Whether trying to block out excess sun, a bad view, a draft, street noise or nosy onlookers, a window problem can be fixed in chic, affordable ways.
Local window-treatment experts have a full arsenal at their disposal, from hard coverings like shutters, aluminum and wood blinds to fabric-based solutions such as swags, draperies, sheers and honeycombed shades.
“When you do window treatments, it becomes a how, why, where and if question, and takes into account the size and location of a room, the design of the room and the house, how the person lives, their budget, and how much maintenance they want to do,” says Peggy Herrick, owner of Interiors by Decorating Den in Medford.
Following are some of the possible solutions for five common window ailments:
Get a window treatment that has insulation, or full-length draperies interlined with a thermal lining, says Herrick. Interlining is usually a thick, felt-like fabric that is inserted between the decorative face fabric of the drapery and the lining. The multiple layers trap air between them and act as an insulator. It also adds body and fullness to the draperies, making them appear very luxurious.
A cellular shade, or one with a honeycomb design, is also a good option, says Craig Reeves, of Draperies & Things and Mini Blinds & More. A honeycomb shade has good RV value, and will add both insulation and versatility when combined with draperies.
Think solar shades or sun screens to maintain your view while blocking UV rays and heat, Reeves says. Solar shades are semi-opaque, so they filter out UV rays and heat, but still allow you to see out in the daytime. At night, of course, the reverse is true, people can see in. If that’s a concern, Reeves suggests a Duolite shade, a honeycomb shade that is two shades in one. A sheer top shade comes down in the daytime. At night, an opaque shade pulls from the bottom, giving you the best of both worlds.
A shade made of a woven wood or bamboo with an integrated solar shade as a second layer is also an option, offering both beauty and functionality.
Herrick says a film coating on the glass may also be a solution. “If it only gets sun a couple of hours a day, and the view isn’t important, you probably want a hard window treatment over it.”
Another possibility is a Luminette, which combines the beauty of sheers with the privacy of soft draperies. Luminettes use translucent fabric facings and soft fabric vanes that rotate for varying degrees of light control and privacy. They are especially suitable for entire walls of windows or French doors.
If it’s an office, where glare on the computer screen is a problem, Herrick would suggest either an inside-mount fabric shade, a wooden or aluminum blind, or a duet.
If traffic noise or the neighbor’s drums are a problem, layering your window treatments is the most effective way to cut out excessive noise. Start with an interlined Roman or roller shade mounted directly in the window and cover that with a pair of heavy interlined draperies, Herrick says.
“You’ll get a lot of acoustical value using a layered treatment,” agrees Reeves.
Almost any kind of shade offers a privacy rating – from 1 to 5, 1 being very sheer and 5 blocking all light. Some semi-sheer shades can still let others see shadows of you, depending on how light the fabric is, but a wood blind, when it’s tilted closed, can give you total privacy.
“There are all kinds of options for privacy nowadays,” Reeves says. “One of the most popular is a top down-bottom up honeycomb shade.”
The newer models eliminate pull cords, using either handles on the top and bottom rails, or motorized transport systems that use wireless or infrared technology. Some require hardwiring, but the most popular are battery operated, Reeves says.
If a room has a less-than-appealing view, but you don’t want to close off the window entirely, you can take steps to distract the eye, say both Herrick and Reeves.
You might try an inside mount shade and shutters, or a wood blind, then put draperies or a fabric treatment around the window to draw the eye away from the view and onto the window itself, says Herrick.
“What I’d do is focus attention onto a decorative treatment,” says Reeves. “You can use a valence, side panels and incorporate a top-down-bottom up shade.”
“I might even try an architectural piece or focal point near the window, such as a piece of art or furniture, to draw the eye,” Herrick says.