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Window Dressings

The first thing I did when we moved in to our new home last fall was put up curtains. They are always the first things to go up for me when we move into our new residence. They provide privacy, set the colour palette for the room, and make the place feel like home.

Window dressings can enhance the purpose of a room, add dramatic flair, and help regulate heat and noise. Choosing the appropriate window dressing will ultimately depend on what you want out of each space. Curtains and blinds are the most accessible options and are available at a host of price-points and styles. Whether you want flowers and frills or a simple colour with no pattern – the options are there, so go looking for what feels right for you. If you cannot find what you want in the pre-made versions, your local fabric store will most likely have what you are looking for, so don’t forget to check there.

When choosing the appropriate window dressing for your space you should consider four things: how much natural sun the room gets and at what time of day, what you intend to use the room for, the size of the window, and how much privacy you want.

Before you even go shopping, it is important to factor-in how much light you are comfortable with and what the optimal light conditions are for that space. For example, if you have large windows in your family room where your television is located you may want some thick curtains to block the sun and avoid glare on your TV. In your kitchen you may want ample sunlight, so a half-blind or shutters would be great. In your bathroom, you’ll want something opaque to provide privacy but let the natural light in.

In bedrooms, I personally prefer black-out curtains because my husband and I are bears who treat each night as a hibernation cycle – complete darkness is required.

The size of the window and height of the ceilings are also important things to consider.  You want to hang curtains at the highest point on the wall above the window. It will make your space feel loftier, keep the curtains from pooling on the floor and collecting dust, and will get you the most light coverage. An added bonus about curtains is that if they do not fit your new home, you can always use them in the next one.

Blinds are the old faithful of window dressings. They’ll get the job done in any space and allow you to control the light more than curtains can. However, they are less stylish and accumulate dust more obviously which can be a pain if you have allergies or asthma. However, you can easily pair blinds and curtains to add functionality and style. Hang the blinds inside the window frame and add curtains like you normally would on the outside of the window.

“What about sconces and bunting?!” cried-out fans of sconces and bunting. For pure practicality, I try and avoid things that will collect dust. They are a lot of work to keep clean, and can be a hassle to install. It all depends on the style of your space though, if you are into shabby chic or farmhouse décor, they could definitely work for you. I would suggest fabrics that can be tossed in the wash, and that will not bleach-out in the sun.

Our PMQ uses a mix of curtains and roman blinds. I’ve gathered some fun patterns, colours and textures that reflect the rooms we’ve created. On the main floor, they anchor two open spaces, and on the second floor they add character to the small spaces. In one instance, I even used fabric shower curtains in a bedroom because they had the coolest design and covered the non-standard dimensions.

You can enhance your current window dressings with a little love and attention.

Have you considered adding a fun fringe along the edges of your curtains? Any store bought curtains can instantly get a facelift with a colourful fringe. What about curtain ties and tassels? They are not just for fancy European parlours and sitting rooms, they can be quite useful and will also add a stylish element. They are a great way to accent colours and throw-in some fun textures. Don’t forget about curtain rods, as you will see them if the curtains are open or closed. You can usually find pretty ones with nice end pieces, finials, that will compliment any space.

The size of your window and your budget will ultimately dictate the coverage options that are best for you. Don’t be afraid to search the internet and magazines for ideas because you’d be surprised how many designer looks can be DIYed with a little ingenuity.

For How-Tos on tassels and the Roman blinds in the photos, check out my project gallery on: 

By: Ariel Garneau

Ariel Garneau has a home decor blog dedicated to families living in military housing (PMQs). Her goal is to make every house a home, reflecting on the styles and needs of a military family.

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