You can layer several types of window treatments to achieve an appearance that is truly an extension of who you are. When you layer items, you reap the maximum benefits possible. Window coverings should first be chosen on functionality and what you are trying to achieve. Then you should choose the style and color palette to match your furnishings in a room.
Window Treatments to Layer
An explanation of the different types of window treatments available can greatly help you in your decorating decisions.
- Draperies: Lined drapery panels give you the most privacy, as the lining makes them heavier and thicker. This also makes for a very energy efficient choice as it blocks warm sunlight in the summer and helps to keep cold drafts out of your home in the winter. Lined draperies also help to protect your furniture and flooring from harmful sunlight that causes fading. Unlined drapes can provide you with a wispy, filtered light effect in a room that doesn’t get a lot of sunlight in it.
- Roman Shades: Roman shades also provide the same benefits of lined draperies and the versatility to raise them partially at any height to match your needs. Roman shades, because of their thickness, can keep the sounds of the great outdoors outside of your home and insulate it from traffic or other outside noises.
- Soft Valances: Soft valances are installed over the top of the window casing on either a highly decorative rod or mounted to a board and are customizable to any length you wish. These are usually made in a contrasting color to any draperies in the window.
- Swags: Swags are another option for a top window treatment. They hang elegantly and dress up a room very well. Many use this type of top treatment when layering in the dinning room, family room or in a master bedroom.
- Cornices: Cornices are also a top window treatment made of decorative wood or padded fabric that install at the top of the window and are box shaped. They add texture to your windows in a room.
Your first layer is the long stationary drapery that is generally a sheer panel. If you want all of the available light coming in the window, you can choose only a valance, swag or cornice as a window top treatment. Using only one layer is more for aesthetic purposes.
Your second layer is the privacy and energy efficient layer. You can choose a light filtering shade for living areas of your home and probable want to consider Roman shades to block the light completely in a bathroom. Long drapery panels that pull across the window can be in layer two with them either lined, non-lined or in a blackout material. A combination of two layers of your choice gives you functionality and beauty as your window treatments.
This layer is optional, but adds more beauty to your home. The addition of a swag, cornice or valance as a top window treatment, if you did not choose it in the first layer, adds so much more in design. When ordering custom draperies you have many options in this area. Top treatments can be straight or curved, have two contrasting fabrics and many choices of adornment such as buttons and trim.
Your third layer may instead include a sheer layer over the first layer that is functional in blocking out sunlight. Many homeowners use a sheer drapery over Roman blinds. This allows you to open the blind or lined drapery and allow filtered light inside during the day. Then you can close the blind or drapery in the evenings for privacy. It adds another entire layer of functionality to your home along with beauty.
When you are making decisions on creating your perfect window treatments, you have thousands of materials and combinations to from which to choose. Gone are the old heavy drapery choices from many years ago. Think of each window as a blank slate that you can create cohesiveness with your home furnishings to be dramatic or demur in any way you please.