The windows of your home are the eyes to the outside, and how you view the world could make a big difference in your day. Putting just the right frame around your window is more than just emphasizing a view; it also helps set the inside ambiance and adds comfort and connection to your living space.
There are many options when it comes to choosing the right window treatment -- curtains, blinds, draperies, window shades, film -- and then comes selecting the fabric, color, density and more. Choosing the right window treatment is based strongly on your needs -- for example, privacy, temperature control, the room's use, the amount of light and, of course, the view. Depending on where you live and whether you're in a homeowners association, you may also have to consider the view from the outside.
Cellular shades are great for both privacy and energy efficiency. From the side, these shades resemble honeycombs. Their qualities depend on how many rows of cells there are, but to varying degrees, cellular shades let in light, maintain privacy and help to insulate against extreme temperatures. These shades might be super choices for bathrooms, first-floor bedrooms and other places where privacy and light are coveted. Cellular shades not only come in a variety of colors but also have options such as the ability for the top to be lowered and the bottom to be raised, also referred to as a top-down/bottom-up shade, and can even be fitted with motorized pulls that can be controlled from across a room with a remote.
If you work nights and sleep during the day, have a young child who takes naps during the day or have an entertainment room that you need darkened for movies, then you need room-darkening shades, drapes or shutters with solid panels. Draperies lined with blackout lining, a very dense fabric that doesn't let light penetrate, are very effective at turning the daylight off. For maximum darkening effect, install floor-to-ceiling drapes that cover up to 18 inches on each side of the window frame. Drapes that go down to the floor -- or at least well below the windowsill -- are also a very modern decorating touch; the rod or track can be installed on the wall or the ceiling, depending on your preference. Cafe curtains, often used in kitchens, should brush the windowsill.
Window glass surrounding entry doors lets the light in but doesn't really afford you much privacy. Replacing the clear glass panels with stained glass or frosted panels will allow light while helping to protect your home from prying eyes. You can find self-adhesive vinyl that can achieve the same effect without the higher cost. Double-pane glass or insulated curtain panels will insulate the area, although the insulated curtains will cut down on the light. Remember that the thicker the fabric the less light it will let in.
Before choosing the fabric or color of curtains, take a good look at the room. Is it casual or formal? Formal fabrics often include heavier materials, such as heavy silk or velvet. These fabrics add lots of insulation and drape smoothly, but they also require frequent dry cleaning. Less formal fabrics include cotton, linen and wool blends. Choose contrasting, complementary or blended colors as they relate to your furniture. Blended curtains should be a few shades darker than the wall or pick up a subtle color from an accent piece, such as a throw rug. Contrasting colors will make the room pop and set a more casual tone. Select solid drapes or curtains if your furniture upholstery has strong patterns, and consider patterned drapes if your furniture pieces are solid colors. Remember that sheer curtains will let more light in, whereas denser curtains are good for room darkening and insulation.
Curtain rods should match the decor of the room. For a more cohesive look, don't mix distinctive time periods or metal finishes. Mount the brackets into studs where available, or use toggle bolts for added stability. Use a level to hang the curtains straight. Installation is often available from your local curtain shop. Ask for fabric swatches so that you can make your decisions in the room you are hanging the curtains in.