How to Choose Window Treatments

How to Choose Window Treatments

Welcome to Second Nature, a Q+A series with Jute founder, Ali Davin, that explores all things healthy living, with a fond emphasis on that thing she does best—interior design.

Natural light is one of the most important things to consider when designing a space—we personally obsess over the size and placement of windows and doors in order to maximize it. But no matter where your home is located, you need window treatments to control the flow of light and provide privacy.

While they can feel like an afterthought, window treatments can make or break a room. Here’s everything you need to know about choosing the right ones for your home.


What’s your philosophy on window treatments?

They should be more functional versus decorative. I tend to prefer curtains and roman shades and don’t like to add on multiple layers of blinds, sheers, and drapes, like you’d have in a hotel room. Less is more.


When do you use curtains versus shades?

For doors or low windows that are less than two feet off the floor, we like drapes. For other rooms that are not entertaining spaces—bedrooms, offices, bathrooms, dens—roman shades are ideal. Café curtains are also very popular right now, but there are only so many windows where they’re purposeful for privacy. In that case, the windows should be at least 3 feet off the ground and several feet high, so that the curtains can cover the midrange of the window line.


How do you choose fabric?

In terms of sheer versus solid, you use sheers when you don’t want to block the light but want to make a room feel more finished and less sterile. A gauzy linen filters the light beautifully and works for most rooms. For curtains, you want something that will drape well like a linen or cotton. For lining, make sure it’s cotton instead of a synthetic like polyester. In the bedroom, you can do a felt or black cotton lining to block the light. Felt can be heavy with linen, which is why we like to use a dark cotton instead.


What about solid versus pattern?

You can go with a more fun fabric for roman shades because you need less of it, but the pattern needs to be scale appropriate. Usually that looks better if the window is bigger, and it depends on what else is happening in the room design-wise. Sometimes clients just want to incorporate a favorite print, and window treatments are a fun way to do it.


Where should you hang your drapes?

This may be controversial, but I’m not a huge fan of taking your drapes all the way up to the ceiling. It makes your home look like a castle, and it’s not necessary unless you have really low ceilings, in which case it will make your room look bigger. I tend to hang them about 12–14 inches above where the glazing starts, but you can go as low as 8 or 9 inches above depending on your framing. Then you want to go about 12–18 inches past the glazing on either side. The idea is to cover the transition but not totally block the light.


How long should your drapes be?

Again, this may be an unpopular opinion, but I’m not a fan of puddling. I like having the drapes kiss the floor or puddle an inch or so at most. When you use good linen, there’s some give to the fabric and it will start to settle eventually. The problem with too much puddling is that it can makes the drapes extra heavy and becomes an operational nightmare.


Is there a particular type of hardware you like to use?

We like to do custom steel hardware that returns back to the wall. No finials, nothing fussy. Keep it purposeful and functional.


Prioritize function over frills when choosing your window treatments.

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