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About Window Treatments

If you’ve got bedsheets covering the windows in your new home, you already know one of the first lessons of interior design – don’t wait long to order window treatments.

Window treatments serve a multitude of purposes besides enhancing privacy. They’re an essential element of any room’s décor; they can add beauty, continuity and style, as well as bring a lovely frame to the views they offer. They can diffuse or prevent sun glare from entering the home, contributing to energy savings. And they improve scale and distract attention from flaws like low ceilings and too-small windows.

Because they’re so important, window treatments may require professional advice, measurements and installation. You don’t want to choose treatments room by room; instead, look for products that you can use throughout the home or at least what will be seen from the front view of the house. If you choose blinds, for example, make sure the slats are the same size and color. You can always choose different fabrics for adjoining curtains or drapes for each room of the home.

So what window treatments should you consider? There are basic types and a myriad of choices in fabrication:

Shutters: Generally, the thicker the slat, the more expensive shutters are. At the top are “plantation” shutters made of wood, but they also look beautiful in synthetics like faux wood, vinyl and PVC. The louvers are large and can range up to 5 ½ inches each. Traditional shutters have smaller louvers but cover the whole window. Café shutters cover only half the window. Any shutter can be accented by drapery, if desired, or left alone for a cleaner, more modern esthetic. All shutters have frames and can be locked for security. Of all window treatment choices, shutters hold their value the longest because they’re custom-sized and nearly always remain with the home when it’s sold.

Blinds and Shades: Blinds are composed of horizontal wood, vinyl, or fabric-covered slats held together with string. They can be lowered and raised as needed, rather than opened from the center like shutters, and each individual slat can be opened for peeking. Mini blinds are half the width of the more traditional wood blind and are typically made of aluminum.

Shades are made of one piece of fabric, with or without a backing fabric. The design mechanism helps determine the shape and how the shade folds when raised or unfolds when lowered. Shades offer the opportunity to introduce colors and patterns through a variety of fabrications.

Drapes and curtains: There are differences between drapery and curtains – namely, structure and formality. Drapes, according to HouseBeautiful.com, are “floor-length fabric panels with a backing that gives them structure.” They’re hung with a rod attached to the wall and give a formal look to the space. The thicker the fabric, the more formal the window appears, so they’re used most often in living and dining rooms, and master bedrooms.

Curtains are much more casual, lighter in weight and appearance than drapes, so they can flutter in the breeze. They’re also hung from a rod and don’t extend beyond the windowsill. They can cover half the window in the café style, or offer full coverage.

Talk to a window treatment specialist, as there may be other products and services you’ll be interested in, such as fabric with UV blockage, motorized drapes, cellular construction, and app controls