Drape it, shutter it, blind it, shade it, some combination of these options or just enjoy the view? That is the question when contemplating a window treatment. Don’t you just love the expression “window treatment”… as if the window has been through triage and needs help!
As you may suspect, that’s not always true. If you have a beautiful view, sometimes the last thing you want to do is take attention away from what lies beyond. And, if privacy is not a requisite, that is exactly what I recommend. Sun control can be achieved with solar films or exterior awnings and extremely plain or unsightly windows can be painted or trimmed out leaving you to enjoy the great outdoors. In addition to creating a sense of space and bringing nature indoors, you have the added benefit of all of that natural light.
When you need privacy at times but still love the view, the best approach is to employ a window dressing that completely clears the window when not in use and closely matches the wall color. This enables it to somewhat disappear from consideration, therefore not stopping your eye at the window.
If you have a room that needs warmth and interest of fabric, noise absorption or simply more eye catching detail, a drapery or curtain design can provide any and all of that. Plus cornices and lambrequins never go out of style and can be covered in fabric, wall paper, natural woods, bamboo, metals and just about any other material you might imagine.
Shutters are extremely functional since they can direct the view, provide light control, close for total privacy or open completely. If you live in an environment with tons of humidity like Florida, you might consider the polywood shutter products as an alternative to wood. They are hard to distinguish from one another, so you are not sacrificing appearance over function and you may experience a savings as well. Probably the only drawback to shutters is the dusting chore, but at least you avoid the dry cleaning associated with fabrics.
Woven woods are a beautiful alternative to consider since they come in so many finishes, styles and materials. They can roll, fold, or draw depending on your preference and window dimension and can range from room darkening to light filtering. You also have the option of top down or bottom up to better control light and view.
The newest innovations include shades and verticals in materials that offer privacy, view, and sun control or total sunblock with all of the varieties of applications, textures, and subtle colors you could imagine.
With the advent of volume ceilings in so many new homes, mechanized tracks have been perfected for most all window dressings and can be operated with a simple remote control. They can also be set on timers (like most everything else in our lives) to open and close on a pre-set schedule.
One of my personal favorites for windows is leaded glass. Beveled, obscure, colored, etched…the types of glass are endless as are the patterns and pictures that can be rendered in this timeless expression of art. Plus, they can be installed or simply suspended within the frame. And they can be new creations that reflect your personal style or interests, or they can add a touch of antiquity when selected from the many salvaged pieces available.
If you are renting or leasing a space with windows that need “treatment”, there are many readymade solutions out there in the home improvement stores that are inexpensive alternatives to the custom covering. Draperies, curtains and shades can often be cut down to accommodate differing window sizes and travel with you when you eventually move on. Top treatments, side panels and moldings can be added to whatever window privatization is provided to personalize the windows to your style at very little cost. Just get permission from the owners before you start adding your own touch.
Your ultimate window covering or treatment will ultimately be determined by architectural requirements, budget, and style. Whatever you choose, if it is custom it is costly, so do your research, get several bids, and ask for referrals.
Cheryl Turner Perotti
Fountainhead Design Consulting