Lighten Up Your Window Treatments

The days of heavy-handed window treatments are over.

It’s time to lose the hefty cornices, ornate hardware, overdone tassels and trim, and opt for window treatments that offer warmth and style, and still let the light shine in.

So whether you revise or redo your window treatments, here are some decorating ideas from local interior design experts Victoria Lidstrom and Carol Carani of Leggy Bird Designs, and Steven Rosengren, retail market manager, Room & Board.

Timeless and tasteful window treatments

Window treatments add warmth to a space and finish a room. But that doesn’t mean they have to steal the show.

  • Drapery and shades can be beautiful backdrops to the décor in your room. Follow design “trends” with more versatile elements in your room like pillows and accessories.
  • It’s easy to get tired of something that’s over-stylized, Rosengren says. Fashion is fleeting, but style is timeless. Classics like pinch pleat draperies and roman shades will always remain relevant, no matter your décor.

home-drapes-pinch
Simple pinch-pleat drapes add warm and style with privacy from roller shades, by Room & Board.

Decorate with clean lines and natural materials

While the current trend leans toward simpler, more eco-friendly elements, it’s safe to say clean lines and natural materials have everlasting appeal.

home-drapes-natural
Simple yet luxurious drapes layered with fabric shades create a rich, neutral backdrop to a richly textured bedroom, by Leggy Bird Designs.

  • For Leggy Bird Designs, natural woven shades are a standby, beautiful on their own or layered with drapery. They offer infinite versatility in texture and color.
  • Ornate hardware with its glitzy finishes and large finials tend to overwhelm a window and its view. Instead, opt for leaner, simpler wood, bamboo and metal rods.
  • Natural materials like linen and bamboo balance our need for privacy and the desire for more light in our northern climate.
  • Regardless what you use, make sure to choose high-quality materials for functional window treatments to ensure that your investment lasts.

Patterned fabrics can work

Not every style or room needs neutral solids, and gorgeous, patterned fabrics will always be in style. The trick is to keep the design timeless.

home-drapes-pattern
Patterned drapes don’t overwhelm a room grounded by rich wall color and natural woods, by Leggy Bird Designs.

  • Let the fabric speak for itself; limit the use of trims and decorative hardware to keep it light.
  • Carani and Lidstrom recommend using a geometric as it’s easily paired with other patterns and accents and can go traditional, modern or in between.
  • Make sure it’s a pattern you really love and not just a whim.

Drapery still a good decorating idea

Drapery is probably the most versatile and “mobile” window treatment.

  • More than a few times, Leggy Bird has worked with clients to retrofit drapery used in a former house to a new setting—by adding a panel of fabric to the bottom third of the drapery, using decorative panels rather than functional drapes for a larger window, or raising the height of the rods.
  • Drapery continues to be the biggest seller in the Room & Board line, largely because of its ability to offer function and flair. Even more contemporary treatments like ripple fold drapery read as timeless and fit with any décor, particularly when fabricated of natural linens or silken sheers.

home-drapes-ripple
While contemporary in feel, ripple fold drapery add timeless style to a transitional room, by Room & Board.

Consider the “no treatment” window option

Why not let the architecture of your windows make a style statement, suggest the gals at LeggyBird. Whether your goal is to let the most light in or preserve the view, think about ways to create privacy from the outside in, whether using landscaping or a garden wall.

home-drapes-none
In lieu of window treatments, Leggy Bird Designs uses a garden wall to ensure privacy while highlighting the strong architecture of the windows.

Preserve your investment

Regardless of style, custom window treatments are an investment. Rather than ditch treatments that may be over-stylized or dated, consider working with a professional to brainstorm ways to repurpose or reuse what you’ve already got.

Lidstrom and Carani offer a few suggestions:

  • Remove heavy swags, jabots and valances, but keep the drapery panels.
  • Swap out ornate drapery hardware (rods, finials) for simpler, cleaner designs.
  • Remove decorative trim or tassels.
  • Paint the walls in your room.