Top tips for dressing windows

Window dressings are essential for privacy and practicality, but how can you best use them to add style to your space? With a broad array of options available, interior expert Joanna Thornhill shares 8 top tips to help you make the perfect choice.

  1. Consider the space

Your room itself may well dictate the type of treatment that’s appropriate. Always choose with its function in mind…

  • Avoid heavy curtains and drapes in rooms where ventilation is important
  • Moisture-resistant blinds are a better option in bathrooms and kitchens to handle condensation
  • Sheer curtains in living rooms or home offices work well to allow light while maintaining privacy
  • Blackout linings for curtains and blinds in bedrooms offer complete darkness for better sleep
  • Opting for roller blinds or shutters in kitchens can help with ease of cleaning

You can also use your choice to manipulate proportions or disguise awkwardly placed windows. Such as hanging roman blinds higher to make a short window look taller, or using wide curtains to make a narrow window appear wider. You could even cover a wall of oddly positioned windows with a single full-height curtain to create a cohesive look.

  1. Choose Your Treatment Type

Once you have the space in mind, you can turn your attention to the range of treatments to choose from…

Shutters: Ideal for a modern, streamlined look, providing light and privacy control.

Roller Blinds: Suitable bathrooms or home offices, allowing light to filter through while maintaining privacy.

Roman Blinds: Perfect for adding a touch of texture to living rooms, dining areas, or bedrooms, where a refined yet functional window treatment is desired.

Sheer voiles: Excellent for creating a light, airy feel in sunrooms or open-plan living areas.   

Curtains: Often used for more traditional or luxurious aesthetics, making a bold statement or subtly supporting your interior scheme.

  1. Play with Patterns and Layering

Depending on your choice, window dressings can be a great opportunity to add some colour and pattern to your room, or pair the space back with a more subtle choice. Curtains and blinds are an easy way to introduce a pop of pattern and colour without overwhelming the space; as the pattern is only fully visible when blinds are down or curtains are closed.

You could also combine different fabrics and treatment types to add depth and texture, enhancing the room’s softness.

  1. Combine Curtains and Blinds

As well as for aesthetics, combining curtains and blinds can give you greater control over light levels, or to frame a statement window. Blackout-lined blinds paired with airy drapes can help add softness to a bedroom whilst still providing practicality. Or combine shutters with sheer voiles to diffuse light and harsh shadows, especially for large windows.

  1. Soften Kitchen and Bathroom Spaces

Kitchen and bathroom windows can often be sterile spaces, requiring treatments that are moisture-resistant and well-ventilated. Blinds or shutters are often the best choice, but they needn’t be plain and boring! Softness and texture can be brought in with synthetic materials that have a natural fabric look. I always advise clients to order swatches to see these materials in situ before making a final decision

  1. Decide on Custom-Made or Ready-Made

Custom-made curtains and blinds are sometimes the only practical way to get perfectly fitted designs into awkward spaces, such as bay windows or those with unusual shapes. They also allow you to have more choice over the lining, header type, and overall look.

However ready-made options can provide more budget-friendly solutions. If you’re for a little DIY, you could even try taking up a trailing curtain or using iron-on fabric glue to achieve your perfect length. Or personalise with trimmings or a statement curtain tie-back.

  1. Be Generous with Fabric

If you are opting for curtains, generous fabric allowances allow you to create a sumptuous look. As a rule of thumb, curtains should be at least 1.5 to 2 times the window’s width, but you can go up to 3 times for a more luxurious feel. You should also ensure your curtains go all the way to the floor rather than leaving an awkward gap, though consider how far you want the curtains to drape: would you prefer them to just ‘kiss’ the floor or pool onto it?

  1. Enhance with Tops and Linings

There are plenty of top and lining options for your window dressings that can help enhance your style or add practical finishes.

Consider eyelet or tab top headings for a laid back touch, or sleek and structured headers like pencil or pinch pleat for a contemporary finish.

Opt for thicker thermal linings and potentially interlining or blackout fabric for a fuller, more sumptuous, and draught-free finish. For rooms where you want to maintain a lighter feel and allow more natural light, choose unlined or light-filtering curtains, which offer a breezy, airy aesthetic while still providing some privacy and softness.

By following these steps and keeping these tips in mind, choosing window dressings needn’t be daunting, and will enhance both the style and functionality of your space. Whether you’re aiming for a modern look with sleek shutters and blinds, or a more traditional feel with curtains, the right window treatments can transform your room!

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