Window treatments—a catchall term for shades, blinds, shutters, and more—are one of the most impactful ways to make your new home feel cozier and more lived in. But once you start to explore your options (there are a lot) it can be easy to get overwhelmed. That’s why we asked experts to share the most important things you should know about window treatments, from the basics to the looks that are trending right now. Here’s what they had to say:
Window treatments are for so much more than privacy.
One of the first things you probably think of when you think of window treatments is privacy. And yes, window treatments can provide excellent privacy, says Adam Skalman, Vice President of Sales Development at The Shade Store. But they also offer a variety of other benefits. Solar shades, for example, can prevent glare and block UV rays, while blackout shades can create a more healthful sleep environment. Throughout your home, cellular shades can help moderate temperature, keeping heat in during the winter and keeping it out in the summer. And, of course, they can be decorative.
“Window coverings are truly the jewelry of a room and frame the views beyond,” says interior designer Martyn Lawrence Bullard. “I feel they finish a room and add warmth and comfort to a space.”
When considering your options, Skalman says you should take two main things into consideration: “what you would like your window treatments to accomplish in a space and how you would like them to look.”
Most window treatments can be motorized (and they work with your smart-home tech, too).
Smart shades are the new thing in window treatments, according to Jaret Nichols, co-owner and founder of TBES, which specializes in smart-home systems. These days nearly all of his customers want at least one motorized shade, and while most of his clients are creating custom-made window treatments, he says nearly all window treatments can be motorized. All you really need is a motor.
Popular brands include Lutron, HunterDouglas, Somfy, Control4, and Savant. Regardless of which brand of motor you choose or whether you have a professionally installed system or a DIY system, Nichols says almost all products have integration with Alexa, Google Home, and Apple HomeKit.
Window treatments can cost a lot of money, but they can also save you money.
When it comes to budget, there are plenty of affordable options out there: Cellular shades, wood, faux wood, or metal blinds, and roller shades are some of the most wallet-friendly options out there, according to Skalman. On the other end of the spectrum, there is no ceiling; the sky is really the limit, especially once you start adding in features like upholstered valances and automation. Want the option to have your shades be sheer or blackout? Considering blinds and drapes? Have to have Roman shades in heathered linen? It’s going to cost you.
The flip side is that window treatments can save you money by keeping heat out (and air conditioning costs down) or by keeping heat in (and reducing heating bills). The Department of Energy recommends looking for products with the Attachments Energy Rating Council (AERC) Energy Improvement rating to maximize savings, while Nichols suggests programming your system to lower the shades when it reaches a certain temperature. He also says that you can find specific fabrics, like KOOLBLACK, that reduce heat absorption and help your home stay cooler.
Colorful, patterned window treatments are having a moment.
Some fabrics and styles will always be in vogue. Linen, for one, continues to be the most popular choice in materials, according to Bullard: “Its durability, natural beauty, and texture is always a winner.” Interior designer Cortney Novogratz adds that a textured white sheer on a French rod is her favorite classic look.”It is a style that is complementary to so many decors,” she says.
But if you’re looking to make a statement with your window treatments, the time to do so is now. “Both color and pattern are back in a big way,” says Bullard. “Patterns, like vines and palm leaves, are very strong motifs that transcend time and place, whilst green seems to be a very strong color in the design world currently. Florals and even chintz designs are back and making bold statements, especially in blinds.” As for linen? “Plain linen is giving way to textures and exotic weaves like the Moroccan basket weave and tone-on-tone embroidery.”
Window treatments should make use of the full window space.
Both Bullard and Novogratz agree that the biggest mistake people make with window treatments is not taking advantage of the full window space, including the space above the window. “You can create an illusion that your ceilings are higher, but you need to utilize every part of the window and above to be successful,” Novogratz says. Bullard adds that seeing a gap between the bottom of the floor and the hemline of your drape is definite no. “Either touch the floor or allow a small cuff of fabric to gather at the floor.”
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