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 - 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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DESIGNER WEEKENDS: WINDOW TREATMENT COMBINATIONS!

Design 101 this month has been all about windows!  We started off with drapery details and updated our blog this week with details on shades, blinds, and shutters. There are a lot of options when it comes to choosing window treatments, including combining two of your favorites!  Below are some of our preferred window treatment combinations.

Drapery Flat

Drapery Flat

Flat Roman Shades get dressed up when surrounded by Drapery Panels and a Valance in this elegant living room.

Drapery Relaxed Shade

Drapery Relaxed Shade

Goblet Pleats, Tie Backs, and Brass Hardware offer a traditional look when combined with a Relaxed Roman Shade in this classic living room.

Drapery Roller

Drapery Roller

Drapery Panels and a Valance add softness and color to a simple Fabric Roller Shade in this sweet nursery.

Drapes Solar Shade

Drapes Solar Shade

Solar Shades let in light and maintain your view during the day, while Drapery Panels offer a layer of privacy and light filtering at night in this contemporary playroom.

Drapery Woven

Drapery Woven

Drapery Panels, with Parisian Pleats on a Bent Rod, offer a simple and elegant detail over Natural Woven Shades in this country library.

Drapery Shutters

Drapery Shutters

Shutters offer a flexible solution for light filtering and privacy, while the added soft layer of Drapery can help you completely block out sound and light in this cozy bedroom.

Grommet Roller

Grommet Roller

Grommet Drapery Panels, with Oil Rubbed Bronze Hardware, over a Natural Woven Roller Shade offer a functional and cozy solution to a bright window in this masculine bedroom.

Pattern Drapes Roman

Pattern Drapes Roman

Drapery Panels, with French Pleats on a Bent Rod, over patterned Flat Roman Shades give this window a punch of color and pattern, adding a visual punch to this peaceful bedroom.

Roman Blinds

Roman Blinds

Three treatments are combined in this serene bedroom: Wood Blinds for privacy and light filtering, Roman Shades to offer a blackout solution, and Drapery Panels to differentiate between the sleeping and reading areas.

When considering which style is right for your home, factors to note are:

  • How much light do you get into the room? Do you want to control the amount of light?
  • How much privacy do you need in the room?
  • Will the window treatments be functional or are they for aesthetic reasons only?
  • Is your room traditional, modern, or somewhere in between?
  • Are the windows in an area that will need to be cleaned regularly?
  • Who is using this room?

Do you have any other questions?  Feel free to email us, we love to hear from you!

Happy Window Shopping.

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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