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Design Tips

What do your windows do?

Windows are an important element of a room. Structurally, they form the shell of a room along with the walls, floor and ceiling. Aesthetically, they can blend into the background or create a focal point. Whichever way you treat your windows, their role remains unchanged - to provide light and air.

There are two aspects to choosing window treatments. First, what is the function of the window and second, what are the decorative needs of the window and room. Let's start by considering how you need the windows in each room to function and then we can explore the wide range of window treatment design options.


By taking some time now to decide what role you need your windows to play, you will save time and frustration later on. Consider these questions:

• What degree of privacy do you need? Does privacy need to be partial or total?
• How much light control do you want? Slats or vanes to rotate open and closed? Blinds or shades that can be raised or lowered? Or a combination   or both? Will sheer fabric work? Is room darkening necessary? Or do you need blackout?
• Are you concerned about energy efficiency?
• What is the exposure of the room (north, south, east, west)?
• Is the window necessary for ventilation?
• Do you want to take advantage of a view?
• Do you want to block over the view through the window?
• Do you need easy access to the window for cleaning?
• How important is ease of control?
• Are there any interfering factors such as security buttons, window cranks, window air conditioners, baseboard heaters, etc.?
• Are there light switches or wall sockets that need to be considered?
• Are there any interfering architectural features such as crown moldings, beams, chair rails, built-in cabinets, etc.?
• Is there a combination of doors and windows in the room that needs to be treated? Is the door used frequently? Do you want to treat all the   openings the same? Is that feasible?
• Will children or pets be in the room?

By asking these questions, you start to narrow down the possibilities of window fashions to those that are most appropriate for the situation.

Decorative Needs

Now that you have considered the functional requirements, you can begin to look at designs that meet the decorative needs of the window and room as a whole. A well-designed window fashion will suit not only the window but also the room. It will harmonize with the rest of the room and add to the feeling unity. It is in scale with the room and its furnishings and is well-proportioned. Consider the following to help you determine the design of the treatment:

• Do you prefer a particular decorating style? Contemporary? Country? Traditonal?
• What degree of formality do you want? Casual? Elegant?
• What is the overall mood you want to achieve? Cozy? Exciting? Sleek?
• How big is the room itself?
• How many windows are there? Are all the windows in the room the same size and   shape?
• Are the window proportions pleasing, or should the window treatments be used to   visually alter them?
• Should the windows be a focal point or a background element?
• Are you replacing a window fashion for an existing dιcor or planning a whole new   look for the entire room?
• What other furnishings (furniture, wallcovering, flooring, accessories) will be in the   room?
• What colours, patterns and textures are used in the room?
• What can the window fashions contribute to the decorating scheme? Help to achieve   better balance? Repeat lines and/or colours to add to rhythm? Unify other elements?   Provide a focal point for an otherwise uninspiring room?

The five basic principles of design are - Space, Lines, Form, Colour and Texture

Space is the first element to think about when decorating a room. How much do you have to work with? Look at the area surrounding the window, as well as the room it's in. To visually expand, keep the colour contrast between the wall and window low. To make a room feel cozier, create a high contrast.

Lines can have a huge effect on the overall feel of a room. Vertical lines add height and dignity. Horizontal lines suggest relaxation and informality.

Form is a shape or combination of shapes of the elements in a room. You can easily alter or improve the appeal of existing shapes, If you have square windows, window treatments can lengthen them and give them a taller, more rectangular look.

Colour is the most important mood-determining element in a room. It intensifies as you increase the area of coverage. A good rule of thumb is allow your main colour to occupy about 75 percent of a room (including floor and wall space), your second colour 15 to 20 percent, and your accent colour about 10 percent. Many people choose a neutral hue for their main colour, since brightness can be overwhelming if they're used too liberally.

Texture is great for adding interest to a room, so feel free to add some here and there. The word on the street? Dramatic contrasts are in. Even corduroy and silk are an acceptable pair these days.

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