Custom Window Treatments can be anything from custom drapery panels in a high-end silk or embroidered fabric, to plantation shutters to roman shades or motorized roller shades that fit your windows perfectly. The ‘custom’ part means they were measured and designed specifically for your windows to coordinate with your decor. This article will help you choose the correct type of window treatment for your room. We will cover choosing a perfect fabric, measuring and installing and maintenance and cleaning.
Choosing the Right Type of Window Treatment.
Shades: For bedrooms and bathrooms and places where privacy and light control are important, maybe you choose a roller shade, cellular shade or even a solar shade. These products are usually mounted inside the window frame and are functional more than decorative. They keep the sun out, provide privacy inside and are the most reasonably priced option in custom treatments. They come with or without cords for operation, can be cordless or even motorized, which often for these shades doubles the price.
Valances: A valance is any type of top treatment on a window. It is fabricated by a custom workroom, made in a fabric of your choosing. Sometimes these have trim and embellishments, or maybe the fabric has a beautiful motif that will be centered to your liking. Working with a designer on choosing a style will help you get the best option for your window. We usually mount these outside and above the window so your daylight is maximized. Sometimes these are hung up to the ceiling but the top trim of the window is always covered.
Draperies: Custom curtains or drapery panels are always a good choice. These never go out of style. Draperies should always go to the floor unless something prevents you from doing that. If they are custom, we mount them on the wallspace outside of the window glass so again you are maximizing your daylight. They can be functioning (open and close) or stationary, and maybe you have a shade that functions for your privacy.
Wood Blinds: we are seeing less of these right now because consumers are liking their windows fully open – not being hindered by the horizontal slats of the blinds. These are very practical and easy to clean with a dust cloth.
Plantation Shutters: These are a little bit more of a southern or shore house option but again, always good for blocking out the light and easy to clean with a dust cloth. These can be made of wood or composite for damp or humid spaces.
Selecting the Perfect Fabric:
This is where you might need the help of a designer who knows the ins and outs of fabrics and how they work with styles of treatments. Do you want it to be a bold look in the room? Maybe you choose a contrasting fabric to the rest of the room. Or you can have it be a quiet element in the room by choosing a fabric that is a similar color to your walls. Either way, if it is a custom fabricated treatment, any pattern or motif will be centered and pattern-matched where there are seams. Custom fabricated treatments are usually lined too with options for linings or even another fabric. The lining protects the fabric from the sun as well as having a neutral look from the outside of the house (if lining is white or ivory) It can also provide warmth if the windows are drafty.
Measuring and Installation:
When measuring your windows for window treatments, it is best to take ALL of the measurements:
- Inside width, inside length
- Outside width, outside length (outside of trim)
- Depth of window (is there room for an inside mount??)
- Height from top of trim to ceiling (or crown moulding)
- Space on either side of window if there is a wall, cabinet or shelving
- Sill to floor
- Ceiling to floor (this can also be a double-check for you to make sure your measurements were all correct)
If you have all of these measurements, you won’t have to go back and remeasure if you change your mind about a style or type of shade… You have inside mounting measurements, outside mounting measurements and space around the window to know how far up or out you can make your treatment or mount your treatment.
For Installing, Most treatments come with instructions for you to easily install with some basic tools – a drill, screws, and a level. When installing drapery panels, we try to get the panels to hang ¼” off of the floor, so you might have to measure backwards to see where your brackets should go.
Cleaning and Maintenance:
For cleaning custom window treatments, we always recommend just to use the hose attachment on your vacuum and a cloth to gently dust off the top and inside any folds. Maybe vacuum around the hardware as well. Most custom fabrics are not washable, and additionally the lining will react differently than the face fabric when wet. If it is a store bought treatment, check the tag first. Dry cleaning would be a better option for drapery panels where the hardware can be removed. But just dusting regularly will keep them in great shape.
Custom Window Treatment Trends:
As I write this in spring of 2023, we are still seeing simple designs in window treatments and simpler patterns. Blues, grays and neutrals are still on-trend in color. Our fabric companies are trying to bring back color and pattern, but consumers are still liking the more neutral designs. Roman shades and Roman shade valances (non-functioning) are still trending as they are neat and square and simple. Drapery panels are always elegant and always in style. Motorization is becoming more popular as consumers and shade companies are moving away from corded treatments. Nothing stays on-trend forever but I do find that traditional styles in fabrics and treatments last longer as do neutral colors. The color trends change but gray / tan / beige will always work with most decors.
Finally, if your budget can swing it, investing in custom window treatments pays off in the end! The knowledge and expertise of a designer with experience on all things windows will streamline your process for choosing the correct treatment as well as eliminating doubts on measurements or installation processes. You will likely have the treatments for 10-20 years, so doing it right will save you money and frustration in the end.