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Dressed for Success: Window Treatments 101

Your windows and window coverings can either add to or distract from your overall interior design story. “Window treatments envelope the room and add sound absorption, creating a cozier feel," says Tami Teel, interior designer at Tami Teel Designs ( Jeannie Noll, owner and lead designer at Blind Spot (, agrees. “Selecting the correct window treatments for a space is just as important as the furniture, paint color, and accessories.  I encourage clients to think of window coverings as shoes; we all need them, but when they look great and feel great—the outfit is a winner.”

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Depending on the types of windows in your home and your personal style preference, different coverings will be more appropriate.

Molded windows are often showcased with classic Roman shades, whereas modern homes typically feature roller shades or ceiling mounted inverted pleat drapes. Farmhouse designs focus more on fabric types, such as traditional linen curtains without lining, and transitional modern homes tend to include printed fabrics, Teel shares.

Cathy Tonks, founder and interior designer at Designs With You in Mind (, says for custom draperies, it's all about adding layers to make it feel warmer and look more like a home. “If you want filtered light that won’t damage things in your home, [simply] use a sheer underlay; [if you] want privacy and to darken the space, then close the top decorative panels.”

Gary Decker, owner of Budget Blinds (, says his team of experts are trained to find the right type and style of window coverings for customers based on factors like their fashion expectations, privacy needs, and budget. “There are louvered products, such as blinds and shutters that allow for a view out the window, while protecting floors and carpets from direct sunlight. Non-louvered products include roller and Roman shades, as well as woven wood and other specialty products that add different levels of functionality and style to the shade selection.”


Depending on your design aesthetic, you may or may not want to follow current trends for window coverings. Teel says the three most popular design motifs right now are clean rods with simple end caps and a linen panel that operates on a rolling inset system; Roman shades with an inset clean pleat to keep the billowing at a minimum; and Duette pleated shades that stack tight and disappear. “The purpose is for privacy, but [to have] the entire window open and exposed during the day,” she says.

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According to Noll, “Clean lines and soft textures are trending right now. With so many homes incorporating an ‘indoor-outdoor’ environment, it’s great to have window coverings that can disappear when not in use.” Not surprisingly, Noll also says technology is an up-and-coming trend. “Products utilizing Bluetooth technology allow shades to operate according to your personal lifestyle needs. Clients are loving the convenience of pre-programed time settings for ease of use and consistent, effortless operation,” she shares.   

Shutters continue to lead the product category, although automated roller shades and “zebra” shades have become popular because of their simple, modern style, Decker says. “We also expect automation to become the leading product category.” 

For room-specific décor ideas, Tonks says bold patterns work in bedrooms or spaces that aren’t the main living area where you’ll want to be more neutral. “Make it timeless,” she says, “so when you want to change the space later, you can keep the window coverings.”


Noll says the most common mistake she encounters is when customers don’t hire a reputable company to assist with their project. “With so many product options and brands to choose from, it’s easy to make a mistake with selection, measuring, or installing.”

Teel says that homeowners may add a decorative valence and get too heavy with a large-printed fabric when dressing their windows. Window coverings can be expensive, and the risk of going too trendy with the look is that it’s not timeless. “They are expensive to replace, so you want to do it right the first time.” 


Rich Downing, CFO of Window Screen Solutions and More ( shares some top tips for cleaning and maintaining the windows in every room of your home.

•   To keep sliding glass doors in great rolling shape, vacuum the track, front, and back at least once a week. This will keep hair and dust from getting into the ball bearings.

•   For windows, you should do the same at least once a month to keep the weep holes from getting plugged and causing rainwater from draining out. 

•   Most people have a lot of windows they don’t ever open, but Downing suggests you open every window at least a few times a year to remove the dust and make sure no dirt and/or water is in the track. It also keeps the sliding part of the window in good working order and prevents it from getting stuck.

• To clean screens, use mild soap and water.

• Washing windows and solar panels should be done twice a year or more.

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by Kourtney Jason