The Magic Trick That Will Solve Your Small Window Problem

As an interior decorator, I have quite a few tricks up my sleeve.  Often my clients are stumped by architectural issues that detract, rather than enhance, the beauty of their space.  Here in Nashville, there are many ranch-style neighborhoods that were developed in the 1960s and 1970s that feature small, high windows.  

OB-Window Trick Before

small window problem 

 

Windows like this can present a challenge when decorating, and any furniture placed below it can feel disjointed like you can see in the image above.  A recent client wanted to dress her small, high windows. She didn’t know if she should hang cafe curtains or even panels that were the same length as the windows.  I felt that either would further emphasize the lack of stature of the undersized windows.  Any ideas how you might solve this design dilemma?  Here is my solution:

 

Decorologist Window Trick

 

 

We mounted a mirror length-wise between the dresser and the window, then hung full-size window panels from above the window all the way to the floor.  The mirror not only extends the existing window, but also reflects the light, making the space feel brighter and larger.Placing the lamp in the middle of the dresser camouflages the mirror further, helping integrate it with the window above.

Could this trick help extend the windows in your own home, or do you have similar design tricks up your sleeve?  

 

 

 

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Christine
6 years ago

That trick always works! Thank you so much for sharing and explaining. But, what about when one has wide, squat windows (72″w x 24″h) high on the wall? I have a 1960’s ranch and am often torn as to how to treat the windows in the bedrooms. Flanking panels to either side only emphasizes the width and leaves an awkward space under the window (often the room is too small to allow a piece of furniture to park there). Also, most of the time, the bed must be in front of a window (like the one I mentioned ). I… Read more »

Elaine
Elaine
6 years ago
Reply to  Christine

I have this exact same problem in two of the bedrooms and your right the rooms are small. Looking forward to a response. Thank you.

Colleen
Colleen
6 years ago

Wow Kristie, I love the results! Thanks for sharing this trick, I learn a lot from reading your blog!

sharon
sharon
6 years ago

If you would mount the curtains high to the ceiling and put woven blinds above the window to fill the blank space, it would would give you even more of an illusion of a larger window.

Judy
Judy
6 years ago

Absolutely amazing! Could you please suggest a similar way to treat the tiny, ceiling level basement windows?

Beth
Beth
6 years ago

I knew the drapes trick, but wouldn’t have thought of the mirror!

Janice
Janice
6 years ago

Your ideas are simply amazing! I love that look!

Lori Pruitt
Lori Pruitt
6 years ago

One of my fave tricks! Also works if you have a small, off centered window behind an enormous king bed (like we do!)…amazing how window treatments can change the look of a room 🙂

Kelly
6 years ago

The mirror is a great added touch! I love to think outside the box using mirrors- they are such a great accessory!

Jessica Christian
Jessica Christian
6 years ago

Kristie!! Wow! Thats what I call a trouble-shooting tip! Simple yet very effective. I love the BEFORE & AFTER Transformation here.
One question: Do you think the pattern and color of the curtains might effect the visual effect aswell? Heavy textured curtains will have a different effect as compared to the plain ones. Maybe?

Love it to bits
Jessica x

Paula Van Hoogen
Paula Van Hoogen
6 years ago

Since you asked….I have trick I’ve used often, with great results…after helping my daughter (years ago) on a school report on optical illusions: On either side of a window situation over a kitchen sink, have a glass company come and apply a 1/4″ mirrored surface to the sides of the cabinets facing the window. This gives an illusion of a bay window..(watch what he reflection will be tho, be sure it’s not your garbage can area, for example!) Used it once for a window seat with no side windows. Gave a view of a lake all the way into my… Read more »

Kim
Kim
6 years ago

Would you also be able to hang a mirror above a window and then cover with your draperies to give the illusion of a larger, taller window. My windows are narrow about 30″ wide but I would like to hang drapes almost at the ceiling. My dining room is the darkest room in the house because of many very old large trees and I would hope this would be a solution. Your advice please Kristie.

Kim
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jenny1963
jenny1963
5 years ago

Kristie, I absolutely LOVE your blog and this article speaks to several problem windows of mine. This is EXACTLY the solution I’ve been looking for!! Several questions though: 1. The owners of the house before us put semi-elaborate crown molding all around their windows, even their small insignificant ones. If I attempt your strategy with the mirror below the window, the molding gets in the way on the bottom of the window; there’d be 5 inches of white molding between the window and the mirror. Would you remove the molding around the bottom of the mirror or replace the entire… Read more »

jenny1963
jenny1963
5 years ago

Regarding the above post, the small window is also deep-set with at least 12 inches between window surface and wall surface; it has a very deep sill. Do you think the mirror treatment could still work with your method?

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Debbie D
Debbie D
3 years ago

Kristie,
That is such a great idea! Unfortunately my small, centered window in an old ranch, needs something. More of an above the window issue. Any thoughts would be appreciated.

Heidi
Heidi
1 year ago

Hi love the new look you created here. I have an issue in that I’m trying to put up curtains on three adjacent walls. One wall is my tv wall and is 20 ft. Has high windows so it’s easy bc I need long curtains coming from near the crown moldings. Issue is wall next to it. I just have French doors but same height of wall. I think it will look welrd to have curtains at different beight. Wondering if I put a big mirror above doors that it will look like a window too.

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