They’re often seen as the finishing touch to a room, but window coverings actually play a bigger role than just providing privacy and light control.
According to Vicki Gillingham, showroom manager at Henley Design, they also help set the tone for a room and perform a pivotal part in how it functions.
She advised the starting point when selecting any window treatments was to identify how each space would be used.
“If it’s a home theatre, you want the room to be dark and moody, so you’d be looking at darker blockout fabrics and choosing materials that recreate a cinema-type experience,” Ms Gillingham said.
You might add a pelmet to round out the look, which she explained would then trap light so it wouldn’t peep through the top.
This design style is also handy for shift workers who need a dark bedroom during the day.
If, on the other hand, you want the space to look light and crisp, Ms Gillingham suggested shutters or roller blinds that could be pulled up out of the way to appreciate the window and view.
While design consistency was key throughout the home, Ms Gillingham said that didn’t mean you had to stick with the same design in every space. In fact, that could make the home feel quite boring.
She recommended limiting yourself to no more than three different window treatments to avoid the other extreme of spaces jarring or looking disjointed.
“I think having too many different options can be quite problematic,” she said. “You really want to keep things flowing nicely, so opt for a consistent colour palette or, if you are doing a particular style in all the bedrooms, then stick with the same window furnishings for those rooms.”
White plantation shutters, inspired by the Hamptons look, are still very popular and a style Ms Gillingham said would complement contemporary house designs.
“They represent the ultimate in style and sophistication and really do make a statement. You can admire them from internally and externally.”
Ms Gillingham said you could look at layering window treatments, such as teaming a blockout blind with a ceiling-mounted s-fold sheer.
“The suppleness of an s-fold curtain allows even the densest fabrics to look soft and showy, while having them flow from a ceiling-mounted track adds that next-level opulence,” she said.
“If you’re building or renovating, consider concealing the track in the bulkheads so it looks like the curtains are falling directly from the ceiling. This is a gorgeous effect, especially when you have them pooling on the floor for that extra layer of softness.”
At night, however, she said it was important to know sheers would not provide the level of privacy screening most of us required.
“When the lights are on inside at night, you can see through the sheers into the room, so that’s where having a blockout roller blind teamed with it is handy,” she said.
Trying to make window furnishings stand out is a common error. Always look at how they work as part of the room’s big picture. You don’t want them to become the focal point of the room or they will overpower the rest of the decor, Ms Gillingham explained.
Another trap was not considering the style of the window.
“If you have a small window, don’t just focus on the fact it is small. Make it feel bigger by perhaps going with a wall-to-wall curtain, which will create a bit more drama,” Ms Gillingham said.
Another way window treatments can be used to make a space feel larger is by having the curtain or blind mounted above the window frame.
“This creates the illusion that the window is bigger than it is and makes ceilings look higher, walls look longer and rooms look larger.”
• Partner curtains with pelmets for an extra layer of window insulation.
• Think about window furnishings that will be quite timeless. They’re not cheap and are not something you change on a whim.
• Use lighter, neutral tones — whites, off-whites, beiges and greys — that will work with any room decor, so if you change the rest of your furnishings at any stage, the window treatments will still work.
• Blend the colour of your window treatments with your walls and trims like architraves as much as possible to create a soft look and the illusion of a nice, big room.
• Have window coverings matching on the front facade to produce a pleasing look from the street. This applies for single and double-storey homes.
Source: Vicki Gillingham, Henley