They are like the eyes to the outside world. The shape, size, scale, operation and style of window all play a role in how to dress up a window so that it brings in light, fresh air and /or view.
Common Window Structure:
Double Hung: Composed of 2 sashes, one above the other, each with the ability to slide up and down past the other.
Casement: Are hinged on one side to swing either in or out with a rotating leaver on the sill.
Stationary: They are permanent, without moving parts or hinges. They type of window is used solely to bring in light, and does not open.
Considerations in dressing these windows are to ensure that their function is met by allowing easy operation without a major distraction from the window coverings or enjoying the view.
French , Arched, Clerestory, Dormer, Picture, Bay, Half Round, Sliding, Bow, Skylights: whatever the style in your home, each window must be treated separately to ensure functionality and beauty.
Types of Window Coverings to Consider:
Curtains: This is the most popular window treatment. Working with fabric can range from inexpensive and simple to extravagantly expensive and elaborate. Budgets are easily met with this type of window covering as fabric is available in all ranges of pricing and can easily be made by almost anyone. They can accommodate any décor depending on style of curtain and fabric used. Curtains can compliment any décor.
Shirred Curtains: This result of this type of curtain is soft, wavy, lightweight and allows light to get into the room while providing some privacy. It can accommodate a casual contemporary style through to a more formal décor. This type of curtain often will be accompanied by draperies, but is not always necessary. Shirrs can also stand alone for a soft, simplistic look.
Austrian Curtains: This type of curtain is used for very formal settings and is typically made from very light weight fabrics that are gathered in rows on the curtain rod. It typically is partnered up with a very heavy drape and used more often in a Victorian Style room.
Pleated Curtains: This type of curtain can be made of sheer to medium weight fabrics and is often pleaded and installed under draperies. They are made to open easily to let in light and view. This type of treatment is used for a more formal feel to a room and the shirrs are often made to be fuller and hang evenly across the rod.
Café Curtains: This type of window covering covers the lower portion of the window to block the view of passers by. Typically this was used in European cafes to make their customers feel more comfortable by blocking the view of people passing the windows.
The highest point of the curtain would be set at basically to the level of the top of the head when sitting at the table. To make the window covering look more complete, a valance is also set at the top portion of the window.
This style can be suitable for a kitchen, particularly if the kitchen faces the front of the house.
Priscilla Curtains: This type of curtain is sheer, hung on double rods to allow one to overlap the other. The front layer is traditionally tied back, sometimes with a valance on top. This type of curtain is used to create a very feminine, soft feel in the room.
Draw Curtains: This type of curtain is typically pleated and is drawn along a rail with a cord or pulley to allow for easy opening and closing. This type of covering can be used in almost any décor from a medium to very formal room.
Drapery: This type of curtain is generally heavier in the weight of the fabric, they are made to open and close, tend to block out much/all light and can be combined with curtains, shutters, blinds or shades.
Valance, Cornice, Lambrequins: This is the crowning touch to a window treatment. It is used to hide drapery hardware, add height to a window, made of fabric, wood, or other rigid material. This type of treatment can block out much/all light.
Now that you are familiar with curtains & draperies, there are several other types of window coverings made of different material.
They are as follows:
Blinds: are made of metal, plastic or wood. They are louvers/slats that can be raised or lowered, or louvers/slats adjusted to different angels. This
Shades: can be made of plastic or fabric. It hangs straight down when lowered and comes in various styles when raised up the window.
Shutters and Panels: Shutters are permanently placed over the window. Their function is to screen out light, or open to view.
Panels are frames of wood that operate similar to shutters but operate on accordion hinges like shutters. Panels and shutters can be matched with contemporary, rustic or traditional styles of décor.
Now that you have been fully versed on different types of window treatments available, you are better able to match your window treatment with the décor of your room as well as functionality.
Think in terms of what kind of décor you want to create.
Formal Décor: Dressy = floor length drapery with curtains, shutters or dressy shades. Tailored cornices and valances can also be added.
Country Décor: Casual = Floor length or short drapery. Café Curtains, ruffled valances and shutters work well here. Checkered , gingham and floral or busy patterns work well here.
Contemporary: This can range from casual to formal. Pleated drapes, exposed curtain rods, blinds, mini blinds and vertical louvers work well here. Clean lines and solid or simple patterns without all the “fancy fussy stuff" work here.
Rustic: Casual = these types of windows are often left bare or can be covered with casual drapery made of burlap, denim or loosely woven fabrics. If drapery is used it should be made of natural fibers, loosely woven, or heavy in texture.
Measuring Windows for Blinds
For blinds (inside frame) it is best to take 3 measurements on the inside of the frame of the window (3 measurements of length and 3 measurements of width). The narrowest measurement is the one you should go with if you are taking your own measurements. Often frames are not perfectly square and this will ensure a proper measurement first time without having to return to the store to have your binds or shades cut a second time to prevent them from sticking.
For blinds (outside frame) it is best to take 3 measurements from the outside of the frame of the window, length and width.
Measuring Windows for Drapery
First you must decide if you prefer a more formal ceiling to floor look or a more casual look and have the bottom of the curtain, drape onto the floor.
Then take your measurements accordingly as well as taking a measurement of the width of the window. A curtain will look much better if it is 3 times the width of the window for ample fullness of fabric. Often we don't purchase enough fabric and we are left with a skimpy look.
Casual decors can be more forgiving with simple drapery and can be easily purchased from a retailer.
For a more formal décor it is best to have a professional install and make your drapery to ensure a perfect result.
This article is a simplistic view on drapery and window coverings but is packed with enough information that it should give you a better idea on a look or feel to your room that you want to achieve. Budget will no doubt play an important role as well and can really only be determined by doing your homework and comparison shopping. Keep in mind that the most expensive retailer or custom drapery house is not always the best and the cheapest is often exactly that - cheap.
Choose fabrics that will wear well and stand the test of time.
Drapery will often fade if not lined or if placed in a very sunny window so keep this in mind and make budget allowances or lining to be added to your drapery.
Now go shopping and have some fun with it!
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© Silvana Rosati-Capizzano C. I. D.
© 2007 Silvana Rosati-Capizzano
Silvana is a well respected Interior Decorator, International Feng Shui Expert and the Principal of the Award Winning Home & Life Design Firm: Blue Avalon. Along with her years of study in Home Decor and Feng Shui, she has the unique ability of being able create luxurious interiors with balance and optimum energy flow thus creating a beautiful environment of positive energy, balance and harmony
Blue Avalon specializes in Interior Decorating, Feng Shui and Abundant Living. Blue Avalon is the publisher of The Blue Avalon Journal; a monthly e-zine packed with ideas, tips and insider secrets! To subscribe, log onto our website today at http://www.blueavalon.com and you will receive a bonus book, The Number One Feng Shui Secret That Will Transform Your Life!
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