The Basics of Window Treatments
There are several factors that should be considered in the selection of window treatments.
The window functions to allow light in as well as frame a view of the outside. It also has an impact on the temperature of the room by transmitting heat and cold. What the room is designed to be used for should also be taken into consideration as well as the desired atmosphere in the room.
Basically there are three types of treatments, each with their own optimum uses. “Hard” treatments typically consist of shades, blinds and shutters. They allow for control of the amount of light into a room as well as screening the view to those outside. Among the newer type shades are the “cellulars” that create a pocket of insulating air to reduce heat and cold transfer.
Blinds and shutters have the additional benefit of being adjustable for the amount of light coming in. Rooms where TV’s and movie screens will be in use, as well as rooms where privacy is a key issue, are good locations for hard window treatments. Because these treatments are generally based on a horizontal line they tend to be considered more contemporary and casual in style than drapes.
I have coined a term “Medium” window treatments to cover the use of heavy fabric draw drapes.
My logic is that they are designed for the same functions as the hard treatments, yet are not hard in terms of texture and visual impact. Heavy fabric drapes serve an additional function in their ability to absorb sound. Drapes typically are designed to extend near to the floor and therefore present a vertical line impact. This creates a more formal appearance which can be maximized by the use of a heading such as a cornice (fabric covered wood panel) to further extend the vertical height and add visual impact. Headings of any kind will conceal the hardware mountings of the window treatments and create a more aesthetic look.
The traditional “soft window treatments” was based on texture as fabric in comparison to wood, metals and plastics. Traditionally drapes are made of heavy fabric and generally full length, whereas curtains are usually light fabrics and come in a variety of lengths and styles. Curtains create a more casual look dependent on the fabric used. Curtains, swags and valances typically serve a decorative, rather than functional purpose.
It is possible to create a full range of combinations of these window treatments. With careful evaluation of the factors of selection and awareness of the variety of materials available for each treatment, it is possible to incorporate the window area as a vital component in the overall look and feel of the room’s setting.