Layering Window Treatments 101
You can use just one type of window treatment in your windows, but the best results are achieved when you layer window treatments to give your spaces much more character and make it truly your own design.
A single window treatment, such as curtains, drapery panels, shades, blinds or valances can add a decorative edge to a basic window frame. Layering window treatments will give you a huge new palette of items to discover and mix and match to create a truly stunning window in every room of your home. Read on to learn the art of layering window treatments.
Defining Your Layers
If you are new to the wonderful world of interior design, you may not know the exact differences between window treatments. You should be able to know which layers look like and how to create a dimensional and beautiful set of windows.
Drapery panels are made of fabric and they can be flowing and regal in appearance to a very basic full coverage window treatments depending on the fabric weight, colors and how they are hung. The basic types of drapery panels flank the sides of windows and they hang from drapery rods that are usually mounted above the window frames. You can pull them wide open to let sunlight in or draw them shut to block out light and heat.
Window scarves hang from a rod and border the two sides of a window much as drapery panels do. However, window scarves don’t require hooks to hang them but are instead draped loosely around the curtain rod for a relaxed appearance.
Valances are short single panel fabric panels that hang from a rod over a window frame. Since these are pretty short, they are used as a decorative feature and they don’t really provide a lot of shade or privacy.
Blinds and Shades
Blinds and shades can be hung from the very top of the window frame or just above it and they both pull downward in one sheet. When you choose custom blinds and shades, you have thousands of choices of fabric patterns to choose from in many colors, patterns and textures as well. Standard big box store blinds and shades are only available in a few colors and sizes. When they are shut, blinds and shades offer the most solid window coverage of all the window treatments to give you the utmost in privacy, light and heat control.
How to Choose Your Layers
Mostly, choosing your layers is about your personal preference, but you do have to keep in mind that you need more room for some of your choices on your walls around your window frame.
The Base Layer
You should first choose your base layer. Blinds and shades that mount inside of your window frame will be almost flush with the window itself. This makes them perfect for your base layer. This is also a great choice as a base layer as you can add any other type of window treatments to it and they will fit. Indoor shutters also work really well for your base layer when they are mounted inside the window frame. You can use blinds and shades that mount outside your window frame if you choose this appearance for your base layer, but if you do, remember that you will need the second layer to extend about an inch or more beyond the first layer.
The Second Layer
Drapery panels are long and have thick folds, making them an excellent choice to mount them over a more simple design of a blind or shade. This idea works great especially if your blinds or shades are mounted inside the window frame, as your drapery panels will hang from a drapery rod that is mounted over the window frame. In this layer, you can decide to use sheer drapery panels to add softness to your blinds or shades. Blinds and shades are considered hard treatments and drapery panels are considered soft window treatments. Using a mixture of the two types will give your room the most interest and intriguing design. You may prefer to make your first and second layer both in drapery panels with a sheer style nearer to the window and a thicker fabric on the outside layer to filter light when the second layer is open or you can close both the first and second layer for the ultimate in privacy and light control as well as energy efficiency.
The Outside Layer
You can stop at two layers if you wish and not include the outside layer. However, your windows will be more unique if you add the finishing touch of a valance or window scarf at the top. This is the layer that you can choose the most intricate, attractive and decorative fabric to make it from. You can choose bright and bold colors in a great pattern to match your home’s decor. To install a valance over your other layers, you will either need another drapery rod that will mount over an existing one with your drapes on them or a double drapery rod which allows you to hang two different window treatments on one rod. If you choose to use a window scarf instead, you can simply drape it over the drapery panel rod to make a graceful presentation without the need for more hardware.
You should choose your drapery rods according to the heading on drapery panels. For example, if your drapery rod fits in a top pocket and is covered by fabric when it’s closed, you can use a simple design but maybe with great finales on the ends for a decorative touch that will always be seen whether your drapery panels are opened or closed. If you choose a different heading, such as a tab top that the drapery rod shows through areas in the fabric, you may want a more decorative or thicker drapery rod, as it is seen when the panels are closed as well as open.
Some Parting Tips
Mixing and matching textures will give you the best custom designer window treatments. You can try basic drapery panels in a solid color and pair them with textured blinds. Simple and plain shades pair beautifully with a ruffled valance to give your design softness and a pop of color. Use patterns sparingly, but if you really want to pair patterns, you can use one in a small pattern and the other in a geometrical design with coordinating colors.
These tips should help you to make great decisions for custom window treatments that you can call your own design. And remember, no window is too small for layering although it looks grand on large windows in your living room; layers also work great in kitchens and bathrooms.