Ultimate Guide To
Window Treatment Selection

Windows provide more than just function and structure to a home; they can serve as a canvas that begs for design attention and seeks to impress any given space. With so many different materials and styles to choose, from classic, traditional drapery panels to contemporary blinds and shades, the options are endless when considering how to dress up your windows. Styling up your windows can make a huge impact statement in the overall design and look that you are trying to create in a space. Here is everything you need to know on how to choose the right window treatments.

Image Source: Studio McGee “Dream Home Makeover”

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Tab-top rod keeps the rod visible and work great in an informal setting.

Grommet rod is ideal if you will be opening and closing curtains frequently. Important tip: make sure rings match the rod finish.

Narrow rods are thin and lightweight, which are perfect for kitchens and bathrooms with lightweight hanging materials.

Double rods come as two sets of rods to frame the window; an inner, thinner rod that typically holds sheer fabric in place, while the thicker and outer rod holds heavier materials like drapery panels.

Material of Rods to Consider

The brass material provides elegance to a traditional room, while brushed aluminum, nickel, or stainless steel delivers a modern look. Matte black is elegant yet sophisticated in a transitional setting. Wood tone is classic and warm.

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How to Hang Curtain Rods

Consider the room where you hang your curtains. Is it in a high traffic area? Is it in a bedroom? Or in a kitchen? The general guide is to install curtain rods higher above your window frame to visually create a taller ceiling. Your rod should be 1/2 –2/3 inches between the window frame and the ceiling, or 3-4 inches below the ceiling or crown molding. Creating a wider width of the windows is equally important, so be sure to add an extra 4-6 inches wide on each side of your rod. This will further extend the appearance of wider windows.

Window Treatments Material

This is where the exciting part comes into play! Consider the mood or ambience you want for your space. Are you looking to create a traditional, classic, contemporary, or modern look? The style and material you choose for your window treatments will have a great impact on the overall look you are looking to achieve.

Curtain panels are unlined and typically much lighter in weight. They can be made from sheer cotton, or polyester. Sheer panels are generally lightweight and can soften up a space to create an ethereal atmosphere. They are informal and perfect to dress up a romantic bedroom. If you have a room that receives less natural light, sheer panels can be the perfect solution to bring in the maximum amount of sunlight yet offer you the semi-privacy you desire. They are also great for layering windows, where you can pair with drapery panels or other window treatments.

Drapery panels
are typically lined and have thicker fabric than curtains. These panels tend to be more formal looking, especially French pleats with silk or velvet, to create that luxurious and lush. Due to the heavy material, they are great for offering maximum privacy, blocking out sunlight and helping to achieve energy efficiency in a room. They are generally made from silk, velvet, linen, cott
on, or polyester.

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The shades come as one piece of fabric that rolls at the top windows offering maximum privacy. You can pair with valance or drapery panel to achieve form and function. They are simple and elegant, versatile, and can easily be mixed and matched. Shades are ideal in kitchens and bathrooms. The different types of shades include woven shades, roman shades (which have excellent color and texture – a great choice for a traditional or informal setting), and bamboo shades which add texture and dimension.

Blinds are made of individual slats that come from aluminum, vinyl, wood, plastic, or bamboo. Wood and bamboo blinds typically offer a soft and organic feel to a room, while aluminum and plastic give an industrial feel.

Valances/Cornices – A valance is a sheet of stretched fabric that sits above a window frame and typically hung on a rod. They come in different colors and are made from a variety of lightweight materials. Cornices are valances that are made from wood. They are great to pair with a variety of window treatments such as blinds, shades, and curtains.

Shades spectacles that are darkened or polarized to protect the eyes from the glare of the sun More (Definitions, Synonyms, Translation)

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How to Hang and Style Window Treatments

When purchasing window treatments, ensure each panel measure 1.5 – 2 times the width of each window for a full look. If the panels are too narrow, you may not fully draw the curtains to cover the entire windows. Consider the below options on how to style and hang your window treatments:

Floor-length or “kissing the floor” are hanging panels that perfectly sit at floor length. This style tends to be more formal. They can be tailored and accurately custom-made.

The puddle look is slightly longer on the floor to create a dramatic and formal look. They are great to achieve a bedroom romantic look. You will need to add an extra 2-4 inch of length beyond the floor. This type of hang can be difficult to keep clean.

Break puddle is sitting between floor-length and puddle. Consider adding half an inch length beyond the floor to achieve this look.


Curtains or shades lined with a blackout fabric can fully block sunlight, making them ideal in a bedroom or media room. Shades paired with drapery or curtain panels can help block all angles of the windows to provide maximum privacy and flexibility. Sheers allow abundance of light into a room, making them a great choice for living rooms and patios.

Knowing the type of function and styles you are looking to achieve can help you decide on the right window treatments. Overall, if you are looking to create a formal look – consider drapery panels. For a tailored effect, go for shades. For flexibility and fullness, layer drapery panels or curtains over sheers, shades, or blinds.

Image Source: emily henderson

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