When determining what kind of treatments to put on your windows, your choice will vary based on which room it is in and your goals for each room. Some rooms require more of a utilitarian solution, where you want privacy, insulation and function. In other rooms, you want the window treatments to be more a part of the room's decor- wanting them to make more of a statement. When you are starting the design of a room, you really want to step back and look at the room as a whole and think about what it will take to create a unified vision; window coverings play a big role in a room’s unity.
You're forgiven if you don't know the difference between drapes and curtains (and yes, there is a difference). Here's a brief rundown:
Drapes: Generally, drapes are floor-length fabric panels with lining that are custom made. They can be working drapery (they fully open and close) or just decorative panels on each end of the window.
Shades: Also made of fabric, shades are attached to a rod or frame at the top, and there's a lifting mechanism (usually a cord) that raises the panel to let light in. Roman shades are a popular type of shade. These are also best custom made to fit your window and moulding.
Blinds: Like shades, blinds are attached to a headrail at the top and also have a lifting mechanism. They can be fabric, hard slats or louvers that tilt to let light in. You can find them in an array of materials, such as bamboo, plastic, wood, aluminum, or vinyl.
Keep In Mind
What is the goal?
Is it a bedroom where you want to block light during the night but let sunlight in during the day? Is it a dining room where the window covering will be more decorative than functional? Or is it a playroom where you need a more functional solution that is child safe?
Formal vs Casual
Are you going for a more formal look or one that is more casual. The look these days is less is more. Many people are opting for simpler look on their windows. Using a higher end blind on a window will often give a very decorative look without over powering the room. If you do want to add a bit more style to your room and windows, decorative panels are always a good way to go.
Form vs Function
How will the window covering be used in a room? Is it a kitchen where the blinds will be used every day or is it a living room where they will be almost never touched? Generally, if you are going to be opening and closing a treatment often, opt for blinds. They are far more structured and durable. They will stand the test of time. Drapery should be used more as a decorative element. Not to be fussed with much. Obviously, you can layer your windows to get the best of both worlds.
Window Throughout The House
You want the window covering throughout the house to feel cohesive. When you are renovating or building a home you many need to buy treatments for the whole house. I recommend similar window treatments throughout the home, then dressing them up or down depending on the room.
For example, I like doing natural woven shades throughout the house for continuity, but then in more formal areas like living rooms and dining rooms, we will add side drapery panels to coordinate with the overall look of the room. I also like to keep the blinds used the same color throughout that works with the color of the molding. This give you the most flexibility over time. You really don't want to have to replace the blinds when you redecorate down the line.
Keep In Mind
Decorating your windows and home can be overwhelming but window covering are often the "icing on the cake" in any room. Choose what styles and options you are naturally drawn to. If you have any questions on selecting window covering feel free to reach out to me.