You might not think it, but modern window treatments can do a lot more than just block wandering eyes from taking a look into your home. Along with helping to reduce light levels and control the amount of UV rays penetrating your furniture and flooring, the top modern window treatments can add style from the inside out.
‘There is such a variety of options available for window treatments nowadays, allowing way more to explore creatively,' says Claudia Afshar of Claudia Afshar Design. Whether one is dressing a more traditional space, or one that is more contemporary, coordinating colors and textures right is key to creating a beautifully curated room.
Whether it’s for a modern living room, bedroom, kitchen or dining room, to help inspire your modern window treatment ideas, here’s what a range of interior designers had to say.
11 ideas for modern window treatments
‘There is also a variety of window dressing types and installations that can be explored and affect a room's overall design,' interior designer Claudia adds. 'Curtain rods being a wonderful example, with decorative ends and finishes which can be used creatively. Hidden tracks that sit behind a facia is another beautiful example. So is a Roman blind that sits within a window frame.’
1. Opt for heavy drapes
When you think of drapes, what do you think of? Light, floaty styles that move easily in the wind? Well, not all curtains have to be billowing in the breeze. You can add style and sophistication to your windows by choosing a heavier style, even for a modern space.
Claudia Afshar of Claudia Afshar Design (opens in new tab) says, ‘I believe windows in grand and important spaces such as formal living rooms and dining rooms can be dressed with heavier hanging drapery, creating a luxurious and warm feeling in a contemporary or minimalistic space.’
2. Think about your rod placement
Switching up the height at which you hang your curtains can change the whole look and feel of a space. If given some consideration to, it can help to enhance the aesthetic of the entire room – whether it's a living room, bedroom or dining room window treatment – and catapult your design into the 21st century.
Afshar says, ‘In the case of a visible track or rod, placing it higher to the ceiling, and having the curtains kiss the floor, will create longer lines and visually heighten the ceilings. This is a beautiful way to add some movement to a minimalistic room.’
3. Layer your window
We’ve seen with the best rug placement ideas, layering your chosen style can work wonders. And, according to Enass Mahmoud, (opens in new tab) interior designer and director of Studio Enass, layering your windows can work just as well.
'Layering your windows is a design trend I like to use often as it adds a sense of luxury to your room,' Enass says. 'For example, you can use a neutral fabric for your blinds with decorative trimming which adds another layer to your windows with a textured fabric for your curtains. Including two layers for your windows gives that cozy but trendy look to your room.'
4. Choose an option that will let enough light through
Although the best modern window treatments will differ from home to home – and from room to room – Katie Glaister from K&H Designs (opens in new tab) recommends choosing options that are mindful of the natural light.
‘There is no one best way to dress a window, it’s so dependent on the interior architecture, the style of the window and the room's aesthetic,' Katie says. 'There is always lots to consider.'
'In London homes we make sure principal rooms get as much natural light throughout the day as possible. Translucent materials like sheers and light linens are best suited for living room curtains, for example.'
5. Commit to pelmets
Pelmets are having a bit of a moment. The decorative, often upholstered board fixed above a window is used to cover up the curtain rod or fixtures. And according to Glaister, it's easy to make these classic designs work in a modern home.
She says, 'We’ve noticed there is a renewed interest in pelmets. Designers are experimenting with painted and upholstered pelmets, in plain colors or more ornate patterns. They add a classic detail to a more contemporary window treatment.’
6. Invest in wooden shades
‘For window treatments, I love to include a beautiful woven wood shades with drapery panels,' award-winning interior designer Marie Flanigan (opens in new tab) says. 'Woven wood shades create an organic feel and add texture to a room. When you customize shades to be either light filtering or blackout, you can install drapery panels as opposed to drapes that need to traverse the entire window, which can be cost saving.’
7. Get them automated
From our TV to our lights, there are many ways to make your place of living a smart or automated home.
But now, there's one more idea to add to the list. As Flanigan explains, ‘I love to add an automation feature that can be incorporated with shades. The ease and seamless nature of tapping a button and having all of your shades raised and lowered is such a luxury and incredibly efficient. Plus, the automation isn’t always relegated to high-tech houses, you can find some shades that include battery-powered automation.’
It's not limited to just shades, either. There's a growing number of smart curtain ideas to try in the home, no matter your budget.
8. Inject color with your drapes
One of the most tried-and-tested ways of changing the vibe of a room is to paint your walls a different color. But what if there was another way to create a colorful living room, bedroom or dining room in your home?
'People often feel limited to the room-changing powers of paint or the more subtle accents that decorative objects can sprinkle into a space,' says Noorein Kapoor of Noorein Kapoor Design Studio (opens in new tab).
'For a happy medium, try swapping out your window treatments for something that adds color and a little punchy hue to a room. This space is proof opaque works equally as well. While they're thicker and able to block out more light, they still look just as light and airy as anything.'
9. Choose white linen
If you're looking for a modern window treatment that will enable you to enjoy the view both inside and outside, look no further than white linen sheers.
'For us, it is really important to integrate the views (many of our projects are in Miami and feature incredible water views), so we use light materials for decorative sheers such as white linen,' explains interior designer Yulian Monroy of Britto Charette (opens in new tab).
'Also, we like clean tracks—no visible hardware to obscure the views—so we allow space for drapery pockets when creating our designs,' Yulian adds. 'This way we don’t see the track systems. Our best design scenario, and really our favorite way to dress windows, is to have it integrated with AV systems (we often use Creston or Lutron) so that everything is automatized and easy to use from your phone or iPad. Our clients love that they can control their window treatments while they are away or traveling.'
10. Pick a Roman blind
How your window dressing looks from the inside is just as important as its functional qualities, such as blocking out the light or wandering eyes. And one window covering that can tick all the above is a Roman blind.
‘I usually specify Roman blinds because they make the window look more dressed than other blinds,' Irene Gunter of Gunter & Co says, 'and they’re much more attractive when not in use. '
'If there is space, and the window is large enough, mount a roman blind within the reveal,' Irene adds. 'This imposes less on the room, and you retain use of the windowsill. If the window is quite short, mount the blind outside the window reveal or you will lose too much daylight.'
'Turn this into a positive by mounting the blind a little higher than it needs to be, which will give the illusion that the window is taller than it is. It also offers the opportunity to add a second window treatment inside the window reveal. For example, if you have front-facing windows, you can add a privacy blind that fits exactly into the reveal. When mounting a blind outside the window reveal, ensure it is between 50mm and 100mm wider than the window on either side and a little bit longer. This is to minimize any light bleeding, and it will also look more proportionate to the window.'
11. Consider a roller blind
Roller blinds have come a long way since they were first invented in the 18th century. 'Roller blinds are rarely my first choice because of the ugly ‘cartridge’, which is the cylinder around which the fabric is rolled,' Gunter tells us.
'One option is to hide the roll behind a pelmet. Or a neat designer’s trick is reverse roll the blind, so when it’s hung, the cartridge is hidden.
'A third solution we have employed to bring a contemporary feel to the installation is to conceal the blind in the ceiling. You install a ‘box’ into the ceiling and the roller blind is hidden in there. However, be aware this isn’t a retrofit solution. You can only really do this on a full renovation when you’re building ceilings – and even then, your joists may need to move because of it.'
What window treatments are on trend for modern homes?
‘I see a trend in ceiling recessed and hidden tracks, and overall, more importantly in how window treatments are being installed,' Claudia Afshar of Claudia Afshar Design says.
'Whether the tracks are for hanging drapery or roll-down shades, the seamless lines that this type of installation creates are very attractive and are adaptive to a variety of styles making it more popular.
'Installing remote, as well as multi-functional window dressing is also trending, as we are now offered more variety of window treatment options.’
Becks is a freelance lifestyle writer who works across a number of Future's titles. This includes Real Homes, Top Ten Reviews, Tom's Guide, TechRadar and more. She started her career in print journalism at a local newspaper more than 8 years ago and has since then worked across digital and social media for food, fashion and fitness titles, along with home interior magazines. Her own interior style? She's big on creating mindful spaces in every corner of her home. If it doesn't spark joy or happiness, it has no place here. When she’s not writing, she’s reading and when she’s not reading, she’s writing.
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