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Window Treatments Buying Guide

Installing new window treatments, blinds and shutters is a quick improvement that immediately adds personality to your new home. Settle in by sprucing up your windows.

Window Treatments Buying Guide

Sheer Curtains

Sheer Curtains

Sheers are wispy panels of semi-transparent fabric that soften views and provide moderate privacy. They look best in living rooms, dining rooms and bedrooms. Sheers should be layered with other window treatments if privacy is a concern.

Choose the right sheers:

  • The kind of fabric you select depends on the look you want to achieve and the level of care you're willing to provide. Polyester sheers have a slight sheen and create a more formal look. They're also easy to launder and require little ironing. Cotton sheers offer a casual, contemporary look. Lace sheers feel romantic and traditional. Both cotton and lace sheers may need to be cleaned professionally.
  • For a full, floaty effect with generous waves of fabric, select sheers two or three times the width of the window. You may need to use multiple sheers to achieve this effect.
  • Sheers are usually light enough to hang from spring-loaded tension rods, which are inexpensive to install.

Shop Sheers

Curtain Panels

Curtain Panels

Providing more privacy than sheers, panels are solid pieces of fabric that hang from wall-mounted rods or clips. They're a great option for media rooms, bedrooms or any room that you want to block light and enjoy complete privacy.

Choose the right panels:

  • Fabric choices run from simple cotton and printed polyester to lush velvet, silk, wool and woven tapestry.
  • Plan to purchase panels one-and-a-half to two times the width of your windows for a stylish effect.
  • Unlined panels are cheaper but may become semitransparent at night when interior lights are on. Check that you're comfortable with the level of privacy any panel provides.
  • If intense sun is an issue, as with a west-facing window, look for panels specially lined to block light completely.
  • Most panels require a sturdy hanging rod, which can be inexpensive metal or something more elaborate. Remember to consider hardware costs when planning a window treatment purchase.
  • Blackout liners are energy efficient and help to block out nearly 99% of sunlight. They also keep costs down by blocking the heat in the summer and cold in the winter.

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Strings and hardware, for easy adjustment, connect these thin strips of plastic, wood or metal. They look best on narrow windows in bedrooms, kitchens and workrooms.

Choose the right blinds:

  • Miniblinds have 1/2-inch- to 1/2-inch-wide slats made of very thin material.
  • Plantation or venetian blinds are 1 to 2 inches wide and made of slightly thicker wood or molded plastic.
  • Vertical blinds feature strips of fabric and plastic hanging vertically from an overhead track, making them the best option for controlling light and providing privacy with a sliding glass door.
  • Pre-cut blinds are available in a range of common window sizes and cost much less than custom-sized blinds.
  • There are two light controls types to choose from: lighting filtering and room darkening. Light filtering blinds will still allow natural light to come through. Room darkening blinds will prevent light from entering at all. These are good for light sleepers or in nurseries and children's rooms.
  • If possible, mount a blind inside the window frame for a cleaner look. Shop for a blind 1 to 2 inches smaller than the width of the opening.
  • For wide windows, plan to cover the window with two or more smaller blinds. Smaller blinds are easier to operate than long, heavier blinds.

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Roller Shades

Roller Shades

These bolts of vinyl or fabric mount to the top of window frames and unroll manually. They work well on narrow windows in just about any room.

Choose the right roller shades:

  • Roller shades are available presized and cost much less than custom-sized shades.
  • If possible, mount a roller shade inside the window frame for a cleaner look. Shop for a shade 1 to 2 inches smaller than the width of the opening.

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Roman Shades

Roman Shades

These tailored panels of fabric or natural material mount to the inside or top of window frames and bunch up accordion-style when you pull a cord. They work well in any room and window width.

Choose the right Roman shades:

  • Roman shades that are presized cost much less than custom shades.
  • Lined, cloth Roman shades are best for light-blocking and privacy, while unlined shades usually only filter light.

Interior Shutters

Window Shutters

Shutters aren't just for covering the exterior of your windows. They can also add beauty and charm to the inside of your home. These small wood or plastic doors, mounted on each side of the window frame, feature hinges and adjustable slats to allow for varying degrees of light and privacy. Shutters look great in kitchens, family room, bathrooms and workrooms.

Choose the right shutters:

  • Premade cafe shutters extend only part of the way up a window. Open space above the shutters is fine, but you may want to soften the look with a top treatment.
  • Plantation shutters completely cover the window. Unless your window is a standard size, you'll need to have plantation shutters custom-made.
  • The actual panels can be solid or outfitted with louvered slats that open and close to let in light.

Shop Interior Shutters



To give your windows extra flair, cap them off with top treatments. They look fantastic in any room you want to add a stylish touch to, such as the kitchen, living room, dining room and bedroom.

Choose the right top treatments:

  • A valance is a narrow strip of fabric that runs along the top width of a window.
  • A scarf is a long piece of fabric that you drape over hooks or other hardware to embellish the window and frame.
  • Pair top treatments with blinds or shades for light control and privacy.
  • Top treatments often require special mounting hardware. Remember to consider hardware costs when planning a window treatment purchase.
  • For a fuller effect with generous waves of fabric, purchase a top treatment with fabric that's two to three times the width of your window or windows.

Shop Valances

Window Film

If you prefer a minalmist look for your windows, consider film. Depending upon your needs, window film can be used for the following:

  • to provide glare control. This film can block UV rays that cause interior finishes to fade.
  • as heat control. It can reflect summer heat to keep your AC costs down. It also has a low-e coating that helps retain winter heat.
  • privacy control. There are several different finishes to choose from for maximum privacy including: mirrored, etched, frosted or decorative.