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Window treatments 101, part two: Choosing the right style for your room

Photo: Stephen Harris/Flickr


In part one of our window treatment article we talked about fun stuff like color, texture, and mount style. Now let’s look at which type of treatments are best for you.

I tend to favor shades and curtains so that’s what I’ll focus on here. Although blinds can be a great option because they are widely available, relatively affordable, and make it easy to control the light, they can make a room look busy and collect a lot of dust. No one that I know needs more housework, so let’s stick to alternatives for now.

Photo: Apartment Therapy

curtains PB.jpg

Photo: Pottery Barn


Although I’m going to talk about three main types of shades, keep in mind that there are variations within each type to suit personal your style and needs.

1. Roman

Roman shades are a great option if you don’t want curtains but still want flexibility in fabric options. There are tons of Roman styles to choose from.

If you are a creative DIY type, the internet is full of tutorials like this on how to make your own shades, including no-sew options!

roman shade.jpg

Photo: Greenstreet Blog

martha shade.jpg

Photo: Martha Stewart

roman shades.jpg

Photo: Marcus Design Inc.

2. Cellular (Honeycomb)

Cellular or honeycomb shades can offer fabric with insulation and sun-blocking qualities and come in a variety of transparencies, from light-filtering to blackout.

cellular types.jpg

Photo: The Finishing Touch


Photo: Lowe's

Both Roman and Cellular shades are available in a top-down, bottom-up configuration, meaning you can raise and lower the shade from the top or bottom of the window. This is a great feature that allows you to customize the amount of light and privacy you want at any given time.

roman top down.jpg

Photo: Smith & Noble

top down 2.jpg

Photo: Smith & Noble

honeycomb top down bottom up.jpg

Photo: Smith & Noble

3. Roller Shades

Roller shades provide privacy and light control when needed, and can also be rolled up out of sight. They work nicely in modern, contemporary spaces or when you want a quiet, neutral treatment to balance a busier room.

roller smith.jpg

Photo: Smith & Noble

roller rst hard.jpg

Photo: Restoration Hardware


There are three key things to consider when deciding on curtains for your home:

1. Length

You want full-length curtains to break slightly at the floor. This diagram will give you everything you want to know (and more!) about different styles and breaks.

curtain length info.jpg

Photo: Pinterest

curtain break.jpg

Photo: Beth Webb Interiors

2. Mount

There are a few critical do's and don’ts when it comes to your window treatment mount.

High on the “don’t” list is to mount your curtains in directly along the window frame (see below). Do hang them well about the frame, about 4-6 inches or halfway between the frame and the ceiling molding. Another do: make sure the mount is a bit wider than the frame to make the window feel larger and to allow in extra light.

curtain drawing.jpg

Photo: Apartment Therapy

Photo: Style at Home

3. Heading Treatment

Now consider how you want the top of your curtains, or the heading, to look. The heading has a big say in the sense of formality in your room. Pleated headings that conceal the rod tend to dress things up, while simple grommets over a rod can look more relaxed.

curtain tops.jpg

Photo: Pure Home

Now, the fun part: where to shop!

For custom options, try one of these resources:

  • Smith & Noble – Take your own measurements and order online.

  • The Shade Store – Order online or visit the brand new showroom in downtown Seattle.

You can also find ready-made curtains and shades at manay retailers, including these:

  • JC Penney (Both curtains and custom-fitted shades/blinds.)

  • Pottery Barn

  • IKEA (Great for really long curtains.)

If you’re focused on curtains, here’s a great guide for reasonably priced options.

Happy hanging, whichever option you choose. Hit me up with questions in the comments below or come on back to share stories of success.

Sara Eizen is a Seattle-based interior designer and home organizer with a passion for helping busy families reclaim style and space in their homes on any budget. In a bi-weekly column for Seattle's Child, Sara shares creative, fun, affordable tips and tricks for clearing clutter, sprucing up rooms with minimal effort, creating systems that simplify family life, and much more.

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