Bobby Breaks It Down: How To Choose The Right Window Treatments

You may not think of your window treatments as an exciting feature in your interior, but the right blinds -or shades, or curtains – can elevate a room, add functionality, and even make a ceiling look taller (seriously!) And it doesn’t take a lot of time or money to make it happen. With a few simple tips, your windows can go from underwhelming to unbelievable. 

Window treatments aren’t just about adding style to your space – they also provide privacy and help control light. And when you have the right blinds, curtains, or shades, you’ll make a room more functional, comfortable, and liveable.  And today we’re showing you exactly how!

 

Keep scrolling to learn all about the best window treatment styles, the right option for your room, and all the dos (and donts) for proper hanging.

 

Want even more ideas for improving your space? Check out Bobby Breaks It Down: How To Choose The Right Rug.

WINDOW TREATMENTS 101

Before selecting your window treatment, there are a few factors you should take into consideration. The location and size of the window will immediately help narrow your focus (i.e. a window in a kitchen or bath will most likely need a shade or blinds, while a larger window in a bedroom or living room is probably more suited to curtains.) You’ll also want to consider the amount of light and privacy you want to achieve. You can then select a material that makes the most sense and will provide you with the amount of coverage you’re looking for.

 

Here are the main options when it comes to light filtering, and the materials associated with them.

 

  • SHEER
    Diffuses only a small amount of light, and is see-through. Usually linen, lightweight fabric, or synthetic material.

 

  • SEMI SHEER
    Diffuses a bit more light than a sheer. Typically cotton, a tighter weave fabric, or woven material.

 

  • OPAQUE
    Provides privacy, but still allows some light to filter through. Could be fabric, a lined woven material, or wooden blinds.

 

  • BLACKOUT
    Filters out all light and provides total privacy (ideal for a bedroom). Typically a heavier weight lined fabric.

BLINDS

As perhaps the most common window treatment, blinds can be adapted to lots of different spaces and design styles. Whether you’re choosing natural wood, painted, or aluminum, they’re a great solution for lots of windows, and when you want to have total control over the flow of light in a space. They’re also an affordable option that’s easy to install, come in lots of materials, and can easily be customized or cut to fit just right.

Here are the most common blind styles, and where they work best:

 

  • VENETIAN
    The standard style, which features horizontal slats that attach with string or strips of cloth (known as tape). They can either be raised by pulling on the cord, or opened and closed by twisting a rod. Usually made of wood, plastic, or aluminum, with slats that are  2″ thick or larger. Ideal for windows that are 48″ wide or smaller in any room or the house, especially kitchens, bathrooms, and laundry rooms.

 

  • MINI BLINDS
    The same style as Venetian, but with smaller slats that are usually about 1” thick. Ideal for smaller and shorter windows, where larger blinds would feel out of scale.

SHADES

For a window treatment that’s equal parts relaxed and refined, shades can be an easy and attractive solution. Unlike blinds, shades are one solid piece of material that either gathers, folds, or rolls up, and are usually sheer or semi-sheer.  And depending on the material and style, they can also add some much-needed softness to the hard lines of a window frame.

 

Here are the shade styles you need to know about:

 

  • Roman
     A roman shade works by folding into itself, creating a large stack of fabric at the top of the window when they’re completely raised. Typically made of fabric or natural woven material (like bamboo), a roman shade is Ideal for any window you want to add a bit of softness or texture to, while also diffusing the natural light

 

  • Roller
    Roller shades are usually made from synthetic or natural fabrics, and operate on a mechanism that can be rolled up or down by pulling on a cord or the shade itself.  Whether sheer or opaque, they can be an affordable option, and offer clean and simple lines that are ideal for modern and minimal spaces.

 

  • CELLULAR
    Made of two different pieces of material that create a cell, this is the option to go for when you need additional insulation on a window. They’re adept at keeping a space cooler in the summer and warmer in the winter, as well as providing sound insulation.  

 

DRAPERIES 

While there are many styles of draperies, curtains are certainly the most popular (and our preferred option). They can function as a way to frame out a window, add softness to a space, filter light, or provide a complete blackout. They work particularly well in spaces with high ceilings (or when you want to make a window look taller) and can fit in rooms ranging from modern to totally traditional.

 

Here are the most common style of curtains and where to use them:

 

  • ROD POCKET
    A pocket is sewn into the top that slides onto the curtain rod. Most readymade curtains are this style and are generally a more affordable option. With a more relaxed feel, this style is a good option for sheers and curtains that you want to open and close to provide coverage or privacy.

 

  • PINCH PLEAT
    Curtains that are pinched at the top to create pleats (a pressed fold) and a gathered look that extends down the face of the curtains. They feature pockets sewn in the back from which they are hung. A more formal option that works well in traditional spaces, or anywhere you want to bring a crisp and more full look.

 

  • INVERTED PLEAT
    The opposite of a pinch pleat (also called a box pleat), this style has pleats at the top that resemble tidy rows. Ideal for fixed areas, where drapes do not need to open and close.

 

  • TAB TOP
    This style has uniform loops at the top that slide onto a rod. A more casual option, this style does not have the fullness of a pleated curtain and works best in narrower or shorter windows.

 

  1. I love Bobby’s recommendations on window treatments, specifically hanging curtains. But, what about those of us in apartments where we don’t have the option of drilling into the wall to mount the rod outside of the window frame? Any tips specifically to work within the parameters of apartment living?

    1. If you’re not able to drill, your best bet is to use a tension rod. This is one of the best designs I’ve seen that still looks like a rod, but doesn’t require any drilling. Thanks for your comment. xx -B

  2. This is super helpful! What is your recommendation for curtain rod placement when the window has casing that hits the ceiling or is tight to a corner? Is it ok to install the rod directly on the casing?

    1. Yes, in that instance it’s totally fine to mount the rod on the window casing. xx -B

  3. What do you do for curtains when there is a radiator below the window?

    1. I would either tie the curtains back so they don’t touch the radiator or go with a roman shade that won’t cover it at all. xx -B

      1. Thanks for sharing such great tips! What should I go about a living room with a floor to ceiling sliding door to an outdoor space? Do curtains make the most sense? Also the sliding door is perpendicular to a smaller window? Should the window treatments be the same between the window and the sliding door? Or is that too matchy-matchy?

        1. I would say curtains are still a good option if you have enough room to gather them so they will not interfere with opening and closing the doors. You could also do the same curtains on the smaller window, just hang them all at the same height to unify. If privacy is not an issue, you could also consider just forgoing a window treatment on the sliding doors altogether. Thanks for reading! xx -B