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Window Treatment Design Basics


Window coverings should be both functional and decorative. If you don't know where to start with window design, read this first.

Are you staring at a blank window in your home or tired of looking at drab old drapes day after day? Imagining a new window treatment is one of the most difficult challenges in decorating.

Before you begin the trek through fabric choices and shutter shades, it may help to know a few basics. If you have the luxury of consulting a professional, do so. They will be your most valuable resource for the latest trends and greatest selection. If you choose to go the do-it-yourself route, you'll need to apply a few design principles.

Look around your home. What type of lines, styles, and colors do you see? You may be the traditional type or perhaps you're more informal and contemporary. Is your furniture patterned or neutral? Study the shape of your windows and patio doors.

If you have a room that is already stocked with patterns, including upholstery and wallpaper, a solidly colored window application might be the best accent. Solids and white walls will benefit from complementary colors or patterns.

Find the focal point of your room; it may be a wonderful Oriental rug, heirloom furniture, or even a special art collection. If none of these stand out to you, perhaps the window treatments should be the star of your environment.

To add fresh patterns to a room, fabric draperies or swags will be the answer. For contemporary or bold and solid styling, blinds, shutters, or shades may be the dramatic touch you need. Look for a balance; complement and tie objects together without overdoing. Be careful with bold patterns in small rooms; they tend to smother rather than open up space.

Warm up cold and uninviting rooms with shades of blues and greens. For an outside-in look, select woodsy shades. To create an energetic space, use yellow and red tones.

Use textures to adjust the environment. Heavy fabrics denote a traditional feel while light airy materials can add country charm. For a contemporary look, wood blinds and shutters are room-brightening components.

You can change the size of "problem" windows with drapery. Just extend sideways or upward with your materials. Don't cover too much space, though, or your room might appear to be dwarfed by the "giant" curtains. If you just want to change the look of existing drapes, try adding a swag or changing out the rods and finials. You can also adjust the height of tiebacks to achieve a different effect. Raising or lowering the tied-back effect is a simple change that can make a noticeable difference.

When adding layers, remember one of the rules of art; odd numbers add interest, so think in layers of three and probably no more than that. On the other hand, you can make an artistic statement by placing vases or sculpture in front of the window or to the sides - two pieces to the left and one to the right.

While you want to keep the latest trends in mind, it's also important to install items that suit your personal taste. Trends will come and go, but personal style will pass the test of time.

Click here for information about choosing "hard" treatments versus "soft."


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