How to Select Window Treatments

Windows might be your home's most compelling architectural feature—worthy of thoughtfully chosen coverings.

By Jan Soults Walker

Window treatments can be more than just pretty adornments for your rooms; they're also opportunities to boost function. Here's a look at what to consider as you peruse myriad options.

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Garrison Hullinger

Get the look

Without question, window treatments come in an unlimited variety—store-bought and custom-made—allowing you to create a look that's completely yours. You can select dramatic coverings that make windows a showstopping focal point, such as luxurious floor-to-ceiling silk panels, or opt for something sleek and clean-lined, such as blinds that rise and seem to become part of the window trim.

Search online, walk the aisles of home improvement stores, flip through magazines, and go on home tours to spark ideas and see for yourself the abundance of window treatment materials (including fabric, wood, metal, vinyl, and composites) as well as the endless array of styles, colors, patterns, and configurations available. You'll find plenty of options to complement your interiors, whether they are contemporary, casual, traditional, transitional, vintage, or something different altogether. As you shop, keep in mind that treatments aren't just viewed from inside the house but are also visible from the exterior.

Get ideas with Drapes & Curtains: Find the Best Fit for Your Room.

Set a budget

The cost for window coverings can add up when you have windows in several rooms or even an entire house. Shop around for the best value, which is not necessarily the cheapest, weighing quality versus costs. Find options that meet your budget as well as your aesthetic and utilitarian goals. It's a good idea to read online reviews and learn how the selection has worked for other homeowners in terms of durability and function.

Reflect on light control

Who doesn't love a light-filled room? That's one of the reasons windows are prized, yet there are times when a room can suffer from too much of good thing. If sunlight overheats a room during certain times of the day or fades upholstery, the room's windows are good candidates for window treatments with light-controlling capabilities.

Shutters are one option, offering louvers that adjust to let in no light, a little, or a lot. Swing them to the sides of the windows to completely open the room to views, natural light, and breezes.

Sheer panels can softly filter light and reduce glare too, as can translucent pleated shades.

Ponder privacy

For windows facing neighbors or the street, select treatments that offer privacy, especially at night. Blackout blinds or panels with blackout lining are one option to keep out prying eyes. They're also ideal coverings for sleeping spaces when you want to block light for day sleepers or during naps.

Blinds that rise from the sill allow you to leave a wide gap near the top of the window to allow a view of the sky and freeflowing sunlight, while providing privacy for anyone inside.

Boost insulation

Bare windows, even energy-efficient ones, allow heated and cooled air to escape your home, wasting energy dollars. Honeycomb blinds and fabric panels, especially lined ones, are two options that help keep rooms comfortable in the heat of the day or the cool of the night.

Get a lift

If convenience gives you a thrill, check out technology that lets you raise and lower or open and close multiple window treatments—a few or all—with the push of a button.

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