Window treatments have a rich long history dating all the way back to animal hides in tents. I think you’ll see there are no rules that haven’t already been broken and as long as you factor in form, function, and style you can’t go wrong. Originally, treatments were simply used to keep out elements such as sunlight and dust while keeping the living spaces cool or warm. We find early textiles such as linen and flax in ancient Egypt, followed later by wool, cotton, and silk. Egyptians were also the first to create the ‘matchstick’ or bamboo blinds.
Heavy cloth and tapestries used in the Middle Ages were influenced by the cold damp castles in England and Northern Europe. As trade increased with Persia, India, and China, European and American homes alike were filled with finely woven textiles. By 1850, the mass-production of these textiles made it possible for even the middle class to marry architectural style with window coverings. Towns were growing quickly and houses were being built closer together so privacy was of primary concern. It’s at this time we see window treatments becoming more elaborate and ornate. It wasn’t until after two World Wars that there was a profound change in decorating styles. By the 1950’s and 1960’s, the shift in the social culture was reflected in the simplistic interior style of homes.
Today, we find all decorative styles from the most elaborate layers of silk to simple curtain panels. With the advancement in the technology of windows, we have been given the freedom to explore and experiment with all types and styles of treatments. Blinds and shutters are the most common and desirable coverings because they blend functionality with style. You can control light and heat by simply tilting the shades. Honey comb shades are also energy efficient and can be ordered with the black-out interior for those who don’t like to rise with the sun. The hottest trend today is the top down/bottom up shade. They allow you to lower the shade from the top to provide both light and privacy. You can also raise the shade from the bottom to enjoy beautiful views without obstruction. Please don’t be afraid to add visual interest by mixing in texture, such as rattan or bamboo. Woven shades can add a touch of masculinity without being too heavy. Window coverings bring the entire room together, but can also make a statement about your style. What will your treatments say about you?