As we move through the house and discuss various areas that need to be addressed, we now come to the windows. Quite often when we move into a new place, we think about the furniture, the appliances, and leave the windows to the very last, when our budget is stretched the thinnest. But what we put on the windows says a lot about the space and it really does factor into how and when we use a space. Having the right window covering for the space can really make it or break it. If you are trying to watch TV with the sun streaming in, you have a problem. If you are trying to sleep while the streetlight shines onto your pillow you have a problem. If your neighbours can see straight into your house, you have a problem. These are just a few of the reasons why we cover our windows. Privacy, sun control, room darkening are all things we need to consider when purchasing window coverings. And each room may have a different set of factors to look into. Some people prefer to have as little on their windows as possible, maybe even nothing. And that is great if it works for them. Other people have lots of layers on their widows. Again, a lot of it comes down to personal style and the options that suit you. We are going to look into soft window coverings, such as sheers or drapes. The range of fabric choices are numerous. We will look into the fabrics based on weight, as any of the weights will come in various patterns, textures and designs. It can be hard to decide on just one! Sheer fabric offers a buffer between you and the street. They can soften the light and obscure the view just enough. Typically sheers are done at three times the fullness, giving a rich, full look to your windows, but not necessarily offering complete privacy or heat control. Sheers tend to be a more formal look and to some they can be outdated. But the sheers available certainly can fit any design scheme, from traditional to modern. If you are looking for something to soften your windows, sheers may be the way to go. When you move into the heavier weights of fabrics, they will add more presence in your room. Drapes will help with heat control and privacy as well. The fabrics can range in anything from light weight, printed cottons to heavy, textured fabrics. They can be plain or patterned and can have lots of extra details added such as banding or trims. And there are so many options with a more substantial fabric as they can easily be sewn into different curves and angles. If you want your drapery treatments to stand out, use a fabric that contrasts with your wall. And the opposite applies if you want them to blend in, look for a fabric that will blend into your wall colour. The nice thing about soft window treatments is that it is the lining you use that will determine the opacity of the treatment. If you aren't looking to block all the light, use a light weight lining. If you are looking for more protection from heat or cold, there are special linings for that as well. And black-out linings are good for exactly that – blacking out the light. The other benefit of linings are added body to your treatments as well as a consistent look from the street. A good lining will also prolong the life of your treatments. I would recommend lining all of your soft window treatments for these reasons. The first option for soft window treatment is an inside mount, meaning your trim would be exposed and the treatment would typically just go to the top of your sill. Roman shades are a great example of this. They tuck neatly inside and kill two birds with one stone; give you the option of complete privacy when down and still dress the window when raised. An outside mount covers the trim work and should be mounted onto the wall and not the woodwork. It can hang just below the sill or to the floor, depending on the heating system you have. Baseboard heaters should not have anything hanging in front of them as this is a huge fire risk! Your treatments can be pinch pleated, tab tops, hidden tabs, grommets, the list can go on and on. Maybe you just want to finish a window off with a little colour so a valance might be just right. Maybe you just need to do side panels to complete the look you are going for. There are lots of tricks and tips for dressing your windows. A nice rod goes a long way in completing the look. If you have a wide window, you want to make sure your rod has a big enough diameter so it doesn't look lost at the top of your window. This is just a brief overview of ways to dress your windows and things you need to take into consideration. We will talk about further about blinds and shades next time and the various options they offer. I have discovered there are no 'standard' windows and that each room is unique and presents its own set of requirements and challenges. Let me help you decide what the best look is for your windows. Lori Byrne is a local interior decorator who enjoys helping people see the potential in their spaces. She invites you along on a journey to discover the home inside your house. She can be reached at email@example.com"
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