Ellis and her husband, Jeff, recently purchased a new house and have been trying to make it look like home. The family room, located right off the kitchen, has great windows that make it feel open and inviting during the day, but very visible at night. A combination of Roman shades and paisley draperies that enhance the earthy colors of the stone fireplace and a family heirloom armoire addressed their need for privacy while also adding warmth, softness and a burst of color to the room.
"I knew what I wanted this room to be like," says Ellis. "But the fabric, furniture and window treatment ideas I found at Calico Corners helped bring everything together."
"A window will tell you what it needs," suggests noted interior design expert Donna
Talley, the national spokesperson for Calico Corners, an interior design retailer creating over 100,000 custom window treatments per year.
"Stunning artwork, fabulous wall or floor coverings and fashion-forward furniture are often the primary focus of home decorators," says Talley, who has styled magazine covers for some of the most prestigious design publications. "Using window treatments in much the same way that gorgeous frames accent cherished photos or paintings can make all the difference."
Talley offers the following tips to bring out the best in windows throughout your house:
Scale and Proportion Are Key
The most common mistake homeowners make when doing their windows is getting the proportions wrong - a valance or cornice that's too small; draperies that don't stack off the window and cover up too much of the view; or skimpy side panels made with too few widths of fabric. These little design flaws make all the difference in the finished appearance of a window and a room.
"Getting proportion right takes a good eye and a lot of experience," notes Talley. "One size definitely does not fit all, so it can pay to have treatments created specifically for the windows in your home."
"Custom furnishings are often comparably priced to ready-made, and can represent great value when you factor in the time and expertise of professionals," he adds.
Functional or Decorative?
This has a lot to do with the design and proportion of a window treatment. Does it need to clear French doors? Protect from hot afternoon glare? Provide privacy? Or enable you to see a television or computer screen without an eyeshade? Understanding what the room requires will help create the appropriate design solution.
A room that requires privacy will need blackout shades or interlined fabric panels, wood blinds, woven wood or cellular shades to provide functionality. A second layer with soft fabrics and pleasing color accents adds an inviting decorative element. A more formal room might benefit from a third layer in the form of a valance, cornice or other top treatment.
"The different elements of a room, or a window, should be in harmony," advises Talley. "Even a simple decorative band of trim in a pretty, complementary pattern on a solid fabric panel can add visual interest to a window and tie in the other design elements of a room."
Finding the perfect window treatments for your home is all about the details. Using the right materials, determining the proper scale and proportion and addressing both functional and decorative concerns will help make your home more comfortable, more stylish and a distinctive expression of your design savvy.
Celebrating its 60th anniversary in 2008 as one of America's leading interior design retailers, Calico Corners provides expert advice, decorating solutions and in-home design consultation in addition to quality designer fabrics for the home, trims, custom window treatments and upholstered furniture. The company also offers measuring and installation services for window treatments. For more information or to find a location near you, visit www.calicocorners.com.