DESIGN 101: WINDOW TREATMENTS - CARE & MAINTENANCE!

This week we're wrapping up a month all about window treatments.  We hope all of you have learned a thing or two about picking the right window treatment for your home!  If you missed any of our posts, check out Design 101. Before we move on to next month's subject (LIGHTING!), we wanted to share a few tools of the trade for keeping your drapery or roman shade window treatments in tip-top shape:

Dusty Window Curtains

Dusty Window Curtains

Sun Protection & Damage Prevention

Sun, dust, and general grime can cause a lot of damage to fabric.  For this reason, as a general rule, we always recommend lining your fabric window treatments.

Daily Care of Fabric Window Treatments

You can give roman shades and drapery panels a gentle shake to prevent dust and dirt from lodging in the fibers.  Every once in a while, clean your window treatments with a handheld vacuum or with a soft brush vacuum attachment.  Put your vacuum on a low setting, if you're able.

Daily Care of Shades and Blinds

For a light dusting, we recommend using a lambswool duster over a plastic one.  Blinds and Roller Shades can also be vacuumed with a soft brush attachment.  For blinds, you will want to vacuum or dust across the slats instead of up and down.    If you're shades or blinds are dustier than you anticipated, try wiping them down with a rubber sponge (also called a dry sponge).  For stubborn stains, you can use a mild soapy cleanser or an all-purposed cleaner on roller shades and blinds.

Washing Fabric Window Treatments

We don't normally recommend washing your window treatments, unless they are labeled washable.  If they are labeled washable, try hand-washing them, using a mild detergent, to ensure details such as trims and buttons stay in place.  To remove wrinkles, you can iron fabric on the opposite side.  If any of the details listed below apply to your window treatments, we strongly recommend you ask a professional cleaner to handle the job.  We like to have drapery and roman shades cleaned once a year to keep them looking their best - it's amazing how much dust can settle into the fabric!

  • The fabric or lining fabric isn't washable
  • The fabric and lining are made from different fabrics (one could shrink, resulting in puckering or sagging)
  • If sunlight has damaged the strength of the fabric
  • If you have pleats, which may not hold up to washing
  • If you have trims, tassels, buttons, or other details that may not be washable or colorfast

Questions?  Comments?

Send us an email, we love to hear from you!

Happy Cleaning.

RB.

Up Next: Design 101 Lighting!

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DESIGN 101: WINDOW TREATMENTS - HOW TO MEASURE!

So far this month we've reviewed different window treatment styles, fabrics, and details.  We've shown you our favorite window treatment combinations and talked about what to do with tricky windows.  If you missed any of our posts, just check out Design 101 for details! Now that you've figured out what window treatments are right for your home, and you've selected your fabrics, you'll need to have an idea about how to measure!  See below for our top tips!

Measure for Drapery

Don't Do

Don't Do

Honey + Fitz provides us with this great drawing showing how to install drapery.  In the illustration, both windows are the same size.  But notice how much larger the window on the right appears!  We always suggest hanging drapery as close to the ceiling as possible and covering as little of the window trim as possible.

How to Measure:

1. Measure from the top of the drapery rod to where the drapes will fall on the floor.  Remember that we recommend drapery have at least a slight break on the floor, but you can also add a dramatic puddle detail.  This measurement will be "A".

2. Measure from one end of your drapery rod to the other end to determine the total width.  Your rod will likely extend slightly beyond the window frame, so this measurement is more accurate than measuring the window itself.  This will be measurement "B".

3. Add 6-8" total to the length measurement ("A") if you will need to add seams, or if you're using drapery rings or a rod pocket as your header.  For example, if you want 102" drapes, your material will need to be 110" long.  This will be measurement "C" ("A" + 6-8 = "C").

4. Multiply the width measurement"B" by the fullness you want.  2.5 fullness is typical for drapery, but if you want a less full look consider a fullness of 1.5.  For stationary drapery panels, use a fullness of 1.5.  Next, add 2" to this number to account for seams.  For example, if your width is 40", your material will need to add up to 102".  This will be measurement "D" (("B" x 2.5) +2 = "D").

5. Divide your final length measurement ("C") by 36 to determine the required yardage (a yard is 36").  For example, if you need 110" of material, you will need just over 3 yards of material.

6. Divide your final width measurement ("D") by the width of the fabric you are buying.  Most fabric is sold at 54" wide, but you can find fabric sold at various widths.

7. Multiply the length of each panel by the amount of panels needed to get your total yardage.

Drapery Measurements

Drapery Measurements

This diagram by Imagine's blog offers a terrific visual for how to measure yardage for drapery panels.

Measure for Roman Shades

Inside Mounted Roman

Inside Mounted Roman

How to Measure for Inside Mounted Roman Shades:

1. Measure the inside of your window in 3 spots: the top, the middle, and the bottom.  Use the smallest measurement as the width of the window.  For fabrication, you will need to deduct 3/8" to 1/2" from the width.

2. Measure the height of your window in 3 spots: the left, the middle, and the right side.  Use the largest measurement as the length of the window.

3. Determine whether or not you will use a standard string cord on a cleat or a continuous loop chain cord.

Outside Mounted Roman

Outside Mounted Roman

How to Measure for Outside Mounted Roman Shades:

1. Measure the width of your window frame, and add 2-3" total (1-1.5" each side) to prevent light seepage.

2. Measure the height of your window frame from the top of the area you wish to cover to the bottom of the area you wish to cover.  Keep in mind that when raised, a roman shade will still hang about 8-9" long.  Therefore, if you want to clear the window area when the shade is raised, consider raising the height of the overall shade placement.

3. Determine whether or not you will use a standard string cord on a cleat or a continuous loop chain cord.

4. If you are going to use a valance, which we often do with outside mounted roman shades, the valance should be 1" wider than the shade.

Thanks to The Shade Store for the easy-to-read measurement drawings!  If you have questions about how to measure for your window treatments, they are a great resource for measurement instructions.

Do you have any other window measurement questions?  Let us know, we love to hear form you!

Up next week: Window Treatment Care & Maintenance!

Happy Designing.

RB.

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DESIGN 101: WINDOW TREATMENTS - FABRIC & DETAILS!

Design 101 this month is all about windows! In the last two weeks, we've discussed details for choosing drapery along with shades, blinds, and shutters.  Now that you've determined what kind of window treatment is right for your space, you'll need to pick fabric and decide if you want to add any details.

Fabric Color

Turquoise Drapes

Turquoise Drapes

When we're picking window fabrics, the first thing we do is consider color.  If you remember our discussion in Paint 101, we talked about pulling a paint color from something else that is going on in the room such as a piece of art you want to highlight, or the area rug that you love.  The same philosophy can be applied to the window treatment fabric so that it works with the entire room color combination. Other factors to consider when choosing a color are:

  • Light affects color, and we're hoping you get plenty of light through your windows!  Take a few fabric swatches home and see how you like them during the day and at night.
  • Seasons affect color.  Now that we're entering fall, you may have noticed all of the fall decor exhibited in furniture showroom windows.  Deep, rich colors look great in colder months, but will they look great once spring comes around?  Consider a color that you will love all year round, and one that matches the decor of your room.
  • Don't be afraid to go bold!  There's no rule that window treatments have to be boring.  Sure, a little bit of color goes a long way, but you can try a neutral or soft colored shade and add some color in the details (as shown below!).
  • Still in doubt?  Try going a little lighter than your walls.  This helps emphasis your windows as a light source, and frames your view so that your eye is drawn to what's on the other side of the window.

Fabric Pattern

Chevron Drapes

Chevron Drapes

You may have found a big, bold pattern that you love and want to add to your windows.  We love pattern and think layering them is a terrific way to add visual interest to a room.  However, when selecting a pattern, consider that it will act much differently on your window than it does when you're looking at it flat. Try folding and draping the fabric in your hand to see how it will look on your windows.  Some other factors to consider when choosing pattern are:

  • If you're using an allover pattern,  stand back from the material to see how it looks from far away.  Is the pattern too subtle?  Is it overpowering the window?  Some small scaled allover patterns, such as polka dots, can even give the window a textured look which can be a nice detail without being overbearing.
  • Stripes offer a simplicity that works in many different atmospheres, offering a tailored detail .  Small stripes will look finer and blend more from a distance, where large stripes will offer a bolder look.
  • If you're using a floral pattern, consider a larger scale motif for drapery, where you will read the full pattern, and a smaller motif for shades.  The same rule goes for other patterns such as geometric, abstract, or the little farm animals on kid's windows!
  • Perhaps you don't want any pattern!  Texture is a terrific way to add interest to your windows.  Try a woven linen fabric or a silk dupioni for a subtle but elegant detail.

Type of Fabric

Silk Shade

Silk Shade

Synthetic: We're all for using natural materials in your home, but sometimes using a synthetic is the right way to go.  We almost always use synthetic fabrics for window treatment linings, as they can often withstand direct sunlight better than natural materials.  That way they will keep your window treatments looking in tip top shape!  If you have windows that get intense light, you may even consider using a synthetic fabric for the entire window treatment.  Trevira is are our favorite!

Cotton: Cotton is available in a wide variety of textures, patterns, and colors, making it extremely versatile.  It can be finished using a satin weave, for a more formal look, or can be finished in a plain weave for a more casual look.  If you're looking for a very casual look, try  a lightweight lining.  This works especially well for drapery.  For a more formal look, add an interlining or use a heaver lining to make the cotton sturdier and tailored.

Linen: Linen is one of our "go-to" fabrics because it can be used for a variety of applications.  A linen that has a tighter weave will look more refined, while a linen with an open weave will look more casual.  Linens are available in a variety of pattern as well, which can add both texture and visual interest to your windows.  You can use a  linen sheer to add softness to a window where privacy and light filtering aren't an issue, or a heavier linen for drapery panels and roman shades.  Just be aware that linen is moisture-absorbent, so we always recommend lining it so that your window treatments keep their shape.  Especially if you're near the beach!

Wool: You might think of wool as an odd choice for a window treatment, but think of how great a fine wool hangs on men's trousers.  Wool is durable, holds color well, and create a cozy detail to your windows.  There are a lot of different kinds of wool depending on what animal they come from, and each has it's own texture and characteristics.  Like linen, wool absorbs moisture, so make sure to line it.

Silk:  Silk makes for beautiful drapery and roman shades.  It is refined, formal, and comes in a variety of colors from creamy off whites to brilliant jewel tones.  To dress it down, try dupioni silk, which has slubs running through it.  Be careful where you put silk window treatments, however.  Direct sunlight will eat away and destroy silk, leaving you with an expensive lesson learned!  Always line your silk window treatments to be safe.

Design Details

There are an endless amount of details you can add to your window treatments to give them a unique look.  Below are some of our favorites, but if you have your own, please send us your ideas!  We'd love to feature our reader's favorites!

Valance 1

Valance 1

This valance is tailored, but not overly bold, with a simple pleat and trim detail.

Valance 2

Valance 2

This valance adds a bit of grace and femininity with a scalloped edge.

Shade Trim

Shade Trim

Flat roman shades are framed out in a tape trim.

Trim Bead Shade 2

Trim Bead Shade 2

A relaxed roman shade can also be framed in a trim.

Trim Bead Shade

Trim Bead Shade

This relaxed roman shade is a touch fancier with a beaded trim, buttons across the header, and an embroidered monogram.

Tulip Trim

Tulip Trim

Trim on these tulip shades help give them a more casual look.

Greek Key

Greek Key

A Greek Key makes a versatile trim detail that makes a big visual impact.

Trim

Trim

Trims don't have to be flat!  We like trims made of tassels, pom-poms, shells, and more.

Trim Pattern Drapes

Trim Pattern Drapes

Trim can also be used on pattern!

Align Stripes

Align Stripes

Stripes on window treatments should always align for a finished look.

Align Bold Stripes

Align Bold Stripes

Stripes offer a bolder look when they are large scaled.

Align Pattern

Align Pattern

Patterns should also align on window treatments.

No detail

No detail

Sometimes no detail is best.  A subtle color and  beautifully tailored drapery panels say it all!

Casual Pleat

Casual Pleat

Sometimes the interesting detail comes from the lack of adding detail at all!  The brush fringe adds a traditional element to this drapery that counteracts the casual heading without any pleating.

Have you considered any cool window treatments lately?  Let us know, we love to hear from you!

Up Next: How to Measure!

Happy Designing.

RB.

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DESIGN 101: WINDOW TREATMENTS - SHADES, BLINDS, AND SHUTTERS!

Design 101 this month is all about windows!  Last week we posted everything you need to know about drapery styles.  Drapery isn't always the best answer for your windows (more on how to choose your style coming up soon!).  Sometimes shades, blinds, or shutters will do just fine.  Sometimes you'll even want a combination of the two! Below are some guidelines to help you choose shades, blinds, and shutters.

Fabric Shades

Like with drapery, there are a number of options for fabric shades.  Below are our favorites.

Flat Roman

Flat Roman

Flat Roman Shades are popular for a tailored and contemporary look.  We like these for any room in the house where you want something clean and functional for everyday use.

Relaxed Roman

Relaxed Roman

Relaxed Roman Shades are a bit more traditional.  They have a gentle curve at the bottom, referred to as "unconstructed".  If you have wide windows, there will be more than one scoop.  We love this look using sheers to add softness to the windows, or for a room where you won't be raising and lowering the shades everyday.

Tulip Shade

Tulip Shade

Any shade, such as this Tulip Roman Shade with a swag at the bottom, is very traditional.  Typically, inverted pleats are fabricated at the top and the bottom of the shade, offering a fancy detail.  We think this shade looks great in a special setting, like a formal dining room, where you might want to add a decorative detail to the windows but won't be raising and lowering the shades everyday.

Roller Shades

If you're looking for a shade that is simple and architectural, a Roller Shade can often be the way to go.   Below are our "go-to" roller shade favorites.

Solar Shades

Solar Shades

Solar Shades are a great modern option if you want to block UV rays and stay energy efficient, but privacy isn't an issue.  Typically, solar shade material comes in a range of weave depending on how much light filtering and privacy you need.  A tighter weave will offer more privacy, while a more open weave will allow you to better maintain your view.

Roller Shade

Roller Shade

A Roller Shade can be fabric too!  Although typically a sturdier material, roller shades are available in a range of materials and patterns, depending  on the aesthetic you are trying to achieve.  We like using fabric roller shades in no-fuss areas like kid's rooms.

Natural Fiber Shades

If you want to bring nature in, Natural Fiber Shades can be a great way to do so.  Below are our favorite styles and materials.

Woven Shades

Woven Shades

A Natural Fiber Shade can be fabricated so that it acts very much like a Roman Shade, with a waterfall detail so that the material neatly folds as it is raised and lowered.  We like the tape trim on this one to give a tailored look to a more rustic material.

Up down Shade

Up down Shade

A Top Down / Bottom Up Shade can be a good option for a Natural Fiber Shade as it allows you to maintain privacy, but also let light in.

Natrual Shades

Natrual Shades

Natural Fiber Shades are available in materials such as grass, bamboo, and paper.

Wood Blinds

Wood blinds are both functional and terrific for light filtering.  They come in a variety of materials and finishes that offer both aesthetic and maintenance flexibility.  We like a traditional approach to wood blinds as shown below.

Wood Blinds

Wood Blinds

Wood Blinds are a great fit for areas that need regular cleaning, like a kitchen, as they can easily be wiped down.  If you're worried about mildew in a bathroom, try using faux wood blinds.

Wood Blind Tape

Wood Blind Tape

We like to add contrast tape to our Wood Blinds to give them a more tailored and customized look.

Shutters

Shutters are another no-fuss and architectrual way to treat windows.  They are easy to clean and terrific for light filtering.  We often combine shutters with another window treatment to give both a functional and soft window solution.  Below is some of our favorite Shutter inspiration from Hunter Douglas.

Shutters Cafe

Shutters Cafe

We like to add a Fabric Roman Shade over Cafe Shutters to offer a cozy look and additional privacy and light filtering.

Shutters Full

Shutters Full

We like to add Drapery to full height Shutters to add softness and a complete blackout affect.

All of the shade images we used for this post came from The Shade Store, who offer a wide range of fabrics and styles for your windows.  We love them because they offer a semi-custom product at terrific prices.

If you have a window question that we haven't addressed, send us an email!  We love to hear from you!

Next up: Fabrics and Window Treatment Details!

Happy Designing.

RB.

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DESIGN 101: WINDOW TREATMENTS - DRAPERY!

This month its all about windows!  There are a lot of exciting ways to treat the windows of your home both aesthetically and functionally.  Our goal is to help you make the right decisions.  We'll cover styles, fabric options, details, and maintenance.  We're kicking off the month with everything you need to know about drapery!

Drapery Headings

Curtain rings and clips offer a functional hanging method for your drapery.  There are a lot of options to choose from, so you'll want to check the weight-bearing capacity to ensure  your drapery is secure.  For example, if you have heavy drapes, you might want to consider a chunky wood or metal ring for the right amount of support.  You'll also want to consider if you are looking for modern or traditional. Below are some of our favorite heading options that create a timeless look.

Drapery Headings

Drapery Headings

Drapery Heading Options: Rings, Grommets, Clip Rings, or a Rod Pocket

Drapery Pleats

The world of drapery pleating offers and endless array of options.  There are fancy intricate pleats, high style French pleats, and even no pleats at all.  Pleat styles have come in and out of fashion, many times over, so we suggest finding a  design that you will continue to love.  Below are some of our classic favorites.

Drapery Pleats

Drapery Pleats

Drapery Pleat Options:  French Pleats, Parisian Pleats, or Goblet Pleats

Drapery Puddles

We get a lot of questions about how long drapery should be.  Is it OK to end drapes at the window sill?  Should they hit the floor or drag, pool, and puddle?  We think drapery should always hit the floor.  It creates a continuous look without visually chopping your walls in half.  The drag on the floor, or puddling, depends on the formality of the room.  The longer the puddle, the more formal.  Below are our favorite options for finishing off the length of your drapery panels.

Drapery Puddles

Drapery Puddles

Drapery Puddle Options: Touching the floor, Breaking at the floor, Sweeping the floor, or Puddling at the floor

Drapery Rods

Design is in the details!  Your drapery rod choice can add dramatic impact to your drapery or it can stand understated. There are a lot of options for drapery rods, at all price points.  We prefer rods in either metal or wood so they support the weight of your drapery.  Below are some of our "go-to" styles.

Drapery Rods

Drapery Rods

Drapery Rod Options: Rods with Glass or Metal Finials, Return "Bent" Rods, or Wood Rods with Finals

This is just the beginning of your window treatment options!  Not to mention those funny little arched windows you have that don't seem to work with any option!  Stay tuned to our Window Treatment Design 101 and we'll try to answer all of your questions.  If you can't wait, send us an email - we love to hear ideas from our readers!

Next up: Window shades, blinds, and shutters!

Happy Designing.

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RB.