Thursday, January 7, 2010

Window Treatments

I hope you're comfy because I've got a lot of explaining to do so that you can help me with my latest dilemma that is stumping me. Thank you Amanda and Linda for hosting these wonderful parties!



I just want to start by saying that these pictures are not the greatest I've taken. There are lots of reasons for that... I'll skip those and just tell you what to ignore in each photo. =)

I use the phrase "window treatments" as often as I can because it drives my hubby crazy... in a good way. He makes fun of me for not just saying curtains (that's what he calls everything that covers or decorates a window). It makes me smile. I know that you understand the reason for the phrase "window treatments." You know that this is a broad category that includes many different window coverings... mini blinds, roman shades, curtains, valances, etc. He just doesn't get that....

Anyways...
My dilemma (since we moved in 7 months ago) has been : WINDOW TREATMENTS. I have bought so many different ones and returned most of them. I have extra curtain rods tucked behind my buffet and I still have two windows (in my kitchen) with no window treatments on them at all (I recently found a solution for them and can't wait to get them! Check these out from Shabby Chic Cottage).

The biggest hangup for me has been the fact that the front of our house faces South so the five windows in the front let in a lot of sun and it gets VERY hot in the summer. We have single pane wood sash windows and new vinyl ones are not in the budget right now... besides, the wood sash ones are way prettier! Those windows have to have thermal backed curtains in order to block out some of the heat. These curtains help tremendously but there is not a huge selection of them in our price range...

Enter: second biggest hangup. One of those five windows is a picture window (see below). It is nearly 90 inches wide and 77 inches tall! To put that into perspective, we would have to close up the opening some to put in a sliding glass door or French doors... We currently have FOUR black thermal backed curtains on it because two don't cover the whole thing and three doesn't work because of the hook that holds the rod up in the middle.... anyhoo. That's not the point, the point is, I don't know what to do for a valance for this particular window that we have made prettier by adding sheer embroidered curtains on top of the black thermal ones.

Things to ignore in this photo: black curtains sticking up above the top (part of reason for said valance), sheers not covering all of the black and black fence that kept our toddler away from the TV that used to be in that corner...

Most of the time we keep the curtains tied open. We close them at night and when it is sweltering hot outside (read: afternoons/evenings during July, August and September). Here is what they look like closed. Here you may notice the second reason for needing a valance...

The embroidery on these "high quality" Target curtains goes all the way to the top on one side of each curtain (where they meet in the middle) and not on the other side (the outsides), this makes the embroidery lopsided. Unfortunately, these sat around for so long before I hung them that by the time we noticed said imperfection it was way too late to return/exchange them at Target. Anyone else annoyed by their stingy return policy??? Fortunately, it is hardly noticeable in person unless you are looking at the top.

Here is a close up of the detail on the bottom of the curtain:
And the middle:
The other dilemma that has me stumped (and factor to consider in the valance debate) is the adjacent windows in this room. They are both normal sized windows that do not face South and currently have very pale pinkish/off-white wood Roman shades on them (here is the corner that used to house the television)... Please ignore the ratty pink chair that I absolutely love and that is patiently waiting for me to slipcover in black. Her twin sister is also patiently waiting...

Looking a little further to the left, you can see both the windows with my fabulous mantel makeover. You can read about that here, here and here. This picture is from the fall, hence the squash and mini pumpkins on the mantel, you can ignore those too...

And here is a closer view of the window (ignore the balled up string... again, it's there to keep the toddler out of trouble!):
And an even closer view (this is very close to the actual color):

So, my dilemma that has me stumped for these windows is whether I should hang curtains or a valance or both on top of the Roman shades... I do have curtain rods for them. They are cream and I have two extra black curtains. By the way, my living room theme, for those who didn't pick it up, is black and cream with touches of sage and dusty pink. I do not have any more of the sheer embroidered curtains and I think that might be too much of one thing in the room.

Now, that I am done writing this very long post, here is a recap in case you have forgotten the beginning already (or maybe the actual dilemmas got lost in all the other blabbering)!

Dilemmas that have me stumped:
1. Valance for picture window

2. To curtain or not to curtain the two smaller windows


I am looking forward to all your ideas and input! Thank you all in advance!!

13 comments:

3 Sweet P's said...

I say valance the the big picture window in a nice sheer-y, drape-y fabric. Maybe in black? White would be too much against the white lace.And a definate yes on curtains for the smaller windows, I wouldn't do ones that went all the down to the floor, and maybe in the same fabric you choose for the valance on the big window, just to tie it all in.

Kimmy C said...

My hubby HATES curtains and only wants these shades we found at JCPenney. They are a bit pricey but they have them 50% off all the time - oh, and their cordless, so no more balled up string! Also they come in black or creme. It is a great compromise because you get the fabric and a little bit more spice than a mini-blind. That is what we have in our bedroom. But in our bathrooms where we have the same shade, I have added valances to give it a little more oomph. So I say, yay to valance.

As far as the picture window - we had the same dilemma in our living room - we have one huge picture window that is flanked by two smaller windows - all in all it is 110 inches wide. I just bought some great faux suede curtains (4 panels) and added some metal tieback rods so that I could swag them off to the side. I'm thinking of getting a double rod so that I can add sheers behind it when the suede curtains are open. I'll have to send you a picture of my window tonight so you can see what we have done!

Good luck.

Linda @ Craftaholics Anonymous said...

Hi Heather,
Thanks for joining the party! First, I hear ya on Target's awful return policy. It's terrible!!

That is quite the picture window! Since it is so wide, you're gonna need a seriously strong valance. My suggestion would be to use wood, like 2x4's, so that it's strong, then cover it with coordinating fabric OR paint and distress the wood. My vote would be to distress it. (I'd paint it white, sand the edges, and then use a really dark, almost black wood stain and wipe it over the entire thing. This would change the white to a distressed cream and make the sanded parts dark. Plus you could put decorations on top of the wood valance that your little toddler couldn't reach :)

For your other windows, I would probably not do a valance. Might be too much. The focal points of the room are the picture window and fireplace. That's my opinion.

Hopefully that helps and makes sense. Let me know if I completely confused you! Good luck!!
Linda

famr_4evr said...

This room looks so cozy! I think that you should put coordinating curtains on the smaller windows. As for a valance, if you could find lace that is similar to the curtains I think that would work beautifully.

The Yorgason's said...

Wow! That is a super heavy duty load! Ever hosue that I have lived in has had a huge picture window which I love! However trying to decorate them is a pain! Like you said you have buy like eight curtains. First off the two normal size windows I feel like need a complementary fabric curtain. To solve the dilema with the beautiful embroidery over lay, is there anyway to pin it up or maybe sew it so it is straight. That would drive me nuts! As far as the valance I have wooden ones that are beautiful. They came with the house. If you would like to see them just let me know and I can try to find a picture to show you. But you can do those for cheap and they look really nice and hide all of the flaws. I hope that I helped in some way good luck!

Confessions From A Working Mom said...

LOL on Target's return policy... I have bumped heads a few times at that store myself...

I think hte problem is that, on their own, both window treatments look good. It's just that they look like they belong in different rooms; there's no coherency between the two styles. One is dark, the other light; one is fabric, the other wood. They just don't match. And because the one window is so big, you don't have a ton of options.

I think you could do a sheer window treatment over the big window, maybe in a green that would match your mantel (it is green, right? I LOVE it, by the way!). That could tie everything else in. Then, just do a valance over the two smaller windows in a complimentary color to tie it all together?

~Elizabeth
Confessions From A Working Mom

Amanda @ Serenity Now said...

I think a valance on the two smaller windows would be too much. Like Linda said, you want your beautiful fireplace to stand out.

If you hate the blinds, could you try a different material, or a Roman shade in a neutral fabric that doesn't take away from the rest of the room.

I was also thinking that a wood "valance" (cornice board) would be cool, but any more fabric would probably be too much. Keeping it simple, painted wood and maybe distressing it might be nice. :)

Kasey at Thrifty Little Blog said...

Have you been here?
http://littlegreennotebook.blogspot.com/search/label/Window%20Treatments
I think you should go for a fun pattern like the examples in the above post!

Sarah @ Dream In Domestic said...

I think to tie all the windows together, you could valance them in the same way. I am a huge fan of these pelmet boxes (http://littlegreennotebook.blogspot.com/2009/09/easy-pelmet-boxes.html) that you could make for all three window treatments to bring them together. I think that would be easy, cost-effective, and provide a custom look you would only ever find in your own home.

It must be hard having that huge picture window, but I can only imagine the light that comes in during the day. Good luck!

Kim said...

I have a very similar situation at my house. I would use black to-the-floor draperies on the two windows - the left one tied to the left and the right to the right so they are framing your fireplace. Can you use those lacy panels somewhere else, get all pretty decorative rods and maybe iron with fusible tape wide white ribbon near the sides and bottom to break up the black? I'm personally not a big fan of valances in most places...

Kendall at Finesse Your Nest said...

Hi there and thanks for checking out my master bedroom dilemna. Okay, here's my 2 cents:

1) Picture window -- beautiful window by the way. Wish I had one but can see where it would be hard to dress. I would get a big chunky wood rod, buy some cheap panels and embellish them yourself using upholstery fabric, ribbon, tassels (whatever you like) and stitch witch if you don't sew. If you look on my blog I've got a couple of stitch witch curtain projects! They end up looking ALMOST custom without costing you a fortune. I would do enough to cover the window at night and to pull back at both sides during the day.

The panels you have on the window now are really pretty too. If you wanted to use those I would stitch witch or sew a solid panel to the back (for blackout at night & when it's hot!) I love the idea of building a wood cornice and hanging the curtains underneath too.

2) Smaller windows -- I like the roman shades. I would buy a pair of panels and hang one on each window on the outer ends of the windows away from the fireplace, just to frame your window. I think a pair on each window would be too much going on.

Have fun with your project!

2)

Kim said...

I'm so happy I could be any assistance! I wouldn't even bother sewing the black panels together, just treat two as if they are one panel- line up horizontal stripe.

Xazmin said...

I really like the idea of a wooden valence! I also agree that floor length curtains would be a nice touch for thw smaller windows.

Another thing...even though you didn't ask...teehee...I think when you pull the big dark curtains closed for keeping out the heat...it would look pretty to still keep the sheer ones tied back.

Good luck with your decorating!