An Experts’ Guide to Picking the Perfect Window Treatment

Photography courtesy of Lisa Mallory.

If you’re looking to make a room feel more cozy, dramatic, or chic, window treatments just might be the answer. While they certainly can be considered utilitarian, a perfectly selected shade or drape can also add style, personality, and sophistication to a space. Recently, we spoke with four scouted interior designers across the country about the power of an expertly executed window covering. Here, they share advice on everything from how to use window treatments to enhance an area to high-tech options to consider and more. To find an interior designer in your area, consult The Scout Guide directory here.

Use drapery to define a space. Yes, window treatments can add privacy or keep out light, but they can also help to truly define a space, as Lisa Mallory, of Lisa Mallory Interior Design in Memphis, Tennessee, has done above. In addition to creating a beautiful, soft focal point, the drapery provides a backdrop for the key piece of furniture. “There was really no place to put the bed in this bedroom,” she explains, so she placed drapery in front of a window to create one. Roman shades on the windows complete the room, giving it a clean, cohesive look.

Photography courtesy of Tori Rubinson Interiors.

Solve design dilemmas with style. When working with a space that has small windows, lower ceilings than one might like, or less than optimal architectural scaling, window treatments can really work magic. Case in point: in the space above, Tori Rubinson, owner and principal designer of Tori Rubision Interiors in Fort Worth, Texas, added height and width to a window with a valance and panels surrounding a black out-lined natural woven shade. In addition to perfectly framing the furniture, the fabric ties the room together with beauty and flair.

Photography courtesy of Carolina Design Associates.

Choose drapery fabric wisely. When it comes to choosing the fabric for drapes, the options can seem overwhelming. Amanda Patton Swaringen, interior designer at Carolina Design Associates in Charlotte, North Carolina, advises opting for a cotton, poly, or blend of multiple fabrics, as they are less likely to stretch than 100% linen, which you are likely to have to hem after a few months.

Photography courtesy of Providence Lane Window Treatments.

Know that water-prone areas require extra thought. When selecting window treatments for a bathroom, it’s important to keep in mind who will be utilizing the bathroom the most. Amy Koellner, owner of Providence Lane Window Coverings in Dallas, Texas, notes that a kid-friendly bathroom requires more attention to fabric selection, as water splashes can often damage certain types of fabric. She says that a synthetic roller shade is a great option to combat excess moisture. Meanwhile, “For a more sophisticated option in less water-prone windows, we love natural wovens, romans, or a stylish cafe curtain with trim across the bottom and coordinating flange at the top,” she says, adding that she recommends a fabric material that has a higher polyester blend, and advises staying away from 100% linen.

Explore high-tech options. There have been many advancements in window treatments over the years. One is motorized features, which Koellner notes can be useful in hard-to-reach places like skylights, but she also recommends considering them in spaces like a bedroom for a bit of luxury or a den for movie-viewing. “A motorized component provides ease of operation and eliminates any additional hardware that would detract from the elegant lines of the window,” she says.

TSG Tip 414 from Lisa Mallory, owner of  Lisa Mallory Interior Design in Memphis, Tennessee; Tori Rubinson, owner and principal designer of Tori Rubinson Interiors in Fort Worth, Texas; Amanda Patton Swaringen, interior designer at Carolina Design Associates in Charlotte, North Carolina; and Amy Koellner, owner of Providence Lane Window Coverings in Dallas, Texas. Lisa Mallory Interior Design appears in The Scout Guide Memphis. Tori Rubision Interiors appears in The Scout Guide Fort Worth. Carolina Design Associates appears in The Scout Guide Charlotte. Providence Lane Window Coverings appears in The Scout Guide Dallas.