I am often heard saying that there are no rules in decorating or design. It’s hard to put parameters on creativity and individuality. I do, however, have many guides that I follow when arranging a room, designing a space, pairing fabrics or dressing windows. My 3 window treatment rules are part of these guides.
Yesterday, during a client meeting in my client’s kitchen, we were discussing how to dress the windows in the family room and kitchen in her newly renovated home. I said that the first rule of window treatments is function. She kind of laughed and said “I didn’t know there were rules.”
Rules may be a bit strong, but since I do have guidelines I follow for deciding how to dress a window, I thought I’d share my 3 window treatment rules with you.
1. Determine the function first. Always. I know this is not the exciting part of decorating, but before you can select the pretties fabric or coolest shutters for your windows, you must know what function, if any, they need to perform.
- Reduce heat from direct sun
- Reduce glare from sun for TV viewing
- Block light for sleeping
- Provide privacy from neighbors
- Allow some light in
- Keep room warm in winter
- Easy to control (high windows)
- Safety controls for children
- Room darkening and light filtering
- Privacy on the bottom of the window, but allow light in on the top
- Frame an amazing view
The family room, shown above, had a few functional needs when it came to the window treatments. We needed to be able to block light for daytime TV viewing (there’s a TV across from the window), but also wanted to allow light in at other times. Privacy is not an issue, so the client also wanted to be able to open up the window completely and frame the view with drapes. That’s a lot of needs!
The base layer is a Savannah shade that can block light when tilted, filter light when open (as shown) or completely fold into the headrail to disappear (see image, below) to allow a maximum view of the outdoors. The drapery panels are stationary and frame the window as well as adding decoration to the wall.
2. Consider your style or the style of the room. Once you list the functions of the treatments you should get clear on what style will work best in the room. If you have a traditional design in your living room you will likely not want to use sleek, minimal roller shades, but fabric roman shades would work well. Do you like minimal design or do you want your treatments to make a statement?
Now you know what type of treatment(s) you will use to meet the function and style of the room.
3. Select color or fabrics to complement the room. This is the fun part – selecting the fabrics or materials for the treatments. If you are using draperies you can select the drapes or fabric for custom drapes. If you are using shutters you can select the wood or paint color. Draperies will also require hardware, which should also compliment the treatment and room.
So there you have it, my 3 window treatment rules. If you get the first two rules down, you can have fun with the third. The possibilities are endless!