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Your Guide to Window Treatment Shopping

With so many options to choose from, shopping for window treatments can become an overwhelming prospect. How you dress your windows affects the way light comes into each room. It also frames the way you view the outdoors and it adds a finishing touch to your interior décor.


Start by measuring your windows and considering whether you want to let light in or block it out. Once you determine these key factors, move on to fun details such as color and pattern. Choose window treatments that complement the rest of your decor and work with the rest of the room’s style.


Curtain Hanging Styles:

Give some thought as to which kind of curtain hanging style you prefer. Hanging styles run the gamut from curtains hung with tab ties, a very casual treatment, to a pinch pleat look that is more sophisticated and tailored.  The six most common hanging styles are: rod pocket, pinch pleat, tab top, tie top, back tab, and grommet.


1.   Rod Pocket


This style has a fabric pocket that runs along the top in which you insert the rod and may be paired with another layer such as a sheer or valance.


2. Pinch Pleat


Named for the pleats across the top of each panel, this style offers a structured, formal look. They are typically hung with clip or curtain rings or drapery hooks.


3. Tab Top


Tab top window treatments feature flat loops of fabric that hang on the curtain rod. Tab top curtains present a more casual and relaxed look in a room.


4. Tie Top

tie top example

Like tab top window treatments, this style offers a casual look. Instead of fabric loops, it features two pieces of fabric that you tie onto the curtain rod, which gives you a little wiggle room to adjust the length of the panels. Tie tops suggest a softer, unstructured flair.


5. Back Tab


Back tab curtains slide on to the rod and feature solid fabric on the front and open tabs in the back, which works well to conceal the rod. The tabs also offer an attractive draping, with soft folds. These are best hung on rods with a flat front.


6. Grommet Top


Fresh, trendy and modern, grommet tops are a popular option that look attractive while also making it easier to slide the window treatments along the decorative rod.


Popular Window Treatment Styles:

Most window treatments are categorized into four generally recognized styles: contemporary, traditional, casual, and formal. Each achieves a very different look, so decide upfront which style appeals to you.


1. Contemporary

Although many modernists prefer leaving their windows untreated, you can still adorn your windows while keeping with your minimalist style with clean lines. Look for simple shades made from natural materials, flat panels or curtains with tailored designs and graphic or geometric patterns. Opt for cordless or motorized blinds and shades, and cool metal hardware to complete the look. Want a layered look? Choose simple cotton sheers or sleek shades with neatly tailored panels.



2. Traditional


Traditional window treatments typically include three components: drapery with a sash and a valance. Swags and jabots can also offer a traditional look with a touch of elegance. Because these toppers don’t provide privacy, you might consider pairing them with simple drapes, shades or blinds. Popular traditional styles are inspired by the French countryside, British Colonial revival and 18th century England. Choose from solid colors, florals and other patterns in that coordinate with the rest of the room’s décor.


3. Casual


Metal grommets, tab top curtains, and lightweight fabrics add an inviting appearance, making casual window treatments a popular choice for many different rooms. Roller shades and Roman shades are versatile options that work particularly well in high-traffic areas where you don’t want floor length window coverings. If you want a layered look — or if you want to skip shades in favor of panels only — stick with shorter panels that hit right at the windowsill or approximately 4 inches below it to give the windows a relaxed feel.


4. Formal


When you’re dressing windows in a formal room, look for window treatments made from heavy fabrics with a touch of luxury. Jacquard and damask prints offer subtlety, while a balance of shine and matte materials offer a poised look. Formal window treatments may be made of cotton, but they’re often made from luxe fabrics such as silk or velvet. Look for curtains and drapes that are long enough to hit the floor, or opt for window treatments that are 4 inches longer than you need. Allowing the draperies to pool on the floor adds stately elegance.

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