The Basics of Window Treatments The Basics of Window Treatments

The right window treatment in a room can add drama, create a privacy screen from the outside world, make a room quieter, or simply add a bit of color and fun. Window treatments: curtains, drapes, valances, ruffles, blinds, or shades finish off a room with a statement. Before you begin shopping learn the basics of window treatments.

Before you begin measuring, ask yourself a few questions to help define your style and needs.

1. What is the purpose of the room? Is it a den? Is it a formal living room? Is it a child’s bedroom? A den may be informal, while a formal living calls for a more sophisticated window treatment. Window treatments in a child’s bedroom will be more playful in design than the master bedroom.

2. What do you want the window treatment to do for the room? Do you need privacy, light control, ventilation, added energy efficiency, or is there a wonderful view that you do not want blocked?

As you ponder window treatments, remember that whatever you choose should harmonize with the room. Decide if you’re going to mount the window treatment inside the casing or outside the casing. Valances, shades, and blinds look great on either, the inside or outside, but if you’re planning to use cornices, only the outside will do.

Measuring for Window Treatments

You’ll need:

  • retractable measuring tape,
  • notebook or sketchbook,
  • pen

Before taking measurements make a quick sketch of each window, labeling the window sketch. For example: the left window in the living room facing east Always begin measuring each window at the same point and move in a clockwise fashion in this way you’re less likely forget if you’ve measured or not. Write down the measurements immediately.

1. Measure the length and width inside the casing.
2. Measure the length and width to the outside of the casing.
3. Measure the depth from sill to window.
4. Measure six inches above the casing for a curtain with a heading.
5. Measure to the floor for draperies that reach the floor.
6. Allow extra length for puddling, if desired.
7. Measure twice for accuracy.

Tips for Window Treatments

1. Choose the rod before you buy or custom sew curtains and draperies.
2. Standard curtain rods are usually hung six inches above the casing
3. Allow two to three inches on each side of the rod.
4. Decide how long you want your curtains to be.
5. For full curtains the width of each panel should be double width of the window
6. Be sure to take your measurements with you when you’re ready to purchase
7. You can find almost anything you want when it comes to the decorative hardware for hanging window treatments. Rods, poles, finials, scarf holders, holdbacks, rings, clips, and pins all make up functional hardware that also accentuates the window treatment. Search in catalogs, online, at stores that carry decorative hardware, and decorating magazines for great looks and ideas.

A quick guide to the more popular window treatments follows:

1. Indoor shutters are usually made of wood and painted or stained to match the existing window casings. They create privacy and are energy wise, plus they look great with any style from contemporary to the new country look.
2. Shades are a hot trend in window treatments. Roman shades and pleated shades are made of fabric and pull up like blinds. Hunter Douglas manufactures fabulous shades and blinds made from wood, bamboo, textured, or soft honeycomb designs in translucent pastels or opaques in a variety of colors.
3. Venetian blinds stack neatly above the casing. Vertical blinds are often used to cover sliding doors, French doors, doors that lead to the outside and overly large windows. When opened the blinds stack to the side.
4. Valances, cornices, swags, and scarves are all toppers. They can be used alone or with a drape, shutters, blinds, or shades. They can add a spark of color and pattern to the window treatment.
5. Drapes and curtains differ in formality. Drapes compliment a formal room with pleats while curtains bring an informal touch to a room. Curtains tend to be simply constructed with gathers. Styles of each are as diverse as the imagination.

Finding the perfect window treatment to set your room off and complete the look begins by defining your style, knowing your needs, and measuring accurately. Do your research into the different types of window treatments from shutters to valances. The eyes of your home are the windows. Every eye should be made up to harmonize with the room and aid in creating the ambiance of your unique home while performing the functions required. Now that you know the basics of window treatments, get moving to find what’s right for the windows in your home.

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