The right window treatments can transform a room — they can be functional, providing privacy or light control, or they can be decorative, framing a view or softening a sea of hard surfaces. Curtains, shades, and valances are more than just a frilly extra. They can correct architectural problems, or they can highlight architectural features.
Here are a handful of examples:
Window treatments can correct mismatched window heights
This room is from an e-consultation client to help her make some decisions about this charming Maine vacation cottage rental property. She wanted to keep the casual, slightly rustic feel, but add new valances and wall paint. This presented an ideal opportunity to disguise the difference in height between the top of the window and the top of the door. Mismatched frame heights are a VERY common issue. To add some fabric and softness, I recommended a simple valance hung from a wrought iron pole and rings. Hanging the poles near the cornice molding draws the eye up, makes the door look taller and better proportioned and visually lifts the whole room. The fabric comes down to just cover the top of the sliding glass door, and the same rod height and length of valance is used on the adjacent window, totally obscuring the difference in height and creating a pleasing continuity.
Window treatments can highlight the ceiling height and change the proportions of the windows
This listing photo from a client’s recent purchase shows their pretty condo living room with its stunning countryside views and gracious 9’ ceilings. The previous owner left the curtain rods in place for panels on the French doors to the deck. By adding soft Roman shade valances to the windows flanking the fireplace and mounting them to match the height of the French door window treatment, we will highlight the generous ceiling height and create a more elegant proportion for the windows. Because the window treatments cover mostly wall, very little of the glass is covered and the light, airy atmosphere is preserved.
Window treatments can highlight the architecture and introduce softness
This is a city rental listing I came across for a small (and rather expensive) one bedroom apartment in a lovely older house. The listing photos are not doing it any favors. There are obviously nice high ceilings and hardwood floors. The bedroom features this large bay with 3 windows. This cinched curtain style has always baffled me. It offers neither privacy nor light control, yet it obscures the view so you have to bob and weave to see out. The panels are longer than the window, but don’t reach the floor, and hung inside the window frame they do nothing for the ceiling height or even really to soften the room. At best, these pony-tail-wearing-windows are having a bad hair day! A quick sketch of floor-to-ceiling panels on a continuous rod surrounding the windows gives an idea of what could be done instead. These soften the wall and give the impression of a continuous bay window while highlighting the ceiling height. They make a perfect backdrop for a bed or seating area. I do have to admire their consistency, though. Every. single. window. in this listing has the same horrid style of curtain…oh wait…one in the living room escaped the tourniquet. Huzzah! Maybe it will free the others…
Curtains offer a finishing touch that makes a room feel complete
When our client walked into her home for the first time after we installed these curtains, she stopped, speechless (an unusual occurrence, I assure you!). She couldn’t believe this was her home! She has lovely taste and had chosen beautiful, elegant furnishings, but it was the curtains that gave the room the finishing touch that it needed to really sing.
For more tips on designing, buying, and hanging curtains and window treatments, see these posts:
Dressing Difficult Windows (designing curtains for difficult windows like arched windows, Palladian windows, and windows with transoms)
If you don’t have time to order take out for dinner, much less wade through the myriad window treatment options to find the best solution for YOUR windows, we’re happy to help! Contact us to start the conversation.