Window treatments are used in home design to control light, create privacy, frame a view, add accent color and texture, and make a living space warm and inviting.
They can be used to emphasize architectural details or soften hard edges, as in a kitchen, bathroom, or laundry room.
Adding window coverings can instantly change the look and feel of a room— sort of like adding accessories to your favorite outfit.
Home buyers today are looking for homes with plenty of natural light in every room. Window treatments for home staging should be basic in design-- not too fussy. You want people to focus on your fantastic view or back yard, not the window blinds!
Keep it simple by sticking to light neutral-colored draperies, curtain panels, window blinds, or shades.
Window treatments can be divided into two groups; soft and hard. Soft treatments, like drapes and curtains are made from fabrics, and hard window coverings include blinds, shutters, screens, and specialty glass like frosted or stained glass. Hard and soft window treatments can be used alone or together.
What is the difference between curtains and drapes? Drapes are always lined, whereas curtain refers to any other fabric window treatment.
Remove outdated built-in valances and cornices, as they are often heavy and overbearing, in addition to blocking natural light.
If home staging, remove heavy window treatments, like draperies made from velvet and brocade fabrics. Heavy drapes can make a room look dark, stuffy, and too formal.
Take down worn or outdated blinds, especially the vertical ones! Every time I see vertical blinds, they are missing slats, or hanging crooked.
Remove old window coverings in passe colors and styles, like the mauve from the 80’s, fussy ruffled and gathered curtains, ornate laces, bishop sleeves, swags and tassels…all these styles cause the window treatments to become an unwelcome focal point, and may cause home buyers to think the house is outdated, as well.
Theme-based window treatments, like “My Little Ponies” or “Disney” characters are too taste specific, and won’t appeal to a lot of people over the age of 10. Wild patterns, like animal prints, are often a buyer turnoff, as well.
Take down any window coverings that are worn, broken, or simply don’t compliment your home decor, architectural features, or room function.
If you have customized window treatments that aren’t outdated and still complement your home, consider leaving them for the new owners. Not only is this a good selling feature, it’s one less thing you will have to pack for your new home! Chances are, they won’t go with your new home anyway.
Interior window shutters- Shutters are sort of the odd-guy when it comes to window treatments. Traditional-style shutters are louvered, which means they are angled to let in light. Most people seem to love the look of them, especially the wood-slatted ones. (Not so much fabric shutters!) They do block a certain amount of light, so you need to determine whether they are actually enhancing a space or detracting from a room’s assets.
Wildly patterned and neon-shade window coverings should be avoided when selling your home. This is your opportunity to add a bit of color to your home staging, but try to keep colors fairly neutral and patterns subtle. I really like geometric patterned and striped draperies— they’re stylish without being too taste specific.
Window coverings should complement the color palette and style of each room. If a fabric in the room has a distinctive color or pattern (neutral!) consider using the same material for the windows. A general rule is to use the same material from at least one other thing in the room; a love seat, a chair, pillows, or an area rug.
Texture can greatly influence the mood in a room. In general, the smoother the texture, (like silk curtains) the more formal the room will seem. Smooth textured fabrics can also make fabric appear lighter.
The reverse occurs with coarsely textured fabrics. Coarser textures absorb more light and colors will appear darker. Heavily brocaded draperies will look heavier than silk drapes.
In the same manner as textures, heavily patterned fabrics will look weightier than solid colors. See space planning to learn about “visual weight.”
It’s okay to combine different textures, but be sure that the contrast isn’t too great.
For small room window treatments, see small bedroom decorating ideas.
It’s okay to simply leave some windows bare— it’s better than having the wrong window treatments in place. Some windows are so beautiful that they don’t require any embellishment. If you aren’t worried about privacy, this is a good option.
A plain roller blind is an affordable and good choice for kitchens and bathrooms. Personally, I don’t like curtains in the kitchen— I once had a pot of spaghetti sauce explode all over my window curtains!
Blackout roller blinds work well in children’s bedrooms, especially when you soften the edges with some coordinating curtains. Stick with neutral colors— avoid falling into the “pink” or “blue” stereotype.
Living rooms will look more warm and comfortable by adding soft window treatments like light drapes and curtains. Try to coordinate with or select from a fabric already in the room, like an upholstered chair, throw pillows or sofa.
Tab-top curtains - these are a good choice for an informal, casual look. The curtain rods are threaded through the tabs and look best mounted outside the window frame.
Tie-top curtains - Fabric tabs are tied directly to the curtain rod, giving them a very informal look.
Tie-back curtains - These are simply curtains held open with fabric ties. I don’t really like to use these as they do block a little natural light.
Grommet-top curtains - Curtain rods are threaded through grommets at the top of the curtains resulting in a contemporary look which looks great in a modern decor. Another option is to hang the grommets on hooks for a more traditional look.
Rod curtains - Curtain rods are shoved through a pocket sewn in the top of the curtain. This creates a straighter, crisp look. Rod curtains are mounted inside or outside a window frame.
Valances - Window valances are a horizontal decorative feature that hangs at the tope of a window. They are often used to hide curtain rods. Valances can make a window seem larger when mounted on the wall above the window rather than on the window frame. Hanging a valance by itself in areas like the kitchen and laundry room works well, where just a bit of fabric and color is wanted to soften and brighten a space.
Avoid shades with overwhelming volumes of pleated or billowing fabrics, like balloon and Austrian shades.
Pull-up blinds - Pull-up blinds create flat pleats as they are raised and tend to look more formal in tone. Pull-up blinds can be mounted inside or outside the window casing. They can be pricey if your windows aren't a standard size and you have to custom order.
Venetian blinds - When layered with other forms of window treatments, venetian blinds can appear softer. These come in handy when you want to “obscure” an ugly view or simply need privacy. Wood blinds look good in traditional rooms, whereas metal blinds look more contemporary. Always leave partly open when showing your house to buyers to allow filtered light in.
Roll-up window blinds - Rollup blinds are rolled up from the bottom by hand. They look best in a casual, contemporary space.
Roller window shades - Roller shades lift up and down smoothly with a spring-roller mechanism— they can be conveniently adjusted to any position. Roller window shades are very affordable! They are made in a wide variety of materials and typically covered with a plastic coating, making them easy to clean. Some roller shades are covered with fabric, lending them a softer look. Roller shades can look a bit stark and boring on their own and look better when combined with other forms of window treatments.
Cheap and affordable ready made curtain panels and hardware are available in a variety of colors, styles and sizes at Bed, Bath and Beyond, Target, Fred Meyer, Walmart, jcpenny.com, Sears, budgetblinds.com , countrycurtains.com, IKEA, Pier 1, and overstock.com to name a few.
The width of each panel should be 1 1/2 to 2 1/2 times the width of the window.
Treatments can be hung in two ways:
Curtains and drapes shouldn’t hang partway between the window sill and the floor. If you have a radiator or air conditioner in the way under a window, hang curtains at the windowsill. A full length curtain over a radiator won’t hang right and may be a fire hazard.
Floor length curtains should break at the floor about an inch or two to create an elegant drape.
If floor length curtains will be opened and closed daily, a 1/4 to 1/2 inch clearance at the floor will allow the to operate smoothly.
If you want to go for the elegant “puddling” look, (where extra curtain fabric is gracefully arranged on the floor) the allowances are 6 to 9 inches.
Short curtains that fit inside the window sill should sit at the windowsill. Curtains that fall outside the window sill should fall at the window sill. Shorter curtains should not hang partway between the sill and the floor.
Curtain rods are made from a variety of products; metal, wood and plastic. I have seen rods made from tree branches, an oar, a hockey stick and a piece of bamboo and they looked great! Keep it simple for home staging though— don’t be too taste specific.
After taking down old window coverings, you will be left with ugly holes in the walls from the hardware. Fill the holes with spackling paste or another product called "erase-a-hole."
Stay away from outdated thick clunky rods with large finials and fat rings. Select an updated, version that is thinner, but substantial enough to match the window’s importance.
Try to coordinate all the metals in a room. For instance, the window treatment hardware should go with metals already in the room, like a metal-framed coffee table.
For really wide windows, you’ll need at least one center support bracket, maybe two depending upon how wide the window is, and how much weight the rod will have to bear.
Please don’t put holes in beautiful window molding, especially if the house is historic. It’s often best (and easiest!) to leave the windows bare to show off the molding. If you must have window coverings for privacy, mount the hardware outside the window frame.
Choose the appropriate wall anchors for hanging the rod brackets. Don’t use the screws and wall anchors that come in those little packages with the curtain rods when you buy them. In my experience, the wall anchors break easily and the screw heads strip out really fast. Ask a hardware store worker to help you pick out better quality wall anchors and screws.
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