Learn about the different styles of window treatments and how to choose the ones just right for your home

Window treatment is another term for curtains, drapes, shades, blinds, valances, and other embellishments for windows. Originally used for privacy and to keep homes warmer or cooler, today's window treatments are now used for decorative purposes as well. No matter whether your home is formal or casual, contemporary or traditional, there is a window treatment style to suit your tastes. If you are on a strict budget but want to change the look of a room, new window treatments is an inexpensive way to do so. If you're thinking about these changes, you should find the information you need here to help you decide what's best for your windows. We'll describe the various types of window treatments and tell you the best places to go for more information, and where you can buy them as well as information on how to make them yourself.

Window Treatment Styles

Drapes and curtains are more traditional looks in window treatments. Drapes hang from a traverse rod and usually use a cord to open and close them. They are usually lined and are made from heavier fabric. Curtains are similar in that they hang from curtain rods, but are usually opened and closed by hand, and are made from lighter weight fabric and are not lined. Shades have also been around for a long time, although today there are many different styles than the traditional roll-up shade we might have grown up with. Blinds have been around since Colonial times, but today there are more style choices than ever before. These window treatment choices are decorative as well as functional, and most have been around for a number of years. There are other treatment styles that serve as decorative features, such as valances, swags, and window toppers.

Where to go for more information

  • We can't say enough about Home & Family Network. They have so many articles about the various treatment styles you could literally spend hours at this one site alone.
  • JC Penney's offers custom-made curtains and drapes, blinds and shades.
  • For the do-it-yourselfer, DIY Network (Do It Yourself) offers tons of ideas on how to make your own as well as embellish store-bought curtains.
  • A visit to your local fabric store's (JoAnn Fabrics, for example) decorating department will let you see available fabrics and pick up pamphlets and other ideas for doing your own window treatments.

Other Window Treatments

A valance is a top treatment for windows that can be used by itself or with cafe curtains. These are very easy to do yourself, so if you haven't much experience in sewing, start with this one.

Cafe curtains are short panels hung across the bottom half of a window.

Tiebacks are used to pull the curtain to the side, and are often cording, ribbon, small rope or fabric. The tiebacks usually have a small hook to attach to (called a holdback), at each side of the curtain itself.

Swags are round-edged valances centered in a single window, or a series across the top of a larger window which are often part of a formal drapery treatment.

Blinds are available in horizontal and vertical slats and are made of plastic, metal, wood, bamboo, fabric, and paper.

Shades are window treatments that can be raised or lowered by a cording system or a spring. Many styles are available, from the standard roll-up shade to the elaborate balloon or Roman style shades.

Shutters are hinged on the side, often made of wood or similar material, and used for privacy. There are many styles available now, including shutters with fabric inlays.

In Other Words . . .

No matter what your window style, from traditional squared or rectangular shaped windows to arched, bay or bow, picture windows or sliding doors, there is a window treatment to fit each type. Window treatments greatly enhance your interior design, and should not be overlooked when you are re-doing a room. It's certainly an easy way to give your room a lift, and if you are careful and shop around or are willing to make them yourself, you can enjoy a new look for your home without spending a lot of money.

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