Apartment Therapy Complete and Happy Home (2015)
setting up your home
Jessica + Scott Davis
Designer, Nest Studio + Marketing
son, Bryan + daughter, Lucy
The right window treatments make the difference between a room that lures people in and one that feels a little off.
They can punctuate your style, hide architectural flaws, and control the overall light in a space.
When you’re starting to think about window treatments, consider your needs. How much light control do you want? Is privacy a concern? What’s the overall mood you’re after: Cheery? Airy? Cozy? This helps limit your options (in a good way).
For light control, consider a mix of the following: sheer and opaque drapes, blackout curtains, louvered blinds, solar shades, shutters.
For privacy, consider the following: window films, top-down shades, cellular shades, woven shades, shutters.
For mood, consider the following: patterned curtains, Roman shades, extra-long drapes, colorful roller shades, modern rail systems, or creative solutions such as in-window shelving.
With function out of the way, you’re freed up to think about style. Look at your window treatments as a combination of two elements: the light-controlling foundation and the interchangeable, decorative “outerwear.” Then start doing your research. Pull inspiration from blogs, magazines, even Pinterest—keeping in mind the decor of the rest of your room. If you’ve used lots of patterns elsewhere, consider sticking with solid drapery, and vice versa. For curtains that “disappear” into the room, stay close to your wall color, but go a shade or two darker for definition. For added drama, turn up the color contrast.
The possibilities are endless, but once you’ve landed on a solid style direction, factor in cost and maintenance—then make a final decision. You never want to put off an opportunity to highlight your style while making a room feel “finished.”
proper measurement is key
Whether you’re making your own window treatments or ordering custom solutions, those that fit properly always look best. Don’t cut corners: measure every window dimension to the nearest eighth inch—twice, even if they look identical. Here are a couple of tricks to help ensure you’re getting a proper window measurement.
length Determine where you want your rod to be mounted (4 inches above the window frame is standard), and start your measurement there—not from the top of the window. Be sure to adjust measurements to account for the hardware being used to hang your curtains: grommets, ties, curtain rings, etc.
For a standard, clean look, measure to the floor. If you want your curtains to break along the floorboard, add 2 inches. For a dramatic pooling of fabric, add between 5 and 8 inches.
width For a standard look, multiply the width of the window by 2. This should equal the width of a single curtain panel. For a more dramatic look, multiply the width by 3.
shades + blinds
inside mount Clean and modern—and the best option if you’re planning to layer treatments (since the entire shade or blind nestles neatly inside the window frame). It requires enough depth to accommodate the mounting hardware, usually 2 inches, but check your specific product. For width, measure the inside of your window frame at the top, middle, and bottom. Use the smallest measurement for your blind width. For length, add 5 inches to the height of your window.
outside mount More traditional but has the bonus of being a problem solver. It can make a window look larger or cover up imperfections. You need several inches of flat surface next to or above the window frame to install the mounting hardware. A standard width is 3 to 4 inches larger than that of your window (giving you an extra 1.5 to 2 inches on either side). For length, again, add 5 inches to the height of your window.
right curtain-blind combo
We’ve broken down the most common window coverings into easy-to-mimic treatments based on our eight signature styles. Feel free to mix, match, and reimagine them into something that’s all your own.
shades + blinds
A semisheer, heavyweight cotton in a bold, graphic pattern.
Venetian wood blinds.
Wood blinds with a cotton tape ladder and matching fabric cornice.
Tulip Roman shade.
Heavy, open-weave linen with a subtle stripe or texture.
Sheer, vertical solar panels.
An open weave in a neutral color. Keep in mind
the sliding panels layer when opened and, therefore, look darker in color.
Tiny pinch pleats, flowing into graceful, cascading volume.
Curtain rings and a metal rod mounted 12 inches above the window frame to make a small window feel larger.
Two panels, each the full width of the window. The length is nearly floor-to-ceiling to allow for 3 inches of pooling on the floor and a high-mounted rod.
FABRIC + LINING
Crinkled silk with heavy lining. Linen, damask, or velvet are also good options.
Grommet with tailored pleats.
A sturdy, brushed-metal rod mounted 4 inches above the window frame. Note: For a more organic-feeling finish, opt for wood mountings.
Standard width. The length just touches the floor to keep the effect crisp and clean.
FABRIC + LINING
Lightweight cotton with no lining. Textured linen or canvas work, too.
Rod pocket with pinch pleats.
Keep it airy with a wooden rod and finials. Mount 2 inches from the top of the window frame to keep the pattern in check.
Standard width (the less the fabric gathers, the more pattern you see). Allow 2 to 3 inches of pooling when measuring length, for a laid-back finish.
FABRIC + LINING
A bold color or graphic print on a sturdy cotton or canvas. Keep curtains from fading by lining them.
Café curtains with soft, inverted pleats.
Curtain rings and a simple outside mount in brushed metal or wood.
Standard width to allow for relaxed gathers. Height is approximately one-third to one-half of the full window height, hemmed to meet the bottom sill evenly.
Casual, easy-care cotton with no lining. A tonal stripe, medallion, or tiny floral print captures the mood perfectly.
In spots where privacy is a major concern—and curtains or blinds are out of the question—easy-to-use window films are the perfect solution. They diffuse light while blocking the view in both directions. There are hundreds of design options, from plain matte frost to a mixed-opacity faux stained glass.