Wow with Window Treatments

By Sue Ridgeway

Considering the importance of windows in a home’s architecture, the treatment of a window should be one of the first design decisions. Similar to creative decisions relating to flooring, fabrics, and the like, how an interior designer merchandises a room’s windows is critical.

We understand that as interior design/model merchandising firm, we are selling architecture and lifestyle. And as such, window treatments can pack a powerful supportive punch. So, let’s dig into the wonder of window treatments.

Types of Window Treatments

First things first: one needs to know the plethora of options available when it comes to window treatments:

  • Blinds are typically made from plastic or wood slats. There is usually little variation in style. Blinds can be mounted inside the window frame to create a clean look or outside to make a small window seem larger. As they tend to block a lot of light, use them carefully.
  • Shades are made of fabric and come in varying levels of opacity. They give a modern vibe and when unrolled or unrolled only a little, they can be a great way to show off a window and its trim. There are three main types of shades:
    1) Roller are unrolled from a tube-shaped piece at the top of the window
    2) Roman are arranged in careful folds
    3) Honeycomb fold down from the top of the window in pleats
  • Drapes are attached to a rod above the window and hang down beyond the frame. They come in a variety of materials, colors and patterns, and sizes. The variety of drapery allows us as interior designers the most flexibility in design impact. And because of this, drapes are often our treatment of choice. They add a softness hanging between the drywall and the glass of the window. We use them to add a finish to a room and keep them pulled off the glass to sell the window and the view.
  • Shutters can be very expensive as they are true woodwork and are often custom fit for a specific window. While there are a few stock sizes and finishes available, it’s recommended you have them custom fit to the window for the best appearance. Shutters are more popular in certain regions of the country than in others, and due to their expense, if you are considering using them in a model home, it is often best to use them sparingly. Know your buyer.
The owner’s suite in this model includes soft, gauzy drapes help to create a romantic vibe. Parkwood Homes, photo courtesy of Lita Dirks & Co.

How to Get the Biggest Impact from Window Treatments

For your model home’s window treatments to work for you, there are certain tactics your interior designer/model merchandiser can employ, including:

  • High and Wide. To make the room appear bigger and more dramatic, hang the drapery as close to the ceiling as possible. Also, the drapery rod should extend beyond the window frame on either side of the window, so the drapery doesn’t hang into the window. Remember, we’re selling the home, not the drapery. And as such, we want the window to “shine” as a beautiful part of the architecture.
  • And Long. For a polished look, drapes should kiss the floor or hover just barely above.
  • Layer the Treatments. Our designers love it when their budget allows for creative overlapping of window treatments. These can be fun and often help add detail to a space. However, including more than one treatment might be a heavy burden on your budget and unnecessary in influencing the sale of the home. Understand your buyer’s expectation, their budget, and yours.
  • Remember Moderation. Today’s trends are clean lined, fresh, light, and airy. They feel alive and new, so often the best choice in drapery is super simple.
  • Make the Most of Natural Light. Nothing in design can compete with Mother Nature’s light source. We know natural light can not only positively impact the look and feel of a room, but can also improve the mood of a prospective home buyer. As such, there are times when the best window treatment is no window treatment.

Window treatments can be a designer’s best friend. They can help create a mood and truly accentuate the architecture of a space. The wonder of window treatments is that they can be the deciding factor (without anyone realizing it) in a prospective homebuyer’s buying decision.


Post courtesy of Sue Ridgeway, Director of Marketing at Lita Dirks & Co., an interior design and merchandising firm based in Greenwood Village, Colo.

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