Four Chic Alternatives to Traditional Window Treatments


(Photo: Lonny)Finding window treatments that protect your privacy or shield you from glaring light can be one of the most tedious and joyless of all decorating tasks. But it doesn’t have to be. First of all, let’s be clear: there is no law stating that you have to cover your windows. In a room with a view and no issues concerning privacy, heat, or light, keeping your windows bare is not a crime, and naked windows, if they are beautiful and well proportioned, can even help a room seem more spacious and light.

But if your windows or your view are less than enchanting, or you simply need privacy, there are options beyond uninspiring curtains or banal window shades or blinds. Here are a few ideas for window treatments that are anything but boring.

Window Films

(Photo: Emma Jeffs)Leave it to clever designers like Emma Jeffs in Great Britain to produce adhesive window film that provides both privacy and enhances the beauty of your window. The decorative adhesive, available in a PVC-free material and a range of contemporary patterns, goes on with water and can be removed easily for renters or the fickle of heart (although it is not reusable).

The window film obscures the view outside, so it’s particularly useful in bathrooms, on windows where you won’t miss the view, or on the bottom halves of windows for those who require privacy but still want to let in natural light. Anyone on the outside trying to peep in will be able to make out 
only a blur of moving shapes.

Window Shade Alternatives

(Photo: Delia Heilig)New York Citybased Delia Heilig makes custom-printed window shades based on motifs from traditional and often centuries-old window architecture that she discovers in out-of-print books at the Met. The roller shades, in varying tones of gray, black, and metallics, are printed with designs referencing abstract French wrought iron, Moorish patterns, Indian jali, and other motifs, all scaled to fit your windows.

The durable solar shade fabric blocks out UV rays and becomes part of the room’s architecture, rather than just something decorative to hang in the window. The range of available transparencies allows you to keep them fully shut during the day to block harsh light or prying eyes without losing your view.

Heilig can print anything on request and will work with you to find the right pattern, color, transparency, and scale for your room. She even has a cheeky window shade called Drapes, which features a charming set of trompe l’oeil parted curtains within the window frame.

Alternatives to Fixed Window Treatments

(Photo: Lonny)You may have windows in your home that you want to keep permanently covered, either because of privacy issues or an unsightly view. String or beaded curtains filter some light and add texture and interest to a window, while large-scale artwork or vintage school maps can be hung in front of a window to create privacy and add a decorative element.

Frame the View

(Photo: Lonny)If you’ve got a spectacular view from a feature window and no need for curtains or drapes, why not do something over the top, such as placing a literal picture frame around the window to highlight it? Depending on the size of the window, you might repurpose an old frame found at a flea market, have something custom-made, or make one yourself if you’re handy. A gilded frame or a frame painted in a color that complements your walls will highlight the fact that the most important piece of art in your room is the view outside.
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Livingly: Style