How to Choose Window Furnishings

Window coverings, also called furnishings, treatments and/or dressings, include anything that covers a window, either for utilitarian or aesthetic purposes. There are a number of factors to consider when deciding which type of furnishing to choose for windows. Follow these guidelines for how to choose window furnishings.


  1. Image titled Choose Window Furnishings Step 1
    Set a budget. Because window dressings come in such a wide array of types and styles, they also come in an equally variant set of price points. Before you shop for window treatments, you should decide how much you can afford to spend.
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    Determine the purpose of your window furnishings.
    • If privacy is an issue, your treatments will need to address that. Consider what part of the interior space your window is in, as well as what portion of the outside environment it opens up to. For example, a bathroom window that opens out to a front driveway will need much more privacy than a library window that opens out to a garden.
    • Window coverings may be used to diffuse light, or block light out altogether. Consider how the sun rises and sets in relation to the room the window is in, and decide if it is necessary to manage that light using window treatments.
    • Window dressings can be used for decorative purposes, to frame a window, draw attention to the window's architectural details, accent an interior design and/or camouflage an oddly shaped or placed window.
    • It is possible to create interior design optical illusions by strategically choosing and installing window furnishings that lend to a desired effect. For example, you can make a ceiling appear higher by hanging vertical, floor to ceiling drapes.
    • Thick window coverings can be used to protect your interior space from the elements and regulate room temperature.
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    Consider the different types of window furnishings. Choose treatments that fit into your budget, compliment your d├ęcor and fulfill your intended purpose(s).
    • Sunscreens are fabric window dressings that come in different levels of opaqueness to filter light in different ways, and generally operate on a contracting roller that allows you to pull them down or release them up. Thin sunscreens provide minimal light filtering and privacy, while black-out sunscreens completely block out the light and the view.
    • Blinds are made of either vertical or horizontal slats that can be adjusted to allow light in or block it out. These window furnishings come in a variety of styles and designs in order to suit a multitude of design aesthetics.
    • Screen/blind combinations are fabric screens that are pleated for a blind effect. Examples of these hybrid window treatments include Venetian blinds, Roman shades and honeycomb blinds.
    • Curtains and draperies are fabric window dressings that can be used in a multitude of arrangements to create different decorative effects and fulfill different needs. For example, thick, lined curtains may be installed across the entirety of a large window to block out sunlight and to keep the interior space cool; additionally, this type of curtain treatment creates an impactful decorative effect.
    • Sheers are fabric treatments made of thin, translucent material. They are often used as minimal light filters, and in coordination with other window treatments for decorative effect.
    • Window treatment toppers are used primarily as decorative features to frame out the upper horizontal line of a window. They come in many forms, including valances, swags and cornices, and may be complimented by cascades or jabots, which frame out the vertical window edges.
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    Shop around for window treatment varieties and prices. Explore your options from numerous sources, including window furnishings websites, home improvement stores, chain retailers and department stores.


  • If you rent your residence, be sure to ask your landlord and/or review your rental agreement for window treatment policies. Sometimes window treatments are considered fixtures, and must stay with the property, even when you leave.
  • If you are having a difficult time discerning which type of window treatment is best for you, or you would like some help sourcing window furnishings, you may hire an interior decorator to guide you through the process.


  • Avoid using window dressings made of untreated fabrics in places where there is excessive moisture and/or humidity, such as outdoor patio areas, bathrooms and kitchens.

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Categories: Home Decorating