I have a client who wanted to update her bedroom. The layout of her bedroom was such that the furniture pretty much had to stay where it was. She did not want to paint her walls or purchase new furniture.
Her windows were outfitted with nice blinds that work really well with this type of window, but they still just felt unfinished. She had the idea of a valance in her mind, but I quickly talked her out of that. In most situations, valances look dated. Others may disagree, but that’s how I see it. I had another idea, which I’ll explain momentarily.
When the “neo-Victorian look” was popular 15-20 years ago, designers dressed windows like they were going to a grand ball. All the swags, valances, and festoons made it to where the window treatments demanded your attention when you walked in the room. All that fabric and fancy finishing made window treatments extremely expensive, and it had the effect of blocking all light into rooms – all that fabric could have been hung on a windowless wall for all you knew, it covered so much of the window! There are still a lot of those neo-Victorian styles in many stores and many, many homes.
Rather than putting the emphasis on the overabundance of fabric around them, I prefer to put the focus on the windows themselves and the view beyond. Since we were going for a sophisticated and peaceful effect in my client’s bedroom, I suggested she hang 4 panels in a similar color as the wall color. Using panels that are the wall color or a slightly lighter or darker version of it puts the emphasis on the window, not the color of the window treatment.
Also notice how the panels were hung – as high above the windows as possible and several inches out either side. That way they let in more light when they are open – if you mount them on the edge of the window frame, even when they are open they block a significant portion of the window itself. Mounting them high above the window actually makes the window look larger, more grand, more significant. It’s an elegant look, without being showy.
Let’s take a look at the before and after. Here’s the before:
You’ll see there are a couple of other changes in the “after” – like darker, more sophisticated bedding and more current lamps. There will be a lovely piece of art above the bed once it is stretched on a frame. It really does feel like a luxury hotel suite, don’t you think?
Again, the windows before:
If you think about the ballgowns that were popular in the 80’s and 90’s, they were all poufy sleeves and padded shoulders. Now the look is more streamlined and flowing, bringing out the beauty of the woman wearing it. So the focus is on the woman’s body, not the dress she’s wearing. In the same way, I try to put the focus on the architecture (the windows) rather than on the window treatments. Do you agree or no?