Why 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!