Well-selected window treatments can pull a room together, making it look finished and polished. And, if chosen wisely, they also can help block heat and cold and keep belongings from sustaining sun damage.
Well-selected window treatments can pull a room together, making it look finished and polished. And Colleen McNally, owner of Sew Many Windows in Lockport, Ill., says they can do much more.
Window treatments, if chosen wisely, can also help block heat and cold and keep belongings from sustaining sun damage. Here are just a few of the latest styles available that can be both functional and stylish.
With the right lining, these can keep light, heat and cold at bay. And because they are more decorative than other types of shades, they eliminate the need for curtains. This saves on cost but also on energy efficiency, when considering the energy it takes to manufacture and ship additional products.
These shades have dead air spaces between pieces, which helps with insulation. Manufacturer Hunter Douglas recently improved upon the design with its Duette Architella, which is something like “a cell within a cell,” McNally said. This product is more expensive than other shades but is eligible for federal tax credit for energy efficiency, so spending more at the outset may be worth it.
Lined woven woods
Similar in look to Roman shades, woven woods can provide an attractive window treatment. To maximize energy efficiency, these are lined with fabric that is dark on the wood side (so as not to detract from the look of the wood) and white to the outside.
The U.S. Department of Energy recommends using dual shades that are reflective on one side and heat-absorbing on the other. They should be reversed with the seasons so the reflective side faces the warmest area — outward during the winter and inward during the summer.
Make your own curtains
Can’t find what you want in the stores? Why not try making your own window treatments? Curtains are fairly easy to make, says Sherie Wilks of the Naperville, Ill.-based company Life’s A Stage. With the right equipment and a little patience, you can have professional-looking window treatments in no time.
1. Sketch out a design
Will the curtains be straight or pleated? Will you need to sew a pocket for a rod at the top, or will you use curtain rod rings that clip onto the top of the piece? What fabric will you use? Books or online sources may offer some help for those who aren’t sure what they want. Those who are inexperienced may want to start with a small café curtain for a kitchen or bathroom. That means less work – and less wasted fabric in the event of a sewing disaster.
2. Take great measurements
Be sure to mark and measure exactly where the curtains will be hanging. Mounting them closer to the ceiling can make the room look taller, Wilks said.
3. Shop for fabric
Whatever your measurements call for, multiply it by two to three times for the width, Wilks said. This will allow you to draw the curtains closed and have them hang nicely. And don’t forget to add to the length to account for hemming. To maximize their energy efficiency — and their longevity — curtains and drapes should be lined, Wilks said. “A lot of natural fabrics, if you leave them in the sun, they’re going to fade,” she said. Look for a lining fabric that is specifically made to block ultraviolet rays. And be sure to buy a neutral color, as it will look nicer from the street.
4. Cut carefully, then sew
A cutting board and rotary cutter will make for the nicest, easiest job, Wilks said. The main fabric piece should always be a bit larger than the liner to allow for a turnback. That way, when the curtains are viewed from the side, you’ll see only the main fabric, not the lining.
5. Hem after hanging
“Not every floor is perfectly even,” Wilks said. Hanging curtains before hemming allows you to pin a straight hem that is even with your floor or windowsill. It also helps get some of the extra fabric out of your way so the work is less cumbersome.
GateHouse News Service