finishing touches

Treat Your Windows

Switching your window treatments for something more stylish is one of the simplest ways of updating your decor. Made to do more than block out light and create privacy, the right window coverings can add instant polish to any room. If it's time for something new, here are a few helpful tips on how to dress up your windows.

Define style and function
When you're considering new ways to cover your windows, think about what you need your windows to do as well as how you want them to look. Aside from deciding on style—contemporary versus traditional, and subtle (in a shade that matches or coordinates with the wall colour) or bold (an accent colour)—be pragmatic. Think about whether you need to block out the sun or your neighbour's window or a less-than-inspiring view. Doing so will help point out your best window treatment possibilities, be they sheers or shutters, black-out curtains or blinds.

Determine your budget
Whether you're thinking about an inexpensive update or a style investment, there are a few clever ways to pick the perfect window treatments. For example, there are cost-effective, affordable tricks to copying the latest trends (see below) using ready-made drapery panels and drapery rods or blinds. On the other hand, if you're planning to spend more, there is the option of having your window treatments custom made. Made-to-measure draperies, blinds and shutters cost more, but the added expense means they not only are tailored to exactly suit your style, but deliver quality that can last a lifetime.

Consider the trends
The latest styles in window coverings run from simple to sumptuous. For modern interiors, which work best with streamlined, clutter-free options, top trends include uncluttered, pocket-top drapery panels in quiet shades—whether white, off-white, beige-meets-grey stone or sheers—and natural fabrics, such as cotton, linen or muslin. (To help them further blend into the surroundings, consider installing them with a tension or spring rod within the window frame instead of hanging them from a drapery rod on the wall.) Other modern, minimalist ideas are blinds in natural materials, such as bamboo or wood, and window film, an easy-to-use adhesive film designed to be applied directly to windows in looks that mimic rice paper, etched and frosted glass.

For more traditional decors, luxury is the mode of the moment. Roman blinds and shutters continue to be classic choices. Drapery, in opulent fabrics such as silk, velvet, sueded microfiber and embroidered styles, are now the height of fashion, hung higher near the ceiling (to accentuate their length and drama) on drapery rods made of rich woods, such as mahogany and pecan, or brass (a metal finish making a comeback after years of chrome and polished nickel). Full, pinch-pleated styles top the trend chart in the traditional category, but those equipped with grommets or tabs remain popular, easy-to-install options. Topping your drapery with a valance, a window cap covered in matching fabric, is another décor detail resurfacing on the traditional trend front.

Do it yourself or don't
Getting new window treatments can be a DIY project or a job for the pros: your choice. Online and in-store, you'll find a wide assortment of ready-made drapery panels, blinds, window film and drapery hardware to suit your budget and your look—and that enable fantastic and immediate makeovers. When you visit your nearest location, our associates can also show you a range of special-order items to choose from by such brand names as Levelor, Hunter Douglas and more. Or you can call in the experts from Installation Services. Our In-Home Design Services send a design pro right to your door to review your window-treatment options with you, help you decide on the right look and material, and have your draperies, blinds or shutters custom made for you.

Whether you're outfitting a new home or recasting your existing décor, well-chosen window treatments are a sound décor investment, especially given today's architectural trend to wide-open great rooms with their multitudes of striking windows. Not only do your shutters or shades, blinds or drapes have the power to provide privacy and security, they can make memorable, one-of-a-kind fashion statements.