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Windowcovering Basics: Privacy, Light Control, Function, and Style


Privacy and Style
Smith+Noble Windoware
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Part 1: Privacy is requisite

Window treatments can baffle even experienced home decorators. Overwhelmed by a huge variety of choices in material, fabric, color, size, options, and hardware, where do you start?

You start with the basics: privacy, light control, function, and style. Paying attention to these four elements can give your project a sense of direction, and combining window treatments in intelligent ways can accomplish the necessary functional aspects as well as contribute to a room's style.

Let's take a look at each of the main factors in windowcovering choices and see which treatments can be most successful in each case. Privacy

Perhaps the only people who don't need privacy in window treatments are those who have homes in the forest, far from prying eyes. For the rest of us, however, privacy can be a major issue.

If you have a bathroom window that looks directly into your neighbor's hallway, you need privacy. When your dining room looks out on a busy sidewalk, street corner, or a community pool, you want privacy.

Privacy and Style
Photo courtesy of
Smith+Noble Windoware

To get it you'll need to choose window treatments that offer complete opaque covering. Here are some good choices for privacy:

  • Fabric or Roller Shades generally offer complete window coverage. Most roller shades are made of vinyl or fabric that is usually opaque, while fabric shades (Roman, balloon) are lined and custom made to your exact window measurements.

  • Curtains and Draperies, when closed, will also close off the view. Add linings that will add to the opacity and durability, and arrange the center overlap to eliminate open spots.

  • Pleated and cellular shades (in non-sheer materials) have full glass coverage for privacy. Many styles can be ordered with a "top down" feature, so a portion of the glass can be visible at the top of the window to let in light and have a view.

  • Sheer curtains and draperies may afford a bit of daytime privacy, however at night most will turn practically transparent with indoor lighting. If you love sheers, but want privacy, then use shades underneath for privacy after dark.

  • Mini Blinds, wood blinds, and shutters will all provide a nearly private environment. Be aware, however, that with each of these there is a small possiblity of seeing through the slats at certain angles.

  • Cellular shades (in non-sheer fabrics) can add privacy and many have insulating benefits as well.

    Go on to Part 2: Light Control

    All photos in this article courtesy of Smith+Noble Windoware 1-800-248-8888

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