I’ve heard many people say that they’re unsure of how to dress their windows in a way that works for their requirements but also looks good. It’s no surprise then that ‘Window treatments’ is an entire chapter in an interior design textbook, and that there are soft furnishings consultants whose primary business is to design window treatments. But I want to show you that it really doesn’t have to be complicated for your window dressing to look beautiful and function well!
First things first, avoid short curtains as they never look good (this is my biggest decorating pet peeve). Another mistake I see all too often is curtains that are hung too low and cover up too much of the window from the sides. This visually reduces the size of a window and the light coming in. Here’s a very helpful infographic to illustrate these points:
Figuring out your window treatment starts with the following 4 considerations:
1. Privacy – Do you want to create privacy for a street-facing window?
2. Light – Do you want your room to have all the light that your windows are bringing in? Do you want to reduce sun glare in the day? Do you want to block out all light at night?
3. Acoustics and thermal – The addition of curtains or blinds can visually and literally warm up your room and reduce noise from outside as well the bouncing of noise inside (echo).
4. Aesthetics – Window dressings are a great opportunity to add colour and/or pattern, or they can be made to tie in with the wall colour to add softness and quiet elegance. Or perhaps you have a great view from your window that you don’t want to detract from and prefer a simple roller blind that is barely noticeable.
Window treatments don’t have to be the same throughout the house; in fact they really shouldn’t be as each space has different functions and requirements, so think of each room separately. If a room has multiple windows, the same type of treatment should be chosen for all the windows in that room. Case in point: Jessica Alba’s stunning guest house living room below:
This room has different sized windows, but the same design of curtains is used for all. The black strip on the leading edges of the curtain panels is such a fabulous idea!
The sweet nursery below also has multiple windows, each with a lovely blackout-lined roman blind in blue ticking fabric.
As seen in this nursery, blackout blinds are a great option for bedroom windows that have a radiator underneath. But what if you love the look of curtains in your bedroom yet have a radiator under the window? The answer is to layer a blackout blind with blackout curtains as shown in the room below:
In this traditional bedroom, the blind is drawn during the colder months, allowing the radiator to perform its function, while the curtains are drawn in warmer months when the central heating is off.
The image above is the large window in my son’s room showing a double layer window treatment. The bed is below the window so this ruled out curtains (because remember, short curtains don’t look good!). Privacy is not an issue, but the sun is blindingly bright on sunny mornings, so the solution was to have a sheer light-diffusing roller blind in the window recess, and a blackout roller blind outside the recess. Yes, you can layer two blinds! Layering isn’t just about a blind with a pair of curtains; it can be two types of blinds, two types of curtains on a double pole, or it can even be a triple layer treatment as I once specified for cottage design where the windows were street facing (voile panel for privacy), and there were radiators below the windows (roman blind drawn in autumn/winter, curtains drawn in spring/summer).
One of my favourite instagrammers Kristine @restoringlansdowne has layered sheer panels with blackout curtains on double curtain poles in her beautiful casual-chic bedroom.
This chic living room above faces a busy street so the light-filtering roller blinds are likely to be drawn most of the time, while the outer roman blinds are likely to be drawn at night for cosiness.
In the stunning living room above, black linen roman blinds look fabulous on the windows, and can be drawn to reduce sun glare in the day and add cosiness in the evening.
For large windows spanning a wall, light-filtering curtains work really well to diffuse sunlight when it is streaming in, while also making the space feel cosier. The wide dip dye linen curtains look stunning in this chic living space above.
With several stores selling curtain panels in long lengths and different sizes of roller blinds, you may be able to find a really budget-friendly solution that works for your windows, but off-the-shelf products may require a little alteration of the curtain hem or cutting the blind to size. Often, a made-to-measure solution is essential, like if you want to use a particular fabric, have really large windows, or need specialist blinds for Velux windows.
Many homes with extensions have Velux windows and a standard store-bought roller blind isn’t going to work. Luckily, Velux make a wide range of blinds, perfectly sized to your window. We are planning to renovate our home in the near future and as part of this, we want to make some changes to our loft space and add in Velux windows. Ever the planner (I can’t help myself), I’ve already been looking at the wide range of blinds available at Roofblinds.co.uk (a sister company of Velux). From light-diffusing blinds, to roller blinds, to blackout blinds and more, they have ranges to suit different types of spaces with several colour and pattern options, including cute designs for kids.
After all my talk of layering, I’m really liking the sound of the duo blackout blind which combines a light-diffusing pleated blind (to reduce sun glare in the day) with a blackout blind (to block out all light at night). Also on my list to consider is the blackout energy blind which not only improves insulation and blocks out light, but also has flexible positioning so that you can have it open at the top and/or bottom. If you have Velux windows that are in need of blinds, you can check out all their ranges here.
I think that’s the basics covered on this topic! Are you someone who loves or dreads dressing windows? If the latter, I really hope you find this post useful! Don’t leave your windows bare 🙂
This post is in collaboration with Velux. All words and opinions are my own, and image sources are linked.