The 12 Types of Window Treatments [and the Pros and Cons of Each]
Window treatments are a necessary component to complete any interior space. They provide style and functionality, and they are one of the first things people notice when they enter a room. When choosing window treatments, our Texas-based interior designers examine the benefits of each style and how they will serve the needs of the space. Let’s take a look at 12 popular types of window treatments and the pros and cons of each.
A Brief History of Window Treatments
The first use of windows in structures dates back to the 13th century B.C., and window treatments were quick to be introduced next. Animal hides were adapted early on to cover windows when not in use. The ancient Egyptians created window treatments made out of papyrus, and the Chinese designed coverings out of bamboo. In the 16th century, wooden shutters became a popular method of keeping out drafts and providing privacy at night for Europeans. It was recognized that window coverings not only served to meet the practical needs of controlling light, weather, and privacy, but that they could also be styled to create beauty within the home. We have continued to refine window treatments ever since, designing everything from practical solar shades to intricately patterned drapes.
12 Types of Window Treatments and Their Pros and Cons
One of the most popular window treatments is horizontal blinds. These are available in a wide range of styles, colors, materials, and slat widths. Wood blinds offer a stylish and classic look, however, they can be difficult to clean and be prone to warping. Faux wood blinds offer a cost-effective alternative that is better suited for high humidity climates and moisture-prone rooms. Horizontal blinds are easy to operate and control light flow. Some are beautiful enough to dress a window on their own, but drapes can be added for a layered look that feels more complete.
Vertical blinds also offer easy operation and light control, but their slats are oriented vertically. This makes them a practical option for both windows and doors that open side to side rather than up and down. They are easy to clean and commonly seen paired together with sliding doors. Some homeowners find that vertical blinds can be dated, however, they can feel modern with the right application.
Panel Track Blinds
Panel track blinds are a more streamlined alternative to vertical blinds. These blinds feature fabric panels that slide back and forth, making them perfect for sliding doors and large window expanses. While they don’t offer the same level of light control as vertical blinds, they do offer a more streamlined finish.
Shutters are a classic option that can be incorporated into Colonial, Craftsman, and even beach or farmhouse design schemes. They add an architectural element to the space and look beautiful from both inside and outside. This style of window covering can be difficult to clean though.
Honeycomb shades are also known as cellular shades. They are named for the fabric honeycomb-shaped cells that make up their construction. These cells trap air between the window and the room, resulting in increased energy efficiency that keeps the space cool in the summer and warm in the winter. These fabric shades come in a wide variety of colors to match different interiors as well as light-filtering or blackout options, but they can be difficult to clean.
Pleated shades are made from one panel of fabric that expands and contracts into a series of pleats. These shades are typically available in semi-sheer fabrics that open from the top as well as the bottom, offering lots of light control and customizable style. However, they do not offer the insulation benefits of honeycomb shades.
Roller shades offer practical function and minimalist style. This type of shade opens flat when pulled down and rolls up neatly on a dowel, making them discreet when raised. They are available in blackout and light-filtering fabrics and offer an easy way to control light. The modern feel of these shades may not go well with traditional interiors.
Solar shades bring UV filtering technology to window treatments, which is perfect for people who want to not only preserve their view but also their interior. These shades come in varying opacities which allow you to see out while they are drawn, giving you access to your view but limiting harsh light that can raise energy bills and fade fabrics. While these shades filter UV rays, they don’t offer blackout options.
Roman shades blend the style and softness of drapes with the functionality and light control of shades. The shade lays flat when opened and folds onto itself when raised, resembling a valance when pulled open. Roman shades are available in a range of fabrics and materials, including wood and bamboo. These shades could prove challenging for large window expanses, as the fabric weight and bunching may be too great.
Drapes are the most decorative window treatment and the panels come in an endless combination of fabrics and styles. Drapes are perfect for creating a large impact and adding style to a space, while still preserving practical ways to control light.
Sheer curtains are semi-transparent fabric panels that allow for light and views to the outside. These panels can be used on their own for a light and airy feel, but they are typically paired with draperies for a more formal look and options for privacy.
Cafe curtains are hung to cover the lower portion of a window, allowing for privacy from the outside while keeping a space brightly lit. These are perfect for casual dining areas and bathrooms, but they don’t allow for a full range of light control.
Window treatments not only convey an interior style, but they also offer practical ways to control light, create privacy, and reduce energy costs. While some coverings can stand on their own, others work best when paired together for a complete and tailored look. When considering the styles, material options, and combinations, the options are truly limitless. Let us help guide you to find the perfect window treatments for your space.
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