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How to effectively use window treatments

Posted by: Angie Hicks on

If your windows are less than picturesque, perhaps it's time to dress them up. Angie's List Magazine asked two window treatment professionals to point out the essentials necessary to properly accentuate your room.

"I compare fine drapery to fine jewelry," says Caryn O'Sullivan, owner of highly rated Drapery Street in Carmel, Ind. "Just like a great necklace, they're that finishing detail — they make a nice room a wow room."

Consider function first — “Function should be considered first,” says Lonnice Zemke, window treatment division manager for highly rated Hirshfield’s in Roseville, Minn. “Window treatments must address your needs. Light control, privacy, insulation and view are important factors. With so many new innovations and technologies, window treatments can achieve this while still being design savvy.”

Look at the architecture — “Pay attention to your room’s architecture,” O’Sullivan says. “The pewter silk bands in the drapes match the wood trim that separates the windows. These types of details allow your eye to continue to travel around the room and even accentuate the beautiful wood trim.”

Pay attention to personal style — “Personal style is key,” Zemke says. “Window treatments can enhance and define the decor or create a new look. Deep wood tones with red, brown or gold fabric and bronze finishes create a more formal ambiance, while bright whites with contrasting black fabrics and chrome finishes create a modern look.”

Play with textures — “You don’t have to have a sharp contrast in color if you use fabric with different textures in the same panel,"  O’Sullivan says. "In this treatment, the gray silk bands are pleated, so they add another texture to the drape.”

Delve into details — “Make it about the details,” Zemke says. “Decorative embellishments like finials on the rod, medallions and tie-backs with big tassels make a window treatment look very rich, but not too busy.”

Find the right height — “The correct height of the drapes is necessary,” O’Sullivan says. “There’s no formula, but for a grand room, the floor-to-ceiling drapes create a feeling of elegance and grandness. For a less formal and intimate space, you may want them lower to create a more cozy feeling.”

Maintain proportion — “Get the proportions right,” Zemke says. “Consider the space around the window, the size of the room and the view from the inside and out. You don’t want to overdo or skimp on the window treatment. It should be like a picture frame for the window — it can be embellished and accessorized, but must maintain both function and balance.”

Don't forget the hardware — “Hardware is very important,” O’Sullivan says. “The rod you use is part of the equation for creating a beautiful window treatment. Here, we used an invisible rod. But if you go with a very simple drape, the rod is a much-needed feature and should make a statement.”

Layering adds dimensions — “Layer different materials to add interest and dimension,” Zemke says. “It creates movement without a sensory overload.”

Blend colors — “Combining colors in the drapery panel is a great way to show you put thought into the treatment,” O’Sullivan says. “It can also be a great way to integrate colors in your decor that are difficult to find together in an existing fabric.”