If windows are the eyes of the home, then window dressings are the style in which we gaze out into the world. We may decide to use old-world ruffled drapery to frame a lovely garden view or layers of sheer curtains to create sophisticated privacy. For whatever reason we choose our window dressings, one thing we know is that they have the power to dramatically change the look, feel and atmosphere of a room.
Curtains and blinds play important functional roles in providing shade and privacy, protecting furniture from fading and reducing excess sunlight or deflecting heat. At the same time, they offer incredible opportunities for building colour, texture and variety into the existing style and mood of a room.
So how can you create stylish window dressings that create just the right balance of all these needs? From sun-filtering gauzes to lavish drop curtains, here are the 8 steps to window perfection.
In the past curtains were often thick, heavy or lined, which become problematic when trying to dress a room in a minimalist style. Nowadays, interior designers such as Asana (as seen in this example) have re-designed the approach towards window dressing to allow for a more refined look. A larger variety of weights and colours have become available and a series of gauzy and silky fabrics are often used to layer and build window dressings for a delicate balance of privacy and light.
Layering with a sheer curtain allows glimmering light to pass into your room and create a soft lighting effect. While adding heavier layers also gives the option of further privacy at night. Consider how a light weight fabric might fall to the ground and a heavier one may not fold at the edges as crisply.
It's best to keep the fittings less formal to avoid any bulkiness at the seams and use a simple curtain rod to retain the sense of ease and simplicity inherent in this style.
Blinds are perfect for a practical and simple approach. They don't fade from sunlight as material curtains do and have excellent insulation properties to create clean geometric lines. What's better is that you can customise almost any blinds to fit your specific style, size and need.
Another benefit with blinds is that you have more control over the length of the shade throughout the day. It's perfect for bedrooms where you may want to use blackout blinds to stop the sun light coming in for a sound early morning sleep-in. You can also combine the functionality of blinds with the decorative potential of curtains. This allows you to think of a combination of colours, heights or styles that will work together for your home.
There is no law that you have to add elements to style your window. If you don't normally close your curtains you may not even need them, such as in this example. Large windows that allow for a perfect view to the outside world is a great way to filter in natural light into the home. A minimalist window dressing is also a powerful way to highlight a natural view outside or even the simplicity of a large and beautiful clean-cut window frame. Of course, this should best be avoided in a bedroom that has a lack of outside foliage for privacy or one that filters in too much sunlight.
Valances were traditionally used to cover the pleats at the top of a curtain rail and hide bulky rings or fittings. With heavy curtains used less often, valances are now used more for their decorative function. See how this valance in a Rajiv Saini design creates a clean visual line from the lovely hardwood floor up to the ceiling.
Valances can also be used to play with more whimsical choices as the smaller space they occupy means you can get away with bolder choices or for little burst of colour.
A delicately patterned fabric can tame and soften the bolder colour choices in a room. Alternatively, bolder colours such as this design by Dutch based company Chivasso BV can add more daring to your colour scheme.
Keep in mind that bolder colours will fade quickly, but that may not be a problem if you change your curtains regularly, but don't be afraid to experiment. Compared to other design elements, fabrics are relatively inexpensive to replace and change according to the season. Think of it as tweaking your design choices and accentuating the personality of a room.
People are often wary of mixing patterns in their fabrics, but with a common colour scheme, even the most daring choices can work together. Here, --- have matched the green check fabric with the greens in the floral print. The green is even mirrored in the fabric of the cushions.
Another common approach is to repeat the pattern within other fabrics in the room. An exact match may be overwhelming, so varying sizes and colours can be a more subtle approach.
Tip—if you choose a large pattern, keep it neatly fitted to a small window so it doesn't overwhelm the other elements in the room.
Interior shutters were originally used when glass wasn't available. These days shutters have become a popular option for inside the home.
The prime appeal for many is the easy access for light control. This is great for those who like to be able to control just the precise amount of light spill throughout the day. They also allow air circulation while offering privacy.
While shutters can be fitted to virtually any window size, it's important to consider matching them to the window style, as in, using two shutters for a window with two panes. Solid inflexible shutters should be avoided because they lack the flexibility for light and air circulation control.
They also take up very little space and can be used to provide a very clean design element in a small or minimalist space. Solid panels can also be used if there is a need to completely shut out noise and light.
Cafe shutters as shown here only cover the lower portion of a window, which is great for street level windows that need privacy without blocking out too much light.
For more ideas of decoration, have a look at: Budget Bedroom Hacks: how to decorate your bedroom for less