Window Dressing

Window Dressing

When putting the finishing touches on your home, the windows often get overlooked. But the right window coverings can up the style of any space.

Effective window coverings:

  • Are an integral part of the overall design and not the focal point.
  • Enhance the room's design by echoing its color scheme and style.
  • Serve a practical purpose - to insulate, conserve privacy, darken a room or protect it from the burning rays of the sun.

Getting Started

The first step in window decoration is to understand your color scheme and your style. Stand in the room needing window treatment and make note of its predominant colors. Then determine your unique style: Ask yourself what three or four words describe this room. Descriptors can be feelings, a historical period or a human quality. Is the room light, friendly, garden-like, pastoral, formal, country, whimsical, Victorian?

Once you know your colors and your style, you're ready to begin brainstorming possibilities.

No Window Treatment

If privacy is not an issue, consider leaving the window naked. A peaceful garden view or a spectacular vista of the valley may be all that you need to dress the window.

A Simple Valance

If the window looks bare without some sort of covering, all it might need is a valance to tie it in with the rest of the room. A few possibilities:

  • Once you've found the perfect rod, wrap, drape, tack, glue, tie or suspend an unusual material such as an antique table cloth, a piano shawl, a flag, an apron, a Mexican blanket, ribbons, cheese cloth, a sheet, shower curtain or a sarong.
  • Make a simple and unusual curtain rod out of a dowel, yardstick, PVC or copper tubing, or a tree branch.
  • Hammer in a series of nails, or install a Shaker-type pegboard over the window and hang bundles of dried herbs, hats, ribbons, scarves or anything else you may have hidden away in your drawers.
  • Glue on an interesting finial: match boxcars, shells, starfish, oversized marbles, horseshoes, old drawer pulls or alphabet blocks.
  • Make a Harlequin or saw-toothed valance by folding handkerchiefs, dishtowels, doilies, bandannas or scarves over the curtain rod. Embellish the "triangles" with buttons, pins or single earrings from your jewelry box (the ones you keep thinking you'll find the match for). Or, sew on tassels, crystals or ribbons from the point of the "tooth."

Partially Covered Windows

A café-type treatment, which covers the lower half of your window, may be another simple option.

  • Try reverse accordion shades, which cover the opening from bottom to top.
  • Make your own tab curtains from dishtowels or lace panels, which you have sewn together, or use a Simplicity pattern.
  • Install shutters painted in a crisp white, or in one of the room's colors.
  • Use roll-up shades in a bold color. Or, paint on or adhere a design to a neutral-colored shade.

Fully Covered Windows

If your window is large or you prefer it to be fully covered in a more traditional way, you have many options: plantation shutters or wood blinds, vertical blinds, mini blinds, tab curtains, ready-made drapes, etc. To visualize the possibilities and to save money, use mail-order catalogs offering ready-made coverings. If you want the full service of a professional you can get free estimates from companies listed under "Window Coverings" in your local listings.


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