Selecting window furnishings can be very confusing. As window furnishings are usually included as fixtures in the sale of a house, unless you’ve undertaken an extensive renovation or you’ve built a new house, you may never have had to select window furnishings before.
Window furnishings can really change the feel of a space and I think they’re one of the most important elements of any room. They can also be a costly item to purchase, so you want to get them right. Read on to find out which window furnishings are best to use and where.
Okay, so we are all familiar with curtains. Curtains were involved in some major style crimes in the 1980s and 1990s, involving heavy damasks and florals. But in natural, tactile fabrics they’re now firmly back in style.
Pros: Curtains soften a room in a way that other window furnishings do not. They are perfect for spaces where you want a warm/cosy/romantic feel such as a Master Bedroom. When lined, they are also very effective for blocking out light.
For spaces where you want softness and privacy, sheer curtains can be combined with another window furnishing as roller blinds.
Cons: Curtains tend to be a relatively expensive option and this is because of the amount of fabric required which is far more than for alternatives such as Roman Blinds. Curtains are also always seen, even when open. This may be fine, but for spaces where you don’t want to notice the window furnishings, curtains may not be the best option.
My final word on curtains is that they must be elegant and long. Starting above the window architrave and hitting the floor. Short curtains are a style no-no.
Because curtains look best when they’re long, they’re not a great option to use in a space where you need to access something directly under the window (for example, a desk as you can see in the image below)
2. Timber shutters
Pros: Shutters give a clean, streamlined look and work beautifully in a traditional or character home. They can be adjusted for privacy, allowing you to see out but making it difficult for others to see in. They have a character of their own but are understated in their look.
Cons: Because they cover the whole window, even when the shutter blades are open, the view out of the window will always be partly obscured. For this reason I wouldn’t suggest using them in spaces where you’re looking out onto an amazing garden view for example.
Shutters are fairly effective at blocking out light. Not as effective as full block-out curtains though.
3. Roman Blinds
Pros: Roman blinds are a great option for certain spaces within a home. In my opinion they are particularly well suited to small or medium sized windows. They tend to look heavy and bulky when used on very large windows. Roman blinds can be amazing using a beautiful fabric or with bespoke detailing. But this adds cost.
Cons: When used on very large windows, when the blind is drawn, the blind can appear like one big slab of fabric. They tend to look more attractive when they’re up, compared to when they’re down. This issue can be overcome by selecting Roman Blinds for small and medium size windows and choosing fabrics that have interest but are not so bold that they give you a headache or make your eyes go funny when they’re down 😉
4. Roller blinds
Pros: Roller blinds are inexpensive, streamlined and completely understated. You basically don’t notice them at all when they’re up. For this reason they’re perfect for large windows and for windows where you’re looking out at a beautiful view. During the day, you can have them up and you don’t even notice they’re there.
You can purchase roller blinds in three general types of fabrics: 1) Sheer (for privacy) 2) Screen (to partly block out light) and 3) Blockout (to fully block out light).
Cons: Because they’re one large piece of fabric, they don’t look particularly attractive when they’re down. You won’t have the texture, softness or movement that you would have with curtains for example.
Throughout a house I think it is perfectly fine and often appropriate to use more than one type of window furnishing.
To select the right window furnishings you need to consider the following questions for each room:
- What are the window furnishings primarily for? i.e. to block out light so that I can sleep? or to provide some privacy? or to add texture, softness and visual interest?
- Do I want to notice the window furnishings? i.e. are the window furnishings a hero piece in the room or more of a
- What is my budget?
Window furnishings are such an important part of any room in terms of both aesthetics and functionality. They are also a significant investment in your home and something you want to be happy with long term.