Choosing window treatments for your home can seem like a daunting task. Because it is the look that finishes a room, fear of making the wrong choice for curtains or shades can paralyze you as you wander through any home décor store. From length to design, window treatments show your style while also being functional, so choosing them can seem overwhelming. Your fear is understandable and completely justified. Get it wrong and your window treatments will be more of an eyesore than a beautiful addition to your décor. Trying to determine textures of draperies, while also finding complimentary shades to complete a dramatic look, is sometimes better left to the professionals. With years of experience, contacting a local designer might be a be a better option to give your windows a stunning makeover that will make you fall in love with your home all over again.
Maritza Elliott from Elegance by Maritza in Millers Tavern, Virginia, says, “Consulting a professional means that you to get exactly what you want. You may be able to go to a store and buy a panel, but when you get home it might not be what you were hoping for at all.” Maritza has been helping her clients find the perfect look for any room for years. “The best part about hiring a professional is that I don’t stop until the look is perfectly tailored to my client’s windows and room.” Maritza ensures that every treatment is a perfect fit and works until the windows are what her client desires.
Maritza loves working with long panels to give any home a wonderful, dramatic look that feels warm and inviting, but she really enjoys creating a simple, elegant style. She says, “I walk into a room, and I can give my client ideas and help them create their perfect look.” Using Roman shades and panels, Maritza’s favorite materials are linen and cotton. “They are wonderful to work with because they make a room feel warm and inviting. Sheer silk is also very beautiful and will complete any look.”
According to local designer Cathy Lloyd of Feather Your Nest in Warsaw, window treatments should be chosen to frame your window. Whether your draperies simply brush the floor or gently flow into puddles, Lloyd believes that your window treatments should soften the edges of your view and add to the décor of your room.
Cindy has a degree in interior design and knows that window treatments have to go beyond design. She says that homeowners should use materials they love, choosing colors that complement their surroundings.
“Most people are drawn to fabrics that are more tone on tone, so as they blouse and bunch, the look adds texture, weight and style to their rooms. The window treatments should draw interest while still being a backdrop,” Cindy says. She also adds that curtains and shades, “should lend a supporting role to the main theme of a room.”
In our area, window treatments serve more than just decorative support to your room. We are blessed to live in an area that is rich in amazing natural views. Because of this, Cindy has noticed less of a trend of having one style of window treatment throughout a home.
“Sleek, clean lines are the current style,” says Cindy. She also says that hot colors for her clients have been bright, clear colors like blues, greens, bright yellows and corals. She has also seen a trend towards pinks that range from bright into shades of blush. However, she states that, “Grays are currently still the trending neutral.”
Many designers agree that living along the coastal waters of Virginia, window treatments must also be functional. The sun rising over the waters or setting over the horizon is always a beautiful sight, but the damage that it can do to furniture can be better controlled with proper window treatments.
If choosing a style still seems monumental, perhaps it would be easier to begin with how you would like the window treatments to function. For instance, if the window you are looking to treat needs lighting control in the mornings or evenings, the choice of style and fabric would be limited by your need for function. However, while considering styles you may also want to consider the mood of the room. For a more formal space, you may want to consider a heavy silk or velvet. This type of material would serve a dual purpose as it adds texture and depth to the mood of the room, while the weight of the material is a natural light barrier.
If you are looking to make the curtains the center of attention, you may want to choose a color that pops, while still blending with the tone of the room. Ann Carpenter of Ann Carpenter Designs in Kilmarnock has years of experience helping homeowners tackle issues like controlling light, while maintaining the look and feel of any room.
Ann loves to work with neutral shades. “There is nothing more beautiful than a panel of neutral colors. With ivories, creams and whites, you can frame any window,” says Ann. “We live in an area that is so visually beautiful that I don’t want to compete with the natural view. I want to frame it.”
Ann’s passion is to work with linen panels. With many homes on the bay, building texture into the frame of the scenery is what she encourages her clients to embrace. By using layers of linen panels along with her other favorite window treatment, Roman shades, she builds a look that her clients love. “By using these elements we are able to add layers of fabric that protect furniture and décor from the harsh rays of the sun while still maintaining a classic, clean look and controlling light,” says Ann.
As she travels from home to home, Ann has developed a keen awareness for the trends and styles in window treatments preferred by those who live on the bay. “Blues are going to be fabulous this year. They are a natural choice for those who live on the water. From pale to navy, they are gorgeous and perfect colors for those who live the coastal life,” says Ann.
She also says that navy is making a comeback this year, and she is very excited to see this classic reappear. She also says that one of the most important functions to remember is privacy. By incorporating her passion for the clean look and feel of linen with the functionality of Roman shades, she has found a perfect look and feel for her clients, while helping them to maintain their privacy without sacrificing beauty.
Talking with many designers, one of the most important ways to help narrow down the best window treatments for your home or room is to look at what you already have in the room. For instance, if you have patterned furniture or bedding, most designers will encourage you to complement the patterns with solid curtains. Likewise, if you have solid colored furniture, then consider adding texture and dimension to your room by using patterned window treatments.
Pam Deihl of The Pedestal in Kilmarnock has been creating window treatments for more than thirty years. Pam encourages working with photos, comments, and articles to achieve the look that pleases you. She says that the most important input that she can give comes from the detail that she receives from her clients.
The more detail you can provide to any designer the better. Pam likes to spend as much time as possible with her clients, gathering detailed information about them as well as the colors, themes and function of the rooms that need window treatments.
While most designers have one thing that defines their style, Pam believes differently. “I don’t ever want to have a signature look. I want to be more creative than that,” says Pam. “I want to encourage my clients to enhance and frame their views. From coastal water views to quaint roadside views, it should be beautiful. It is what you are going to be looking at every day.”
Pam believes that it is important to stay aware of new trends but she also encourages her clients to surround themselves with a look that they will enjoy for a long time. “The most important thing that I can do is listen and take notes,” says Pam. She also encourages her clients to incorporate new styles with classic designs.
“Style should still be functional,” says Pam. The new trend that she has seen develop has been adding trim and braids that incorporate metallic finishes into the fabrics. “The metallic look is subtle but it adds a stunning finish to any look. When it is added to the corals, blues and coastal colors, it is a gorgeous finish,” says Pam.
Windows charm us,” says Nancy Myers of Interior Innovations in White Stone. “We see the world through them. From historical times, a light in the window warms our hearts. An open window conjures up a cool breeze and a closed one provides privacy and safety. As varied as their functions, so in fact are the ways in which I treat them.”
Nancy feels her first responsibility is to educate the homeowner about the many available options. “Hard” treatments can include shutters, blinds, cornices, woven woods, silhouettes and lambrequins (short pieces of decorative drapery hung over the tops of windows). “Soft” treatments usually refer to fabric window creations. After assessing all the options with the customer, Nancy evaluates the details of each window — placement, size, scale and function — in order to make her recommendations.
Sometimes the windows in a home will have the same treatment, but in most of her projects, the window treatments will vary, yet coordinate perfectly with each other. For instance, long panels may add warmth and color to a sliding glass door, while the rest of the windows look best with plantation shutters for an airy, coastal feeling, she explained. “I also address how each window will look from both inside the home and from all sides of the exterior. When your goal is achieved, you have a home that flows from room to room, and the window treatments add interest and are actually part of the design of the house.”
Creation of the perfect window treatment includes design, function, balance, color selection and materials, Nancy says. “But I would be remiss not to emphasize that the actual fabrication and installation is paramount in making sure the finished product is perfect. So the next time you look at a beautiful window treatment, take notice that hours of design work, high levels of fabrication, and the perfect install have made the window what it is. Don’t forget to enjoy the view!”
Sleek, clean lines are popular and stylish, but the classics are always a great choice as well. One of the most popular classics is the traditional tieback style on long, pooling drapes. This is one style that can also be done classically wrong. A tieback placed too high or too low makes your curtains look out of balance, so to do this style correctly. Proportions should be correct. The rule of tiebacks is to place the tieback at either the one-third or two-third point on the panel. This places it either above or below the center.
When you decide to hire a designer, a few simple rules will help you to achieve success in your window treatments. If you are in doubt about the length, always go longer. Consider the prints, style and mood of your room while selecting color, pattern and texture. Along with style, keep functionality in mind as you choose your materials. When in doubt, never be afraid to ask for help from the professionals in your area.