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Window treatment ideas – 22 ways with curtains, blinds and shutters for every room

Find beautiful window treatment ideas of every style, for every room in your home

Window treatment ideas are myriad. Fulfilling a vital practical function of blocking out noise and light and providing privacy, they are also amongst the most influential decorative features a room can have.

Both functional and decorative, curtains and window blind are the barrier between inside and outside. They shield us from harsh light during the day and are drawn tight at night. What's more, window dressings create privacy from prying eyes.

Equally, like a stand-out painting, window treatment ideas can bring character and verve to an interiors scheme or be a quiet counterfoil to a flamboyant scheme.

So why spend money on beautiful paint shades and great quality furniture if you’re going to skimp on the window dressing ideas? They are the finishing touch to your interior design – that final piece that completes the space.

There are rules to follow to help you get window dressing ideas just right. These address certain issues like ceiling height, dealing with color and pattern and the big question – do you let them drape?

We’ve pulled together a range of decorating ideas for window treatments, with expert tips on how to deal with the most common issues so you can make your room feel fabulous.

(Henry Prideaux/Tom Sullam)
Pick a roller blind that's picture perfect

Find window treatment ideas that looks just as good as the real view behind it. This blind by Surface View features Dedham Vale by John Constable is from the V&A collection.

‘Artwork can bring drama, beauty and a little fun to windows with roller blinds that are unlike anything you will have seen before,’ says Michael Ayerst, managing director of Surface View.

This kind of window treatment ideas help to create an inspiring office space no matter what time of day.

(Surface View)
Create a luxe look by going door to door

The requirements of window treatment ideas will vary room to room, but they are all designed to provide levels of privacy, shade, soundproofing and warmth.

If you are looking for bedroom curtains, think luxury. In this three-bedroom London maisonette design by Gunter & Co, the bedroom has double doors which lead out onto a patio. Wall-to-wall curtains were added in front, not only to help block out light and sound when the room is occupied, but by using heavy fabric floor-to-ceiling, the curtains will also help keep out any unwanted drafts.

‘We worked with a palette of rich colors to make the most of the daylight on offer in the property, from lighter colors in light-filled spaces to warm and rich shades in darker spaces,’ says Irene Gunter, founder of Gunter & Co.

As well as these practical elements, the rich textures and deep folds of the Christopher Farr Cloth fabric in the curtains help to create a cozy atmosphere in the bedroom when drawn, a great bedroom window treatment.

(Gunter & Co)
Correct uneven proportions with window dressings

Potentially more of an issue in older properties but a tricky issue nonetheless, so we enlisted the advice of Emma Derterding, founder and creative director of Kelling Designs for her solution:

‘If you have windows at various heights within the same room, then I'd always utilize these to give the illusion space. For the higher window, take your curtains right to the ceiling as this will make the room feel taller and make the most of the ceiling height.

'For lower windows, fit the curtain rail to above the window leaving the wall above exposed as this will help balance the space and give a sense of grandeur.’

(Kelling Designs)
Choose a warm shade for a cool room

A pelmet, also known as a cornice board, is a box frame used to conceal the top of curtains, and is commonly found in classic-style interiors.

Pelmets can be made by using foam core or plywood to create a structure which can either be painted a similar tone to your walls, or upholstered in fabric to match the curtains hung beneath.

Though largely a decorative feature giving prominence to windows, they – and other window valances – are also designed to help conceal and also offer additional insulation around your windows, which is why they are so popular in older buildings such as this Kensington townhouse.

Here, interior designer Christiana Syrris, then at Studio Indigo, used a bold mustard hue both on the walls and the window dressing. This technique provides a modern twist while also adding depth and interesting within a singular color palette.

(Future/Davide Lovatti)
Use curtains as a decorative backdrop

Great for modern curtains, you can use patterned curtains to create a design statement – almost like a backdrop to the rest of your scheme, this will work especially well if the fabric is quite sheer and light can seep through them. We asked Emily Mould, Design Director at Romo and Black Edition for her advice on using patterns.

‘Creating a maximalist statement has evolved to become much more considered, moving away from the pattern clash of the past. Choose a hero pattern and introduce color, print and texture around it, allowing the design to take centerstage whilst layers of print and color add depth and textural touches to make a harmonious interior.’

(Romo/Black Edition)
Work with the room proportions you have

‘Opt for floor to ceiling curtains, ensuring there are no gaps. This look adds height to a room, while keeping a clean and simple aesthetic. And attention to detail goes a long way, explain Jenna and Mariana from London-based Interior Fox.

‘For example, we like to swap out the eyelets to match the curtain pole. This simple but effective technique makes all the difference and helps to create a more unified and custom look.

'Gone are the days of shorter curtains, they feel dated and can make a window feel small and boxed in. Instead create a cohesive look by complementing the curtains with the wall color.’

(Interior Fox)
Tackle a corner window cleverly

If you’re lucky enough to have a beautiful corner window then dressing it correctly is key to maintaining the light and character of the space – this might be a particular issue if you are looking for cottage curtains which often have to address tricky spaces. We asked Harry Cole, founder of Loom & Last how to deal with this tricky window treatment.

‘Corner windows offer a great source of light, but it can be a daunting decorating decision when dressing them. Simplify the design process by treating each window as a single unit and hang each pair of curtains on separate rods. To ensure unity within the space, position the rods at the same height to create an L shape, but remember to allow enough room between the brackets.’

(Loom & Last)
Choose a bold layered look with curtains and wallpaper

Looking for bold and beautiful window treatment ideas? These Osborne Red curtains from Blithfield, make a strong statement alongside the Iznik wallpaper in Madder Pink from Rapture & Wright at The Fabric Collective.

The secret here is to keep the density of color the same. Taking center stage is the side table that breaks the intensity of pattern.

(Future / Jan Baldwin)
Opt for a feature length curtain

Floor-to-ceiling curtains can create a sense of height in a space, and a contemporary solution is to conceal the track in the ceiling cavity. These are the Vedra Amarilla curtains from the Livingetc collection for Hillarys.

(Livingetc at Hillarys)
Create another dimension with a layered feel

‘Floor length curtains create warmth and layers of texture in a sitting room or bedroom,’ says interior designer Natalia Miyar.

‘If the room has strong statement furniture, I choose a soft, textured fabric or multi-toned curtains to subtly add another dimension to the space.’

The curtain fabric used here is from Dominique Kieffer by Italian company, Rubelli.

(Natalia Miyar)
Merge indoors and out with botanical prints

A curtain filled with dense foliage will echo the greenery outside. This is English Oak fabric in Teal by Linwood.

When thinking about window treatment ideas, draw the eye through the room with a piece of furniture. Here a pouffe is upholstered in a linking design – SN Schwarzwald Col 1 by Dedar.

(Future/Polly Wreford)
Layer with a valance to create a statement

Often used for living room drapes, in a period property, we can use the character of the original features and inspiration of the past to recreate window dressings how they used to be. In this instance, the valance complements the rest of the scheme and frames the beautiful window seat area perfectly – ideal if you are researching country curtains.

Carlos Garcia, interior decorator at Carlos Garcia Interiors shares what he did:

‘I chose a valance to give softness, warmth and a touch of understated opulence to the room. The loosely hand gathered heading adds informality too and suits the beautiful Robert Kime floral linen.’

(Carlos Garcia Interiors)
Follow through on the rest of your scheme

Your guest bedroom is a perfect opportunity to get creative and design a scheme reminiscent of boutique hotel interiors. These curtains run the course of the walls, and were custom made by JAB Anstoetz to match the velvet-upholstered sofa bed nestled in between.

(Future/Rei Moon)
Create a cohesive feel with matched patterns

'Almost any fabric can become a blind and, as with curtains, we recommend the use of beautiful linings,’ says Emma Clarke, director of Warner House. ‘Blackout should be a consideration depending on the room and interlining material for an elegant finish.’

Shown on the windows here is Warner House’s Balmoral Olive.

Adding tape or bullion trims to the bottom edge creates interest bringing individuality to your scheme. Try layering both curtains and blinds for warmth and depth.

(Warner House)
Choose the right fabric and drape

Molly Freshwater, Creative Director at Secret Linen Store explains what she looks for when it comes to choosing the right fabric and drape:

‘I always think of window dressing as the final finishing touch to your room. The color is important, but for me the fabric and drape is at the top of my curtain list to get right. My first rule of curtains is that they should be long to the floor and in the case of 100% linen curtains, even longer.

'If it’s an airy, bright feel that you want in the room, it has to be 100% linen. These curtains let the light dapple through, and give you privacy at the same time. They can be drawn back to almost nothing during the day, and if you want to tie them they are so light, you need only use a lovely ribbon.

'If you need to keep the light out completely, a blind behind the linen will do this job and leave your room looking light and airy as and when you want it.’

(Davide Lovatti)
Use shutters for privacy, shade – and color

Shutters aren't just for indoors – they are making their way outdoors, too, to create cool shade on a south-facing porch or for providing privacy on a porch that is overlooked. They are a wonderful tool for extending your indoor space outdoors – and for providing a colorful backdrop. Of course, a pale green is wonderful for linking that transitional zone to the foliage outdoors.

It's vital that the shutters you choose for this purpose are made from materials – and have fixings – that are tough enough to stand up to temperature fluctuations and downpours.

(Benjamin Moore)
Consider shutter color carefully

Louvered shutters like these look effortlessly elegant – and are wonderful for bedrooms because they can filter out noise, dirt and even the cold.

However, it's worth making a point or two about the light levels of a room and how they are affected by shutters. First – most shutters don't block out light as efficiently as other window dressings, although the darker the shutter color, the more effective they are at dulling early morning light. Secondly, the color of your shutters will alter the color of the light that filters into your room: white shutters will reflect white light in; yellow shutters will make a room feel sunnier, whereas grey shutters will make a bright room feel cool.

(California Shutters)
Choose Venetian blinds for a streamlined look

Venetian blinds are super smart, practical – and perfect if you are on a budget or furnishing a rental home. From outside, they give the impression of shutters – but at a much lower price. Like shutters, they do gather dust, so white or pale finishes are better for disguising this and creating bright rooms.

(Blinds2Go)
Co-ordinate curtains with upholstery

Opting for decorative fabrics over curtains and upholstery is a brilliant way to inject colour, pattern and personality into a bedroom. Covering the headboard and bed frame in the same design as the curtains will not only make a beautiful statement, it will also help create a cohesive, unified look. However, if you've considering doing this, then the key is to introduce additional, subtler fabrics throughout the room to soften the strong print advise the experts.

‘Using the same pattern on two items in a room creates cohesion, however, don’t make it too matchy matchy,’ says Ella Richards, head of design at Linwood. ‘You need to add elements of surprise – the bedroom would be rather dull without the dark blue pelmet, the footstool with its tweed-style weave and the dash of yellow from the bedside table. It’s all about little surprises.’

(Kitty linen in Blue/Green, The English Garden Collection, Linwood)
Channel the ruffle trend with a ruched blind

Making a feature of bathroom windows with a fabric blind is a brilliant way to inject pattern, colour and personality into what can feel cold, clinical spaces. Ruffles are all the rage at the moment so why not create a nod to the look with a ruched ‘London’ style fabric blind?

‘Bathrooms often feel stark and cold, full of hard surfaces and bright white finishes, adding a large scale floral fabric ruched to create a ‘London’ blind with a contrast or striped trim delivers a touch of whimsy, creating a considered and joyful interior,’ says Richard Smith, founder & creative director, Madeaux.

(Blind in Woodblock Forest linen Madeaux)
Balance light and privacy with a venetian blind

Venetian blinds have adjustable horizontal slats, also known as louvres, which allow you to control light levels whilst maintaining privacy – this makes venetian blinds a perfect choice for bathrooms, plus, depending on the material they can be water-resistant and can be easily wiped clean which is important in moist areas.

‘As bathrooms are usually quite steamy rooms, roller blinds with polyester or polyester mix fabric are practical choices as they are resistant to damp and humid conditions and are easy to wipe clean. Alternatively, Wood Impression venetian blinds offer the look of real wood but with the water resistance suitable to a bathroom environment,’ says Jackie Hoyte of Blinds2Go.

(Blinds2Go Metropolitan Snow and Parchment wooden venetian blind)
Choose full length curtains for a traditional look

For a traditional living rooms consider curtains in decorative prints inspired by historic designs such as this Palampore tree of life design from Warner House which draws from the exotic chintzes printed in the 17th-century on the Coromandel Coast for the European market.

‘Almost any fabric can be used as a curtain provided it has beautiful drape. Best quality curtain lining and interlining materials give a luxurious finish, enhancing the beauty of the fabric and accentuating shape and fullness,’ says Lee Clarke, Director at Warner House.

‘We believe “more is more” and in almost every instance we would advise curtains should be full length: puddled for a traditional feel, or flush to the floor for a modern finish.'

'Be generous with your widths to avoid lacklustre, thin curtains – show off color and design with sumptuous fullness,' advises Lee Clarke. 'Hang curtains above the window frame for extra height and to showcase a fabulous sweeping design. We love the pinch pleat heading: triple pinch for a heritage look, or the double pinch for a sleeker finish.'

(Warner House)

Find beautiful window treatment ideas of every style, for every room in your home