WHY LESS IS
Valances, swags and jabots, festoons and cascades have their place, but before burdening the typical ranch house window with a boatload of decoration, think twice. First, ask yourself what type of window you have and what you want from your window. Do you want privacy? To keep light in, to keep light out? To cover an unattractive window or to play up a beautiful one? Then, how does the window relate to the style and design of the room itself? And lastly, how can you be certain the treatment you choose adheres to basic principles of balance and proportion and scale?
French doors that swing open and patio doors that slide do best without heavy fabric treatments, except perhaps a slight swag. Shades, blinds or Hunter Douglas Luminette® Privacy Sheers are good choices here. Luminette combines soft fabric sheers with vanes attached to the rear of the sheer facing for privacy and light control.
Palladian arches and other unusual window types high on a wall often can be left uncovered. Where privacy and light control are desired, Hunter Douglas Duette Honeycomb Shades and vertical blinds that are equipped with specialty hardware systems to handle curves, arches and other challenges are an option. Elegant fabric top treatments like swags can be used to dramatic effect. Standard sash windows and picture windows lend themselves to many hard and soft solutions, depending on privacy and light control needs.
If the size or shape of a window is unusual, the window treatment can be mounted outside the window frame. Also, two windows of different heights can be transformed into twins by mounting draperies, valances and cornices at the same height. Window frames with distinctive architectural features, such as pilasters, pediments and fanlights, are often best with treatments mounted inside the window frame that allow the architecture to speak for itself.
Fortunately, there are many fashionable window covering options that will not compete with the architectural elements of a room. Hunter Douglas Silhouette® Window Shadings with their adjustable fabric vanes between sheer facings offer the look of a sheer, the light control of a blind and the ease of a shade.
Another product in the window shading family that is an updated version of a Roman shade Hunter Douglas Vignette® Window Shadings provides a tailored softness to a window with its gently contoured fabric folds that roll up into a sleek headrail.
An essential step in designing window fashions is putting the window or windows in the context of the space. Formal rooms usually call for attention to detail with rich fabrics and ornamentation at the window, while less formal rooms may require simpler solutions. And a wood-paneled room, regardless of the style, may look best with wood blinds like Country Woods® Wood Blinds from Hunter Douglas that come with a variety of decorative tapes and trims to pick up other accents in the room. Hunter Douglas aluminum mini-blinds with matte-textured SoftSuede® finish, which mimics the look and feel of real suede, also adds warmth to a paneled room.
At the final stages of the design process, balance and proportion and scale are key. An effective design for a pelmet or cornice, for instance, can help achieve balance in a room by imitating one of the dominant shapes in the room, such as a sofa back or fireplace mantel. Color, line and texture should also be distributed throughout the room. The fabrics or textures you use in your overtreatments especially should appear elsewhere in the decor, either as accents like pillows and table skirts, or a dominant element such as upholstery or slipcovers.
Proportions should also be pleasing to the eye. Top treatments, for example, look best when the longest point is approximately one-fifth of the total length of the window fashion, and tiebacks look best when placed about a third of a way from the top or the bottom of the finished length. In addition, avoid dividing window treatments into halves; three swags are generally more appealing than two. If cascades or other fabric treatments are not floor length, they should fall even with another design feature such as a windowsill, chair rail or muntin. Lastly, the importance of scale: The actual size of a treatment as well as its visual weight should be compatible with other furnishings in the room and the architecture of the room itself.
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Hunter Douglas Inc., headquartered in Pearl River, NY, is the leading manufacturer of custom window coverings in North America.
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