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What Are Window Treatments?

By Sherry Holetzky
Updated May 16, 2024
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As the term indicates, window treatments can be more than mere window coverings. Treating windows is thought of as "packaging" them as a design element rather than simply covering them for function. Coverings are used to protect privacy, insulate heat and cold, and filter light; and while many people consider window treatments more aesthetic, they too can be functional.

Although window treatments are technically more decorative, this term has evolved, and is frequently used to describe most types of window coverings. Sheers, drapes, curtains, cornices, blinds, shutters, and valances are all examples of standard window coverings. More than one type can be incorporated into the design plan, through the use of layered treatments, and this type of arrangement can include both style and function.

For example, if you select light filtering blinds as window treatments (for obvious reasons), you may also want to install a valance or window topper to soften the lines or to add color. Alternatively, you might layer more than one aesthetic treatment to create a dramatic effect: Consider the use of floor length curtains along with a cornice. Some designs incorporate several layers of window coverings, such as a room-darkening shade to filter light at certain times of day, with sheers to let light in at other times. Topping this arrangement might be drapes made from luxurious fabric.

You may decide to use a standard window treatment and combine it with something less traditional, or perhaps you would prefer to forego traditional treatments altogether. A popular window covering for those who enjoy clean lines is a vinyl covering that mimics frosted or textured glass or an etching compound that permanently changes windows. This is an interesting way to create privacy instead of hanging curtains. To make this treatment even more decorative, you might also suspend a panel of stained glass directly in front of your newly etched or frosted window.

There is no strict set of rules when it comes to window treatments. The best way to choose treatments for each space in your home is to choose the types that will meet your family's needs and at the same time will become an attractive addition to your design plan. Choose what you like. Window coverings should coordinate with the rest of your decor, but that does not mean that they have to match exactly. In fact, sometimes this is the perfect place to add a punch of contrasting color or some great texture.

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Discussion Comments
By pleats — On Sep 29, 2010

When you're looking around for window treatment ideas, don't forget to look at what you've already got.

Not only can you get a good idea of what style works well with your home (since you're already using it for a bathroom/bedroom/etc), you can make sure you don't choose a treatment that just completely clashes with your house's style.

For instance, if you've got a really soft, fuzzy feel to your decor, then maybe as far as window treatments go, harsh shutters are not the best thing -- a drapery window treatment would be better suited.

Again, most of this is common sense, but you'd be surprised how easy it is to get caught up on a certain type of window treatment, get is home, and realize it absolutely does not work for you.

By closerfan12 — On Sep 29, 2010

As far as window treatments go, blinds may be the most functional, but I think that softer ones, like sheer scarf window treatments, are so much prettier.

I know some people try to combine them by putting sheer drapes over blinds, but I think that that's simply too much.

What do you think? Do you guys know of any way to get the functionality of blinds with a nice sheer feel?

By StreamFinder — On Sep 29, 2010

One thing that's important to remember with kitchen window treatments, especially if they are fabric window treatments, is to wash them!

A lot of times people just put up their window treatments and they accumulate dust, dirt, dead bugs, and grease, especially if they're in the kitchen.

So remember to wash your kitchen window treatments at least once a month, and bedroom and bathroom window treatments at least once every three months -- it's just hygienic.

By anon54905 — On Dec 03, 2009

I agree sometimes it is nice to contrast with the color and texture of other furniture to enhance the look.

However, if you do want to go with more a matching look, I have learned that real hardwood is the best way to go since there is more flexibility with the colors that can be painted on.

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