Remember that scene in Sound of Music when the curtains essentially become a main plot piece? We do. It comes to mind constantly when helping clients with window coverings, as it is a good reminder that window treatments need to be selected with care to stand the test of time. The more literal interpretation is also worth noting as you consider a particular fabric or material: think, would I want to wear this? Essentially, your room will be "wearing" it everyday.
Below are our go-to options for window treatments and some of our tips and tricks for selecting the right ones for you.
#1 Roller shades
Our favorite go-to for homes and commercial businesses. Roller shades are a simple, timeless option that allows the rest of the space to shine, whether it is a historic or modern home.
Roller shades come in a variety of materials and fabrics, from opaque to light filtering, so it is easy to find the perfect style for your home. Just be certain to select a material that will be long-lasting, as roller shades are custom made to fit each window. For those who are crafty, DIY roller shades -- like the burlap ones above -- are fun to make with just needle, thread and a couple of dowels.
#2 Curtains or layered drapery
Layering opaque drapery with sheer creates depth and elegance in almost any space. It also gives one the option to create privacy while allowing light in, or to darken a space to create a nest-like environment. Double-layered drapes are ideal for bedrooms.
There are a number of aspects to take into consideration when handing curtains. Proper hanging height is paramount. For best effect, hang at least halfway between the window trim and the ceiling, or as high as possible to help increase the feeling of height in the room. Remember to make certain the rods are mounted wider than the window frame, so that when the curtains are pulled back they will clear the glass and allow for maximum light and unobstructed views.
Patterned or vibrant curtains can be fun when used sparingly. Take care that the rest of the space is neutral so that the fabric takes center stage. Textured fabric is also a great way to bring a unique element into a room.
#3 Roman shades
Roman shades are an elegant and tailored type of window covering. This style must be precisely measured, and can be customized in a number of fabrics and fold styles. They can even be made in the popular top-down bottom-up configuration seen in the more common cellular shades. We love Roman shades for their simple and classic design.
#4 Sudare - Japanese vintage shades
Sudare are bamboo blinds used to screen out the sun and stay cool during the hot summer months in Japan. They keep out the sun’s rays, while letting the breeze blow through. Traditionally hand-crafted, the art of making sudare has been lost to inexpensive imports from China, although craftsmen do still exist. Antique and vintage examples can be found at shrine sales and antique shops as well as online. Fancy sudare have decorative brocade trim around the edges (like these above). Most have elaborate cording with tassels and some even have engraved metal hooks to hold the blinds rolled open.
This combination of a Roman shade in a textured grasscloth pairs nicely with neutral drapes that compliment the bedding tones. The Romans act as a nice fixed piece, while the curtains bring a touch of softness that can be changed out with seasons or styles if desired. This provides such textural interest that additional art and accessories are unnecessary.
Opaque roller shades can be visually softened when paired with a long, light-filtering draped curtain. A few meaningful pieces are on display here, but again, the layering around the windows provides plenty of visual impact.