wedding planner
about us
site map

BRO Features
Feature Story
Featured Events
Picture of the Month
Great Ideas
Wedding Topics
Latest Trends
Your First Home
Cooking for Couples
Romance & Money
Fit & Beautiful
Relationship Guide
Love Stories
Ask the Experts
Fun Stuff

The Green Corner
 Organic and  Sustainable Weddings

Destination Weddings

BRO Store
Favors & More



Laura Hunt

Your First Home

Dress Up In Style

Copyright Deborah Marks 2004

 "dress up in style" is certainly on one's mind when planning a wedding!
And it will be again after the wedding. This time it will concern your home---specifically the windows and sliding glass doors. You'll want to "dress them up" and have them look their best, coordinated with the color, textures, and lines of the furnishings in each room.

Imagine crisp white voile panels swaying gently in the morning breeze welcoming you to a new day. Imagine the interplay of light and color on a shimmering silk fabric, inviting you into your home again in the evening. The softness and beauty of flowing fabric cascading down a wall lend a finishing touch to any interior.

The possibilities in window treatments for the Contemporary Light design style are plentiful. You can choose from quite inexpensive, simple ready-made fabric panels to more elegantly designed custom-made window coverings. The choice of the fabric, any design on the fabric, the type of window treatment, and the hardware selected should be dictated by the degree of formality of the room. Also consider the room's use and the colors and textures which are present.

Just as the name suggests "Contemporary Light" window treatments should be light and airy. There are fabrics which work particularly well to create that effect. Polyester, a man-made fabric, is especially suited for sheers. As flat panels or in simple pleats combined with a chrome pole or tension wire, they can work wonders.

If possible have the fabric reach to the floor to create a more elegant and completed look. A sheer looks stunning in white, and pastels give just a whisper of color to the room. Some fabrics boast interesting geometric patterns such as spirals and circles embroidered or stripes woven into the fabric.

The very word "sheer" connotes translucency; some light is allowed in while privacy is maintained. That is the underlying beauty of sheers. As the intensity of light changes throughout the day, new effects are created within the room.

Polyesters are known for their durability, easy care, and reasonable price. They don't fade when exposed to sunlight, are pest-resistant, and wrinkle-free. Other fabrics used in sheers, like cotton/polyester blends, polyester with viscose, or acetate polyester, are robust and affordable as well.

If your prefer natural fibers, cottons are well suited for Contemporary Light interiors. They are heavier than sheers and can be draped and puddled on the floor, giving a more opulent look. They can be used merely to frame the window or can be drawn completely across the opening. When sheers are used to frame the window, they can be combined with blinds, shades, or shutters, to allow for more versatility and privacy.

Linen is a natural fiber which can be made up handsomely into window coverings. The word "linen" is practically synonymous with the word "wrinkle," and linen also tends to stretch when hung. Purchase this fabric only as a blend, such as linen and cotton, unless, of course, the "wrinkled look" is that what you desire! Since linen comes from Europe, it can be pricey.

Keep in mind that natural fibers are inherently more susceptible to the elements. They are more sensitive to the sun, and silver fish do love cottons! It's always a good idea to inspect your window coverings when cleaning. Spiders have been known to nestle up comfortably within their folds. Shake them out and vacuum them every once in a while. Dry cleaning is preferable to washing in order to avoid shrinkage or bleeding of the colors.

Silk is a luxurious fabric which has found its place in the contemporary world. Drapes made of silk can bring a bold splash of color to a room or add a more subdued touch. Whether as a solid color, in wide stripes, or in another pattern, silk fabric lends richness to any interior. It is a very delicate fabric, so the window treatments must be lined and interlined to protect them from the sun's rays. If you like the look of silk but not the fuss or the expense, try "silks" in 100% polyester. They come very close to the real thing!

Here are a few tips when deciding which fabric and which hardware are suitable for each room. Sheers in solid colors or with small geometric patterns do well in a more formal setting, such as a living room, dining room and possibly master bedroom. They look well hung from narrow metal poles of chrome or stainless steel that are finished with simple finials at the ends. The fabrics themselves can be attached to the poles by rings, rings with clips, or tabs. Mount the brackets on the wall or ceiling. Add tie-backs on the sides so the fabric can be swept back gracefully, revealing a more expansive view to the outside world.

An original and unusual way of hanging the window treatment is to use tracks on the ceiling or a tension wire. Hanging panels from tracks so that they can pass each other creates an interesting window dressing. Sheers draped loosely along a wire suggest rhythm and flow.  
Sheers or cottons with stripes, checks, or small floral patterns generally are better suited to more casual settings, such as children's rooms, offices, and kitchens. An alternative method of hanging these less formal drapes is to use large grommets in the fabric and weave the pole through them. Stripes and other patterns do not make an informal design if you are using an elegant fabric like silk. Stripes and checks on silk can look gorgeous in very formal interiors!
If floor-length window treatments are not possible nor desired, the fabric could be made up into Roman shades. Be careful with light colored fabrics, as the seams and workings can be seen when the shades are down! These types of shades are especially suited for kitchens, offices, bathrooms, and children's rooms. Plain shades of fabric or grass also can be used to make a unique statement.

Sometimes it's necessary and desirable to have window coverings other than those made of fabric. If blocking out light is the first priority, mini-blinds in wood or metal, or honeycomb shades might be the right solution. The good news for parents with small children is that these blinds and shades are available today without the long cords! Wooden shutters are ideal to afford privacy through the bottom portion of the window and to allow light in through the upper portion. Combine the blinds or shutters with fabric panels on the sides to frame the opening.

To create a coordinated look throughout the house, use one color in different textured fabrics and types of window treatments. Or use two to three colors in varying applications, repeating the color palette in different ways. Be sure not to skimp on the fabric. With the exception of flat panels, window treatments look best when ample fabric is used.

Window treatments comprise one of the last finishing touches in a home! They can add warmth, a striking color accent, or the feeling of pure elegance. From among the many beautiful fabrics on the market today, you surely will be able to find those that make each room unique and complete in its own way.

Pictures # 1,3,5 by the author
Pictures # 2,4 Courtesy of JAB
Picture # 6 Courtesy of Peninsula Window Coverings, San Bruno

Read More Articles
Marks Interiors  


© 1995 - 2012