Choosing the right window dressing - from style to practical considerations - can be daunting. Here's how to narrow down the options.
Different rooms will have different requirements, so start by deciding what is important in that space. For example: do your windows get a lot of direct sun? Bedrooms can demand blockout solutions, while a living room that faces a garden might only require a light covering. Oversized, small or unusually shaped windows may need special attention.
When comparing options, Martin Wilson of EasyAS Shutters suggests assessing durability, as well as sound and temperature insulation. “Certain window treatments can boost your home’s energy efficiency by blocking summer sun and preventing heat escaping in winter,” he says. “West-facing windows are more likely to require a UV solution,” adds interior designer Lynda MacDonald (thedesignchaperone.com.au). “Sheer curtains are great for reducing glare from the strong afternoon sun and won’t ruin your view, while sunscreen roller blinds can help protect soft furnishings and timber floors from fading.”
“As a general guide, blinds suit more modern spaces, shutters provide an elegant coastal feel and curtains add softness and luxury, which is ideal in bedrooms,” says Lynda. Neutrals are more likely to stand the test of time, but if you have white walls, choose window dressings with the same undertone, whether warm or cool, for a harmonious look.
Layering window treatments also creates versatility. “You can team a sun-filtering sheer curtain to diffuse daylight with a blockout fabric for evening privacy,” suggests Lynda. Or look for products like Windoware’s day/night roller blinds, which offer dual functionality. “With a sheer or light filter on the back roller and a blockout on the front, they reduce glare and provide daytime sun protection or total blockout if desired,” explains Mary Halliday of Windoware.
Roller blinds are relatively inexpensive and are available in a wide range of colours. They are also simple to install and operate and suit most interior styles. Options include blockout for privacy, light-filtering for softening glare and sunscreen blinds, which provide daytime privacy and block UV rays. Roller blinds can also be rolled up out of the way for full access to the window. Be aware that blinds installed inside the window reveal will have some light coming through on the side, says Mary. “To avoid this, install the blinds outside the reveal and extend past the architrave, or add a curtain to hang either side,” she suggests. “This will also provide another layer of insulation when they’re both drawn.”
Venetian blinds are budget-friendly and available in a variety of materials. Classic timber suits a casual coastal or country feel, while aluminium has a modern aesthetic, says Lynda. Another advantage is you can angle the blade to direct light where you want it. Vertical blinds are very functional for large windows or glass sliding doors. “As the slats stack behind each other when the blinds are open, they’re unobtrusive and can sit to one side or the centre to frame the window,” explains Lynda.
Plantation shutters have massive appeal, with their timeless clean lines and functionality. “They add value to your home and offer control of light and airflow through windows,” says Martin. “The blades block out 90 percent of sunlight and offer good insulation properties." The advantage of UV-stabilised PVC varieties is they’re suitable for wet areas like kitchens and bathrooms, are easy to clean and come in pre-made or custom sizes you can install yourself.
From floaty sheers to heavier fabrics, curtains come in a wide range of options. “They create a welcoming feel and thick fabric curtains do a great job of blanketing windows to help with insulation,” says Lynda. To further personalise the look, Mary suggests choosing curtain rods to complement your interior style. “From natural timber to brushed brass, there’s a huge range of brackets and rods to choose from,” she says.
Blinds: Most blinds come in a kit which includes brackets, screws and a tension device. First, decide if you want the blind to be recess or face-mounted on the window architrave. Mark where the brackets should go, choose which side you want the control mechanism, then screw in the brackets with a drill. Mount the blind on the brackets, securing the control side first. The important final step is to thread the control chain through the safety bracket, which needs to be attached to the wall.
Curtains: “All curtains, decorator rods and tracks are made for ease of installation, with components in a pack with simple-to-read instructions,” says Mary. Position the rod so curtains sit at least 10-15cm above the window frame and extend 15cm either side. “This allows full coverage of the window and reduces light coming from the sides and the top of the window,” she says.
Shutters: Some shutters are designed to be simple to order and install. “First, measure the window width in three places (top, middle and bottom) and the height in three places (left, middle, right) and supply the smallest measurements to the Special Orders Desk,” says Martin. You’ll only need a screwdriver and the supplied hex key, although a cordless drill with a no. 2 Phillips head bit will make installing the fixings screws easier.
Learn how to install adjustable shutters with our easy to follow, step-by-step guide.
Photo credit: Getty Images, Pillar, Windoware, Sue Stubbs and Cath Muscat.
Some photographs feature products from suppliers other than Bunnings.