Source: Pioneer Press
Shades Your Windows Wear Well
A window shade is truly dressing for the window that enhances the window and shows off the molding. Blinds, shades and simple fabric panels provide the privacy you want and can make a small or big statement–whatever you desire.
A solid or tidy geometric patterned fabric tucked into the inside of a window opening (inside mount) makes a sleek and stylish impression. This treatment can take the form of what is essentially a roller shade with updated hardware or a roman shade. The roman shade has two forms. One is a flat roman style where the fabric lies completely flat when the shade is down but gathers into horizontal pleats as it is pulled up. The other is a pleated roman shade that has horizontal pleats even when the shade is all the way down. There are other variations on these styles.
The fabric selected for the window treatment will be a major factor in the effect the shade or panel creates. For the modernist style, the most typical fabrics to use are linen, cotton, silk and materials akin to rice paper such as polyurethane-coated woven fabric. Even a metal-plated nylon creates a striking contemporary line.
Also, whether or not the fabric should be lined is an issue that must be taken into consideration. A lining will help create privacy and can add a visual (and real) weight to a fabric giving it a very different effect. Silk should always be lined particularly of it will be in direct sunlight since sunlight will affect it quickly. Finally, if you are concerned about the uniformity of your windows from the exterior, a point about which many designers feel strongly, a lining can certainly accomplish this.
For the more traditional home there are many possibilities. A balloon shade is a classic traditional style which can be done in any number of fabrics and doesn’t have to be heavy looking. With a translucent fabric the balloon shade can be an elegant yet light statement at the window. There are a number of other styles that are variations on the roman shade with an element that softens the line. Some of these are referred to as relaxed roman shades, London shades and the Brighton-style shade. There are variations on these variations these as well. Adding a trim to any of these shades or fabric panels can make a big difference. The trim can turn a perfectly fine shade into an elegant statement. This is particularly true of the roman style shades.
Don’t discount the roller shade that can be dressed up with the simple addition of a tassel or a row of fringe. Natural material shades like wood and woven grasses may be right for a study or library. These can be trimmed in fabric as well which can be coordinated with a fabric-covered valance.
If you are unfamiliar with shad e styles, you can get yourself up to speed by going to a shop like Calico Corners or any fabric store and ask to look through their catalogs. The bookstore or even the library will have reference books. If you have access to the web, go to Smith & Noble’s Windoware website at smithandnoble.com or call them for a catalog at 800.248.8888. They have a multitude of styles that will surely give you some good ideas.
Once you know the style you are interested in you are ready to select the fabric. Selecting your own fabric from the universe of fabrics is always a nice if you can swing it. Sources for this include anything from showrooms at the Merchandise Mart to more economical showrooms such as Off the Bolt at 1333 N. Kingsbury in Chicago. Fabric stores are another way to go. An alternative source for silks or linens can be found in Chicago’s Indian neighborhood on Devon Avenue. One such place is Regal Traders Inc. at 2616 W. Devon. The fabrics are gorgeous and the prices terrific. The sari fabrics are also stunning. I once made fabric window panels from two coordinating saris to create a light, soft covering. This has the added benefit of a cultural experience where you can feel a world away but be close to home.
These simple style window treatments will not mask undulating wall plaster, crocked window trim and the like. They are best in places where showing off the window, its frame or molding is a highlight.
I once read that “if heavily draped windows with puddling hemlines are the ball gowns of window couture, then graphically constructed blinds and shades are the little black dresses—they’re almost always elegant, appropriate and chic.” Enjoy selecting your little black dress.