Discount Window Treatment

Written by Blaire Chandler-Wilcox
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The biggest problem with many affordable apartments is their uniformity. You've got your one bedroom, living room, dining alcove, one-size-fits all, wall-to-wall carpeted space. Waist-high, five foot wide bedroom window? Check. One foot wide by two foot tall bathroom window? Check. Sliding glass door onto minuscule patio? Check.

Personalizing these ubiquitous apartments can be a challenge, particularly if you're living on a budget. However, you do have options, and they don't have to mean yelling "Charge!" at your local bed and bath store. Those square, bare windows offer worlds of decorating possibilities. Discount priced window treatments come in every imaginable option. You can literally transform the appearance of any room with a cleverly applied window dressing, and you may do so without having to dip into next month's food budget.

Emphasizing Design Lines

Let's take an average apartment living room with a sliding glass door as an example. Chances are the room itself is a bit boxy, with the ceilings rising flush to a fairly low ceiling. Let's say you've got white walls and a beige carpet. Consider a curtain rod that would run not just over the window, but along the entire wall, and not just above the window, but all the way up, where the wall meets the ceiling. For the sake of argument, imagine hanging several panels of neatly pleated, crisp, slightly stiff curtain fabric in whatever color you desire--the bolder the better: orange, yellow, or even cranberry red. The curtain line being moved high raises the eye line and makes the room appear considerably larger. Running the drape the entire length of the wall visually extends it, and emphasizes the squareness of the room, making it appear deliberately geometric. Rather than hide or deny the squareness of the room, you can acknowledge and even emphasize it. Select furniture with squared corners, and place them in specific geometric positions. Suddenly, your ordinary box appears chic and contemporary, and very well designed.

A softer approach, but one with equally dramatic benefits, would be the selection of translucent window treatments. Cellular shades can be found in beautiful neutrals which resemble Asian rice paper. In-frame mounts make the window appear harmonious with the rest of the room. Loosely woven bamboo shades also gently filter light, and give rooms with dark furniture against white walls a slightly tropical or safari feel. Wide roman window panels made from upholstery-weight fabrics also deliver a designer's geometric punch, and offer additional light blocking benefits.

Whatever your choice is, let the in-place design elements of the room be your guide. When working within a specific budget, it's always easier to emphasize line than to hide it. Make the room work for you, and you've got the chance to create an upscale look at down-scale cost.

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