Blinds or drapes? Cafe curtains or shades? Your biggest priority in choosing window treatments should be deciding whether you need privacy or light -- or both! These professional tips can help you make the right decision.
Semisheer window treatments. A common space such as a family room or living room doesn't usually require much privacy, but depending on the number of windows, it may always need light. Natural light helps brighten this living room, so the designer chose a beautiful semisheer fabric window treatment that offers light and subtle privacy even when it's lowered.
Tip: Choose the thickness of your fabric based on the amount of light you want in the space -- a thick fabric lets less light through than an ultrasheer fabric.
Cellular shades. Many bathrooms, especially those on the first floor, need maximum privacy. This bathroom has a hard window treatment called a cellular shade. Referred to as a top-down/bottom-up shade, this shade allows you to walk around without being seen and still lets a lot of light in.
Tip: It's constructed with a honeycomb design to keep the cold out and the heat in.
Draperies. Bedrooms on the first floor usually need more privacy than bedrooms on the second floor, but both may require natural light. This very contemporary floor-to-ceiling drapery offers light as well as privacy. When it's closed, an entire wall of fabric still allows light in.
Tip: The drapery rod or track for floor-to-ceiling draperies can be installed on the wall or the ceiling, depending on what suits the room the best.
Roller shades. Whether you have a bathroom on the first floor or on the second, closely situated neighbors can require privacy. This easy-to-install roller shade is perforated, allowing light to filter through.
Tip: Since window treatments at the back of tubs may be hard to reach, hardwire a roller shade so that you can conveniently manipulate it from a control panel or remote.
Blackout curtains. Getting baby to sleep in the middle of the day can prove difficult with the sun blaring in -- but not with blackout shades. Have a blackout lining -- a very dense fabric that light can't penetrate -- sewn onto the back of any drapery fabric.
Tip: For absolute darkness, install floor-to-ceiling drapes 18 inches past each side of the window. This will ensure that as little light as possible seeps in through cracks.
Shutters. If your guests come for total relaxation, that may require sleeping in after the sun comes up. This bedroom has shutters installed with solid center panels to block out all light. This window treatment also blends seamlessly into the creativity of the overall theme of the room. Bravo!
Tip: These shutters were painted red for high impact, but if you want a more toned-down look, paint them the same color as your walls and watch them disappear.
Stained glass. Should you have a great number of windows on or around your front door but want a little privacy, consider installing stained glass. This will turn your foyer into a focal point and prevent passersby from getting a full look into your home.
Tip: A similar effect can be created with vinyl to save on cost. Contact a local sign company to create this look for your home.
Layered treatments. Blackout curtains or shades are often necessary in a TV or media room. This media room goes the extra mile in achieving total movie theater darkness by layering a Roman shade and floor-to-ceiling draperies.
Tip: The more fabric you add to your windows in your theater or media room, the better the acoustics will be.
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Houzz is the leading online platform for home remodeling and design, providing people with everything they need to improve their homes from start to finish -- online or from a mobile device. From decorating a room to building a custom home, Houzz connects millions of homeowners, home design enthusiasts and home improvement professionals around the world. Shane Inman is a contributor to Houzz.