Window dressing – design statement
Windows are a functional feature of your home, providing a view to your picturesque garden or the traffic sliding past your front gate.
However, a window is not only a portal to the world outside the house; the way we decorate it helps us accessorise the interior of the dwelling as well.
The obvious options lie with blinds, shutters and curtains but what are the determining factors that persuade the homeowner to choose one above the other?
Kate Rogan, of Rogan Nash Architects, looks at some of the considerations to be pondered when weighing up the advantages each window treatment affords.
When choosing curtains, Kate says, you need to check out the nature of the room in which they will be hanging.
‘‘In a cosy or small space, you don’t want a whole lot of different types and patterns of curtains. It can be overwhelming and sometimes makes a space look smaller,’’ she says.
Adhering to one colour and type of curtain (eg. pleated, floor length or gathered) can make a small room look larger. Different designs of homes do suit a melange of styles – ‘‘English country can handle a mixture of colour, style and patterns’’ – but in general Kate recommends following one style throughout the house because multiple combinations become too complicated.
When wallpaper is already making a statement, it’s a good idea to choose neutral curtains.
When deciding whether curtains should be neutral or a statement piece, she says: ‘‘Stick to the general rule that there should be no more than three things going on in a room at once.’’
Using this guideline, if there are already three signature items in a room, curtains should be a neutral colour. However, Kate does note this is merely a general rule and some spaces are able to take a myriad of statement pieces without looking overdone.
Curtains should always reach the floor, she says. ‘‘You don’t want them to look like trouser pants that are too short.’’
To give the impression the room is larger, take the curtains all the way to the ceiling, or above the height of the window frame. This technique lessens the visual choppiness of the decor.
Curtains provide good thermal insulation, soften a room and block more light out than a blind. For this reason they are well suited for bedrooms.
For a small window, it is unpractical to have a curtain. Blinds are a much better solution.
A good combination for the bedroom is the dual use of a roller blind with a drape over the top. This way, you can let the light in during the day, while maintaining privacy, and draw the curtains at night to keep the heat in. However, if a room doesn’t suit drapes, double blinds (one see-through and the other with black-out backing) can be used for the same purpose.
‘‘Blinds with a lot of horizontal lines can be visually overwhelming,’’ she says. So they shouldn’t be used in excess.
Kate finds shutters are a good solution for a door. ‘‘Shutters are crisper and less fussy,’’ she says.
‘‘Blinds on a door would just be a nightmare.’’ Shutters, which can be attached to the door, move with it and can be opened and closed easily. Shutters with wide slats are perfect for windows where you don’t want to lose the view. They can control light and allow good airflow, which is important for a healthy home.
Kate Rogan says a small room can look larger by adhering to one colour.