WINDOW TREATMENTS EXPLAINED.
Have you ever heard the term ‘window treatments’ ? It is designer lingo for what type of covering is applied to a window i.e. a curtain, blind etc.
For those who employ an interior designer, we usually suggest considering and selecting window treatments during the construction phase. The benefit? The installation method can usually be concealed during the construction phase, resulting in a streamline aesthetic. However, for most people, an interior designer will not be involved. The downfall? Window treatments are usually considered too late in the game - usually at the completion of a renovation or build. Whilst not detrimental, late decisions may affect functionality and choice.
Here is the low-down + a snippet of a designer’s window treatment dictionary.
‘Curtain’ is an umbrella term for several variations.
Breezy all the way…
‘Sheer’ is a lightweight, somewhat see-through fabric curtain, usually utilised to filter light and provide privacy without completely blocking light out of a space. Sheer curtains can look quite floaty and relaxed. Light linens have become very popular of late and are proving to be effective.
A DESIGNER’S TIP
Be careful with sheers at night. When you have lights on and your curtain closed, you will be able to see shadowing and silhouettes. If you need privacy (or are prone to do a nudie run from the bathroom) consider a heavier variation.
So you need something more…
‘Heavy’ is a heavyweight fabric curtain that is used more so for bedrooms and places you want privacy - particularly at night. Be careful, as these heavier drapery-style curtains may not be ‘block out’ as such, so you may have light filtering through in the daytime.
‘Block out’ is a fabric curtain (any type) that has an additional layer known as a ‘backing’. This backing is used to completely block out light. If you are a light sleeper, disturbed by even an ounce of light, this is what you want.
A DESIGNER’S TIP
You can double up on curtains. More classic style homes often have both a sheer and a block out / heavy. While you are paying for double the fabric and fixings, it can look quite stunning and luxurious, and also gives you the best of both worlds.
It’s all in the details…
Other things to consider with curtains include:
Weighting. Small bead weights to help weigh the curtain down to avoid the wind blowing it up and to help keep the fabric dropped. You may still get wind blowing them up if its strong. Usually more common with sheer curtains, as heavier curtains are already weighty.
Track Systems. We like to use either an eyelet track or an s-fold track. I’d say our most popular would be a s-fold, as it is a contemporary and clean look and very easy to use. An s-fold is where the fabric at the top is folded into an ‘s’ shape continuously along the length of the curtain. there are clips on the reverse which run along a track system. Eyelet curtains are a more cost-effective method. The curtain will loop the fabric at the top which is then threaded onto a curtain rod.
Length. We usually only do full-height curtains, and as a rule of thumb we say the curtain should be ‘kissing’ the floor. Meaning the curtain should be touching the finished floor. If the curtain is too long it can be a tripping hazard and become a nuisance to manoeuvre. If the curtain is too short it can look silly and make a space look unfinished or dwarfed.
‘Blind’, again is a umbrella term for several variations.
Roll em’ up…
Roller Blinds are extremely popular at the moment for their contemporary and clean look. They are also very easy to use and easy to maintain with minimal dust. They are usually a weaved fabric and can have many colour/texture variations.
You can get several options here - similar to curtains - light-filtering / sunscreen / sheer types that reduce glare and provide a little bit of privacy while still allowing light in. Heavy / block out roller blinds are popular for bedrooms.
Block out blinds can have a special aluminium backing to reflect the sun back off the blind. This helps reduce heat entering the room as a result of the sun.
A classic take…
Venetian blinds were trendy but have now retreated. These are a good option if you need a cost-effective and quick solution. Be careful, you will have a lot of dust collection here unfortunately.
Roman blinds are another style, more classic looking. These can be fun as you can select your own fabric to give the room personality. Again, these can be made from most fabric types - sheer, heavy or block out (with a backing fabric). We often use roman blinds for kids rooms to allow some character and personalisation in the fabric selection.
Get the angle just right…
An extremely popular solution, plantation shutters have been around for years. The benefit of this type of window treatment, is that they work with just about any type of design style. They give a clean look and are very easily used. The downside - you don’t get complete window coverage, however you are able to achieve decent filtering with the blades as you can position them at any angle. This allows for full light or minimal light. A word to the wise: you will see some light bleed with these shutters, so they can’t be considered a ‘block out’ treatment.
What else? Here are some other things to consider…
Pelmet is a term used to explain the location of the window treatment. More so, these are common with curtains and blinds, not shutters. There are two types, exposed pelmet (usually installed after construction to conceal the fixings, motor (if automated) and top of the treatment). Recessed pelmets are created within the ceiling space to house those items with a ‘flush recessed’ look.
With a recessed pelmet, you will simply see a recess on the inside of the window (usually about 100-150mm deep and the length of the window). The idea is to make the treatment look as if it is coming from within the ceiling. It is very popular in new builds and can look extremely sophisticated and contemporary.
Automation (or motorisation) is something to consider for all treatments (except plantation shutters). This is a great way to make use of your curtains / treatments. For more modern homes, the automation usually links back to the home integration / CBUS system, otherwise you can implement remote based automation. In my experience, this usually isn’t not worth the money / effort unless you have a large quantity of treatments in one space. We are seeing more and more clients request motorisation in their master bedrooms for a sense of ‘luxury’. We usually specify automation to living and master bedrooms and manual operation for secondary bedrooms / living spaces.
This usually refers to the width of the treatment. We like to allow the treatment to be longer than the window to ensure it is completely covered. Window treatments act as ‘frames’ to the window, so it is nice to allow further width and height to frame the window.
That’s my rundown on window treatments. Remember every house is different and will require different styles and individual consideration to each window. Employing the help of an interior designer or a window treatment company can take away unwanted pressure and stress! But if you are a professional D-I-Y-er, give it a crack!
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