New Ideas for Window Treatments

Sally Painter
Big windows in modern living room

Window treatments are vital to a cohesive room design and the days of pleated draperies requiring drapery pins are long past. While windows serve a functional purpose, they can become opportunities to add color and pattern to your décor scheme. Use some of the newer and trendy options to create the look you desire.

Wave Draperies Are the Latest Option

Wave draperies are a truly new technology for making a window treatment unique. The design is simple and always holds a perfect shape. The wave or ripplefold header design is also known as the S-fold. Rod systems are controlled by cord or draw wand. Motorized curtains are also available. The style is used by architects and designers in commercial applications and the technology is now used in residential projects.

Continuous Wave Effect

The design creates continuous and uniform waves that give the curtain a soft and flowing appearance. Sheers are exceptionally elegant with this design. The ripplefold drapery rod is also available for heavier drapery fabric. Once installed, the rod is almost completely invisible, leaving the drapery to appear as though its floating against the window. The Shade Store offers custom draperies. Hunter Douglas carries a ripplefold roll-pleat S-fold drapery that uses a snap-tape system. The draperies snap right into the track.

Pros

  • When opened, curtains stack neatly.
  • Stacked wave curtains allow more light into room.
  • Stacked wave curtains take up less space than their pleated counterparts.
  • They look great on any window.
  • They are absolutely stunning on tall windows.

Cons

  • A strip of light peeps between the rod track and the curtain wave. If you want to block out all light, this might not be the right choice.

Newer Styles for Window Treatments

Some of the newer styles that have appeared are now quite popular. They are also simplified and can be easy for the home decorating DIYer.

Sliding Layer Fabric Panels

Vertical fabric panel systems have a great look in a variety of materials such as grasscloth, burlap, or other textured styles. The fabric panels are typically 22" wide. You can use as many as it takes to cover your windows. The rail sliding system is cordless easy opening and closing. atg Stores and Amazon sell several styles of double rail sliding panel systems.

Pros

  • Energy efficient
  • Cordless child safety
  • Easy to install
  • Can be manipulated for different lighting needs: whole window, partial, or typical drapery effect

Cons

  • This type of fabric panel system isn't flexible for tiebacks.

Cordless Top-Down Bottom-Up Cellular Shades

If you're looking for something to replace blinds or shades, top-down bottom-up cordless cellular shades may be what you're looking for when it comes to your window treatments. There are several key points that make this style of shades a great choice. Amazon offers this style of shade in nine colors.

Pros

  • Child safe, cordless shades are great for families.
  • Maintain privacy while letting in light by lowering to expose only the top part of your window.
  • Cords won't get tangled up or dirty.
  • They can be mounted inside or outside.
  • Cellular shades are energy efficient; insulate against heat or cold loss through windows.

Cons

  • Some people may not like this style since a direct light option, like traditional blinds have, isn't possible.

Back Tab Curtains

The love affair with tab curtains has morphed into the newer style of back tab curtains. Regular tab curtains over time begin to sag and are uneven as the tab relax under use and gravity. Back tab curtains take the best of this design by placing the tabs in back in the fashion of a pocket rod curtain. The rod is inserted through the tabs that are sewn onto the header with both ends secured to the curtain to form a pocket rod effect.

Some curtains, like the ones sold by CurtainWorks have a two-way option, offering both a pocket rod and back tabs construction giving the owner the versatility of two ways to hang the curtains. Touch of Class offers the "Fontaine" back tab curtains feature panel draw wands for easy opening and closing.

Pros

  • Are easy to install
  • Provide a neat window look
  • Have consistent curtain folds

Cons

  • Fans of the tab look will be disappointed since this curtain has more the look of a grommet or pocket rod curtain but without the gathers.

Power Window Treatments

Even your window treatments can take advantage of the latest technology to make things easy.

Motorized Blinds and Shades

Life just got easier with motorized and automated window coverings. This includes motorized cell shades, like the ones sold by Shades Shutters Blinds. Bali offers motorized cordless shades and blinds that can be integrated to existing automated home systems.

Pros

  • Remote controls make them easy to operate.
  • It's convenient to open and close blinds and shades throughout your home.
  • Some styles can be integrated into your smart home systems and controlled along with the rest of your automated home system.

Cons

  • The blinds and shades are dependent upon a power source.
  • If there is no manual override, should you lose power, you may not be able to operate them.

Programmable Blinds and Shades

Go a step further with programmable motorized blinds and shades, like the ones sold by Blinds, that are not only motorized but have the technology to allow you to tilt, open, and close them at set times. Forget about alarm clocks. Simply use the programmable remote to set the timer to open your blinds in the morning for a sunshine wake up call. You can also program your blinds to close at night without having to be home.

Pros

  • Program them to open and close at specific times during the day and night.
  • You don't have to be home to open and close blinds or shades.

Cons

  • Most systems for the blinds and shades are dependent upon a power source to operate.
  • If there is no manual override, should you lose power, they may not work.

Trendy Window Treatments

There are several trendy window treatments that address issues such as privacy and light while being very stylish and popular choices.

Sheers

Sheer curtains

Sheers are gaining popularity as a diverse way to add color and/or pattern to a decor with a light and airy effect. Sheers can be used with other curtains and window treatments for a layering effect.

Pros

  • Sheers allow light into a room.
  • They provide partial screening for privacy.
  • Ambience for a romantic or softer element in room décor can be achieved through using sheers.

Cons

  • Sheers don't provide complete screening of a window from outside viewing into the home.
  • Sheers have no insulating effect against heat or cold.

Window Film

Window film is a polyester film that is self-adhesive and applied directly to glass surfaces. You can peel and stick and even remove when you like.

Pros

  • They provide privacy without needing curtains or shades.
  • Film can be used for solar control as a sunblock against UV rays.

  • Non-reflective, metalized or dyed films insulate against heat and sun, depending on window type.

  • Films allow light in through window.

  • They are available in colors and patterns to add decorating element.

Cons

  • You are unable to see out of most windows covered with window film.

Large Patterns

Going dramatic is the latest trend that's being accomplished with large fabric patterns for curtains. The most trendy are geometric patterns that range from interlinked circles and boxes. Moroccan tile patterns are especially popular design choices. These patterns can be used along with your sheers, traditional grommet style curtains, and even on fabric roller shades.

Pros

  • Gives instant dramatic change to a room's décor
  • Creates focal point of interest
  • Allow repetition of other pattern shapes with emphasis on size

Cons

  • Large patterns aren't for every room décor.
  • Depending on the other fabrics, large and colorful patterns might be inappropriate choices for window treatments.
  • Large patterns could overpower a room and dwarf other design elements.

Honeycomb Shades

Honeycomb shades are a great way to let the light while affording privacy and, as a bonus, helps you save on heating and cooling bills.

Pros

  • Provide insulating properties to windows
  • Can be layered with other window treatments such as valances and curtains
  • Allow light to enter room while serving as a privacy screen

Cons

  • A shade can't be used to direct light.
  • The shade is either up or down.
  • Light is diffused.
  • You can't see out the windows when the shade is down.

Add Embellishments for New Look

Curtain with embellishments

A high trend is to personalize decors. This can be accomplished by using embellishments to existing or new window treatments. Some of the more popular choices include, adding pompoms, tassels or beaded trim to shades, tiebacks, valances and curtains. You can also hot glue studs, gems or jewel embellishments to a cornice for a bohemian decor.

Pros

  • Gives options to revitalize existing window treatments for a new look
  • Gives a more complete and finished look to windows
  • Easy process

Cons

  • If you aren't adept with DIY craft projects, adding embellishments might not be a good choice for you.

Re-purposed Sheets and Tablecloths

Curtains made from sheets
Curtains made from sheets

Environmentally and budget-friendly re-purposed sheets and tablecloths are finding their way onto windows. Some trendy styles are simply to paint wooden clothes pins to match the sheet colors, string a wire over the window and secure with the clothes pins for a shabby chic look. A pocket rod can be easily insert into the open ends of the top part of a sheet. You can use the sheets like a scarf and wrap around the window rod or bunch it into segments down the entire length with varying ribbons or cords.

Pros

  • It's an easy and often cheap way to dress windows.
  • Buy sheets at yard sales and re-purpose for an inexpensive window treatment.

Cons

  • You may have fewer choices of colors and patterns than draperies/curtains.
  • Some windows may be taller than the sheets are long making this an undesireable choice.

Metallic Color Choices

Metallic color curtain and wall decor

Metal colors are in and in a big way. From curtain rods to curtain colors, you can choose from such metal colors as bronze, silver, gold, brass and copper. These metal colors are making a home décor splash that is rich and elegant.

Pro

  • Metal colors are easy to incorporate into most home décors.
  • These metal colors can be used repeat metal elements, such as bowls, candle holders, plaque, wall art, and objects.

Cons

  • If you don't have other metal colors or actual metal objects in your room or other fabrics with metal colors, then this choice could be out of place in your home.

Environmentally Friendly Curtains

Wood blinds

Organic, green, and sustainable are highly fashionable and desirable choices from foods to home fashion. People desiring to do their part to prompt and support a sustainable world by embracing it as a lifestyle choice are turning to organic décor objects, especially fabrics, such as draperies or even organic bamboo blinds.

Pros

  • Organic fabrics and materials are a great alternative choice for chemically sensitive people.
  • You can take a step closer to a chemical-free home when opting for organic fabric curtains.
  • Choosing organic window treatments is a supportive step for sustainable lifestyles.

Cons

  • Organic curtains and other window treatments are often more expensive than their non-organic counterparts.
  • Organic cotton and other fabrics can shrink.
  • Natural fibers can fade when exposed to sunlight.
  • Since there are fewer color choices when using natural dyes, color choices may be limited.

Treatments for Unusual Window Shapes

Sometimes finding an appealing window treatment for an unusually shaped window can be challenge. The main goal for this type of challenge is to accentuate that oddity.

Palladian Window Treatment Solution

Palladian window treatment
Palladian window treatment

A great example is demonstrated by The Window Treatment Expert (TWTE) selecting a Palladian window to tackle. A Palladian window features a center window with two side ones and an arch over the center of the grouping. TWTE suggests overlaying the draperies with a pole swag valance for a truly elegant and dramatic window treatment.

Odd Shaped Windows

For other windows, such as fan-shaped and trapezoid, there are cellular shades made especially for these that you can adjust as the sun moves. Other oddly shaped windows also have specialty cellular pleated shades made just for them.

Designing With Windows Treatments

Window treatments are an integral part of a room decor. Use them to support your room design through style, color and pattern. If you have an unusual and unique window, then emphasize it to create a focal point for your room design.

New Ideas for Window Treatments