both drapes and shades. So, what's the difference? While blackout lining blocks out light for complete darkness, a privacy layer lets a little glow trickle in.
"I always recommend blackout lined window treatments for bedrooms, which enables better sleep without sacrificing style," Ogilvie says. "In living spaces, bathrooms, and kitchens, privacy lining allows beautifully filtered light to enter the room while still providing privacy."
If you want just the right amount of sunlight to shine through, opt for a set of pleated linen draperies, which is Ogilvie's go-to treatment.
"Pleated drapery is classic, tailored, and timeless, with the power to immediately elevate a space," Ogilvie says. "The organic texture of linen adds so much visual interest, and holds color and drapes beautifully, making it ideal for sophisticated and modern window treatments."
A pinch of privacy without sacrificing sunlight? It's a win-win.
Double Check Your Drapes
While drapes can add elegant drama to a room, they can require more attention than your shades. Unlike your shades, which have a fixed place, hanging your drapes too low can throw off the entire look and feel of your room. According to Ogilvie, it's important to place your drapes at least six inches above the top of your window trim.
"If space allows, hang drapes even higher up—just below the ceiling—to create the visual illusion of taller ceilings and a larger room," she adds.
Want to go the custom route? Ogilvie warns that drapes are significantly heavier than standard curtains after you account for the added fabric fullness and lining material. To keep your the rod from sagging or bending with the weight of the fabric, invest in ultra-durable hardware.
"Custom drapery hardware is usually crafted with solid, sturdy material that can easily support custom drapes," she says. "If opting for an off the shelf telescoping rod, go with a thicker rod and always utilize the center mounting bracket for additional support."