Window Treatments 101- Three Easy Steps to Successfully Cover Any Window

Covering a window is arguably one of the most important design elements of a room. It can tie a room together and give a polished look, or can look thrown together and undesigned. It can make or break a space. I have been in million-dollar homes with cheap or outdated window treatments that have completely ruined the design. On the flip side, I have also been in a small, rustic cottages with beautiful treatments that have made the home look styled, finished and more expensive than the million-dollar outdated ones.

Window treatments can give even the most confident decorators problems. Most people have no idea as to where to begin in making window treatment decisions. Hopefully, these three steps will help you to be well on your way to finding the perfect window treatments for your windows.


Step 1

Define the Purpose/Function of the Window Coverings

It is important to begin here so as to not waste time picking a covering you like and then finding it does not solve a problem you may have, or work within the space it needs to go. You may need to consider one or more of these options.

  • Privacy:  Most people have at least one room in their home that requires privacy. Do you have a view that looks into your neighbor’s yard, or does your neighbor look into yours? Then creating privacy is probably a top priority. This can be accomplished a number of ways depending on how much privacy you need. Your choices will range from sheers all the way to roller shades or shutters depending on the amount of privacy needed. You will have a wide variety of choices and should easily be able to find something that appeals to you and works in the space.
  • Temperature Control/UV blocking: Are your bills for heating or air conditioning outrageous? Does the glare on the television bother you? Then a top priority may be to use UV blocking or insulated window treatments. Cellular shades insulation qualities are known to make a big difference in keeping room temperature more comfortable and they save you money in heating and cooling costs. Solar Shades are another good option in this category. Blocking the rays of the sun in a room also help to protect your pictures, artwork, furniture, fabrics and floors.
  • Fashion/Aesthetic: If your only concern is fashion and aesthetics, then you are one of the lucky ones! You will be able to choose whatever appeals to you! Your choices will be blinds, shades, shutters or drapes. Top treatments such as valances are also a choice. Layering is also an option. An example of this is a Roman Shade layered with a side Drapery Panel. The sky is the limit. Your only problem may be narrowing your choices!


Step 2

Consider the Size and Shape of the Window

Does the window soar to the ceiling or is it a small window?  Is it long and tall or short and wide?  What shape is the window? The most common window shapes are rectangular, arched, circular, square and bay. Below are some examples of window shapes and the treatments that worked well with them.

Step 3

Consider How the Window Opens

Do not skip this step! This can cost you money and time!

Take a good look at the window. Does the window tilt out, slide, lift or open with a crank? These are very important considerations when choosing window coverings. There have been many frustrated people who have installed the incorrect window treatments for their specific windows only to find they have created a new problem. For instance, if you have tilt windows and you cover the area in front of the windows with shutters, you will not be able to tilt open the window. If you put wood blinds in a window with a crank you will not be able to put the blinds all the way down. Incidentally, most window treatments have options to solve problems, but you need to know what to expect before you choose your treatments and most definitely before your installation!


Following these three steps will help you to be well on your way to making a wise decision as to what window covering to choose for your window. I wish you nothing but beautifully covered windows!