Window treatments are essential for blocking out light, maintaining privacy and, for interior decorator Candice Olson, hiding her pregnancy. “Thank God for blinds,” says the host of Divine Design on W. “It's my way of protecting my neighbours from me!”
Window treatments come in a variety of styles, colours and materials to help you achieve the look you want and the coverage you need. But with so many options, narrowing them down can get a little tricky.
Selecting window treatments
Function should be your first consideration, says Kimberley Seldon, host of Design for Living on HGTV Canada and STYLE AT HOME decorating editor. That includes the desired amount of sunlight and privacy, as well framing or distracting attention from a view. “Look at the room architecturally,” adds Candice. “If it's a beautiful window, sheers are the answer. If it's a problem window, drapery can hide a lot of flaws.”
Next, think about the look you want. “Any style of treatment can be used in any type of room – it's the decor that dictates the style,” says Kimberley. “An elaborately pleated drapery and valance look perfectly fine in a formal, traditional room, but absolutely out of place in a modern interior.” Still, some rooms have issues that need to be addressed. In a kitchen, for example, Candice prefers to keep things simple, taking into account airborne grease and food particles. For the bathroom, a soft sheer and simple valance work to soften hard surfaces. And don't forget about the humidity. “Anything with body will just sag, so it needs to be on the simpler side,” she says. Bedrooms are tricky with both softness and light-blocking priorities. “Typically, we'd do multiple layers, like a decorative side panel, a sheer behind that and then a blackout roller blind,” says Candice.
Budget is always an important factor. “It's amazing how much drapery fabric costs,” says Candice. “And wood shutters are a nice, clean, simple treatment, but they're super-expensive.”
And finally there are the trends. Trim is all the rage for fall, with traditional flat braids, cords, gimp and ribbons taking on a new life in tone-on-tone modern window coverings, says Kimberley. “It's like adding a beautiful necklace to a simple dress – it makes all the difference.” Going natural is also turning heads. “Anything that has a natural texture just takes the edge off of modern interiors,” says Candice. “It's a way to balance everything else that's so sleek and streamlined.”