Designer Tips For Choosing Curtains And Window Coverings

Many homes, both newly built and renovated, have large windows these days. With developments in window technologies, variety of styles and the desire to bring more of the outside in, it makes sense to incorporate as much glass as possible. There is a misconception that window coverings take away from the windows, obscuring the view and covering the beautiful trim. I, however, strongly disagree with this notion. If dressed properly, the window coverings will enhance both the function and style of a space.

Here are a few dos and don’ts to help you choose the perfect window treatments.


Layer your window treatments
Install a blind inside the window to provide the function of light filtration or privacy. Then add a fabric layer for decoration with a modern valance or drapery treatment.

Consider custom made drapery to get exactly what you want
Consult with a professional who can guide you in the selection process. The price of custom made drapery is considerably more than ready made but it is worth the investment. Choosing the perfect fabric, style and size will ensure you get exactly what suits your space and personality. Tip: to save money on custom fabric, install non-functioning drapery panels. Panels require much less fabric yardage than functioning drapery. Combine panels with a blind for privacy to get the look for less.

Save room in the budget for window coverings
The cost is often shocking to those who are new to the coverings market or have never stopped to consider it. Don’t end up having to compromise at the end of your project. These are the finishes you will touch, feel and look at every day, so they should be a high priority.

Opt for designer solar screens or shades instead of sheers
Gone are the days when we cover all the glass and hide behind a heavy veil of layered fabric. Sheers have gone by the wayside and have been replaced by modern roller shades with a variety of opacities, textures and colours to suit your décor.

If choosing ready-made panels over custom drapes, look for options with lining
They hang better and the lining will provide protection from fading due to sunlight. Ready-mades only come in certain lengths so be sure to choose a drape that is long enough and hem if required.

Shop early for options to avoid delays
Custom blind orders and drapery work usually has a lead-time of 3-6 weeks. As soon as the windows are finished on the inside begin the shopping process and get them measured. Avoid having to put sheets or garbage bags to the windows while you wait.

Make a list of needs and wants for each window
Bedroom windows require more privacy than the living room or kitchen. Window dressings should be chosen based on functionality first. This will help you narrow down the choices because it can be overwhelming.


Do not install short drapes
Drapes look best when they are installed above the window trim and fall to the floor. This draws the eye upward, adding visual height and expanse to a space. If there are baseboard heaters under the window, consider a fabric roman shade or blind instead. If drapes are installed on top of a heater they must be hemmed to avoid fire a hazard.

Don’t use tab top drapery panels
This look is dated and doesn’t function well. The tabs tend to stick in place on the curtain rod. If purchasing ready-made drapes opt for grommet style headers for style and ease of use. Match the metal of the grommet to the curtain rod.

Don’t install blinds outside of the window box or on the trim
Most blinds look and function best when installed inside of the window. There are some exceptions, such as fabric roman shades that may call for an outside mount. If you have nice trim around the windows, allow that to stand out by mounting the blind neatly inside.

Don’t use dated vertical blinds
There are modern solutions today for large windows and sliding doors. Consider solar screens or a sleek panel track system. This is a contemporary look that will provide the same function as a vertical blind.

Don’t leave the windows bare
This often seems like a great solution for those who have a more modern aesthetic and windows that offer a great view. But there are other factors to consider such as heat loss and gain, seasonal light filtration and fading of materials from UV rays. There are modern options that will solve these problems without taking away from the view, such as UV window film or solar shades.