Remember those heavy, formal drapes in your grandmother’s living room? The puffy fabric, the floral pattern and the elaborate ties and bows? Yeah, we’re guessing that’s not the look you’re going for. So we’re here to help.
Window treatments have come a long way in the last couple decades. The modern homeowner has a wide variety of options, from blinds and valances, to shades, to lighter and more informal curtains. Here, will give you some chic and unexpected ideas for dressing up your windows, whether your style is more traditional, contemporary or modern. We’ll also offer tips for finding a great designer and/or installer.
Chic Window Treatment Ideas
- Custom shades – These are not the flimsy, paper-like shades you buy at a discount store. Custom shades come in just about any texture, pattern or color you could imagine, from mesh to leather banded. They can be motorized, glare-reducing or offer UV protection. COST: $150 and up per window for basic Roman shades; $500 and up for luxurious fabrics.
- Wood blinds – Looking for rustic charm or a cottage-like feel? Wood or faux wood blinds tie the look together. They are sold in natural tones and painted versions. COST: $35 and up out of the box; $300 and up for custom.
- Plantation shutters – These can also be used to create a cottage-like feel, although they blend nicely with a variety of other styles. Plantation shutters are similar to regular shutters, except that they’re mounted indoors. They’re available in either slatted or louvered (solid). COST: $600 to $1,000 per window.
- Cornice board valances – You might associate valances with grandmas house, too, but modern versions can be sleek and stylish. A cornice board is a rectangular piece of wood that outlines the top of the window. Fabric is stretched over the board for a stylish yet clean accent. Make the look even more modern with a geometric print or leather with a nailhead trim. COST: Starting at about $50-$100 DIY, depending on fabric; $300-plus custom.
- Sliding fabric panels – These are exactly as they sound: large fabric panels that open and close by sliding back and forth. They’re typically used for French doors, picture windows or floor-to-ceiling windows. Close them when you want privacy, then open them for an unobstructed view. Some panels are opaque to let light through while others are made of solid fabric. COST: $200-plus out of the box; $500 to $1,500-plus for custom.
- Unexpected fabrics and colors – Throw the old rules out the window. When paired with the right decor, who says you can’t have silky pink curtains, purple linen, tassel fringe, or zebra print? Curtains can be a statement piece, as long as the rest of the decor is more muted, and curtains are cheaper to change than furniture when you get sick of the color or print. COST: Varied out of the box; $500 to $800-plus per window for custom.
Finding a Window Treatment Designer and/or Installer
A professional designer or installer will measure your windows, order and/or make the window coverings you choose, and install them. Because this is custom work, it’s not cheap, as you can see from the prices above. However, hiring someone to do the task saves a lot of time and effort, and it guarantees a professional result. Often, these are window coverings homeowners keep for 10 years or more.
If you’re looking to save money, you can buy out-of-the-box window coverings and hire a local handyman to install them. The look might not be as tailored, but you’ll pay a fraction of the cost. Installation costs vary based on the type of window treatment, the shape and size of the windows, and your location. The cost can range from $25 for a small window with a simple covering to $250 or more for a large window with an elaborate or multi-piece window treatment.