With all of the window treatment options available out there, it can be difficult to decide on the perfect option for each window in your home. Finding a window treatment that looks good in your home and compliments the interior decor is definitely an important factor to consider, but shouldn’t be the primary concern.
When choosing window treatments for your home, you should first consider the practicality of each treatment type before focusing on the design aspect. For example, in one room you may want to have more insulation by choosing a heavy curtain, while in another room you may want to have a lot of natural light and choose shutters. Once you figure out what you are trying to accomplish in each room you will be ready to find an appropriate design for the specified window treatment.
In this article you will find information on the most common window covering types available along with pros and cons of each. All window treatments can be broken down into two categories; horizontal window treatments and vertical window treatments.
Horizontal Window Treatments
Horizontal window treatments are either made up of several small individual panels that run horizontally along the width of a window or one large fabric that covers the width of a window, both of which can be opened or closed with a drawstring mechanism or a vertical track system. These are typically used on small to medium sized windows, but can also be found covering glass doors and other long windows in some cases. Below is a description of some of the most common horizontal window coverings available with some pros and cons of each.
These are the most elegant looking type of horizontal window treatment available, and quite practical too. Shutters are made out of individual panels that are quite thick and maneuvered open or shut with a hand operated rail system that runs vertically, attached to each individual panel.
- Their solid structure makes them easy to clean. Simply wipe a damp cloth across the panels to wipe off any dust buildup.
- Shutters are usually made of solid, opaque materials such as wood. This allows for the option to easily open them to let some natural light into the room or close them to keep the room dark, making it easier to sleep in.
- When closed, they offer insulation against cold and heat.
- You can not completely open the shutters meaning you will never have a complete open view of your window.
- If they get damaged in any way it can be very difficult to repair.
Horizontal blinds are similar to shutters, but with much thinner panels that are connected to one another by a drawstring instead of a solid rail. One of the biggest differences between shutters and blinds is that blinds can be completely drawn upwards giving you a full view of the window.
- Similar to shutters, blinds can be easily cleaned by wiping a damp cloth along the individual panels.
- With blinds, you have the option to close the panels for privacy, angle them to allow a small amount of light into the room, or draw all the panels upward by pulling on the drawstring exposing the entire window.
- Often times the drawstrings become tangled making it difficult to maneuver the blinds
- Since the panels are thin, they are not as good at completely blocking out light or insulating a room as shutters are.
Window shades come in various forms such as roman shades, cellular shades and roller shades, all of which have a similar structure. Instead of having individual panels like in shutters and blinds, window shades are made from one piece which when fully extended should cover the entire width and height of the window. Similar to blinds, window shades have a drawstring mechanism to easily open or close them.
- There are many varieties of window shades which, depending on the one you coose, can help with insulation, privacy and add elegance to any room
- They are easy to open and close by pulling on the drawstring
- Depending on the fabric that they are made of, some window shades can be very difficult to clean and may require being sent to a professional
- Since there are no individual panels like on blinds, shades do not give you as many options for allowing a small amount of natural light into a room
Vertical Window Treatments
Vertical window treatments span from the top of a window to the bottom of the window, or sometimes all the way down to the floor. Instead of having a track system that runs vertically, they have a track that runs horizontally at the top of your window allowing the covering to be opened from side to side instead up from the bottom up. These treatments are typically used for larger windows in the home such as in front of sliding doors, and are very rarely found on smaller windows. Below is a description of the three most common vertical window treatments available.
Similar to horizontal blinds, vertical blinds are made up of individual panels, but instead of spanning the width of a window they span the height of a window. They are connected to a horizontal track above the window and can be open or closed using a drawstring. When fully open the panels will be compressed to one side of the window giving you full exposure to the window.
- The panels are often made of a hard material such as vinyl or plastic and thus are very easy to clean and replace if one breaks
- Similar to horizontal blinds, you have several options for allowing light into a room. You can either fully close them to keep light out, angle them slightly to let a little bit of light in or open them completely to have the window fully exposed
- If the window they are covering is open on a windy day the individual panels will be slamming into one another creating loud sounds and potentially damaging them
- If the track system breaks it can be costly to replace
Curtains are long pieces of lightweight fabric that span from the top of a window, connected to a curtain rod at the top, all the way down to the floor or bottom of the window. They are usually controlled by hand having no drawstring or track mechanism to open or close.
- They are usually very stylish and low cost so they can add to the flavour of a room without costing you too much
- Easy to maneuver since there is no complicated track system required
- Damaged or dirty curtains are difficult to repair or clean and will likely need to be taken to a professional curtain cleaning company, or even worse, be replaced with a new curtain
- They are usually made from lightweight materials so they are not great at blocking out light or creating privacy even when fully closed
Draperies are essentially a higher end version of a curtain, made with thicker and more elegant materials. They too are attached to a rod place on top of a window that allows the draperies to be open or closed from side to side either by hand or with a cord mechanism. Draperies are the best choice if you want to add a luxurious feel to a room with a big window.
- Since they are made with much thicker and opaque materials than curtains, draperies are great at blocking natural light, creating privacy and insulating a room
- Similar to curtains, drapes are very easy to maneuver open and shut
- If they become soiled or damaged in any way, it can be very costly to have them repaired or replaced due to their luxurious nature
- Because the material is so thick, they will take up more space than any other window covering, especially when they are fully open and resting on the sides of the window
Now that you know the different types of window coverings available to you, and the pros and cons of each, it is time to make an educated decision on how you will decorate the windows in your home. Remember, before you start looking at how a certain window treatments will look in a specific room, think about what effect you are trying to accomplish in each room. There are thousands of design choices available for each window treatment type so you should not have any problems finding one that is both practical for each specific room while also complimenting the decor of that room.