Window treatments add beauty, privacy, and cooling shade to your living room, but these crucial accessories come in a plethora of different styles, colors, and designs. Before you start measuring your living room windows, it’s vital to understand which options are available to you. Whether it’s curtains, valances, drapes, shades, blinds, or shutters, there is a wide range of window treatments to choose from.
This guide offers some insight into the different types of living room window treatments you can try for your own home, so you can make a well-informed decision and pick the right window treatment for your space.
Types of Window Treatments
Before looking at various colors and design styles, it’s vital to understand the differences between different window treatment options and types. Here are some of the most popular window treatment types you can add to your living space.
- Curtains: Commonly constructed of fabric, curtains add texture and color to your windows while also providing sun-blocking and privacy. Most curtains are referred to as panels and fit on each side of the window. The fabric panels can be drawn together to close them or pulled apart to reveal the window underneath. Valances are a strip of fabric that spans across the top of the window, but these window treatments are more commonly found in kitchens. You can use a valance to tie everything together and to “frame” the window from above for a cohesive look.
- Flap panels: This window treatment is similar to curtains, but it consists of separate pieces of fabric that cover each window panel individually. If you have a large window with several separate panels in your living space, this option adds easy coverage to each individual pane of glass.
- Shades: A window shade consists of a single, solid piece of material that can be raised or lowered as needed. Roman shades are commonly chosen for living rooms to add a sophisticated component, but these window coverings also come in a plethora of other materials and styles, too. Roller shades are an affordable alternative to Roman or bamboo shades.
- Blinds: If you want more control over your windows, blinds are a great choice. This light-filtering window treatment can be opened and closed using a small rod that allows you to adjust how wide they’re opened as needed. Blinds are often made of metal or plastic on the lower end and wood or fabric on the higher end. You can also use blinds alongside curtains for even more coverage and control. Unlike shades that only go up and down, blinds can be adjusted to open slightly, halfway, or all the way, depending on your needs. Mini blinds feature thin slats, while standard blinds have wider slats that are designed to cover larger windows. Vertical blinds are typically used to protect a sliding glass door and hang from a rail system mounted at the top of the door frame.
- Shutters: More typically found on the outside of a home, interior shutters provide maximum protection for your living room windows. These decorative window treatments are heavier than other options, but they do completely cover your windows. Since they tend to be bulky and heavy in both weight and appearance, shutters are more commonly reserved for the exterior portion of the window.
The Functionality of Window Treatments
Now that you’re familiar with a variety of types for your windows, it’s important to think about the functionality of the window treatments to help you decide which option is best for you. Thicker light-blocking curtains work well if you need something to keep the sun’s UV rays out of your living space. These curtains also tend to have noise-reducing properties, which can be especially helpful if you live on a busy street and want to stifle outside noises like people or traffic.
Of course, window treatments also offer you a good level of privacy to keep the inside of your home safe from prying eyes. Look at the opacity of the window treatment to help you decide which one is best. Semi-sheer and sheer curtains won’t give you much privacy, even if they’re closed. Blinds and curtains tend to provide the best level of privacy once they’re closed.
Shades are only a good option when they’re completely pulled down. Otherwise, they’ll leave part of your windows wide open, and your living room exposed. Depending on your living room’s direction, sun protection is also extremely important. Not only do window treatments block the sun, but they also help to keep your home cooler and protect your flooring and furniture from potential fading due to sun exposure.
Look for UV-blocking curtains, panels, and blinds whenever possible. A sheer curtain adds beauty to any window, but it won’t block the light very well or provide much privacy. However, it’s a great option if you want a bit of natural light to peek through.
Some window treatments also provide thermal insulation for your home. If you live in a cold climate or want a little more warmth in the winter, choose insulating curtains or shutters to keep your living space toasty warm. Basic functionality is also crucial depending on how often you plan to open and close your window treatments.
Motorized curtains, roller shades, and blinds are extremely helpful, and they’re great if you have really tall windows that are difficult to reach. Finally, you’ll want to consider the overall aesthetics of your living room window treatments. Consider things like material and color to help you select the option to enhance your home’s aesthetic.
Window Treatment Materials
Materials matter when it comes to window treatments, especially in terms of functionality and style. Here are some examples of common window treatment materials to choose from for your living space:
- Fabric: Curtains and valances are commonly constructed of some form of fabric, usually light to medium-weight cotton or polyester. Drapes are a type of curtain that typically consists of a thicker, heavier fabric like velvet, linen, or a polyester blend. You can layer curtains and drapes together by combining a sheer, light fabric curtain with an opaque, heavier drape over it for a double-layered look. Curtains made of fabric with a blackout lining (called blackout curtains) will add privacy and sun protection to your living room.
- Wood: Almost all shutters are constructed of wood, while some blinds may also feature wood as the main material. This hard material adds a warm, rustic touch to your living room and offers you exceptional privacy and shade since it’s completely opaque, meaning no light can pass through. Bamboo is also a popular material used to make blinds and shades. This lighter-weight material lends a casual, tropical-inspired element to your living space. Faux wood blinds and shades are also available and provide the look of wood at a much lower price. They also come in a wider range of finishes and colors and work well if you need attractive window treatments on a budget.
- Metal: Most low-end blinds are made of lightweight metal like aluminum. This material is somewhat durable, but it’s not the most aesthetically pleasing option available. Some interior shutters are made of steel, but it’s exceptionally rare to see this covering an interior window.
- Vinyl: This lightweight plastic material is usually found on some types of window blinds. If you’re looking for something that’s easy to clean, vinyl blinds and shades are a great choice. Vinyl window treatments are also more affordable than some higher-end options like custom fabric curtains or solid wood blinds and shutters. A roller shade may also be made of vinyl.
Each type of window treatment listed comes in a myriad of different design styles. The style you choose will impact the overall look and feel of your living space. Here are a few tips and some helpful window treatment ideas and styles to help you enhance your living room.
- Velvet curtains that go from the ceiling to the floor add length and height to your living room, while the luscious velvet material gives the space a sophisticated, high-end aesthetic. This material looks stunning next to wall decor like paintings or wall sculptures.
- If you prefer your window treatments to be more minimal, opt for lightweight, airy linen curtains. This soft, flowy material adds just the right amount of light filtration without being too heavy and bulky.
- Bamboo blinds and shades bring a warm, tropical-inspired element to a living space. This sustainable material is also quite good at blocking light and sound when the window treatments are closed.
- If you want the look of wood without the heaviness, choose wood blinds instead of shutters or pleated shades.
- Roller shades are simple and plain, while pleated, woven wood, honeycomb, and Roman shades add a much more stylistic look to the space. The honeycomb-like design of cellular shades adds more insulation and cooling, while woven shades diffuse the light that comes into the room.
- Window valances are primarily used for decorative purposes only since they don’t cover much more than the top portion of the window at the curtain rod. If you want to conceal the curtain rod, install a valance that matches your drapes for a cohesive look that frames your window beautifully.
- Colorful fabric drapes and curtains add a fun element to your living room and can really help to tie everything together. If you prefer something a bit bolder, look for window treatments accented in a variety of patterns like geometric, floral, or subtle woven fabrics that add just the right amount of texture.
Window Treatment Care Tips
Some living room window treatments are easier to clean than others, but proper maintenance will keep them clean and beautiful. Choose drapes and curtains made of machine-washable fabrics like polyester, cotton, or linen for quick, easy cleaning. Try not to put linen drapes in the dyer, as they may shrink. If you have silk or wool curtains, then they may need to be dry-cleaned to keep them fresh and looking new.
Window blinds should be dusted or vacuumed to remove excess dust and debris. Wipe down the slats using a soft, damp cloth and add just a bit of soap for a deeper cleaning or to remove any stains. You can also take vinyl blinds off the windows and soak them in mild detergent and water. Make sure your wood and bamboo blinds don’t get too wet, or they could shrink, warp, or fade.
Dust or lightly vacuum a Roman shade and wood shutters if possible. If you notice any stains, gently blot the section of the shade until it disappears. Some shades are made of fabric that you can clean in the washing machine, but a cellular shade usually cannot be machine washed, or it will get damaged. In this case, use a can of compressed air or grab a hair dryer and gently blow the dust and debris off the surface and out from in between the “cells” or sections of the shades.
Always follow the manufacturer’s instructions when cleaning your window treatments. This will ensure that your brand-new window coverings will continue to look beautiful and hold up well for many years to come.