Window treatments. They can be your room’s best feature or its biggest eyesore. With many custom options running thousands of dollars, and that pack of (too short) cotton panels from big box stores seeming like the only affordable option, we admit that we’ve been likely to leave our windows well enough alone and go completely bare.
That mentality may have held us over for the majority of our adulthood so far, but we’d be lying if we said we haven’t always yearned to have the chic, grown-up looking windows that graced the homes of our inspiration photos. So when The Shade Store approached us about working together, we knew this was the perfect time to finally navigate the expansive and intimidating world of window treatments.
The Shade Store offers literally hundreds of styles and fabric options to choose from, allowing you to customize your selection to fit your unique needs and budget. You can schedule a professional installer to measure your windows and install your shades or drapes for you, or you can go the DIY route thanks to their comprehensive online measuring guide.
Our team put our collective thinking caps on to select the perfect window treatments for our cofounder Alaina Kaczmarski’s cozy Chicago home, and here we’re breaking down the entire process.
Part 1: How to Choose and Hang your Curtains
We started in the breakfast nook. We all agreed that drapes made the most sense in this spot in order to make the large window feel even taller and create a bigger statement, so we got to work on researching the different custom options The Shade Store had at our fingertips.
1. Choosing a Style
There are several different styles to choose from in the drape “department” alone, but thankfully The Shade Store does an amazing job of breaking down exactly how each style works and what the benefits are. The options? Ripple Fold, Tailored Pleat, Pinch Pleat, Grommet, Inverted Pleat, Goblet, Cubicle and Rod Pocket.
Each style really lends its own vibe, so feel free to play around with the options. We found all the photos and descriptions of each style on the website really helpful to coach us on our decision along the way. For example, a Pinch Pleat curtain feels more buttoned up and traditional, whereas a Grommet drape is more modern. We didn’t have to hem and haw over this decision for too long. The Pinch Pleat curtains felt like just the right blend of classic and ladylike to elevate the overall space.
2. Choosing your Fabric and Customization
Once you’ve narrowed down your style, you’ll select the fabric. Be sure to really consider your lifestyle when choosing window fabrics, just as you would if you were picking out a sofa. If you deal with a lot of animal fur or sticky fingers, white linen drapes might not be the best fit for you.
We zeroed in on the kate spade designer collection immediately (no surprise there!), and fell in love with the Marble Swirl, Scatter Dot, Larabee Dot and Owlish patterns along the way. Ultimately we felt like both of the dot patterns gave us the best balance of pattern and simplicity. We were in love. CHECK PLEASE.
Well, not exactly. The final step in the selection process is crucial, since it ensures that your curtains actually function for you. This is the point when you’ll select what kind of lining your curtains need to have. Some rooms that don’t require extra privacy won’t need any at all, while other rooms will work best with blackout curtains (like nurseries and bedrooms). Assess your individual needs to decide what makes the most sense for you!
3. Hanging the Curtains
Hallelu! The day has come to install your curtains, and when doing so, these are the words you need to repeat to yourself: high and wide. It’s a common practice for many of us to be tempted to hang curtains directly on the woodwork around the window frame, but that would be doing your windows (and drapes!) a major disservice. While hanging your curtains close to the actual window frame will make the entire window feel small and cramped, hanging the curtains higher and wider than the window frame will make the entire window feel much larger, in addition to giving the illusion of taller ceilings!
We suggest hanging the curtains at least 6 inches higher than the window frame, and 3-6 inches wider. The bottom of your curtains should skim the floor, eliminating the awkward “high waters” issue that so many of us find ourselves dealing with in our own homes.
Part 2: How to Choose and Hang Your Roman Shades
There’s something about custom shades that just really makes you feel like you have your life together. They’re a commodity that we likely see in the homes of our Pinterest boards or our parents, and that makes the idea of acquiring our own very exciting. Alaina’s living room has a huge window that brings in the most amazing light, and we knew that a roman shade would be the perfect way to highlight it. But first, let’s talk about the different shade options, because there are several to consider.
1. Choosing a Style
While roman shades are among the most popular out there, there’s actually a plethora of styles to contemplate, including Roller, Solar, Roman, Woven Wood, Cellular, and Pleated. It’s important to think about the things that will matter most to you when selecting your style, in terms of functionality. Will it be most important that your shades provide extra privacy? Is energy efficency a concern? Perhaps you have little ones and want something extra kid-friendly (in which case, you might consider the woven wood!). Weigh your individual needs with the styles that you like in order to make the best final choice for your space.
2. Choosing your Fabric and Customization
Depending on which style shade you choose, your fabric options will vary a bit more than they would if you were selecting curtains. For example, if your main concern is energy efficiency, you might have selected Solar Shades, where you’ll need to consider the transparency and color options that are available inside that collection. If you’re choosing something more traditional, like a roman or roller shade, try to find balance with your more expansive fabric choices by diversifying them against the other items in the room. If most of the fabrics in your living room are currently cotton or twill, then linen or woven wood will help bring in some additional textures. Again, you’ll want to consider the way that you use the room to determine if blackout lining is necessary to make the room function best for you.
For Alaina’s living room, we all agreed that the classic roman shade offered the tailored yet casual style that would work best with the rest of the room. We decided on the Scatter Dot print from the kate spade collection in ivory to add a subtle pop of pattern without overwhelming the room, since the roman shade for this window is rather large. There’s also a fair amount going on already with the large-scale art, cowhide rug and printed throw pillows, so we all agreed that simple would be best.
3. Hanging your Roman Shade
When it comes time to choose the right mount for your shade, you’ll typically have two options: hanging inside of the window frame or hanging outside. Typically, hanging outside will provide a taller, more dramatic appearance, while hanging inside is more minimal and understated. In this case, Alaina’s window had some pretty incredible woodwork around it that she wanted to show off, so the window treatments were mounted inside.
Isn’t it crazy how the RIGHT window treatments and installation can completely finish off the room? Both areas were lovely before, but the moment we saw the drapes and shades go up, we wanted to throw them their very own parade. Overall the look is more sophisticated and polished, and we’d be lying if we said we didn’t all take turns just going over and staring at them from time to time.
So tell us, what are your favorite fabrics from the kate spade collection? Would you have chosen any of the other patterns instead? Weigh in in the comments below!
This post is sponsored by The Shade Store but the opinions within are those of The Everygirl editorial board.