With most people spending more time in their homes than ever before, many homeowners are investing more into their houses to create ideal living experiences. No doubt that when you spend a lot of time in a space, you recognize the characteristics that you treasure, and you realize the aspects that don’t suit your needs well. Windows and window treatments are two features that can truly transform a space and deliver a high return on the investment. After all, if your typical travels are curtailed, you may crave beautiful scenery even if it’s in your own yard. Still, window treatments are an important aspect in a home and as interior designers, we find that many overlook this important element. In this article, we’ll discuss the current design trends for windows, the advantages and disadvantages of those styles and the ways that window treatments can cleverly be used to capitalize on the best options for your family.
Floor to ceiling windows visually open a room without the expense of adding on to a home’s footprint. These windows replace opaque walls and allow you to take in a pretty view from the comfort of the air conditioned (at least in the summer) setting.
“Placing furniture to take in the view, rather than focusing on a TV or a fireplace, is a fresh décor option in living rooms,” according to Window World.
While there are various styles of these large format windows, the most popular over the last few years are the black frames or “dark windows” that you’ve likely seen as you drive around town or peruse the home décor publications. This style works well with everything from a quaint farmhouse to a contemporary abode. Since so many interior walls are painted cream or white, the black frames provide a slightly dramatic look. From the outside, these window frames almost disappear at night when the interior lights shine through to showcase your home’s décor. Even during the daytime, this style presents a nice finish to typically white walls carefully decorated with art of your choosing.
Another popular choice is the sliding, folding or swing glass doors that truly blend indoor and outdoor spaces. This option is certainly an improvement over the sliding glass doors of the 1970s and ‘80s in terms of quality materials and beauty. As shown in the breathtaking example below, these glass doors open fully to the side with minimal hardware distracting from the view. Even when these glass doors are closed, the homeowner is granted expansive views of the exterior. The clean, streamlined design accommodates even smaller spaces. This is another window that provides huge views but little to no privacy. Again, there are excellent solutions that don’t take away the openness and actually improve your design. Some of the best choices are sheer draperies and various shades and blinds that can take up very little space.
For those living on a coast, systems from manufacturers like La Cantina Doors come with a DP 70 hurricane/impact rating providing ultimate extreme weather performance, protection and safety. This manufacturer also offers a 10-year warranty against typical weather elements that could cause cracking or peeling.
Challenges with Over-sided Windows
The popular, big windows can be challenging to live with for a variety of reasons. First, if you live in a neighborhood with lots of passersby such as the Houston Heights or Montrose, the open format windows dilute your privacy as there’s really nothing preventing strangers from peering right into your home. Consider when a door-to-door salesperson is walking through your neighborhood and you may not be inclined to answer the door. This style of window does not provide privacy. At night you are in a fishbowl in many of these rooms. If you require a level of privacy, we have a number of window treatments that can provide it while allowing a clear view-through when desired.
Homeowners are often caught off guard by the glare caused by their neighbors’ stucco or metal roof, leading to blazing light radiating through those gorgeous windows. While some of this reflected light could likely be reduced with the addition of tall trees or bushes added to the landscape, window treatments are a versatile option to control light and bring privacy to your home. Plus, they start working as soon as they are installed in contrast to new plants that could take months, if not years, to grow enough to work sufficiently.
Another way to use window treatments is to muffle sound by providing a soft layer to your environment. Think of the times that you’ve been in a residential or commercial space with all hard surfaces as well as noisy echoes. By adding a few textiles such as draperies, the noise is absorbed or muted. In the project above, we added sheers with a neutral, geometric design to the living room windows. These can easily be opened and closed by the busy homeowner and work with the fabrics of the other furnishings to soften noise.
Window treatments can also be used to darken rooms. There are few things as frustrating as a neighbor’s light shining into your bedroom as you try to get some shut eye. When faced with this situation, a window dressing of some sort is in great need. If it works within your budget, consider motorized window dressings that help you raise or lower the shades across a set of windows to the same level. An added bonus is the ability to schedule window treatments to automatically adjust at certain times of the day. Most treatments can be opened and closed via an app as well! As mentioned in a January 2021 post, our design team likes to layer window treatments with window shades, either woven woods or roller shades and either drapery panels, a valance or cornice. This designer look is popular for both dressing up a room and further framing the windows. After all, sometimes, you just want to add a feeling of extravagance to a room.
Common Pitfalls with Windows
As home decorators, we see some projects almost taken to the finish line when the budget is pulled back and the windows are left bare as well as other finishes skirted. We gently caution our clients to monitor the budget throughout the project so that the intended funds are spent well throughout the home. Like our clients, we want each home to look and feel as if every need is properly addressed. I often say, even if you have the best built home in the neighborhood, if it’s not attractively and comfortably furnished, you will never be happy with it.
If you’re building a new home or remodeling an existing house to incorporate large windows, contact us to discuss the best options to take advantage of all the benefits of your view while minimizing any disadvantages. No matter what your style is, we’ll customize a solution that’s ideal for you.
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