what to do with a house full of bare windows

Moving into a new home is overwhelming enough. Then you arrive to find that among the many and formidable tasks you face is what to do with your completely naked windows. Most likely an entire house full of them. I've talked about the beauty of undressed windows before, but let's face it: unless you live in a completely secluded setting with no need for privacy and no need to control the light, this is really unfeasible. You must put something on your windows.

Lovely undressed windows let the light stream in during the day in what would otherwise be a dark space,
but unless you have no neighbors, you might feel exposed here at night.

I was recently asked by a friend to help with window treatments in their new home, and I made a visit earlier this week. The house isn't massive by any means—a typical family home with four bedrooms—but even for someone with experience in this sort of thing the task is daunting. I left with measurements for 12 rooms and 19 different window sizes and styles. I started thinking about how to best tackle this for them, and what I'd do if I were in there shoes. Here are some strategies.

1. Start with the most exposed rooms.
Tackle window treatments first for the rooms where privacy is needed most: bathrooms, bedrooms. Let the public spaces wait.

2. Start with function.
I always love layered window treatments (drapery panels over a fabric shade, valance over a bamboo shade), but the layering doesn't have to happen all at once. Start with the functional window treatment and later on add the decorative. Shades, blinds, or shutters come first, to keep out prying eyes and bright sunlight.

3. Move on to "living" rooms.
Tackle window treatments for the rooms where you spend the most time: kitchen, family room, living room.

4. Finish the lesser used rooms.
Lastly, work on rooms where you spend the least time and have the least need for privacy and light control: guest room, laudry room, home office.

5. Get creative.
You've got the basics covered with shades, blinds, or shutters. Now's the time to get creative and add layers of decorative treatments in rooms where you want them. This is the time to add drapery panels, valances, and cornices. This is the fun part, and if you haven't yet, you can finally enjoy the process!


Ashley said...

You have no idea how timely this post is for me. My husband and I just moved into our house and we're living in a proverbial fishbowl here. None of the window treatments I had in our previous apartment fit these larger windows...yikes! I'll definitely keep these tips in mind.

Janna McCalley said...

I love this article-especially since the only window treatments we have are sheets and a thumb tack right now! Ahhh renovations!

Meg said...

Your timing with this post couldn't be better... I'm completely overwhelmed with choosing the window coverings fo our new home. I decided to buy new rods for drapery and just hang the curtains we had from our old home. They don't all work perfectly -some are too long and others don't fit the windows perfectly - but at least we have something other than a bed sheet up to give us privacy until we can decide on permanent solutions. It's working for now... My next step will be bamboo blinds for some of the windows since I love a layered look.