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    A Guide to Window Treatments

    While it may be tempting to slap something cheap in front of your window, doing so could turn your home's windows into a money pit. To avoid such a blunder, it’s important to understand the differences, uses, and styles of different window treatments.
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    Venetian Blinds | @ / Gina Sanders

    Windows treatments are one of the best ways to customize your home and draw attention to your window investments. In order to familiarize yourself with the basic styles and terminology, read on for more information about the most common window treatments.

    Curtain Styles for Window Treatments

    Tiers: Ideal for windows in bathrooms and kitchens, tiers are curtains generally designed to cover the lower half of a window.

    Tab Tops: This is a simple accessory that directs attention to the curtain rod. Tab tops come in a variety of styles and materials, including plastic and metal, but generally are a series of tabs that fasten the curtain to the rod.

    Pole-Top Panels: A pole-top panel is a simple pocket used to attach your curtain to the pole from which it hangs. A classic in the world of window treatments, pole-top panels can be ordered in a variety of sizes to accommodate varying lengths of curtain rods.

    Valances: Like tab tops and pole-top panels, valances are used to hide your curtain rod from view. The major difference between these different window treatments is that valances do not have to be combined with curtains.

    Swags: Swag refers to curtains that hang from the curtain rod in graceful curves, often forming soft, drooping arches. Generally, swag curtains are best suited to formal settings and can instantly give your windows an air of elegance.

    Fabric for Window Treatments

    Opaque: These window treatments offer the maximum amount of privacy and let in the least amount of light.

    Semi-Opaque: The most popular fabric for window treatments, semi-opaque fabric allows in more light than opaque fabric, while still maintaining a significant level of privacy.

    Semi-Sheer: This fabric style filters light instead of blocking it. This allows for more natural light than the opaque styles while still maintaining some privacy.

    Sheer: Of all fabrics for window treatments, sheer fabrics provide the most light and the least privacy.

    Insulating curtains: Insulating, or thermal, curtains can decrease the heat exchange between your home and the outdoors. A simple yet effective option for saving money on energy bills, these window treatments can also keep your rooms cooler in the warm months.

    Wood frame plantation style shutters | @ / Paul Hill

    Blinds, Shutters, and Shades

    Blinds: Blinds can have either horizontal or vertical slats, and are constructed out of wood, vinyl, or aluminum. As a rule, horizontal blinds are best used with classic windows, while vertical blinds are ideal for sliding glass doors.

    Shutters: Shutters are excellent window treatments for the homeowner who wants to add an extra touch of flair. Common shutter styles include:

    Plantation: Shutters with slats that can be rotated to open and close.

    Solid: Shutters made of solid wood that must completely opened away from the window to let in light.

    Café: Smaller shutters that only cover the bottom half of a window.

    Shades: Shades can be made out of bamboo, jute, grass, or raffia. They block out unwanted light and can add a welcoming and comforting atmosphere to a room, so they are excellent window treatments for a room used primarily for relaxing at the end of a long day.

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