Windows are one of the most important features of a house, not only letting in light but also giving the building character and style. The way you dress your windows can really make or break the look of your home and too often people rush into making a decision which they later regret creating further expense and inconvenience. However, with the number of choices available nowadays it is easy to see how you may end up getting confused, so let us take a look at some of the options available.
Shades are often the most affordable of window treatments but done well can look very stylish. They are ultra functional and come in a range of fabrics, structures and shapes. Essentially a window shade is a single piece of fabric which rolls, stacks or folds usually only opening to a view when the shade is rolled up. One of the most popular types is the Roman shade which can come in many varieties such as banded, relaxed and plain. You may also come across the Hobbled and Rear Tucked shades which have more of a wider gathered appearance. Shades are a great way of adjusting the flow of light into your room whilst maintaining a good level of privacy. You can also add extra style and character in your window choice. You can compliment your shades with added astragal or Georgian bars like on these flush casement windows.
Blinds and shades are often incorrectly considered to be the same. However there are key differences the main one being the inclusion of louvers on blinds. These louvers allow you to open to a view without lifting the entire fabric. This means you can manipulate the light entering the room as well as controlling the privacy element. Interestingly, the name blinds comes from their use in blocking people’s views of the home essentially ‘blinding’ the observers. There are many types of blinds common ones include the Venetian and Vertical blinds which come in a number of materials such as wood and aluminium. Once thought of as difficult to clean many now come with anti dust features.
Whilst usually the most expensive option window shutters can really add character often resulting in added value to your home. They come in a myriad of styles and can be fitted both internally and externally so the choice and design is really up to you. Window shutters are usually installed into the window frame and made of either wood or poly resin which can tilt or be stationary. Popular styles include the Californian or Plantation shutter which are interior with adjustable louvre blades. A window screen is slightly different in that they are usually constructed of three or more slates which slide horizontally. However, both shutters and screens provide the ultimate in privacy and are excellent at blocking out light. Shutters can look really beautiful on traditional timber framed windows like these.
The most popular of window dressings and if chosen well can bring style and personality to a home. We all know what curtains are, but what about drapes and what is the difference? Well, curtains are generally made of lighter fabric and generally used for a decorative purposes whereas drapes are more formal, thicker, lined and used for keeping in heat as well as privacy. However, you will find both words used interchangeably. There are many types of curtains including flat panel, tie back and valance so as well as how they look you need to consider what else you need from your curtains. You may need additional privacy, want to soften the windows architecture or want to keep out draughts. Take your time when choosing new curtains – consider what character the room will have, the colour, fabric, length and lining. If you are struggling or have a difficult shaped window to dress it may be worth considering getting the curtains custom made.
There are a few types of glass treatment you can consider as part of your window dressing. A popular treatment is Frosted glass which is produced by the sandblasting to acid etching of a sheet of glass thus blurring the view. You will often find this style of glass in bathrooms as they maintain privacy whilst letting in light. Sometimes frosted glass can be used in a stylish decorative manner adding an individual character to the room. You can get an idea of some of the options available here. Smart glass generally changes from translucent to transparent resulting in either light being let into or being blocked from a room. You will mainly find this kind of finish in commercial properties but it is becoming much more popular in the home. Another popular glass treatment is stained glass windows. They can be very expensive but some homeowners are lucky enough to already have them fitted especially in more traditional houses. Stained glass windows offer the wow factor bringing beautiful shades of light and colour into a room.
The first step to a great window dressing is a great window, this useful Jargon Buster should make the choice much easier for you. Many homeowners will also want to consider Energy Saving Windows which not only help lower energy bills but can also reduce external noise and keep in the warmth. However, how you dress your windows is ultimately down to you, the homeowner – your taste, the size of the room, style and budget. The right curtains, shades or shutters can transform a window into a stunning focal point so take your time to find a way to let your style shine.