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Choosing a window treatment


You have so many window treatment choices today; how do you decide on style, color, and whether to choose draperies, blinds, shades, or shutters?

When choosing window treatments, color choice may be the most difficult decision. Following that is deciding the type of installation. Study magazines and visit window treatment stores to get a better idea of current styles and what will fit your budget.

Lifestyle and location may solve the dilemma for some people. Active families with young children may prefer low-maintenance window coverings. Today's blinds, which are in the category called "hard" treatments, are made with childproof cords or have eliminated string mechanisms altogether.

Your personal design preferences will also help in the ultimate decision. Traditional stylists encourage the use of fabrics, or "soft treatments, for window coverings. Heavy damask with swaths of complementary material sweeping to the ground is the ultimate in tradition. Tab top drapes are casual in style while sheers or gingham style patterns are terrific for a country look.

Consider functionality as well as design. Are you seeking privacy or would you prefer full access to that spectacular view? Do you want to keep sunshine out or let it in? Keep the noise factor in mind. Fabrics will deaden noises; hard treatments such as blinds and shades will have very little effect on intrusive sounds.

Vertical lines versus horizontal shapes also should influence your decision. Vertical is somewhat more formal while horizontal blinds are casual. Blinds are manufactured in a wide range of price and quality categories. At the higher end, you'll find stunning wood blinds; in the middle range, faux wood styles are popular; and at the lowest end, aluminum blinds are a bit more durable than the blinds that some of us will remember from our first apartment.

Shades have climbed up the social ladder as well. They are very different from the paper rollups with the fragile spring wind mechanism of years past. You can choose from pleated and honeycomb styles or move up to woven or fabric shades. Roman shades are the ultimate in this category with prices to match. They, like blinds and other shades, can be paired with fabric drapes and valances for a layered effect.

Shutters are making it to the indoor scene. They are typically white or natural wood and offer less design flexibility. You will lose a bit of view with shutter installations; plus, you'll sacrifice some UV blockage.

Now, we are back to the versatility of curtains. One great advantage of fabric is you can make your own if you own a sewing machine. So many styles are easy to make; it's worthwhile to shop around for great bargains on material.

Tab-tops, pinch pleats, and rod pockets are just a few design choices. Add swags, valances, and unique rods with finials for a professional touch. Make matching tie-backs or create accents for added depth. You have ultimate creative sway when making your own drapes.

You don't even need to complete this creation all at once. Install blinds or shades and add draperies in a few months or a few years when you are ready for a remodel. Don't be afraid to experiment with fabrics and colors. Beauty is indeed in the eye of the beholder and when you find the proper balance, you'll know it.

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