Treat Your Windows Right

If you are moving into a new home or have been in your home for many years, your window treatments say a lot about your decorating style. Operational long drapery panels are still an elegant choice for any room, but have been updated today down to a bare bones blind with a top treatment. There are several great reasons to treat a window and endless design possibilities.

Why Treat a Window?

Well designed window treatments can provide a multitude of benefits including:

  • UV Control
  • Light control
  • Privacy
  • Insulation / R Factor
  • Noise Reduction
  • Marketability of Your Home
  • Aesthetics

Dress in Layers

An effective window treatment is a layered effect — exactly like you layer your clothing. Just like you would not wear a heavy winter jacket with summer shorts, you would want to coordinate window treatment layers carefully. Heavy and formal long wool drapery panels would not coordinate well with a micro metal blind behind.

Perhaps the most important layer many window treatments start with today is a UV protection layer. This can be incorporated in the glass in modern homes, or added to the glass in older homes using sophisticated film technologies. UV protection in all climates is critical to protecting your interior finish investments. Hardwood floors, area rugs, furnishings, textiles, pianos, cabinetry and more are all subject to quick and severe UV damage, which is rarely covered under any warranty from any manufacturer.

Sheers used to be the go-to first layer of a well designed window. The sheer allowed some natural light to filter through, acted as a UV barrier and created a privacy screen during daylight hours. But sheers block gorgeous views. Now, with the advent of UV treatments as a first layer, a second and final functional layer like roman shades or long draperies is trending in importance.

Some popular multi-layer window treatments today include:

  • Bamboo or matchstick blinds with drapery panels
  • Roller shades with a fabric valance or cornice
  • Wood blinds with a top or long treatment
  • Shutters with drapery panels
  • Cellular shades with stationary fabric panels

Blackout and Privacy Designs

Blackout treatments can be specified to control natural light for sleeping, a consideration when children are napping. Darkness triggers melatonin release in the brain and the lack of natural light control in sleeping spaces can disturb our sleep cycle. It can be difficult to get 100% darkness on a window treatment as light tends to filter around edges. Blackout back linings on drapery treatments are cost effective and go a long way towards this goal, but a professional experienced in window treatment design can also assist with total blackout.

Privacy is another consideration when treating any window. Some homeowners have enough land and trees to feel this does not matter. Most everyone desires at least some privacy in bedrooms. Again, window film can provide near total privacy even at night but these darken the views during the daytime. Many simple under treatments such as blinds and cellular shades can be effective to create privacy screens. The joy of this technique is they can be raised during the daytime to effectively disappear off the window and provide total light and view. Most cellular shade producers even offer blackout fabrics as well.

Conserve Energy with Beautiful Windows

Many new insulating window treatments are now becoming available to the consumer. Even when carefully weather-stripped, caulked and equipped with a tight fitting window, heat loss through your windows during the winter months can account for 10 to 30 percent of your total heating bill.

Adding layers to your windows will most certainly increase your comfort and obtain some initial energy cost savings. You can significantly minimize heat loss by providing a seal on all edges of a window treatment – center, top, bottom and sides. Cornices work very well to seal the top of a window. Draperies can be sealed on the wall edges, designed to touch the floor and overlap at least 4 inches in the center when closed.

Besides energy savings, an added benefit of window treatments is the acoustical properties they posses. Sound transmissions can be reduced, making a more peaceful home environment for everyone to enjoy.

Gorgeous Windows Can Sell Your Home

“Window treatments are typically considered personal property during a home appraisal”, states Karen Feeney-Parker, a licensed real estate appraiser in Indianapolis. “But, if you invest in a costly and large whole-house package of plantation shutters or automated shading systems as an example, you should present a copy of the invoice to the appraiser. To add value on an appraisal for these items would completely depend on comparable sales in your area.”

Most all other window treatments are a personal preference specified by the interior designer or homeowner and rarely add price value to a home. Fine custom window treatments can also be very expensive. Properly specified window treatments can attract (or repel) a buyer. Is a buyer willing to pay for beautiful finished window treatments? “Market competition is currently fierce. Buyers can be very selective when shopping for a home. The trend is for buyers to purchase a move-in ready home, which can include well-done windows” says Karen.

Aesthetic Trends

Today’s window treatment design trends show a movement towards simplicity and minimalism. Floor length, long operational draperies and roman shades continue to be a first choice for consumers who want a custom, simple and classic look that functions in just about any room.

Specifying the right textile for a decorative window treatment is still a huge opportunity to create the look and function. Silk remains a popular choice but must have the correct inner and back linings applied so it drapes beautifully and is UV protected.

Today’s draperies are not only about fabulous fabrics, but also about the hardware as well. Hardware comes in many shades and forms made of everything from wood to bamboo poles, to stainless steel wires or iron tubes. The finials that cap the ends of rods are much more minimal today including simple ball finials or flat caps.

Grommet drapery panels on simple steel rods create a sharp contemporary look. The main issue with grommet panels is they tend to bind on the rod when traversed and work much better for stationary looks.

Matchstick blinds made of interesting materials like bamboo, fruitwood or even synthetic materials remain popular. Automated shading systems are also trending in importance. For that hard-to-reach window, a shade can be operated with a handheld remote control. You can also design entire homes with systems that are integrated to measure sunlight and automatically close to save energy and UV damage – high tech indeed!

Please feel free to contact us via telephone at (317) 357-0155 with any questions about this material or to request more information about our services. Visit the It’s YouTM section on our website at to learn more about the Jeff Sheats Designs, Inc. interior design process. We are your partners in interior design!