For many people, choosing window coverings is the hardest part of decorating a room. Given the sheer number of options available on the market, it is little wonder that window treatments are so confusing. Here are a few simple tricks you can use to make the process easier:
Determine Your Room's Overall Style
Is the look you want traditional or modern? Country or metropolitan? Do you prefer matched colors and textures, or a more eclectic look? Once you know the type of room you wish to create, you will have a better idea of the type of window treatments you can use.
Figure Out Your Budget
Window treatments can be expensive, and certain types of window coverings are more costly than others. Decide how much money you are willing to spend on your windows before you go shopping. If you have a limited budget, decide whether you would prefer a cheaper window treatment, or less money spent on other parts of the room, such as fewer accessories or a less expensive fabric for the couch.
Narrow Your Choices
You should narrow down your list of options to no more than three kinds of window coverings. If possible, take photos of the room you're decorating, the windows to be covered, and any special accents or art you wish to highlight. Also take into consideration the amount of light and privacy you need. For example, Roman shades work well in traditional bedrooms, libraries, and other intimate spaces, while sheer drapes make a gorgeous backdrop layered behind a modern couch in the living room. Take measurements of the windows you need to cover, and if possible, gather swatches of fabric from the furnishings in the room.
Follow the Line Rule
A room's "lines" vary according to the furnishings and architecture in it. Traditional rooms have curvy, flowing lines; flowing fabrics and curved lines on valances work well in traditional spaces. Modern rooms tend to feature straight lines, so drapes and shades with straight lines and interesting textures work better in modern rooms. Eclectic rooms feature a mix of styles, so anything goes as long as it compliments at least one other feature or furnishing in the room.
Certain combinations are less likely to look good than others, of course. You would probably want to avoid using chicken themed cafe curtains in an all-black, space-age kitchen, but solar shades or steel mini blinds would look great in the same room. Likewise, steel blinds or painted shades would look awkward in a white country style room.
Finally, follow your own instincts. If you like the look of shoji screens against a Queen Anne chair, try it! Extreme contrasts in styles and colors can be stunning in the right setting, especially if you like unique decor. If you love the romantic look of sheer drapes blowing in the breeze, but have a strictly post-modern decor, go ahead and soften the room with sheers. Heavy velvet and silk curtains are best suited for formal rooms, but if you have jewel toned walls and novel furnishings, there is no reason you can't use formal curtains. Common sense is really the most useful guide to finding window treatments you can live with.
About the Author: Paul Martin is a home improvement specialist. When he is not working on a project of his own at home with his wife & kids, you may likely find him writing about related subjects and/or writing for companies that provide quality home improvement products like Commercial Shades in San Diego.