More than just a barrier for light and sound, a well-chosen set of curtains will help determine the mood of a room.
Interior designers agree: A room is not complete without window treatments. From shutters and blinds to flowing panels of luxurious fabric, the way we dress our windows showcases our personal style. Today, custom window treatment options are virtually unlimited.
When narrowing down your window treatment ideas, be sure to consider functionality as much as style. Your choice of window covering affects how much shade and privacy your room will have. Also, artfully placed valances or draperies can create the illusion of taller ceilings. They can also serve as frames surrounding a beautiful outdoor view.
The right window treatments can turn an ordinary room into a cozy, welcoming space. Keep reading to learn more about the different types of window treatments available today. Browse our carefully selected assortment of photos and see which options will look best in your own beautiful home.
1. Window Shutters/Louvers Window Treatment Ideas
Shutters are a classic window treatment style, particularly in the south or in oceanside communities. Plantation shutters have louvers that can angle up or down to control light flow, or completely closed to darken the room. Conversely, some shutters have fixed louvers that cannot tip up or down.
Shutters are great for providing privacy on the lower part of a window while leaving the top window panes uncovered. The louvers, or slats, on window shutters vary in width. Narrow slats provide a more refined look, but thicker, wider slats are more durable. Shutters usually install with hinges between the panels, so you can fold them open for an unobstructed view outside.
White is the classic color for shutters, but real wood or faux wood shutters are also popular. Dark wood stained shutters add traditional elegance to a matching wood-paneled office or den. Wood shutters are an excellent choice for kitchen window treatments, especially when the finish matches the cabinets. Shutters work well on bay window panels and are a popular kitchen window treatment in breakfast nooks.
2. Sliding/Rolling Panels Window Treatment Ideas
If you have large picture windows in your home, many window treatment ideas won’t work on such a large scale. But one type of window treatment is designed specifically for expansive windows. Sliding panel track shades or panel blinds provide the light control and privacy your large windows need.
Like vertical blinds—but with much larger panels—these sliding window coverings are easy to operate. Each shade panel rolls back and forth on a track mounted to the wall or ceiling. You can stack these shade panels completely clear of the window if necessary, making them ideal for large patio doors.
Sliding panels are available in many types of fabric, including light-filtering, blackout, and solar shade options. You can also buy rolling woven wood shade panels in a variety of colors. An experienced DIYer can install this type of window treatment, but a novice may need a helper. Find out how to install rolling shade window coverings here:
3. Natural Fiber Window Treatment Ideas
Natural fiber window treatments ideas bring the beauty of nature inside. Whether it’s a curtain, shade, or valance, real or faux wood materials work well in any style of home décor. The organic textures of natural fiber window treatments are a favorite of interior designers who specialize in green living.
Natural fibers are popular for window treatments because they are sustainable, recyclable, non-toxic, and affordable. Manufacturers make these budget blinds, shades, and drapes from wood, bamboo, cotton, linen, or hemp. Hang a natural fiber roman shade on each dining room or kitchen window frame to eat in an environment free of formaldehyde or VOC emitting chemicals.
Living room window treatments made from natural fabric may be more expensive than those made from synthetic materials. Even so, most environmentally-conscious homeowners feel it’s worth it. A woven natural fiber roller shade can stand on its own, or provide privacy when hung behind drapes or sheer curtain panels.
4. Roman Shades Window Treatment Ideas
Roman blinds or shades are a good compromise between plain shades and curtains. They come in a huge range of beautiful fabric choices, and can be light-filtering or room-darkening, depending on your needs. Some consist of both types of fabrics for extra flexibility.
Roman shades look great with traditional, modern, shabby chic and many other types of décor. Choose a type of fabric that complements the rest of the room. A dark-colored roman shade provides excellent privacy, while a lighter-colored fabric allows some light to filter in.
If you use a printed fabric on your roman shades, choose one that pulls in colors from the rest of the room for a cohesive result. It’s easy to make your own roman shades if you have a sewing machine and a bit of experience sewing by hand. Watch this video to see if you’re up to the task:
5. Window Treatment Ideas Using Shades
A roller shade is a designer window treatment option that comes in a vast range of materials, colors, and textures. A window shade can be opaque or semi-transparent and paired with a valance or curtain treatment. Their quick up-and-down function makes them an excellent choice for eliminating daylight glare in your office or home theater.
If you have a beautiful seaside, garden, or mountain view, you want to be able to enjoy it unobstructed. A shade will roll out of sight when you want to enjoy your view and provide excellent privacy at night. Shades are a type of window dressing that can be functional for any setting. Pleated shade window coverings are a lightweight option that adds texture to the room.
Choose a cellular shade design if you want to maximize energy efficiency. Their unique “honeycomb” shape adds a layer of insulating air that prevents heat loss and reduces noise from the street. They also provide excellent light cancellation—important if you do shift work or nap during the day.
6. Window Treatment Ideas Using Blinds
Blinds are perhaps the most common window treatment idea used in America today, and for good reason. They are affordable, easy to adjust, and relatively easy to install. If you have the budget for it, custom blinds can add a layer of elegance to your home, especially stained, solid wood blinds. You can achieve a similar look with faux wood blinds.
Like shades, blinds can hang alone or in combination with drapes or curtains. Since they are more difficult to install than curtains, choose a basic type of blind. That way, your blinds will still look nice if you decide to update your curtain panels. Blinds work well as bathroom window treatments, due to their durability.
Natural wood blinds come in a huge range of wood stains. Choosing the right color is vital to continuing the design scheme of your room. A warm honey oak finish pairs well with rich tropical tones. At the same time, dark walnut blinds add to the elegance of a traditional office.
7. Elegant Curtain Window Treatment Ideas
Elegant curtain window treatments add a touch of luxury to bedrooms, living rooms, and dining rooms. Usually made of heavier fabric and trimmed with fringe or other embellishments, these elegant drapes hang from equally elaborate curtain rods. Elegant curtain designs often feature layers of fabric, including a sheer layer beneath and a decorative valance on top.
Formal and elegant window treatment ideas may include decorative touches such as double French pleats, inverted box pleats, and jabots. Luxury fabric choices may include linen, silk, brocade, lace, or velvet. Many high-end designers sell fabrics specifically created for custom curtain treatments.
Many times, elegant curtains feature over-the-top embellishments and oversized valances or cornices. Make tie-backs from matching or contrasting fabric, thick silk ropes, or antiqued bronze. To extend the visual impact of elegant curtains, order them longer than necessary, then puddle the extra fabric on the floor.
8. Sheer Curtains Window Treatment Ideas
The magic of sheer curtain window treatments is how they diffuse natural light. Sheer curtains lend an ethereal softness in your room. While white is the most popular color for sheer window panels, any color of sheer material can work—even black.
Floral patterned sheer fabric can look spectacular in cottage or shabby chic interiors, while striped sheers complement modern homes. Sheer curtains can hang alone or as an underlayer beneath a heavier curtain material. Sheer café curtains add charm to kitchen and bathroom windows.
Sheer drapes are equally at home in formal, farmhouse, and casual homes. When windows are open, the breeze billows the lightweight fabric, softly rustling it and adding to the room’s ambiance. Sheer panels are wonderful over blinds, as they soften the hard edges and lines.
9. Window Treatment Ideas Using Drapes
You can turn nearly any type of material into window drapes. You can buy clip-on curtain rings that slide easily on a simple tension rod. Buy a drop cloth with finished edges, or a tablecloth, or any non-fraying material and evenly space clips along the edge to make an instant drapery panel.
Drapes can have many different headings. For a simple modern look, get ripple fold drapes that attach to a track mounted on the ceiling or wall. Another modern look uses grommets, or metal rings, to frame circular openings in the fabric. Run a decorative curtain rod through the circular openings.
When choosing fabric window treatments, keep in mind the pattern scale and how it fits into the room. For example, if you have a large-scale wallpaper pattern, you will need a bold pattern that can hold its own. If you need a creative room divider, use the same fabric on your windows to create track-mounted draperies that can close off sections of the room.
10. Valance/Cornice Window Treatment Ideas
Valance and cornice window treatment ideas are a simple way to enhance a window without blocking the natural daylight available in a room. While these fabric window treatments do not provide privacy, they can pair with blinds, shades, or drapes for a cohesive look.
A cornice is a fabric-covered hard panel that installs above a window. Sometimes it covers part of the window; other times, the cornice rests above the glass panel to maximize the amount of light that flows in. Finish a cornice with brass nailhead trim to embellish this basic form of window treatment.
You can create valances and cornices from a fabric that matches the drapes, or from a contrasting material. To exaggerate a valance’s edge, trim it with a wide ribbon band in one of the room’s accent colors. Note that some cornice panels do not use fabric. They’re simply planks or panels of bare or stained wood.
Window Treatment FAQs
What kind of window treatments work well with arched windows?
Arched windows provide a few design challenges when it comes to window treatments. Regular curtains hide the beauty of an arched window, but you may not wish to leave the top part of the window bare. Sunburst shutters are a type of covering that fits well over a window arch. Made of paper, wood, or fabric, they can coordinate well with blinds or drapes.
What are the best window treatments for French patio doors?
What you choose for your French doors will depend on your style and how much privacy you need. Sheer or solid drapes may fit on the doors with some handy sewing work. Fabric panels pleat onto thin curtain rods that screw in place at the top and bottom of the window panels. They are secure and hold up well to frequent door use.
You can also buy blinds that cover French doors. They can open or close like other blinds, which is an advantage over fabric panels. Another option is window film. This material is easy to DIY and comes in finishes that resemble frosted or stained glass.