Types of Window Treatments

Window treatments can dress up a room, provide privacy, help control temperature, and protect furniture from the sun. Window treatments can be a statement on their own, or can be chosen to combine with other fabrics in the room, such as upholstery, table linens, towels and shower curtains, and bedding.

Some manufacturers offer entire room ensembles, whether for the bath, bedroom, or living room, and all readymade. At the other end of the spectrum, at some establishments, you can custom design your own window treatments, drawing upon a large array of available fabrics. Or you can buy fabric and sew your own window treatments using patterns from companies like Vogue, Butterick and Simplicity.

A Variety of Window Treatments

There are many different types of window treatments, each of which adds a unique combination of attributes to a room.

Window Shades—With many choices of material and style, window shades are one approach to decorating a window. Window shades may be made of fabric or other materials, for example bamboo and other woods. Insulating shades include options such as honeycomb or cellular shades and window quilts. The shade styling may also vary, with choices such as flat, pleated, and roman. Special effects include motorized shades, skylight shades, and shades that fit between double- or triple-paned glass.

Window Blinds—Blinds can be made of wood, aluminum, and the two basic choices are horizontal blinds and vertical blinds. There are mini-blinds with slats that measure 1” (2.54 cm), micro-blinds that measure ½” (1.27 cm), and larger blinds as well, in slat sizes ranging from 1 3/8” to 3” (3.5 cm to 7.6 cm). Like shades, blinds can also be found fitted between double- or triple-paned glass.

Shutters—Indoor shutters, made of wood or vinyl, are another alternative to a fabric window treatment. Clean and neat, they can be swung to the side, or left opened or shut in place, providing a variety of lighting and privacy options.

home institute 1Draperies or Drapes—Draperies are window treatments constructed of heavy fabrics that hang straight down, often in the role of a curtain. They may be lined or unlined, and are often found in a traditional set of fabrics including chenille, damask, moiré, satin, tapestry, and velvet.

Draperies are often made to hang on a traverse rod, with which they open and shut. They can be pre-made and available in standard lengths or custom made. There are a variety of pleating styles available, including barrel pleats, goblet pleats, pencil pleats, pinch pleats, reverse pleats, and tack pleats.

Curtains—Curtains are lighter weight pieces of material that hang in a window opening, usually from a curtain rod. They may have a rod pocket sewn into the top, or have a tab top. Curtains may hang in place or open to the side with tiebacks, or be drawn to one or both sides by sliding them over the curtain rod.

Popular curtain fabrics include chintz, cotton, gingham, lace, organza and voile. Curtains may be plain, tiered, or ruffled. Short curtains, called café curtains are often used on half windows in the kitchen or bathroom.

Top Treatments—By themselves, or paired with curtains, shades, blinds, or draperies, top treatments are a way to add something extra to a room. Available in a wide range of styles, frequent offerings include a variety of valences or swags. Some types include, cascade, blouson valence, balloon valence, fluted valence, handkerchief valence, jabot and swag, pleated valence, and scarf valence.

Written by Mary Elizabeth

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