Window Coverings

Written by Blaire Chandler-Wilcox
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We've all faced empty rooms with bare, square windows and thought, "How do I make this space my own?" The first thing many of us do is imagine new furnishings: a couch here, the television there, perhaps an end table over here. But smart home decorators look first to the windows, and imagine how different treatments will affect the space.

Windows: Creating the Soul of a Room

The windows, and how you choose to cover them, can have the single most dramatic impact on a room's feel. Imagine a square living room, with a square plate glass window, with hardwood floors. Different window treatments will transform the quality of that room in an instant.

Think about the window, covered with a crisp pleated shade, in a pale, lightly translucent white. Suddenly, you've got a decidedly Asian atmosphere. Now replace that pleated shade with a deep teak-stained wood blind; now the room is more den-like. Remove that picture, and install in your mind neat, white, double hung shutters. Voila: a cool beach cottage. Trade that out for a wide Roman shade made from raw silk and you've got a casually sumptuous drawing room.

Learning What You Like

The best first step is to refer to every single home decorating magazine you can get your hands on. Arm yourself with scissors, a good writing pen, a folder, and some sticky notes. Cut out every picture that features a window, and make notations directly on the page about what you like.

You may discover that bamboo shades convey a tropical feel that you'd never considered for your living room. Or that bright orange mini blinds are quite fun in that picture of the modern looking kitchen. Perhaps the bathroom seems much more restful with that delicately woven wooden blind. It pays to keep an open mind and take a second look at things you might not normally consider.

There are no hard and fast rules to selecting window coverings. The only things most home decorators need to keep in mind are safety, and for potential home-sellers, curb appeal. In terms of safety, if you've got small children, you are best advised to avoid installing corded blinds anywhere in your home, since they can pose specific dangers to toddlers and infants. In terms of curb appeal, if you choose different treatments for the front windows (curtains in the bedrooms, shutters in the bathroom, blinds in the kitchen, etc)--you should strive to select coverings with common-color backs so that the view from the street is harmonious.

In years past, budgets often dictated how high into "blue sky" thinking home decorators could soar. But thanks to the wide variety of discount retailers available--not only in regular stores but online as well--would-be home decorators have a much wider variety of window coverings from which to choose. Chances are, no matter which environment you decide to create out of your square box, the corresponding window treatment is both available and affordable.


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