Uncle Bobs Tips

Wrong Window Treatments

Wrong Window Treatments

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I like windows. A well-dressed window is a pleasure to look at, and to look through. In addition, the right kind of window treatment can have many practical benefits, so let's take the time to look into window treatments in order to avoid pitfalls and get the window treatment that works the best for you.

  1. Mistake #1 - Not taking into account the way your window opens

    Know your window because windows come in different shapes and sizes. They can slide up or down, or open like a door in, or out. They can be square or round, bow shaped or arched. Their size ranges from quite small to floor-to-ceiling. If you don't take this into consideration, you may land up with a pretty window that you can't open!

  2. Mistake #2 - Not taking into account how often your window is used

    How is your window used? For example, a French door that leads out onto a much-used patio needs a treatment that will not interfere with traffic.

  3. Mistake #3 - Not considering how much light you need

    What direction does your window face? While a southern exposure is a plus in the winter, in the summer it can heat up a room and make your air conditioning work harder. Conversely, the cold side of the house may need extra insulation. The right treatment can make a noticeable difference in your heating bill too. How much light you want pouring into your room is another consideration. Too much sun can fade your furniture and rugs. Too little sun can make for a gloomy room. The right kind of curtains can diffuse light, giving a room a welcoming glow.

  4. Mistake #4 - Not considering how much privacy you need

    What about privacy? There are many types of curtains that let in light while blocking the view from the outside, a big plus on a busy street. On the other hand, if you are the only person within a 25-mile radius you might want to see the view without anything in the way.

  5. Mistake #5 - Not taking into account your budget

    Getting down to the nitty-gritty, what's your budget? It's not easy, but you can find the balance between style and expense. Many do-it-yourself options let you have your cake and eat it to.

  6. Mistake #6 - Not taking exact measurements

    While with other projects approximation is good enough, here you have to measure accurately; an inch or two can spell disaster. Use a metal, professional-type tape measure; cloth or plastic measures can stretch and bend, changing measurements. Have handy paper and pencil to write everything down. Many people find a sketch easier to understand.

    Measure the width of the window first. The width is the side to side measurement of the window frame opening. Measure on the top, in the middle and on the bottom. Use a level, if necessary, to insure accurate measurements. If there is a discrepancy use the smallest numbers. Measure to the nearest 1/8-inch. Write it down.

    Next, measure the exact height, from the top to the bottom. Measure the left side, the middle, and the right side. Here, use the largest of the three measurements. Write it down.








    Lastly, measure the available depth of your window frame. You don't have to include inside moldings or tracks, measure only the space available to install your window treatment. If you are unsure about space available, you can sketch or describe your window to a window treatment professional and he will help you make sure your measurements are accurate.

  7. Mistake #7 - Forgetting your room design

    Now let's talk design. In designing your window treatment take into consideration what type of impression the room will make. Is this a formal dining room or a cozy den? Is this room strictly for business or can we add a touch of whimsy? Smooth curtains speak of elegance while textures are more casual. Layers and top treatments dress up a window, blinds can give a room a sleek modern look.

  8. Mistake #8 - Forgetting your color scheme

    Did you know that a color scheme usually means three colors? The main color is your statement, the second your contrast and the third complements. Keep the color scheme of your room in mind. The wrong colors can be a distraction, but the right ones can transform a room.

  9. Mistake #9 - Forgetting form and balance

    There are several rules of thumb that can help you attain form and balance. For example: Try not to divide the length of your window in half. Instead, use the rule of fifths or sixths. For example, if you want to use a valence (which is a decorative fabric covering usually used at the top of window treatments) Measure your total length and divide by five or six. The result will be the length of the valence. As far as the width, you want to divide it in three, or multiples of three. This will result in a ratio of one-third window to two-thirds draperies. This rule of thumb also applies to colors or fabrics. You can use two prints and a sold color in a 60%, 30%, 10% mix for perfect effect. In a room with different size windows, the right treatment can add symmetry to your total room design.

  10. Mistake #10 - Not doing your homework on curtains

    If you decide on curtains, as opposed to blinds or shades, and want to have them made, here are some standards you can expect from your supplier. The fabric pattern repeats should match so the join is not obvious.

Drapery weights should be used in seams and corners. Double-side hems are one half-inch finished and double bottom hems are 4-inch finished. All hems are blind stitched in place. Pinch pleated headings are usually 4 inches high, have three finger folds in each pleat, and are stabilized with buckram, which is a narrow stiffened fabric.

Lining is used where applicable and is one inch shorter than the face fabric. The minimum fullness standard is two and one-half times the finished width measurement for mid-weight fabrics and three times for sheers.

One of the things I like about window treatments is that there are so many ideas and possibilities; you can really express your individual creativity. Now that the practicalities are in place, I'm sure that there's going to be a lot more to your windows than just the view.

For more measuring and style tips check out Macy's helpful advice. If you want an in-depth guide to window treatments take a look at Linens N Things.

Read all about window blinds at Blinds.com.

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