I'm not one to throw money out the window, which you certainly can do if you’re not careful when buying window treatments.
Here are a few things to think about, plus some of my favorite window covering ideas from fabulous to frugal, and everything in between.
First, lets figure out the pros and cons of the window, the room, and the view.
Do you want to enhance a beautiful view or cover up a bad one?
Which direction do your windows face, and are they saving energy or costing you money? If they're on the south/west side, they could be getting blasted by too much sun in the summer, and if they're old, heat and refrigerated air could be leaking out ~ along with your hard earned cash. I've got a great resource for your towards the end of this page.
Is extra privacy needed as with bedroom or bathroom window coverings?
What's your home's decorating theme? Pare down your choices to only those window covering ideas that feel right with your decor.
Keep in mind that if you live in a planned community and have a home owners association, there may be restrictions as to the color that can show to the street. You may be required to use white shutters and blinds, or white lining backing all other window treatments like draperies and Roman shades.
The grommeted two tone drapes in this photo look very contemporary hung from a chrome rod, and work with the home's decorating theme.
Skim through home magazines, books from your local library or sewing store, and visit stores with displays where you can see and touch the samples.
If this is a new home with bare windows you can buy inexpensive paper shades that give you privacy in the short term while you take your time to shop for window covering ideas.
Another option is to go with neutral blinds or roman shades throughout the house and layer them with other window coverings later. The next photo is a great example of this.
You can pair blinds, or Roman shades with drapes, or layer with a fabric valance. In the bedroom below, neutral colored roman shades let light filter in and balance the crispness of banded drapes for a modern yet soft, feel.
Your window covering ideas will surely change over the years as your personal style changes, and just like hair styles change, home decorating styles change too. You don’t go around with the same hair style you had ten or twenty years ago, do you? Don’t let your home get stuck in a time warp.
Before making a big investment in window treatments ask yourself, “Is this something I can live with long enough to get my monies worth?” Is this a timeless style, a clean, uncluttered design, or is it too busy?
Another reason to take your time with home decorating and especially widow covering ideas is when you just moved into a home and haven’t quite got a feel for it yet. It may be best to start with blinds or shades and live in the house for a while until you really know it, because your home decorating ideas may change over time.
If you find a name brand you particularly like because of the colors or styles they offer, then watch the sales at your big box stores.
Shopping online for window treatment ideas can save you a small fortune, especially when purchasing for a whole house. Many internet retailers offer free samples and professional measuring or installation services for a fee. I highly recommended this, since being off by even .25 of an inch can spell disaster.
Blinds can last 5-10 years depending on how much use they get, with shutters costing more, but lasting much longer. If you ever rent out your home, you can leave the blinds and take the window treatments if they fit your new decor.
One of my readers brought her window covering ideas to life ~ Venetian style.
She had these two story drapes custom made with rolled hems and beaded tie backs that resemble an upside down crown.
Shopping for fabric, finding a good seamstress, and then over seeing their work takes time, but the savings on large window treatments can be substantial.
Doing your "homework" not only helps you negotiate the best deal, it makes your more sure of your choices, and that's where fabulous meets frugal.
My friend Linda, who by the way is a very talented interior designer, gave me lots of great window covering ideas. She would find amazingly beautiful fabrics and have the draperies made to form massive puddles on the floor. Since there was so much extra fabric, this allowed her to take her draperies with her to a new home and still have them fit.
Another great window covering idea she gave me was to use antique tapestries as a valance of sorts by attaching softly shirred silk to it. I used this idea when I had a pair of velvet drapes that moved with me but were too short to become my new patio door window treatments.
By attaching a store bought tapestry fabric to the top of the old drapes, (close up photo left and another photo below) it gave me whatever length I needed, and created more visual interest.
This trick comes in handy when you need longer than the standard lengths sold in stores. It could work for modern window treatments as well if you use the right fabric and add a contrasting color on either top or bottom of the panel.
Interior designers have a lot of experience with window treatments and how different fabrics will behave, plus they are more up to date with the latest innovations and can keep you from making an expensive mistake.
In one new home, I used the services of a window blinds company who sent a designer/sales woman to the house.
Because she had all the samples with her I could see exactly what she was describing and together we picked out the perfect shades, and brainstormed on the odd shaped window to the left.
Keep in mind that window treatments for arched windows, can cost up to three times as much. Her suggestion of plantation shutters halfway up this tall arched window allowed evening privacy while keeping the view at the top and fit my frugal budget.
If you'd like to know more about energy saving window coverings, Green-energy-efficient-homes.com is one of the best resources I've seen on the subject.
Tell us about your: Curtains, Drapes, Blinds, Shades, Shutters, or Window privacy film. What kind of fabric or hardware did you choose and why? Did you install them yourself or have a pro do it?
Whether you make your own window treatments or have them made for you, sharing your ideas and tips will help others. There's nothing more fun than seeing what you've done!