Windows; every home has them, and as an interior designer it is my role to ‘dress’ each window of the home. Although this may seem like a simple task, as with many areas of interior design, there are a lot more elements to consider than may first meet the eye. Today I’ll walk you through the process of how to dress windows in your own space, and my own preferences for doing so.
The window itself
First, we need to consider the window itself, to determine the requirements of the window dressing. For example, if it’s a bedroom window it would require blackout lining for sleeping, whereas a kitchen window would focus on allowing an abundance of light to shine through.
It’s not just the room that should be considered, but the direction the window faces. Is there a beautiful view outside of the window that you need to maximise? A hot westerly sun that you need to factor in, or a window that doesn’t get much light. All of these are important areas to contemplate when you are designing your window style.
All windows come in a wonderful variety of shapes and sizes. Some windows are simply a window pane and don’t open, others are so large and long they almost reach the floor. I personally prefer not to place curtains on a window that is floating on a wall, my preference would be blinds; they can be used in the revile or around the window creating an illusion of a larger scale. For large windows, one can use a soft roman blind, a roman blind, plantation shutters, or any other timber blind, even a curtain to the floor.
Whatever the type of window, it’s always important to maximise the light coming through, as well as the impact of the scenery on the other side of that pane of glass. Really get to understand the window feature in the space, and how you can work with it not against it.
How to manage a harsh westerly sun
In Sydney, the sun is not only present all year round (although this year it feels like the sun has been missing in action), but it can get incredibly hot in the summer months, as the sun is very strong here. If you have a window that faces west using the right materials, not just for their aesthetic but their longevity, is very important. A mix of linen and polyester will last much longer than pure linen/cotton, wool or silk.
Choosing fabrics for windows
Following on from selecting appropriate fabrics for strong sunshine… When you’re choosing the fabric you would like to use to dress your window, consider the weight; there are different weights of fabric that ‘fall’ differently. A stiffer fabric is better used for a blind, softer fabric would be better used for a curtain. Consider the look that you are trying to achieve within your space, is it relaxed, or more formal? Is it for a child’s bedroom or a formal living room? The soft furnishings of a space such as the curtains or blinds of your window contribute to this look and feel.
Creating the perfect curtain setting
I personally love curtains, they can be a simple sheer, or a heavily lined linen and velvet curtain. There are many different considerations for styling curtains in your space. I prefer to take the curtain rod up closer to the ceiling (between the top of the window and the ceiling cornice), and I like curtains to puddle on the floor. Anything from a 2mm puddle to an 8mm puddle, depending on the look we are trying to achieve and the individual style/preference of the client. Curtains reaching the floor is always a definite, as curtains lengths do fluctuate throughout the year due to the changing climate/humidity; you don’t want your curtains suddenly looking too short.
There’s an array of curtain heading types to choose from: pinch pleat, goblet pleat, (classical) eyelet, and (modern) box pleat. The curtain heading that you decide to use will depend on the style of the home or the aesthetic you are hoping to achieve. Similarly with curtain hardware: choose from painted rods and finials, or metal rods and finials. Not forgetting different styles of tie backs. There are many subtle but effective ways to style your curtains to create the right look.
Getting creative with curtains
As interior designers, we love to get creative with soft furnishings like curtains. They are wonderfully customisable, so adding unique details can be fun. For example combining two different fabrics, using one as a large border; adding trims, or using a contrasting fabric on the leading edge. This isn’t reserved exclusively for curtains either, we can add all of these little details to blinds.
Whether you choose to install shutters or blinds, or a combination of a sheer and heavy curtain to dress the windows in your home, remember that they are not just beautiful to look at, but are also useful in other ways. They are useful acoustically, as they are a good sound barrier. They also work effortlessly to keep the warmth inside a home. If you design your window properly, they will add value to any space.
If you think that you would like to work with Marylou Sobel on your next interior design project then please call the studio on (02) 9360 5881 or contact us online. We look forward to hearing from you.