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Guide to Window Treatments

When selecting window treatments, there are lots of things that can allow you make a faster decision. Knowing the basics can definitely help. Here are some of the basics, so you have an idea of your options!

Window Blanks

1. Valance & Panels

Flanking a window bank (with untied curtain panels) by a valance gracefully resting on top of the window is pretty much like framing a valuable artwork. Showcasing a beautiful window with a tailored valance puts an emphasis on the chosen window treatment, too. Now, if you are worried about sunlight and want to control the amount of natural light entering the room, you may have sheers behind the panels that you can open and shut whenever you wish.

2. Tent-Flap-Style Curtain Panels

Mount treatments are ideal if you want extra insulation of the room. They snug within the frame of every window and help you reduce energy loss. Tent-flap panels will give you nice clean lines and will look equally great when closed or open. You get to choose how you want them, depending on your needs for privacy and light control.

3. Roman Shades

beautiful Roman blinds in kids' bathroom

Not long ago, Roman shades were mostly used as practical covering options. Now, there is a wealth of fabric patterns and woven materials to play with that these shades have become a work of art on their own. Besides being super functional, Roman shades can also be embellished with decorative contrast trims or bindings that help enhance the room's décor and style.

4. Panels on a Curtain Rod

It is, perhaps, the most classic treatment that goes well in all window configurations, and looks fantastic in a room with many windows. In the latter case, suspending a panel between every pane will accentuate the room's architecture.

These panels trail from a rod and are also great options for bay windows. The only thing you need to do if your gorgeous bay windows project beyond the footprint of the room is to mount the curtain rod on the foreground wall. By doing so, you will also notice that the symmetry of the room is enhanced, too.

Double Hung

Double hung windows have two movable sashes that may also move within the window frame (up & down). For this type of window, most shades and blinds will work well, and the same goes for cellular shades and sheer shades that both present an uncluttered and clean look. Other ideas include:

1. Pleated Drapery Panels

Pleated panels are an excellent option that will give you the effect you wish. If, for example, you like the room to have a more casual feel, top them with a rich, scalloped valance. For a more polished and sophisticated look, though, you can try to mimic lacy jabots. To achieve that, add an angular valance that's been specifically pleated to look like the famous neck attire. Elegance to the fullest!

2. Swags

Window swags in beautiful contrasting shades of brown-beige

For added privacy, you can layer sheers beneath asymmetric swags draped across the top of side-by-side windows. It will help give a more unified look to double-hung windows, too. To break the eleganc-o-meter, let them cascade down the window edges (the outer section).

3. Panels Clipped to Rings

Double-hung window rods have a marvelous advantage. They allow you to wear both the most formal and most casual draperies and increase your window treatment's wow factor significantly. Try pouring rich panels over an eye-popping curtain rod for more grandeur. Use matching tiebacks to pull one panel (or even both) aside (just a bit) and watch your room transform into umber-sophisticated.

Or you could use floating panels to frame a window. Make sure they are clipped to rings as this will make sliding the window treatment across a decorative rod much easier.

Note: The mounting depth on a double hung window may be narrow, which means that you'll need to leave enough space to install properly. This is why an outside-mount treatment is best.

Options for Casement Windows

To operate most casement windows, you just need to turn a crank. And, because casement windows are hinged on the side, the most popular treatments are decorative panels and drapery that frame the window itself, when open. However, you may also have Roman shades and wood blinds and have the same impact. Have them raised out of the way so you can easily operate the window!

Also, pleated shades (tailored) can complement the appeal of the casement beautifully when carefully mounted within the window frame. Such window treatments allow for clean lines that enhance the décor and bewilder with their soft effect.

Modern and brown pleated blinds, texture with shadows

As for panels hung on swing-arm rods and tab-top panels, they definitely form a fabulous window treatment for casement windows, too, and can lend casual comfort of a formal appeal to the room respectively.

Finally, for a retro style enhancer, roller shades come with several decorative options that will tick your boxes.


Transoms add both height (visual) and natural light to a room. Covering a transom window with fabric valances is an excellent idea and allows you to have a different fabric and style per valance. This results in one-of-a-kind window coverings. You can also line them with off-white or white fabric so that they look the same from the outside, too.

Opting for matching blinds (plantation, wooden, cellular shades, sheer shades) will give your space a contemporary look while sheer shirred coverings (sheer fabric that's gathered, stretched and shirred on curtain rods at the bottom and top of the window) are perfect if you want a traditional look.

Shutters mounted on casement or double-hung windows will also give a classic design and clean lines and complement arched windows perfectly. Finally, try mounting a rod at the ceiling to make a window look taller and use dual-fabric panels (opaque tails with sheer tops) will allow for some additional sunlight to shower your space.

Options for Patio Doors

1. Panels mounted on the door – It's important to select a fabric for the backs of the curtain as well, as you want your window treatment to look beautiful both from the inside and outside of the living area. That said, these panels are easily cinched halfway down a French door so you can enjoy some natural light.

2. Drapery, Shades & Cornices – There is no window treatment you can't apply to French doors, no matter how sophisticated. Having cornices is an excellent way to hide a curtain rod if you so wish to. Just top the frame of the door with a cornice and make sure the curtain panels are movable so you can open the doors.

If you have sliding doors, you can mount blinds on the wall above the frame of the doors. That way, you can have light control and privacy. However, their headers are not a sight for sore eyes. To disguise them, frame with a decorative valance. Just ensure that the blinds and valance don't prevent passage through the door. For that reason, mount them both high enough.