A new husband, a new house and 47 bare windows would be enough to cause decorating stress in just about any woman. But Barbara Ellis had a plan.
Ellis and her husband, Jeff, recently purchased a new house and have been trying to make it look like home. The family room, located right off of the kitchen, has great windows that make it feel open and inviting during the day, but very visible at night. A combination of Roman shades and paisley draperies that enhance the earthy colors of the stone fireplace and a family heirloom armoire addressed their need for privacy while also adding warmth, softness and a burst of color to the room. "I knew what I wanted this room to be like," says Ellis. "But until I found just the right fabric, furniture and window treatment ideas it did not come together."
Here are tips to bring out the best in windows through your home.
Scale and Proportion are Key
The most common mistake made by homeowners when doing their windows is getting the proportions wrong. A valance or cornice that's too small. Draperies that do not stack off the window and cover up too much of the view. Skimpy side panels made with too few widths of fabric. These little design flaws make all the difference in the finished appearance of a window and a room.
Getting proportion right takes a good eye and a lot of experience. One size definitely does not fit all, so it can pay to have treatments created specifically for the windows in your home. Custom furnishings are often comparably priced to ready-made, and can represent great value when you factor in the time and expertise of professionals.
Functional or Decorative?
This has a lot to do with the design and proportion of a window treatment. Does it need to clear French doors? Protect from hot afternoon glare? Provide privacy? Or enable you to see a television or computer screen without an eyeshade? Understanding what the room requires will help create the appropriate design solution.
A room that requires privacy will need blackout shades or interlained fabric panels, wood blinds, woven wood or cellular shades to provide functionality. A second layer with soft fabrics and pleasing color accents adds an inviting decorative element. A more formal room might benefit from a third layer in the form of a valance, cornice or other top treatment.
The different elements of a room, or a window, should be in harmony. Even a simple decorative band of trim in a pretty, complementary pattern on a solid fabric panel can add visual interest to a window and tie in the other design elements of a room.
Finding the perfect window treatments for your home is all about the details. Using the right materials, determining the proper scale and proportion and addressing both functional and decorative concerns will help make your home more comfortable, more stylish and a distinct expression of your design savvy.