Ah, the lowly window. It's all too often the last element we think about when we decorate a room.
Perhaps it's because we're too busy trying to decide wall color. Or we've spent all our extra cash on a new sofa.
In reality, a window treatment such as a shade or drape is just as big a decorative element as a wall or piece of furniture. Dressed up or understated, the treatment can set the tone of a room or function as a complementary accent.
When choosing window treatments, decide first whether you want them to:
- Control light.
- Provide privacy.
- Block heat and ultraviolet rays.
- Act as a focal point.
- Serve as a backdrop.
Don't feel you have to match the draperies to the upholstery fabrics used in the room.
"I think it's much more interesting than if everything is the same," says interior designer Valerie Borden-Busker.
Tip: Hang silk-look gold panels and top with a cornice board covered in fabric with a small print. Accent with large-print pillows on window seats or chairs.
Use different textures.
Tip: Hang heavier fabric on the cornice board over silky drapes.
Make a difference with details.
Tip: Add fancy tiebacks with tassels. Choose decorative curtain rods or metal posts.
Look at magazines and at the window treatments in friends' homes for ideas.
Tip: Save magazine images that catch your eye.
These include bay windows and rounded walls with a series of windows.
Decorate with blinds, shades or panels and stationary drapes. Hang the blinds, panels or shades in the windows; place the stationary drapes between the windows. Top the windows with a series of adjoining straight cornice boards.
Alternative: Forget the cornice boards and hang the stationary drapes from fancy posts.
Decorate them with panel systems. Panels of fabric hang on tracks. Slide them open or closed to let in the amount of light you want. The number of panels you need is based on the width of the window or sliding door.
Alternative: Drapery streamers. Use a variety of coordinating fabrics and textures to create streamers that are connected at the top but not the bottom. Add a cornice board on top, Borden-Busker suggests.