Updated: Jan 13
When it comes to both window treatments and design styles, you're not in want of options for either. Drapes, cellular shades, wood blinds, composite shutters...the options are vast and customization seems endless.
Then, on the design side, you have a myriad of styles. The industrial functionality of Mid Century Modern; rich textures and colors of the Hollywood Regency period; light-filled, airy spaces of the Scandinavian Soft Modernism movement; feminine, classic, and chic French Country accents, the list really does go on.
Categorized by design period, here are recommendations for window treatments to achieve each look, proffered by our designer, Peter. As always, it's best to consult your designer and work with them to nail the exact aesthetic you're going for.
Style Hallmarks: Warm, neutral tones; elegant and feminine; exposed wood; patterned Provençal fabrics; curved, upholstered, wooden furniture; vintage; stone and marble.
Drapery would be our first go-to, and it allows you to layer with other window treatments. As a stand-alone, you have the option between warm and neutral fabrics. Another option would would be Provençal patterns. Think paisley and country, but with the French je ne sais quoi, aka muted tones. Patterns can often include animals (rooster) and produce/plants (olives, lavender, other flowers...) that reflect the landscape of the region.
Another option would be woven woods. Peter suggests this window treatment for the elegant but casual feel, keeping in with the country theme. You could also try fabric Roman shades, again, keeping the colors neutral or in a Provençal print.
Mid Century Modern
Style Hallmarks: Clean lines; functionality; pops of color (burnt sage, orange, rust, yellow, turquoise, yellow); practicality; durability; organic; exposed wood; brick; relaxed; neutral base; playful, abstract, geometric textiles.
Since this style is all about functionality, Peter suggests roller or banded shades. These have clean lines, don't take up much space, and don't have to draw too much attention.
Part of the Mid Century Modern movement was a new emphasis on nature and enjoying the outdoors, so you want a window treatment that doesn't obstruct your view or block too much light.
Style Hallmarks: Dark wood; ornate details; rich colors (especially Hunter green and deep crimson); floral, leaf, and earthy wallpapers; curved and scrolled French furniture; overstuffed Eastern furniture; heavy curtains.
Victorian grandeur is best achieved with either drapery or Austrian/balloon shades. For either type of window treatment, you'll want to lean towards heavy, rich fabrics and colors — Hunter green and deep crimson were popular colors back in the day.
Scandinavian Soft Modernism
Style Hallmarks: Natural and neutral; simplicity; function; warm textiles; wood and metal combos; greenery; light colors; light reflection; airy spaces.
If Mid Century Modern (MCM) was all about form and function, Scandinavian design is even more so. It was also the predecessor to MCM, and while it didn't take off immediately at home, this style found great success in the United States.
Soft Modernism is all about the light and allowing it to flow through a room. Often, you'll see interior designs that completely forgo window treatments. However, if you still want some privacy, go for sheer drapes, Roman shades, or light woven woods. These will allow as much light to pass through as possible while still providing seclusion.
Style Hallmarks: Rich color blocks; bold geometry; intricate details; symmetry; focus on forms and shapes (think angular, linear, curves, jagged); fanciful upholstery (animal skin); stainless steel, lacquer, glass, mirror, chrome; strong colors (yellows, reds, greens, blues, pinks) paired with black and neutrals (cream, beige); herringbone and parquet.
If you associate Art Deco with the roaring '20s, you're pretty spot on. A design style characterized by bold geometric shapes, intricate details, and shine, Art Deco is a style that Gatsby lovers can appreciate.
For this look, Peter recommends roller or banded shades that play into the simplicity of symmetry and form. If you're looking for what Peter calls the "bling," drapery can do that. Consider a strong color such as yellow, red, green, or blue, and use the drapery to create curves that will soften the space.
Style Hallmarks: Horizontal lines, extended gables, natural elements (stone, wood); exposed beams; stained glass windows and doors; emphasis on handiwork and artisanship; earthy tones.
The Craftsman movement was a revolt against the intricate opulence of the Victorian era. It focused on natural elements and simplicity, with an emphasis on horizontal lines. Window treatments like roller shades provide the clean, linear feel. Roman shades can achieve this as well, depending on the fabric.
Because there is also a focus on handiwork and artisanship, drapery could do well with this style, if you are mindful of choosing simple fabrics (but that doesn't mean they have to be boring!).
Style Hallmarks: Classic furniture; vibrancy; straightforward silhouettes; neutral base; focus on architecture; high on contrast and drama; clean lines; accent pieces; opulent textiles (silk, fur, leather, velvet); crystal, marble, stone; Greek key patterns.
This is Peter's favorite design style. (He admits that his own home is decorated with nods to Hollywood Regency.) As you might imagine, Hollywood Regency is about glamour and drama — would it really be associated with Hollywood if it weren't?
Bearing similarities to Art Deco, you'll want to focus on ostentatious textiles like silk, fur, leather, and velvet. Where window treatments are concerned, maybe lay off on the fur and leather — but hey, anything goes. It's all about being a mix and match.
Roller and banded shades will give a room simplicity in form, but you can always choose a sensational fabric or pattern. Greek key patterns were all the rage back then.
The swoops and droops of drapes will, of course, add the dramatic flair — try them in velvet or silk.
Style Hallmarks: Rugged; organic (wood, stone, leaves); natural and unpolished; focus on each element's individuality; wood grains, browns, beiges, warm whites with mellow accent colors; iron, pewter, copper, brass; animal hides/fur, antlers
Probably a 180º from Hollywood Regency, Rustic is summed up best in one word: Rugged. Unfinished edges, "natural" everything, individuality over uniformity. Also, earthy tones.
For this style, Peter will tell you to go with woven wood window treatments. This ties into the Rustic aesthetic of wood grains, browns, and beiges. You could also go with a warm white or mellow accent color.
Style Hallmarks: Warm, earthy base colors; greenery; layered patterns, shapes, and sizes; plush, low-rise furniture; distressed elements; maximalism; bold color (jewel tones); metallics and mirrors; art accessories.
If the success of Anthropologie is any indication, the Bohemian look is having a moment. With an emphasis on warm and earthy base colors and layered patterns, coupled with jewel tones and metallics, Boho is fun and a little carefree.
Try woven shades here, or a roller shade with a textured fabric. Drapes in a jewel tone can add flair — or, if you've already got colors elsewhere, keep it simple and go for sheer or warm-colored curtains.
Style Hallmarks: Relaxed; natural light and warm whites; terra cotta and heavy wood; ocean blues; nautical elements and carved details; wicker, rattan, weathered woods and fabric; straw, seagrass, jute. Three distinct styles: American, Tropical Island, and Mediterranean Coastal.
The Coastal style is relaxed — it's all about the ocean, after all. For this look, Peter recommends drapery for a light, breezy feel. However, you could alternatively go for banded or roman shades. As far as fabric goes, you'd want to lean towards warm whites and ocean blues.
In a nod to the wicker, rattan, and weathered woods that also characterize Coastal, you could opt for woven shades.
Style Hallmarks: Mixing traditional and contemporary; neutral color base; dark accent colors; minimalist, symmetrical, clean lines, polished; importance of comfort and coziness; upholstered furniture; textures like bouclé, wood, and glass.
Because Transitional is a style that blends others, Peter says that any window treatment can work. It all depends on your fabric. A good first step would be to decide on the design elements that will define the space, like color, textures, and furniture. This will then influence your choice of window covering.
Some things to keep in mind about the transitional style: Focus on clean lines, symmetry, and a polished look.
Style Hallmarks: Brick and stone; half-timber frames; steep roofs; dark paneling; warmer neutral base; leaded glass windows.
Traditionally, Tudor-style spaces were quite dark, with a heavy use of dark paneling. There are a couple options when it comes to window treatments to either brighten your room or keep in theme.
Peter says that any product will do, and that it is more so the fabric or material you choose
that will be a key factor.
If you have leaded glass windows and want to show them off, opt for a warm neutral or sheer window treatment. This can be anything from drapery to roller shades that won't obstruct the view. These color choices will also brighten a room by allowing more light inside, as well as serving as reflectors.
You can also choose rich, darker colors and fabrics to keep in the style, such as a crimson, brocade, and gold.
For complete articles and in-depth looks at each design style, House Beautiful, Décor Aid, The Spruce, Vevano, Apartment Therapy, and Elle Decor are great resources and provided the style hallmarks info above.
Window-ology is a local, Diamond Certified business in downtown Pleasanton, CA. We specialize in custom blinds, shades, shutters, drapery, and motorized, retractable awnings. Contact us for a complimentary consultation.
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