Top 10 Window Treatment Trends
These popular window accessories will add a special design touch to any room
BY ALICE GARBARINI HURLEY
Stand in a beautifully decorated room and notice how your eye is drawn to the windows — they’re inevitably the focal point that sets the tone and the “bones” of any successful decorating plan. And how you accessorize your windows affects not only the mood inside your home but also the appearance from outside.
When shopping for window treatments, don’t buy blindly. Come armed with info to help you make better choices. Here are the 10 most popular window treatment trends now, to guide your decision making.
1. Neutrals still rule. “Whites, off-whites and other neutral window coverings almost always work best,” says Lyn Peterson, author, mother of four, HGTV expert, and creative director of Motif Designs in Mount Vernon, New York. And don’t worry about durability. According to Peterson, “We don’t sit or walk on them, so they don’t wear out. My stair carpet is in tatters but my natural linen-colored shades look like new, and they’re both twenty years old.” Neutrals are timeless, too. You might change up your paint, furniture, lighting, and fabrics, but will still want safer neutral tones for the windows, to weather your decorating whims. But safer neutrals doesn’t have to mean boring. Good Housekeeping Roman shades and pleated shades come in a wide variety of fabrics and subtly different color tones.
2. Wovens are all the rage. “The seventies and eighties are back,” notes Peterson. “Understated natural or synthetic wovens give character, ambiance, and texture to flat walls.” Look for trendy woven styles made from materials like bamboo and grassweave. They’ll create a fresh look for modern dining areas or sun rooms.
3. Aluminum blinds add retro glamour. Calling all “Mad Men” fans — fifties and sixties styles are cool again in home design. “Think Spencer Tracy and Katharine Hepburn in 1950s movies like ‘Pat and Mike,’ when those wonderful office buildings had wide metal blinds,” says Peterson. They work best, she notes, in a 2-inch slat width with wide tapes — and are also less likely than metal mini blinds to bend out of shape when dusted. Metal looks striking in a home office, library, or game room, to add polish and a sophisticated edge. One more perk: “Metal blinds are easy to clean with a Swiffer,” says Peterson.
4. Sheer fabrics let the outside in. “I love beautiful transparent sheers on a window,” says Sally Morse, top trend eye and director of creative services for window wear powerhouse Hunter Douglas. “They tease you with what might be behind them and throw light and shadows into a room.” They can also help small rooms look bigger, by letting in the sunshine and opening up the view to the sky, rather than closing it in, as an opaque fabric does. Sheers look lovely in sitting rooms.
5. Less is more. “We’re omitting upper kitchen cabinets in favor of more and larger windows in today’s kitchens, so they’re brighter and lighter,” says Peterson. “And we’re moving toward undertreating the windows we do have. Do the basics first — you can always layer on more later.” Start with understated shades and see how you like that look before adding busier swags or patterned valances. Our GH line includes soft solar shades that look clean and spare. They help block some of the light without totally blocking the view, which is why you wanted sizable windows in the first place.
6. Plantation shutters are a style investment. “They’re worth every cent, and look classic,” says Peterson. (Thomas Jefferson was a fan.) “These southern shutters have come a long way,” says Carolyn Forté, Home Appliances & Textiles Director in the Good Houskeeping Research Institute. “They’re a great choice because they add elegance to your home.” These are just as inviting at an island retreat as in pure white at your kitchen window. The best wood ones are almost like finely crafted furniture, with a custom fit, and have smart levers (or wands) instead of dangling cords for adjusting the louvers.
7. Color rocks your world. Patterns and rich colors work especially well in spaces like dining rooms, which might otherwise be all wood, notes Peterson. The color plays against the plainer table, chairs, and sideboard. “Rooms that don’t have a lot of upholstery or texture welcome the oomph of a strong window treatment, and so do rooms most often used after dark,” she adds. A bold hue offers more privacy at night than a sheer, especially for bedrooms.
8. Clutch mechanisms are a sleek plus. “The tasseled crocheted pull cords on Grandma’s shades always worked, but they went out of fashion and we went cordless,” says Peterson. “But that meant pulling the side or center, and the shades were always akimbo.” Streamlined clutch mechanisms — which lift and lower window treatments via a chain affixed to the wall — are discreet, durable, and keep shades even. The Good Housekeeping Custom Blinds & Shades collection includes safety-tested, clutch-driven lifts and even an EZ Wireless Motorized option on many styles, so window treatments look neat and work efficiently all through the house. And as an extra measure of confidence, all GH blinds and shades are backed by the Good Housekeeping Seal, so if they become defective within two years of purchase, GH will repair them or refund your purchase price.
9. Fine-tune the light to your liking. Top down/bottom up shades provide more options for letting the sunshine in or keeping it out — you may want more when working in your kitchen, and less when you have to sit at your computer and don’t want a glare. Our collection includes top down/bottom up styles and also shades in room-darkening fabrics.
10. Honeycombs=sweet energy savings. Cellular (aka honeycomb) shades and insulating blinds have neatly arranged pockets, or cells, not unlike a honeybee’s handiwork, which help block summer heat and winter chill — and help lower your utility bills. Try them in a guest room, bathroom, or anywhere you want a well-trimmed look with some energy savings to boot.