Designer window treatments are a turn-off for most of us. We can do straightforward stuff - put a track or pole up over a window and hang some drapes from it - but add the word 'designer' and we go all insecure.

Now, a skilled designer can come up with great ideas, but then they should be able to because that's their profession. But this doesn't mean you can't make a success of your window. Take it a step at a time, and you'll be able to come up with your own designer window treatments.

Here's some of the things you need to do.


Before you do anything, decide on the overall style you want.

Will it be traditional, contemporary, country style, minimalist, etc? Do you want the finished result to blend in with the surroundings, or make a statement with a vibrant contrast?

Your room style itself will guide you in the right direction: if you have a classical 18th century room style you probably wouldn't want to use a modern fabric with tabbed headings.

For more general information on style take a look at the home style page.


This will have a major impact on your designer window treatments. At first, color choice can appear daunting. But usually the problem isn't the color itself, but our own worries about how we will be seen once we make the choice! What will people think? Will they approve?

Never mind what others think. Make your own decisions, and stand by them. Here are some hints for selecting your color.

If you use a patterned fabric for your curtains or shades, select one which has colors already present in your room. For example, if it's a living room, and you have a green carpet, red couch and pale cream wall, a good choice would be a fabric with a matching cream background, and with greens and reds in the details.

For impact, use a contrasting color on the window. If your room is predominantly beiges with a touch of yellow here and there in some details, go for yellow in your designer window treatments.

If you want to put a color in your window which isn't anywhere else in the room and you think it will look a bit odd, introduce that color somewhere else in the room. You could use a vase, a picture or a rug. Then your window treatment wouldn't look isolated.

For more information on color go to the color schemes page.


You need to take account of texture with your treatments. It's easy to forget, but has a major impact on the final effect.

Texture allows you to use a relatively plain fabric (or other material if you're using shades or blinds) and achieve an effect which is far more interesting than you might at first imagine.

Perhaps your kitchen window has off-white curtains using a plain cotton. If you were now to have the same color for your living room drapes, for example, only this time in a raw silk, you would get a completely different effect.

Don't forget textures when you think about your windows.

Here's more information on texture.


curtains with valances

This traditionally decorated room shows carefully designed curtains and top valances. The tops of the valances are edged in blue, while the bottoms are decorated with tassel fringes in blue.


The secret of Designer Window Treatments

All of the points mentioned above are important, but there is one ingredient which puts the 'designer' into window treatments.

Detail. Attention to detail makes the difference.

  • Suppose you decide to use a curtain pole, and it has some ordinary finials (the bits on the ends). Now replace them with something more special, like acorn, or pineapple finials. It's only a small change, but will make a world of difference.
  • You have plain curtains. Now make them with a contrasting border about 3 inches wide set up about 3 inches from the base. Instantly, you have something special.
  • Or how about you have floor length curtains. So adapt the border idea, and have the bottom 12 or 18 inches made of a contrasting fabric. Then make the curtains an extra 6 inches long, and have them 'puddled' on the floor.
  • What about a roller or roman shade? Do the same with them - instead of just a plain finish, sew a contrasting border on the base edge. You could do it up the sides as well.

Details. Think about them. Look at magazines and books for ideas. Search them out on internet sites. Look in your local store, or antique stores.

With a little thought and preparation you can have your own designer window treatments!



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