Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Windows Part 4: Valances

Today we are going to answer your valance questions.  Like: "How long should a valance be", "What style is masculine/feminine?", and "What rooms to use different styles in?".  We aren't able to cover all valance styles, so we are discussing the ones that are most versatile.  Keep in mind that all of the valance styles can be used alone or with a drapery panel. 

When choosing a valance you want to make sure it is long enough.  Normally a valance is mounted four inches above a window (unless it is mounted inside the window moulding) and covers about eight inches of the window.  You don't want it to look like you ran out of fabric and the valance didn't get finished.  If it is too short it will break the flow of the space, and look unprofessional.  But, don't go overboard the other direction and turn your valance into a drapery panel that covers the whole window.
The first style is of the basic box pleat valance.  It looks just as it names describes, like it could be going around a box.  The basic box pleat looks clean and sophisticated.  Having the clean lines makes it either feminine or masculine.

This basic box pleat goes well in master bedrooms, kitchens, great rooms.  Really any room you can think of.

Here is an example of a more boyish style, box pleat valance.  It would compliment a young boys bedroom well.  Adding that softness to the window with out being girly. The magazine feature also talks about it being used in a playroom. 
Now this is one of our favorites.  It is a more whimsical box pleat with the curves at the bottom.  Due to the curves it has more of a feminine feel to it.  This style would go well in a teenage girl's room or a fun craft or hobby space.  The use of the curves gives it a girly feeling without making it feel juvenile. 
The pencil pleat valance is the final style we will be talking about today.  Pleating the valance gives it amore feminine feel with out making it look fruffie and outdated.  Adding this valance to a living room, girls bedroom, or even a nursery can add a bit of style with out going overboard.

For more great valance ideas check out House Beautiful, Southern Accents, and Country Living.  They all offer great ideas with visuals.  Helping you picture what it will look like in your space.

Remember when choosing that it isn't too short or too long.  You want it to look professional and complete the space.  Also, don't forget to choose the style the compliments the room it is going in.  So, don't choose a feminine style for a boys bedroom.

The images come from the House Beautiful magazine's feature of "Jim Howards pattern book of valances".

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Windows Part 3: Types of treatments

This is part three of our window series. Last week it was all about window coverings: blinds, shades, and shutters. This week it is about window treatments: Drapes and valances. There is so much information to cover on this subject, today we will discuss the basics. Where to use these and then the last two entries of this series will be about specific details of each.

Let's start with drapes. Drapes are typically panels of fabric and can be used many places. They also come in a variety of styles.

Hang floor length panels in:


-Sliding glass doors

-Living/Family Rooms

Hang short panels:

-Above kitchen sinks

-Above a couch



Make sure when you hang drapery panels that they are not too long or short for their location. If the panel is going to be stepped on or played in by kids, maybe it isn't the best choice. Always take into consideration what the end result will be before choosing your panel length. You want style to harmonize with function, not one or the other.

Now for valances. They can stand alone or be paired with drapery panels. Pairing a valance with a drapery panel adds more depth to a room. But, you want to be sure not to over do it. Sometimes a stand alone valance is the way to go. It softens the window and adds a pop of color and can be functional. Where panels would be to long or a safety hazard, a valance can takes its place.
Stand alone valance:

-Above a kitchen sink

-Bathroom shower window

-Windows that are close to fire places

Paired with drapery panels:

-Living Room


-Great room

Remember to evaluate each space individually when selection window treatments. Even though a panel may fit your style, don't forget about safety. Don't be afraid to try a variety of treatment styles through out your home, just make sure it flow harmoniously.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Windows Part 2: Types of window coverings

Last week we talked about basic reasons windows get ignored. This week we are discussing the different types of window coverings.  This way you can decide which one is right for you.

Blinds are the first window coverings that come to every bodies mind and for good reason.  The right set of blinds can enhance the look of a room and properly keep light and peering eyes out.  It can do all of this for a reasonable price.

 Now the least expensive blinds are the thin vinyl or aluminum ones.  We do not recommend these.  They don't look as aesthetically pleasing, not as much light is kept out, and the slats break more easily.  Our recommendation is faux wood.  They are heavier, much more eye catching, higher quality, and won't break your budget like real wood will.

Whether you decide to go with faux or real wood blinds, keep in mind, you most likely will still want to add a window treatment.  Such as a valance or drapes.  Window treatment will be covered in next weeks post.

There are variety of places you can purchase blinds.  Lowes, Home Depot, many department store, and many online stores.  The blinds pictured at the right are from

When purchasing blinds it is important to measure correctly.  There is so much information when it comes to measuring for blinds; we have found two great websites that have step by step lists on how to measure for blinds. No Brainer Blinds and Lowes.

Roman Shades are another covering options.  These are shades that are hung like blinds, but are made out of fabric.  They add that bit of style and a little more color and pop to a room.  Many times with roman shades you don't need window treatments, like drapes, but sometimes they can enhance the shades. 

We had a client email us this HGTV video about window treatments and it specifically talks about roman shades.  It gives an awesome idea on adding drapery panels to windows with roman shades. 

Shutters, the last type of covering we are going to talk about, today.  There are two type of shutters: traditional and plantation.  Traditional shutters give a traditional feelings and plantation shutters offer a country undertone.  Theye have many differences, so take a look at this link.  It will help you decide which is best for you.
They can be used in any room.  Shutters come in all sizes for a variety of window shapes and styles.  When shutters are used, typically a window treatment is not added.  They make an awesome statement by themselves and don't need any type of drapes to help them out.

This video by TheCaliforniaCo gives awesome instructions on how to measure for inteior shutters

These are the three most popular types of window coverings.  There are many other types available, but most of them are variations of these three.

Remember blinds are the most versatile, but that shutters and roman shade can add that extra pop of style.  Always measure correctly, or you will have much chaos when you get the coverings home and they don't fit.  Never be afraid to spice up your windows with a new type of covering.  You will be amazed at your rooms transformation.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

The icing on your windows

Windows, the element of a room that seems to throw everything off.  If you have ever decorated a space, you know what I am talking about.  It appears that all of the finishing touches have been added, but something just doesn't feel right.  That is likely because the windows have been forgotten.

This is part one, in a multiple part series, to help remedy this problem.  Adding design to your windows is like adding icing to a cake.  The cake looks okay un-iced, but man does it look better with icing. 

Today's post is about the reasons people draw a blank when it comes to design and windows.

"I don't want to lose my light" (number one reason)

This is a valid complaint, but keep in mind that most of us don't live on a deserted island. That means we have neighbors.  Do we want those neighbors peering in at us as we are sleeping?

So, having some sort of covering is not only icing, but functional, too.  Some of the options you have for covering that let in light are: blinds, shutters (no they are not just for exteriors), roman shades, and the list can go on. Check out this website to the plethora of options :


"My spouse thinks it will look to feminine/masculine."


This can be the case if you don't use the correct treatment for your needs and style.  But, don't worry there are so many options there is one that will work for you. 

In the coming installments we will discuss how to find a balance.  So, stay tuned.


"I have to have drapes with my other window coverings, such as blinds, right?"


No. Not in all cases.  It depends on the window covering you have chosen.  Majority of the time we recommend window treatments with blinds, but if that isn't your style, then you can choose a different window covering. 

For instance, if you have shutters or roman shades we most likely wouldn't recommend window treatments.  Though these options aren't for everyone.

In another episode of this series we will discuss what coverings need complimenting window treatments.

If you would like more one-on-one customized professional design help, click here.

These are some of the major complaints we receive about window coverings.  We hope this and our coming installments will help to calm any window covering fears and leave you free to add the icing to your "cake"

If you have other concerns about window covers, please let us know at

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Splash of color

COLOR! It is an aspect of design that can make a world of difference in any space. For those that are looking to add a little or a lot of spice to a room, color is the answer.

When we talk about color, most people think that means painting. Good news! You can add color with out picking up a paint brush.

One of our favorite ways to add a pop to any room are accent pillows. They come in many shapes, styles, and designs. It makes it such a versatile accent. They can be placed on a bed, sofa, or chair.

Another awesome décor item are lamp shades. They don't have to be plain Jane white or cream. Mix it up with a colored one. Shades come in different fabrics, shapes, and colors. It is unbelievable what a lamp shade can do for a room.

Last, how about trying a colorful piece of art. A colorful art piece can not only add the needed pop, but can also become a focal point. This is the best kind of accent. One that does two jobs. Just because art is colorful, doesn't mean it is abstract. There are many traditional and contemporary pieces that with more intense color.

Remember, color doesn't have to mean picking up a paint brush. It can be adding accessories to your space, to achieve the amount of color and pop that is perfect for you. So, don't be scared about giving it a try. I know once you do, you will love it.