Tag Archives: sheers

The Versatile Sheer

Sheers have been relegated to the status of underwear for windows for many years. It’s an unfair designation because sheers have so much more potential than just peeking out from under the colorful, textured and patterned drapes that get all the applause.

Sheers can be the star of your room, when used creatively.  They don’t have to be the filmy, floaty, flirty things we’re used to – though we love that about them – and they now come in many colors, even patterns and textures.  Variations on sheers include Roman and Venetian blinds and sliding panels in sheer or semi-sheer materials, adding to the possibilities.  Use sheers for practical purposes, but take advantage of their best qualities.

Consider these uses:

Sheers as Room Dividers – Hang a “wall” of sheers in Graber blinds and sliding panelsopen floor plans or especially large rooms, sectioning off part of the room for a different use and giving the room a cozy feel and human scale. Place the rod either close to the ceiling or drop it down a bit in rooms with extra high ceilings to give a transom effect.

Sheers for Drama – Adding sheers to a space can add a soft, luxurious and dramatic feel to any room – or even outdoor spaces.  Hung around a bed, bathtub, dining area, or gazebo to create a dramatic and romantic cocoon, sheers are an easy and inexpensive way to add impact.  You can even double sheers up for even more drama by layering the new colors, patterns, and weaves available now.

Sheers for Style – Spice up your sheers by using dramatic colors instead of the standard white or pastel colors; by using patterned sheer fabrics; or by adding bands of other fabrics, trims or valances. Sheers can give a tropical, Moroccan, lake cottage, romantic, ethereal, or theatrical feel to any room.Graber exterior porch shades

Sheers for Privacy – Sheers are a dark room’s best friend. Create a wall of glass or use glass French doors to flow light into a room that doesn’t have windows of its own, then use sheers to cover them when privacy is needed. Or use them on your porch or gazebo to give you privacy from neighboring properties or public thoroughfares.

Sheers for Light Control – The ethereal light that sheers create is perfectly suited to any room.  Use them to reduce glare at windows and doors, either draped full length, or as café curtains, Roman shades, or the newer versions of sheers, the sliding panel.  They reduce glare on your TV or computer screen, at your desk or favorite reading spot, in anGraber_cellular_sheers_doors art studio, bedroom, or where a mirror faces a window.

Sheers for Softness – The softness of sheers can take the edge off of strong architecture and a room with lots of hard surfaces, without feeling heavy or dominating the room. The fullness of your sheers can be scaled from just enough to cover the space, to extremely full for even more softness.

Sheers as a Backdrop – Use a wall of sheers as a backdrop to features in your rooms, such as behind a bed, behind a piece of sculpture, a really beautiful bathtub or your treasured antique. The play of lights across the folds of a Graber_sliding panelssheer drape is dramatic, even if it’s just from table lamps.

Sheers as Camouflage – Locate easily-drawn sheers, or sliding panels, so that you can quickly and easily hide those utilitarian or messy areas when company comes.  With open-concept architecture and small apartments, your office nook, laundry, craft area, and even bedroom areas are sometimes open to anyone who enters.  Sheers create the separation you need to neaten-up those open spaces.

Sheers to Accent Architecture – Use sheers to accent architectural elements, such as adding contrast to a wall of brick or stone; framing a window seat or nook; drawing attention to an archway, bay or pocket door; accenting a raised or sunken area; framing a wall of windows; or adding substance to a pergola frame.Graber_sheer shades

Sheers to Create Your Special Space – Sheers create intimate and special spaces where you can retreat to relax, meditate, read a book or write a book, daydream or nap. They are a simple and inexpensive option and can be drawn when needed, giving you the separate space when you need it without adding on or taking space away from your current living areas.

Get creative with sheers and see how they can transform your home or office!

Layer It Up

When you think about the materials that our homes are made of, they are all “hard” surfaces – wood, drywall and plaster, glass, metal, concrete, brick, stone.  These are used because they are strong and durable, but they need complemented by something soft to make them comfortable for us to live in.

One of the best ways to do this is to “layer it up” and there are many combinations of window treatment layers that can be used to keep your windows from blank holes in your walls.

Granted, some of us prefer to live and work in minimalistic environments with hard surfaces, angles, clean lines and bare windows…..or some degree of this.  But many of us are comforted by being surrounded by soft fabric and the privacy of some covering at our windows.  Whether you prefer a simple approach or several softly draped layers, you have many choices.  Start with your need:

  1. When privacy is the priority – Depending on the height of your window and proximity to Layer It Up_1public areas or other buildings, you can either apply a solution to the whole window or just the lower half. Some of your options include blinds, sheers, shutters, café curtains and shades are all adaptable to either full or half privacy needs.  Combine these with a valance or cornice, and/or drapes for more interest and a softer effect.  Keep in mind that sheers will provide privacy during the day, though not as much after dark, when lights inside reveal your interior.
  2. Form over function – If your priority is style rather than the more practical concerns, your imagination is your only limitation. Pick your favorite types of treatments and combinations of fabric colors and patterns to create a unique and stylish solution that is all about your room’s personality….or yours.  Add trims for even more style.  This can be as simple as a coordinating solid color fabric or as elaborate as a multi-colored tassel trim.  Save money by doing a layered look rather than fully functional layers – like stationary side panels and sheer inserts.
  3. Clean lines – To suit your minimal or semi-minimal style, think about blinds, shades, drapes Layer It Up_2with less volume, stationary side panels, or sheers with a simple wood or upholstered cornice. If you’re somewhere in between minimalist and traditional in style, full window shutters with a cornice or simple drape or sheer panels are a beautiful solution.
  4. Opulence – For those who crave lots of rich fabrics around them in either a formal or semi-formal style, you have a wide variety of fabrics from which to choose, from warm textures like velvet and linen, to shimmering silks. Whatever fabric suits your room’s style, it is layers, the drape’s volume and the trims that give you an opulent effect.  Think very full drapes that puddle on the floor and gather back during the day.  Layer these with sheers, wood shades or blinds, draped and trimmed valances, or elaborate wood cornices.  For extra opulence, add elaborate trims to panels and valances.
  5. Layers with light – Especially in northern climes, layering our window treatments is important artisan-drapery-productin the winter, but so is letting in as much light as possible. A cornice seals the top of your window, preventing heat loss without covering the window.  Drapes provide an additional layer of insulation, but can be opened during the day to let in the light.  A bottom layer such as sheers or cellular shades will let in the light while your drapes are open, without giving up all of your cold weather insulation.  Another option is an insulated shade or shutters covering only the bottom half of your window, preventing cold drafts but letting in the light.
  6. Blocking out light – Bedrooms and media rooms often require black-out window treatments, preventing interruption of sleep and interfering with TV/movie screen image quality. The best options for these rooms are tight-fitting shades or full-coverage drapes in dark colors with black-out linings.  Even a small amount of bright light infiltration, such as direct sunlight or headlights, can be a problem.  Layering these with a closed cornice and extending the drape beyond the edges of the window opening will be most effective.
  7. Masking the view – For rooms that look out onto unattractive views, such as parking lots, building walls, fences, streets, or commercial developments, you can mask this view by either lightly or fully covering the window. Again, light filtration and privacy may be a consideration inLayer It Up_4 your choice of solutions and determine how much of your window you cover.  Bottom-mounted blinds or half-shutters and a valance or cornice may be sufficient, or drapes over a sheer panel.  If the object outside your window extends above your eye-level, you may want to opt for full-coverage shutters, blinds or shades.
  8. Energy efficiency and comfort – We love having lots of windows – big windows – in our living and working spaces, but heat gain or loss can be a big issue. Layering your window treatments can solve these problems with ease and style; layers can be added or removed seasonally with little effort, easily pulled out with your flannel sheets, comforters, and sweaters in the fall, then packed away again in the spring.  In the summer opt for blinds, sheers or shutters and a valance then add insulated drapes in the winter.

Choose layers that complement each other, either by similarity or by contrast.  Soften blinds and shades with gathered or swag valances.  Give structure to sheers and drapes by topping them with wood or upholstered valances.  Warm up sheers by adding a layer of drapes.  Add interest with color and pattern in your fabric selections.  Add texture to sheers, blinds and shades with tactile fabrics like velvet, burlap, linen, raw silk, crinkled and heavy weave fabrics.

Your window treatments offer a great opportunity to use a fabric that you love, even one that’s expensive.  A valance, shade or cornice don’t require as much fabric as drapes or upholstery, so you can have that pricey fabric you love without spending a fortune.

Make the most of your windows by layering it up!