Devil in the details

The right window treatment has well edited layers

PHOTO PROVIDED A valance can add height, dimension and texture as well as conceal hardware for a classic, tailored look. This one, in a room designed by Cindy Friend Design Boutique, uses both color and shapes to echo design elements elsewhere in the room, and the draperies add a texture element layer, too.
PHOTO PROVIDED Vertical screens, which echo the window shades, blend seamlessly into the decor when not in use. They help provide more definition for the space.
PHOTO PROVIDED Shades complement minimalist decor while views remain unobstructed, letting lots of natural light flood into this large room designed by Cindy Friend Design Boutique. The outdoor view also complements the natural stone wall and earth tones in the décor.

One of the trickiest home decor tasks is picking out and properly installing window treatments.

With all the options, at a variety of price points, it’s hard to know if you’re making the right decision until, perhaps, it’s too late. Money and time has been spent, holes have been drilled, fabric has been cut and so on. From hardware to fabric and all the trimmings, lean on the experts for flawless execution.

Homeowners tend to be intimidated by window treatments, often due to the price tag and because this design element is generally overlooked as a vital decor component. Since bespoke window treatments are typically custom to a particular window, in a particular room, in a particular home, they don’t always move easily from house to house, making it even harder to swallow the cost. While affordable options are available from big box stores, well-tailored, professional window treatments can really heighten the look, function and feel of any room.

Cindy Friend, interior designer and owner of Cindy Friend Design Boutique, says the first step when approaching window treatments is to decide on the desired function as well as the use and vibe of the room.

“The look and style of window treatment depends on the overall atmosphere of the home,” she said. “I typically start with furniture, flooring and paint to come up with the overall look. Window treatments are then a layer within the design process once the base has been created by the textures, prints, silhouettes and colors of the room.

“They line up with some of the last details, such as decorative accessories and art.”

Creating a multi-layered, stylish look can be tricky at any budget.

It’s important to know how to edit when layering elements of any window treatment. Don’t try to mix too many colors, textures or layers. The current trend mindset is less is best, which will also save money long term since the look is more timeless. Window treatments are an investment that aren’t updated often, so homeowners should be mindful about loving their choices for the long haul, not sinking money into of-the-moment trends.

Beyond the look of the window treatments, there are many factors to consider such as light control, privacy and energy efficiency. While homeowners are largely concerned with the decorative statement and blocking outdoor views, it’s often overlooked that proper window treatments can help improve a home’s efficiency.

Lafayette Interior Fashions, founded in 1950 and headquartered in West Lafayette, is a national leader in the manufacture and wholesale of custom blinds, shades, shutters and draperies, and the company works directly with interior designers and decorators as well as retail outlets to offer multiple styles and options for every kind of home. The company states that “up to 50% of a home’s heating and cooling energy can be lost through its windows. Custom window fashions can provide energy efficiency, helping to minimize heat loss in winter and heat gain in the summer. Window fashions can also reduce the amount of energy used in electrical lights. Certain treatments direct and disperse daylight throughout the room while softening the glare that can occur with direct sunlight.”

While some options look best with a specific design style, many can cross over decorative genres.

Blinds, whether wood, aluminum, sheer fabric, horizontal or vertical, are mainstream options that tend to get a bad rap, no thanks to the inexpensive, bland styles seen in many nondescript spaces. Modern versions offer ease of use and a bevy of colors, materials and shapes. Wooden blinds can be an alternative to shutter styles for rustic or coastal homes and cottages. Aluminum blinds get an upgrade when layered with panel drapes. Sheer vertical blinds look at home both in traditional settings as well as slick, contemporary urban surroundings.

Cellular, roller, transitional and Roman shades are available in many degrees of opacity, giving the homeowner a precise amount of desired light and privacy. Shades can be partially raised to allow for more sunlight or completely raised for a completely unobstructed view. Semi-sheer shades when lowered allow for plenty of diffused light while maintaining privacy when desired. Transitional shades feature “a continuous fabric panel that alternates from sheer to varying privacy levels in nearly 100 colors,” according to Lafayette Interior Fashions’ website.

The Roman shade is one of Friend’s favorite styles du jour.

“It functions as a shade but with the softness of a fabric treatment. It adds texture along with a cozy, comfy feel,” she said.

Roman shades are fantastic when a soft look is desired but when the space calls for something other than floor-to-ceiling window treatments. A Roman shade in a more gauzy fabric takes the signature style in a more relaxed direction.

Shutters use rotating slats or louvers to direct natural light into or away from the interior and, depending on material and color, can be a versatile option for many different rooms and styles of homes. They can be used in traditionally decorated homes as well as those with a rustic or coastal vibe. From different silhouettes and styles to various hardwoods and colors, with optional UV coatings to help prevent fading and yellowing, custom shutters can be a functional and striking decorative statement.

The most popular window treatments for today’s home are fabric panel drapes and screens because of their clean and simple look. Friend loves working with Carole Fabrics because of their many, on-trend options in fabrics, trims and hardware, the quality of their products and their quick turnaround time.

Drapes and valances provide texture, color and movement to the design of a room, and the choice of fabric informs whether or not the look is formal or casual or somewhere in between. Whether stationary or moveable panels, drapes can also be mounted at the trim, between the trim and the ceiling or at the ceiling to enhance or accentuate the height of the room.

Valances add more dimension and texture to the decor and can be handy for concealing hardware or creating even more height in the room. Juxtaposing the fabric color and texture of the valance with that of the panel can be a unique and interesting way to make a design statement.

The chosen hardware, or the choice to conceal it, is just as vital.

When a window treatment budget is conservative, Friend says to weigh options carefully.

“If the fabric is more detailed, has more pop and punch, a simple rod will do the trick,” she said. “If the fabric is more subtle, splurge on the hardware, which can elevate a simple fabric or texture.”

Accessories can make all the difference, too, she said.

“Whether it’s a crystal finial, decorative rings or tie backs, the hardware is as important as jewelry is to an outfit,” she said. “The devil is in the finishing details.”

Resources:

CindyFriend.com

Lafayette Fashions: www.lafvb.com

Carole Fabrics: www.carolefabrics.com

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