Don't be afraid to hire a decorator. He or she has the knowledge of what's out
there, and what works practically for all the different applications you have
(if you have a whole new house of uncovered windows, you have a number of
applications.) I still appreciate the insights I initially got from a decorator
visiting on a hourly basis (2 hours) when I first moved into my house 12 years
ago. It doesn't mean frou-frou fancy - a decorator will work with all tastes.
But of course you don't *have* to hire a decorator, and someone who is handy can
put up window treatments normally (high ceiling rooms may require some extra
experience). The most critical thing by far is to measure correctly. You have
to pay a LOT of attention to whether you want to shade inside or outside the
window, and for some windows, like double hung, measuring to hang blinds and
shades inside can be tricky. For this alone it might be good to get someone.
Just to give you an idea, here's what's on my house (after some updates I plan):
Bedrooms - master - wood 1" blinds plus simple silk drapery panels on
bronze-colored rods with decorative ends.
Bedrooms - child - metal mini-blinds (1/2" - 1") plus to-tone valences covering
inexpensive valence rods. (My 13 year old insisted on very dark *navy* blinds, I
got the ones backed with off-white to show from the outside; they look way nicer
than I thought!)
Blinds are great for control, when they're open you can see out but others can't
see in so well, when they're closed you have privacy. You can pull them all the
way up when you want max visibility. Some are constructed to be completely
light blocking. I think they're good looking. They combine well with other
window treatments. Miniblinds are kinda old school; they've been around
forever, but still great IMO for bedroom/bathroom.
Bathroom - vinyl mini-blinds plus simple lace valence. (Vinyl for moisture
Kitchen - Pull-down shades plus simple casual striped valences. (Pull down
shades visible only when needed for these south side windows, not often needed
for privacy). I wouldn't have the pull-down shades if my kitchen were on the
north side. But it's on the south side.
Living room - Simple linen panels on rod over sheer panels. The sheers let
light in but allows privacy for those lazy mornings. So both sheers and panels
closed at night, open panels but leave sheers for walking around in pajamas in
the morning but not to have the room dark, both panels and sheers open to see
the nice view to the street during the day. If my living room were toward the
back (woods), I would have something different (not sure what). Privacy needs
are different for different rooms.
Family room - bamboo roman shades separately covering five or eight windows
(depending on what I decide to do with three upper awnings) hung inside to show
window trim, lined to block afternoon light during TV viewing on these south and
west windows. (I have cellular shades there now for 11 years, very nice and
function well except they aren't blocking the afternoon light as needed.)
Of course this may or may not work for any given individual, depending on needs
and taste. I hate plantation shutters, for example. Others love 'em. I barf
at very formal window treatments. Others swoon. I think whoever invented
vertical blinds should reside in Hades for eternity. But then I don't have a
dining room with sliding doors to a deck like about 50% of the houses around
Think privacy, options for visibility, light filtering or blocking, possibly
thermal control (pretty much leads you to draperies..) as well as aesthetics.
Contrast with wall for drama; close to wall color as possible for subtlety,
light color to allow brightness. Combine treatements to allow flexibility.
When I want some help, I go to specialty stores like Country Curtains (they do a
lot more styles than country) or the Ben Moore paint and decorating stores.
When I'm confident I know what I want and can hang them, I go to J.C. Penney's
and watch for sales.
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