Window coverings are about more than privacy. Check out some of the popular styles and trends in window treatments.

We cover our windows mostly for privacy, but also to complement our home’s décor. Here are some ways to choose window treatments that are stylish and practical, depending on your lifestyle and the purpose of a room or the window you’re covering.

Natural light is in. Homeowners love how their bright homes look, and understand that natural light is an energy-efficient way to heat their homes. Plus plants love the light! Of course, when it’s 98 degrees outside and you’re prepping for a summer party, the last thing you want is a big beam of sunlight shining into your kitchen. You’ll want to block out sun, especially in southern and western facing windows, with blinds, roll-down shades, heavy drapes or shutters.

Organic materials are popular throughout the home, and window treatments are no exception. Bamboo shades or drapes made from natural cotton and free of chemicals and harsh treatments are growing in popularity, especially in infant’s and children’s rooms. Some are both energy efficient and made of all-natural materials. You also can go natural with hardware, using natural wooden rods or tieback holders.

Stained glass adds an antique or vintage touch, especially to an older home or any small accent window. If you can’t afford a custom stained glass window, hang an old stained glass window from a local antique or salvage store inside your window. You achieve semi-privacy and the style and color reflections of the stained glass design.

Puddling drapes, or hanging curtains so that they are slightly long and “puddle” on the floor, has been a hot trend in recent years, and always a matter of personal preference. The look can be elegant when done correctly, and can help hold some cold air inside closed drapes. The puddle should produce about a 1 or 2 inch fold. Too much puddle looks like your order just got messed up.

Match purpose and pleasure. Many common or living areas require less privacy and feel better with more natural light. You might be able to save money with only sheer drapes or semi-sheer materials in these rooms.

But the glare… if you use one of these common rooms to enjoy your big-screen TV and can’t afford a dedicated room for a home theater, you need a more flexible option than a sheer shade. Blackout curtains hang on rods behind decorative curtains so you can get a home theater effect (and block out some cold on dreary “stay inside and watch movie” days).  Check with the seller for colors and recommendations on hanging them for the best blackout effect. Of course, the curtains or blackout shades also work great for bedrooms of shift-working family members or guest rooms.

Other windows require covering more for privacy. Bathrooms usually fall in this category, but most homeowners want natural light for cheeriness, plants and warmth. You still can’t beat blinds that adjust from the top and bottom for the most flexibility. Open them from the top just enough for natural light, but just enough to cover family members. And when only the plants are using the tub, open up both ends for full light!

Go high-tech with your shade and sun control. If you can afford them, new interior shades for homes and offices roll up and down with the touch of a wireless remote to fully retract so you can enjoy your view and natural light, or close anytime you want privacy.

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