Tag Archives: style

Drapes in the Bathroom?!

drapes in the bathroomWhy not? There is a revival in creating luxurious bathrooms, which are being designed with more square footage, larger windows and more attention to details, comfort, quality materials and indulgences (like multiple shower heads).  Today, the bathroom is more than just a utilitarian space; it’s the room we start and end our days in, and a space we are spending more time relaxing and pampering ourselves in. There’s no reason why your bathroom windows shouldn’t get the same attention and effort as those in any other room of your house.

Along with this trend, we are using more and larger windows in the bath, which means we need to pay more attention to controlling light, heat gain/loss, and especially privacy. By the same token, these windows are now a major element of the bathroom that can’t be ignored – and we might even want to feature.  Modern fabrics make it easier than ever to dress bathroom windows, so drapes – alone or in combination with other treatments – are not only acceptable, but beautiful and practical in the bathroom.  The can solve light, heat and privacy issues, as well as add softness, color, pattern and texture to the room, which translates into comfort and luxury!

Windows are Important Again – There are many houses with that one tiny little window that tells every passer-by exactly where the bathroom is located.  The small, inconsequential window was a trend that (due to the attitudes of the day) began in the first half of the 20th century – and has not yet faded entirely.  What began as a modesty issue, somehow became an attitude that windows were unnecessary or unimportant in bathrooms.  Today, remodels of older buildings in particular still tend to include replacing an original, full-size window with a miniature version.  However, more and more, we are switching to using windows that look “right” on our house and “open up” the room.  Granted, short windows placed high on the wall are part of contemporary home design, and we even see some earlier buildings that were originally designed with small or high-placed windows in baths (and other rooms).  But, thankfully, taste and architecture once again determine our window types and sizes, giving us something to work with on the inside; a focal point in our room beyond just a tub, sink or toilet.

Drapes Make Windows a Feature – Take the opportunity to highlight a window’s size, shape, or architectural trim with drapes.  They can help you emphasize a window’s height, celebrate a bank of windows, add interest to a window wall without moldings, bring focus to an arched top, and accent a leaded or stained glass panel or even the interest of a multi-pane window’s mullions.  To make a really big impact, cover the entire wall with drapes from ceiling to floor – even if it only has one window.  This is especially dramatic if you use a boldly colored or patterned fabric.  Find one that you love and design the rest of the room around it!

Drapes to Correct Odd Windows – For unimpressive or problem windows, drapes can correct their shortcomings.  If your window is small or oddly placed, use drapes (alone or with other treatments) to improve its proportions or help balance its placement.  Make a window seem taller by using drapes and a valance placed above the window to add height.  Drapes that start at the edge and extend beyond the window add width.  Drapes or café curtains with faux shutters below a window can extend its length.  Drapes are the ultimate corrector of window issues!

Drapes to Soften the Room – Bathrooms are (out of necessity) made of many hard surfaces: tile, vinyl, porcelain, stone, acrylic, mirrors, metal, and glass.  A drape’s volume and fabric texture soften these hard, sleek and reflective materials.  When they cover the window trim, those sharp corners are camouflaged, making the eye focus on the softness of the fabric instead.  Drapes are especially effective at softening when the fabric is gathered, draped and puffed, but for a modern style room a textured or sheer fabric can achieve the same goal.  In fact, the more spare and modern the room’s design, the more impact a little fabric has.

Drapes as a Design Element – Your window treatment is just one element of your overall room design – but a rather important one since the rest of the room tends to be dominated by fixtures and cabinetry.  It works with the finishes, colors, hardware and other elements to define your room’s style.  Drapes are a versatile option as they work in a variety of room styles (depending on your design and fabric choices) and can work alone, or layered with other treatments.  The elements of design include color, pattern, texture, line, and volume.  Color is the first thing we notice, and it affects our mood as well as the visual “weight” of the drape.  Pattern is a strong element that varies from subtle to bold and determines the room’s “attitude”.  Texture adds a warmth and tactile element in this room that is full of smooth, hard surfaces.  Volume, achieved by the fullness in a drape, adds dimension and extra softness.  A drape’s style sets the tone for the room’s character: formal, masculine, whimsical, romantic, etc.  Choose your drape’s design and fabric to support room’s style.

Drapes Support Style – Window treatments have always been important to interior design and establishing a room’s style, by virtue of their design, fabric type, color and pattern.  Shirring drapes onto a rod can be either casual or romantic; pinch pleats are tailored and modern; grommets set into the top of the drape and threaded over a rod is modern and industrial; and extra fullness and swags are formal and elegant.  Examples of your fabric type supporting a room’s style include burlap or unbleached muslin for rustic or Colonial style rooms, to the extreme opposite of silk or velvet with elaborate trims for formal opulence in historic or traditional style rooms.  As for color’s affect, a subdued color that is similar or contrasting with your wall color is calming and sophisticated; matching your fabric to your wall color blends your window into your wall and makes a room feel fresh and expansive; a bold floral or geometric pattern will give you a pop of color and interest – subtle or explosive – in an otherwise neutral room; a woven natural material will add an earthy element for otherwise starkly modern rooms.

The practicalities – Although a bathroom is a space where cleaners and moisture must be contended with, there are lots of fabric and design options available, including many both beautiful and practical ones that you can throw into the washer and dryer as needed.  Keep hems off the floor, use fabrics that are stain-resistant, moisture and mildew-resistant, and easy to launder.  If you are dressing a powder room window, or your window is less likely to get splashed, feel free to go for a more elaborate drape or fabric and even add trims.  For the family bath – especially if you have children – you will need to be much more practical about fabric and design.  But being practical doesn’t mean you can’t have a beautiful drape; be practical where you need to and get creative where you can!

Affordable Luxury – One of the best things about drapes – particularly when you have just one window – is that they can be easily replaced at a reasonable cost as needed, or to suit a change in taste. You can even switch them out seasonally without breaking the bank.

So, are drapes suitable for bathroom windows? Absolutely!  Go take a look at your bathroom windows and imagine how you can transform the room with drapes!

The Many Shades of Style

Graber cellular shades with linersThere are so many styles of décor – from rustic to minimalist. Just about every generation and every culture is defined by a style.  And there are now many types of window shades that can help bring a chosen style to your rooms.  We love the versatility of Graber’s products and how well they coordinate to create beautiful rooms.

Cellular Shades – This window treatment is great for allowing diffused light in a room while providing privacy and reducing heat loss.  Another bonus of these shades is their ability to absorb sound.  As for style, they have a clean, modern look with a soft texture, making them great on their own, or as a backdrop for additional layers.  But don’t box them into modern rooms; they work in any style and any type of room, from office to exercise room or dining room.  One of the stand-out uses of this style of shade is how well they fit odd shaped windows.

Pleated Shades – Though slightly less effective in respect to reducing heat loss and Graber pleated shades with linersabsorbing sound, these are a great option where light control and/or privacy are the primary need.  They are a little more modern in style than cellular, good for modern and minimalist styles.  However, they also work for traditional style rooms when combined with other layers for additional softness, color, pattern, and detail.  Pleated shades are a good choice for bedrooms, bathrooms, living rooms, dining rooms, workout rooms and offices.

Graber Natural Shades Woven Drapes and Roman ShadesNatural Drapes – This vertical version of the shade is great for adding a natural element to your large windows or patio doors.  The textured panel is softer than the other styles of shades, because it mimics a drapery panel, but no one will mistake them for a traditional drape.  Made with bamboo, jute, and grasses, they have a unique style that’s a combination of relaxed and refined.  Use them to add drapes to a masculine room, or to add a natural textured element to a modern style room dominated by smooth, hard surfaces.  Combine them with a cornice in the same material, fabric, wood, or other material to customize their appearance.  Add a liner when more light control is needed, such as in a media room.

Natural Shades – When you have windows as well as patio doors in a room, Graber’s Natural Shades pair perfectly with their Natural Drapes and Natural Sliding Panels.  The natural materials add texture and especially suit casual, beach-y, rustic or Asian room styles.  They can also balance a room that leans toward formal, feminine, or stark, such as an all white room or one with a strong floral pattern.   Some of our favorite rooms to use them in include sunrooms, bedrooms, powder rooms, dining rooms, living rooms, kitchens and executive offices.  Constructed as a Roman shade, roller shade or sliding panels, liners can be added for additional light control.  Combine them with fabric drapes, valances or cornices if a softer layer, more color or pattern are desired.

Graber Roller Shades with Soft DraperyRoller Shades – A modern take on an old treatment, the simplicity of these shades transforms with the fabrics that are used.  They can look at home in any room, and equally suit historic and modern architecture.  There is an extensive variety of solid, patterned, and textured fabrics and colors available, with varying levels of transparency, from sheer to blackout.  They can also be customized by adding a scalloped hem or decorative trims at the factory, or even embroidered or painted designs after purchase, for a unique designer look.  Graber’s Roman Shades and Sliding Panels are available in many of the same fabrics, making it easy to coordinate all the window and door treatments in your room.

Graber Roman Shades with Soft DraperyRoman Shades – This classic window treatment works in just about any room, depending on the fabric you choose, which can take the style from casual to tailored, or even elegant.  There are also variations – looped, flat, seamless, pleated and balloon – that can change the style of this blind.  Customize them by adding decorative trims, banding of a contrasting fabric, etc.  The balloon variation is best suited to romantic, elegant, and dramatic decors, or “princess” rooms.  Installation is typically within the window opening, but when installed above the window and close to the ceiling, they add to the height and drama of the windows and room.  Excellent at absorbing sound, controlling light, and reducing heat loss, they can be combined with other layers, such as cornices, drapes and shutters.

Graber roller shades with sliding panelsSliding Panels – This newer type of shade is a variation on the slimmer vertical blinds, which can look busy on large expanses of windows.  These panels work on either windows or patio doors, have a simple and modern style, and coordinate with Graber’s other shade types.  They also work in rustic or traditional style rooms with the right material choices.  The fabric options include woven natural materials, solid colors, and subtle to bold patterns.  Layer them with drapes for a softer look, or top them off with cornices of fabric, wood, or the same material as the panels.

With great style, fabrics and colors, Graber’s window solutions make it easy to coordinate all the windows and glass doors in your home with your decorating style. Pick your room style, pick your shade, love your room!

Dressing Challenging Windows

Challenging window shapes require creative design and a thorough knowledge of the solutions on the market today. Architects design windows that suit the buildings they are planning; rarely thinking about how the occupant is going to dress them for light and privacy control.  It’s the job of interior decorators and designers to find those solutions, based on your window challenge, needs and tastes.

Let’s look at some challenging situations and possible window covering solutions:

Graber pleated shades for arch-top windowsRound and Arched Windows – The easy solution to this shape window is to embrace its beautiful roundness and not cover it at all; focusing your attention on dressing the other windows in the room and letting this one stand out.  The worst thing you can do is ignore the shape and put a straight rod and curtains or a blind over it.  There are many creative solutions for this type window: a shade panel stretched on a frame to fit the window; a custom made round or arched shutter; a fan-shaped pleated blind; a sheer fabric gathered on a curved or circular rod….and many other possibilities.

Graber vertical blinds for tall windowsReally Tall Windows – One of the problems with these windows is that they can feel out-of-scale with the rest of the space and everyone/everything in it.  The first option would be to break them up by installing shutters, blinds or decorative panels on one-third to two-thirds of the height, bringing them down to a human scale.  To soften these treatments, you can add drapes (with or without a valance) over top to either the top of the first treatment, or the full window height. The other option would be to embrace that soaring vertical line and cover them in full-length sheers, drapes, or shade panels (again, with or without a valance).  This is a dramatic and high-energy treatment, taking your eye immediately to the high ceiling.

Really Narrow Windows – These windows are challenging because of the limitations on the amount of room needed for the mechanical window treatments such as blinds and shades.  The best options are window films, sheers gathered on top and bottom rods.  Shutters and decorative panels are also options.  The other way to address this shape of window is to make them appear wider that they really are by treating the wall as part of the window.  Install a wider curtain rod to allow for hanging a drapery panel next to the window opening.  The same can be done with sliding panels and vertical blinds.  This works especially well on windows that are tall as well as narrow.

Graber roman shades stacked windowsStacked Windows – Whether you’re dealing with a 1970s geometric grouping of windows, or the recent trend to stack a small window on top of a window or door, you have many options.  1) Treat each window individually with top- or bottom-mounted blinds or shades, decorative panels, or window film.  2) Where privacy is the only issue, add shutters, blinds, or café curtains to the lower windows only.   3) The simplest solution is to treat them all as one unit with a single blind, drapes/sheers, decorative panel, or sliding panels.  4) Divide them into vertical groups with two or more full-length blinds, or full-height drapery panels spaced at regular intervals between the vertical groups of windows.  5) Break up a large grouping of windows by leaving the top row uncovered, adding a valance or cornice across the top of the next row, and drapes or sheer panels spaced at intervals between the vertical groups of windows below. 6) Pick one window to feature a stained glass or decorative panel, treating the others simply with window film or individual blinds.

Graber bi-fold shutters, deep-set windowsDeep-Set Windows – While usually found in historic buildings of solid masonry (stone or brick), these can also be found in some modern buildings and in basements. You can treat deep-set windows with drapes, sheers, shutters, decorative panels, blinds (horizontal, cellular, or vertical), shades and valances.  The main difference may be in the hardware you need to use: a tension or side-mount rod for drapes and valances, and top or side-mounting headers for blinds and shades.  Like other windows, you can combine treatments or only treat 1/3 to 2/3 of the window height, based on your privacy/sun issues.

Graber drapery rod for bay windowsBays, Seats and Alcoves – Many historic buildings – and even some modern ones – have bay windows, alcoves, window seats, and tower rooms that aren’t quite rooms.  We often use these nooks as retreats, benefitting from a drapery or other treatment to provide privacy from the rest of the room.  To achieve this, install a drape or sheer to the window side of the interior wall, the room side of the interior wall, or on a rod installed between the jams of the opening using side-mounted hardware.  Options for treating the windows themselves include shutters, blinds, shades, decorative panels, window film, sheers and drapes.  Curved and angled rods are custom fit to the space and can be mounted on the wall or ceiling.  This is especially useful for full coverage of banks of windows in these spaces, to reduce heat loss/gain.

Graber shades for wall of windowsWalls of Windows – The best of both worlds: enjoying a wide-open view of the outdoors while comfortably inside a heated or air-conditioned building.  These window walls make spaces feel so much larger and more welcoming, but how to achieve privacy and light control when needed can be a challenge.  The solutions really come down to what type of hardware you use, because there is often no wall surface above the windows to mount the window treatment to.  Many of the options – blinds, shades, shutters, drapes and sliding panels – can be installed with ceiling mounted hardware.  Make sure you can “stack” your treatment back beyond the window opening, or can raise/lower them fully (in the case of blinds) to restore your view when you want to.  If the view isn’t all that great, but you love the light, consider using decorative panels mounted to the window or ceiling and floor.  Window film can also be a good solution, used on some or all of the window panels, or on the lower portion of all the windows.

Graber custom shutters on angled windowsAngled Windows – Many buildings in the Modern styles have “slanted” or angled-top windows that follow the roof line.  Like round windows, these can be really challenging.  Blinds and shutters are your best solution and can be custom-made to match the window’s angle.  Drapery panels can also be cut to fit the angle, but will not be operable.  Instead, install them as stationary panels using pegs or medallions at regular intervals, giving the drape its pleat or gather.   Your window treatment can also be dropped (on tall units) to the bottom of the angle, leaving the top portion untreated.  Valances and cornices are also an option for the tops of these windows.

The solutions we’ve offered here are certainly not the only ones available for each situation.  Talk to a designer to find the right solution for your challenging windows.

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!