Beyond Basic Curtains: 10 Ways to Dress Your Windows
I've been giving finishing touches a lot of thought lately as I try to finish up our space post- January Cure and while there are a few different areas that could use some attention: lighting, artwork, and plants to name a few, the one that I've neglected the most is the windows. There is something to be said for the impact of a proper window treatment. Beyond aesthetics alone it affects everything from the quality of light (impacting both mood and sleep) to the way your space regulates temperature, and it can also dampen noise, draw the eye to a great view, or distract from a not so great one, and inject a bit of color, pattern and personality into a space. Here are ten options beyond basic curtains, compiled into a shoppable little guide.
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earthy, warm, clean, suitable for bathrooms & kitchens, diffuse light, a range of sizes, affordable
We chose to go with Bamboo blinds in our last space, a petite 360 square foot apartment, both for the airy feel, compact fit, visual warmth and finally affordability as we knew it wasn't somewhere we would live long term. My biggest piece of advice for making such a small space work is making sure that each part fits precisely, you don't want to waste an inch on an ill-fitting piece, physically or visually and it was easy to find the shades in the exact sizes we needed without playing crazy custom prices.
Pictured: Arlo Bamboo Roman Shade, Overstock, $27+
tailored feel, statement prints or color, suitable for bathrooms & kitchens, custom sizing, can be expensive
I’m currently on the hunt for some Roman shades for our apartment. The tailored look is a great way to compliment the architecture bones of the place, and they are custom fit to your windows. They are a natural for small windows and spaces where you wouldn’t want something that comes down to the floor: like the window above the toilet in our water closet or the one situated above the bench in our dining nook. I also love that because they are so tailored it’s an easy way to bring in some print or color without overwhelming the space.
Pictured: Flat Roman Shade, Wing It in Lunar, Loom Decor, $150
must for bedroom or nursery, useful for daytime sleeping, can be expensive, DIY with a liner
Blackout curtains are a must for getting good sleep, especially when you need to catch some shuteye during the day. While options used to be limited to darker colors, we love the options Target has recently launched both with their affordable nursery line, Cloud Island and the Design Love Fest collab. If you would prefer to go the DIY route and layer an existing curtain,
IKEA has blackout liners for $25.
Pictured: Potter Dot Blackout Curtains, Design Love Fest for Target, $190
cute, traditional, great for kitchen or doors, incorporate print or color, affordable
With their shorter length and availability in a range of prints, cafe curtains are the cute and quirky little sister to their full-length counterparts. They are a natural in spaces like the kitchen and perfect for providing a bit of privacy on a door, making them a great option concerning flexibility. Use them at the top of a window as an accent and to provide a bit of shade or just at the bottom to add privacy or obscure a less than stellar view. You can even use them to create a skirt below a sink or above your cabinets to hide clutter. They’re affordable, and the options are limitless.
Pictured: Moroccan Navy Trellis Kitchen Curtain, Saffron Marigold, $30
diffuse light instead of blocking it, provide privacy, light, airy feel, add depth when layered
Ideal for living spaces where you want privacy without losing natural light, sheers are perfect for layering behind heavier drapes or can be used alone for an airy feel. Simple white sheers are always a classic, or you could get creative with lace panels, textural details (like the eyelash fringe pictured above) or vibrant colors.
Pictured: Emmy Rod-Pocket Panel, Brylane Home, $13+
traditional feel, clean, architectural, layer with curtains or alone, curb appeal, easily adjustable, provide privacy
For a traditional look that provides privacy, is easy to maintain and even adds curb appeal, wood blinds are hard to beat. Endlessly adjustable they allow you to let in a little bit of light, or a lot and they can be angled to maintain your privacy at the same time. Use they alone for a streamlined look or layer them behind a pair of curtains or drapes.
Pictured: Faux Wood Blinds, The Shade Store, $143
heavyweight, rich, add depth, luxe fabrics, elevate space, traditional
If you ever want to elevate a room and make it feel a little more expensive, picking up some substantial drapes in a luxe fabric is the way to go. It subtly introduces some texture and depending on the finish you choose, can have a significant impact on the overall style. From linen to silk to velvet, the options are limitless, and there are many great blends out there that will give you the look and feel of a more expensive fabric, without the price tag. Another benefit to opting for drapes is the natural noise dampening effects (a massive bonus if you live in an apartment) and climate control: being able to keep a room cooler on a sunny day and warmer on a cold night by merely drawing the curtains.
Pictured: Belgian Textured Linen Drapery, Restoration Hardware, $68+
ideal for statement windows with a good view, industrial, cabins, indoor/outdoor feel
Sometimes the view is just that good, and you don’t want to obscure it. If you happen to be so lucky, there’s nothing better than a simple, beautifully trimmed window framing up a fantastic view, be it a city skyline or lush greenery. This approach generally works best in spaces where you don’t need privacy, unlike, say the bedroom or bathroom unless you happen to live on a private plot of land with nary a neighbor in sight. When your window is the dressing, paying attention to the details matters. I love black window frames to add some contrast and make scenery pop, or a window framed out in rustic wood.
Pictured: Custom Steel Windows, Optima, Contact for Pricing
added privacy while letting light through, ideal for interior windows & doors
Frosted glass can look dated if you aren’t careful but in some situations, it’s your best bet. In our current space, both halves of our water closet have frosted glass doors, which are great for bringing some natural light into what would otherwise be a long dark hallway, while still providing some much-needed privacy. If you want to “frost” a window without permanently altering the glass, transparent contact paper can be a great DIY option that removes cleanly, when you’re ready for a change.
Pictured: Static Window Film, Amazon, $9.30
70’s feel, adds visual interest, macrame or fringe
Sometimes you want to add a little visual interest without really needing to block the light or add privacy. If your aesthetic skews bohemian, this might be the look for you. From beautifully hand-knotted macrame curtains to a vintage scarf or beautiful textile causally draped around the window, we love the look of a window dressed up with some boho flair.
Pictured: Macrame Kitchen Curtain, Knot Squared on Etsy, $147+