Dress up your windows

Dress up your windows

Windows connect us to the outside world. Navita Singh looks at how windows can be decorated to set different moods in different rooms.

Windows play an important role in a house by allowing light and air inside. They also connect the internal environment to the external one by framing different views.

 Windows need some treatment to offer privacy and control over the amount of light entering a room; curtains are popularly employed for this purpose. But curtains also enhance the visual appeal of the interiors by setting a mood and distinctive character.

Style

Before starting to select curtains for your windows, it is essential to study the type of window, the view it offers, the style of your interiors and the amount of light entering the room.

The type of curtain required will depend on whether it is a casement, French, picture or bay window. If the view is beautiful, then the window treatment must make the most use of it. 

On the contrary, unpleasant views and prying onlookers are best screened off. Heavy materials drape well and so are ideal for formal and classical settings. They provide privacy and cut off strong sunlight. Such curtains are usually lined, pleated and full length to lend a ceremonial touch. 

Lighter fabrics help in creating an easy and relaxed look. Rooms that are sunny would need heavier drapes whereas breezy sheers would suit spaces that receive more subdued light.

For a contemporary setting, minimalist window treatments are just the thing. Lightweight drapes create a spacious interior. Subtle colours, geometric patterns and interesting textures go well with such a style. For small spaces, use tiny prints and light colours to prevent overcrowding. 

The western classical style with its theatrical grandeur is still popular when creating a regal atmosphere. Modern interpretations of this style find a place in many affluent homes.

Fabrics An amazing variety of fabrics are available to enhance your windows. Once you have decided on the look you want, it becomes easier to make a choice. The drapes could be in harmony with the rest of the interiors or could make a contrasting statement. 

Curtains can either be light and unlined or heavy, lined and pleated. This would depend on whether you want a formal or informal look. 

Unlined and light curtains are inexpensive, easy to make and maintain. You could have a few different sets of such curtains so that they can be changed periodically to give your home a new look.

 A combination of unlined and sheer curtains is effective in providing both privacy and control over the amount of light filtering in. It offers the possibility of creating two different visual effects when used on twin poles. 

Lining gives body to the drapes and helps it fall well. It also makes the curtains more durable by affording protection from direct sunlight and dust. But lined curtains are expensive and difficult to maintain.

Beautiful and delicate materials are available for making sheer curtains. The way these filter sunlight gives the interiors a soft and ethereal look. 

For the luxurious look velvets, silks, satins and damasks are ideal. Their richness is even more evident when they are pleated and lined. Cottons, voiles, laces and nets are other options for unlined curtains. You can experiment with dress material like georgette and chiffon too. Sarees used as curtains could add a touch of excitement to a room.

Patterns

The weave, colour and print contribute to the visual texture of the fabric. Plain, embroidered or embossed drapes look elegant and make a subtle statement. Geometric patterns like checks, stripes and plaids are popular in modern interiors.

Floral and paisley prints are evergreen and give the home a graceful look. Vertical stripes tend to make a window look longer than it actually is. Nursery prints, polkas and bright patterns bring cheer to children’s rooms. 

It is important that the scale of the pattern matches the scale of the space. Large prints may look overbearing in small interiors. 

You can experiment with fabrics that have different colours, patterns and textures in the same curtain or try different curtains for the same window. Remember that heavily patterned drapes grab attention so use them carefully. Bright advancing colours will make the interior look warm and welcoming whereas light receding colours will make it look cool and spacious.

Details

Careful detailing can go a long way in making an impression. The type of heading, curtain rod, finial and other accessories also contribute to the aesthetics of the space. The length of the drapes also influences the interiors. 

Full-length curtains are essential to achieve a formal look. Curtains that pool on the floor look luxurious even though they might be impractical when it comes to maintenance. Short curtains that cover the window and end at sill height are at home in a less formal setting. 

Lightweight curtains and sheers can have a standard continuous heading or simple pencil pleats, whereas heavier ones require box or triple pleats for a formal look. Tab-tops and tie-tops where loops or ties are made from fabric are appropriate for a casual feel. Eyelets are another option where metal rings are punched into the fabric. These impart a contemporary look to the window. 

Details like tiebacks and holdbacks add to the dramatic classical look. Ornate valances and swags can be used in various styles to complement this opulent style. Fancy trimmings like lace, ribbon, tassels and beads add to the glamour. Sequins, shells, appliqués and mirrors can also be used to create some drama. 

Curtains are generally hung from drapery rods. Tracks might be used when there is not enough space above the window for a rod or in a bay window due to its shape. 

If your curtains are simple you could add spice with fancy rods and finials. These are available in a wide range of colours and finishes. You could go in for a simple design if your drapes are fancy and ornate. The curtain could hang below the rod or completely cover it depending on the effect desired. Let the rod extend well beyond the window so that the curtains can be drawn right back allowing maximum sunlight to enter the room. 

Curtain call

By adopting an appropriate style, a proper selection of materials and careful detailing curtains can greatly enhance the aesthetic beauty of a home. Careful thought and planning must go hand in hand with creativity while designing the drapes for your home as they have a great impact on the appearance and feel of a space. You can impart a fresh new look to the interiors by just changing the way you dress up your windows.

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