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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.


Curtain Panels

Providing more privacy than sheers, curtain 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 curtains:

  • Fabric choices run from simple cotton and printed polyester to lush velvet, silk, wool and woven tapestry.
  • Plan to purchase panels two to three times the width of your windows for a stylish effect. If you plan to keep the curtains open, one-and-a-half times the width of the windows will work.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Light control options include light-filtering, room-darkening and blackout.
  • Blackout panels help block nearly 99% of sunlight. They also reduce energy costs by blocking heat in the summer and cold in the winter. Use blackout panels in living rooms and bedrooms for added comfort.
  • If intense sun is an issue, as with a west-facing window, look for panels that block light completely.


Panel Styles

Choose from rod-pocket, grommet, back-tab or tab-top drapery panels to get a look that works with your decor.

Rod-Pocket Panels The most common type of curtain, rod pocket drapes have a sleeve that runs across the top of the panel for the drapery rod to slide through. Many have two pockets at the top. Feed the drapery rod through the lower one to create a ruffle-top drapery panel. Feed the drapery rod through the top pocket for a clean look and to add extra length. Rod Pocket Panel.
Grommet Panels These drapery panels have metal rings stamped along the top of the curtain for the curtain rod to feed through. Coordinate the grommet finish with the finish of the drapery rod. Grommet Panel
Back-Tab Panels   These drapery panels have hidden tabs on the back of the curtain that allow you to slightly bunch your curtains for a pleated look.   Back-Tab Panel
 Tab-Top Panels   These drapery panels have individual tabs of fabric that the drapery rod feeds through so the rod is exposed.   Tab-Top Panel


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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 Hardware

Curtain Rods and Finials.

Drapery Rod – Drapery rods come in both single and double. Use a double rod to hang sheers on the lower rod and drapery panels on the upper rod.

Clips and Rings – Use these if you don’t want the curtains to hang directly on the drapery rod, or if you need added length.

Holdbacks – These allow you to draw curtains away from the window and let light in, or to create a formal look. Mount holdbacks beyond the edge of the window frame. Holdbacks look good in a formal dining room or living room.

Popular drapery hardware finishes include:

  • Oil-rubbed bronze
  • Antique bronze
  • Brushed nickel
  • Matte black
  • White

Finials are the end caps of a drapery rod. The finial prevents the curtain from sliding off the drapery rod, and also provides an element of style. Popular drapery finials include:

  • Solid ball
  • Filigree ball
  • Marble
  • Mercury glass
  • Wood
  • Leaves


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


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Cellular Shades

Cellular Shade

Cellular shades, sometimes called honeycomb shades, have a design that provides insulation to your windows in addition to improving privacy

Choose the right cellular shades:

  • Cellular shades are perfect for the living room and the bedroom.
  • Single- and double-cell shades are available.
  • You can choose from light-filtering, room-darkening and blackout designs.


Shop Cellular Shades

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.


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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.

A valance is a narrow strip of fabric that runs along the top width of a window.

  • Pair valances with blinds or shades for light control and privacy.
  • Valances 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 valance with fabric that's two to three times the width of your window or windows.


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Window Film

Window Film.

Window film is an option that requires no hardware to install. Depending upon the type, window film can be used:


  • 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. Some films have a low-e coating that helps retain winter heat.
  • as privacy control. There are several different finishes to choose from for maximum privacy including: mirrored, etched, frosted or decorative.
  • as a decor element. Different tints, textures and patterns are available. Choose from the looks of frosted glass, mosaics, geometric patterns, rice paper and more.