Six Tips for Great Window Treatments

Spruce up those windows to make your kitchen more attractive with six easy-to-do ideas.

Strip away heavy window coverings and replace with simple shades. One path to less fabric is using an upholstered cornice, says Sue Pelley, national spokesperson for Interiors by Decorating Den, or a flap valance like the Ace three-piece set from Swags Galore.
Design by Sue Adams

Natural light in the kitchen is essential. "Pleated shades offer a privacy treatment and still allow plenty of light," says Pelley.
Just one example of an attractive pleated shade is the Smith + Noble version, available in tones ranging from White to Sky Blue, in subtle stripes and a tropical-looking pattern. It even comes in versions suitable for skylights or arched windows.
 Design by Gail Drury

If you're using fabric, make sure it's in a contemporary tone.
"The terra cotta shades are very 'in' mixed with greens, blacks and golds," says Pelley. "You can also mix cotton fabric prints, either within a treatment or coordinating a print in the valance or cornice with another print on the cushion seats or place mats."
If your kitchen is particularly tiny, then light, cool colors can make it look larger and brighter, while dark, warm colors can make an oversized kitchen more inviting.
Design by Beth Haley

Another hot trend is Roman shades made of rattan, bamboo or other natural fibers, says Pelley: "They add visual interest with their texture, but still roll up smoothly like the Roman shades of old."

Design by Lin Lee

Too much direct sunlight is also an issue in kitchens, says Pelley, since it makes it hot and unpleasant to work in. Simple wood blinds or woven wood shades, like the Provenance sold by Hunter Douglas, will filter the light without looking too heavy.  

Design by Jill Hertz

"There are typically lots of straight lines in the kitchen — the cabinets, the appliances, the counters —everything is straight or square," says Pelley. "It's a good idea to add a window treatment with soft curves to open the space up, especially in a small kitchen."
Arching a valance is a good option, particularly over the sink. Other options include a curved cornice, a box-pleated valance with a curved line along the bottom or a London Shade from Smith + Noble that is nearly flat at the top but falls from inverted pleats to gentle swags along the bottom, with wings at either side.
 Design by Phyllis Harbinger

Decorating Bay Windows

  • Some individuals may add some sort of carpeting to the flat area in front of the windows. This will soften the look. If the bay window is deep enough, you could even sit in the window like you’ve probably seen some people do. However, make sure the area is sturdy enough to sit in and star gaze.
  • There are different types of bay window coverings you can use. Wood coverings are strong, you can go for the shutter appearance and open and close them as you please. This is a great way to add elegance to a room and also add functionality.
  • Some individuals choose to add stained glass to bay to add color to the light coming into the room. The stained glass itself can add color quite easily.
Bay windows are spacious windows that can look drab or they can look excellent. However, it is the “drab” factor that leads people to decorating them. And you would be amazed at some of the ideas people come up.
Here is an idea of what you may see and what you can do to make your bay windows not so plain:
  • You can try custom fitted roman shades for each individual window. This can accentuate the window and its qualities. These windows are actually quite linear and roman shades can reveal that.
  • If you have bay windows in your bedroom, you can add curtains to the bottom half of the windows to add to privacy, but still allow light into the room.
  • If you have various romantic window treatment elements in a room, a valance can make a considerable difference. This can unite the windows into one.
  • Accordion shades can add to the color of the room and also let in as much or as little light as you want.
All-in-all, the idea in decorating bay windows is to make the window look softer in the room and use them in whatever way you can to add color to the room. Instead of them being separate from the room, you are incorporating them into the room.
This is important when making them a focal point rather than something that seems to sit off to the side with no function whatsoever. When you are decorating bay shaped windows, you are in the process of making them functional and beautiful.

A Bay Window Retreat designed by Elizabeth Stewart

Through the use of luxurious fabrics and delightful details Elizabeth Stewart Designs has created a relaxing and inviting bay window area that is begging you to take a moment and enjoy the view.
Every home should have a comfortable and inviting place to sit and enjoy a cup of tea, read a good novel or just enjoy a lovely view.  This bay window area designed by Elizabeth Stewart Designs at could be just the spot.
The view of the lake is not hindered in any way by the choice of window treatments.  In place of heavy draperies or room darkening shades a neutral color scheme has been used to enhance the view.
Wonderfully full drapery panels puddle on the floor and are held in place by large tassel tiebacks.

Soft roman shades in a contrasting neutral color make it possible to control the amount of light that is let into the room.  A padded cornice board   with  subtle bead trim tops it all off.
In order to accent the architectural curvature of the bay window, cushions have been created that follow the shape of the window.  The bolster pillows break up the expanse of seat cushions and add a bit of soft color to the space.
Placing tassels at the ends of the pillows adds a whimsical and lighthearted touch.  In place of a solid wood frame, a mesh covering has been used on the front of the window seat.
This visually “lightens” the look and has the added advantage of creating additional storage space.
Through the use of luxurious fabrics, soft colors and comfortable furnishings, an inviting space has been created that will make you want to curl up and take an afternoon nap just like the kitty is doing on the window seat.