Painless treatments for your windows

Shoshanah Siegel/Signal Tribune<br><strong> The writer designed and painted this valance in primary colors to complement the other world handcrafts displayed in her kitchen. </strong>

Shoshanah Siegel/Signal Tribune
The writer designed and painted this valance in primary colors to complement the other world handcrafts displayed in her kitchen.

Shoshanah Siegel

I always look at window treatments as the frosting on the cake. Sometimes you may want it to blend in, creating a monochromatic look, and other times you can make it the pièce de résistance. When it comes to design solutions, the possibilities are endless. Here are some updated tried-and-true approaches, current decorating trends, and an introduction of new products.

Go solar
I always love a challenge. So when a recent client decided to remodel his home and make an upstairs family room into his bedroom, he was concerned because he was being blinded by the sun’s rays and the room felt like a furnace with heat coming from the French doors. Also, he didn’t want to obstruct the beautiful view of his landscaping and trees. I remembered seeing blinds in New Zealand which were sleek-looking, made of mesh, and provided UV protection while leaving the view intact. I was thrilled to learn that they can be found at Lowes and Home Depot.

You’re on a roll
Like the solar shades, there are many other blinds which roll up. There still are the plastic, white roller shades which have been around for ages, but now they come in a variety of patterns and colors and are made of more durable and lightweight materials. There’s even a website that sells window shades featuring your favorite college logo. These days the trim come in numerous styles, and to make rolling up the shade even easier, you can purchase designer pulls that hang from the bottom of the shade.

Keep things on track
Instead of the vertical blinds of the ‘80s, there is now a new and popular panel-track system. Not only does Ikea sell these panels in neutral colors, but they also have some in attractive geometrics and floral patterns. What is great about this system? You can mix and match the panels.

The Roman shade
Here is a little, fun fact. In the Roman Colosseum, pleated curtains were hung from poles to offer protection from the sun. However, the original shades were vertical and today they are horizontal. These days, Roman shades come in a variety of colors, fabrics, and styles. Any material that folds onto itself fits into this category.

On a cellular level
These blinds have been around a while, but check out the new colors and patterns. They now come with and without cords. What is ideal about these blinds is the ability to have them go top down or bottom up, tailoring to whatever your needs are for privacy and light. Carriann Kids has a whole line of blinds that have great colors and designs for kids/adults.

<strong>Adding medium-taupe curtain panels along with the cellular shades provides not only warmth but privacy.</strong>

Adding medium-taupe curtain panels along with the cellular shades provides not only warmth but privacy.

No more heavy metal
Metal is still a current trend, but the materials are now lighter in weight but more durable. Check out Levolor’s cordless look, which comes in a variety of colors. Also, metal blinds now come in trendier and wider two-inch slats.

Go organic
Exposed wood grain in blinds and natural woven shades are joining the ranks of bamboo as a popular choice. Many of the new blinds even come with their own valance. Cindy O’Reilly, product development manager for Smith+Noble, has them in her home. “They let in diffused light, so I can see what’s going on outside, but it’s not just an open window, so I have some privacy,” she says. “I think it works in so many different environments.” What a great way to create a Zen-like feel for your bathroom or bedroom.

Budget alternative to wooden shutters
I love wooden shutters but have opted for the cheaper alternative of two-inch wooden blinds. These come in real or faux wood. For more of a vintage look, look for ones that have a wide cloth tape that covers the cords. For more elegance and a mixture of hard and soft, check out ones where the tape is made of velvet.

Before you shut the curtain
Curtains are still a great choice. You may select heavier fabrics for the winter months to keep the cold out, and then trade these out for lighter weight ones during warmer climate. Be sure to make your selections based on your decorating style and colors of your décor. Going vintage? Check out vintage fabrics on . For a more contemporary look, go graphic. Stripes going vertical and horizontal continue to be a great modern look. Keeping window treatments high and wide is a good way to avoid interfering with the movement of French doors. Or just hang a panel of color and texture on either side of the doors. To make your windows appear taller, hang curtains closer to the ceiling.

Just a little bit of fabric
Valances are still featured as a perfect dressing for windows. They can be the ideal item to unify the room’s color palette and can be tailored to fit any style. For an up-to-date look, bring in more graphics, geometric shapes, and modern color schemes. Most window treatments such as roller shades, cellular shades, wood and metal blinds, come with a small valance which finishes off the look and hides the mechanisms.

More than one solution
Multiple windows don’t mean you need to use identical window treatments; just keep the colors similar. Also, I encourage you to use the layered look. Combine roller shades, solar panels, Roman shades, or sheers in the middle, with curtain panels on the side. You get the idea; mix and match.

How’s it hanging?
This is an area that has no limits. Rods can be made of wood or metals forged or fabricated with different colors and finishes. Window treatments can even be hung with rings and clips on a wire. And when it comes to finials, I don’t know where to begin. They can be metal, glass, plastic, wood… let your imagination go wild.
For inspiration check out .

Shoshanah Siegel provides color consulting as well as space planning, remodeling, upgrading and staging through her firm Your Color Diva. She can be contacted at (562) 427-0440 or at or .

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