Q & A window treatments Window Treatments Q & A

Q & A — What Window Treatments For Ashley’s Living Room Windows?

Last Updated on December 24, 2015 by Kristi Linauer

Ashley has four windows in her living room that have created quite a decorating challenge for her.  Here’s what she says:

I recently found you on Facebook and I’m so glad I did! I found your post for Andrea’s windows, and it inspired me to take another look at my living room and attempt to finally tackle my windows. I always avoid dressing windows, because I never like what I do, but this room poses several issues that make my head spin! First, I always hang high, and can do so on the fireplace wall. And I could screw my rods into the entertainment center, as you suggested to Andrea, but I can’t do both….the entertainment center only goes so high. If the rod is hung as high as I think you would suggest, then it will go over the top if the entertainment center and I wonder if that will look funny.

Second, since the window butts up to the ent. center, obviously I can’t put panels there, so should I NOT put panels up against the fireplace either, or treat them separately? And thirdly, since my windows are 35 in wide(inside trim), and since there is little spaces on some sides of some windows, is a 60 inch panel good for all around? Just one? See? My head. Spinning. HELP! It’s been 3 years since we built this house, and the windows are still naked. (Good thing we live in the middle of a ten acre pasture!) I was originally thinking plantation shutters to continue the old Craftsman style house we have here, but think I need curtains for softness, color, and pattern. Thanks for your help!

reader question - window treatments for living room 1

reader question - window treatments for living room 2

reader question - window treatments for living room 3

reader question - window treatments for living room 4

Kristi’s Suggestions:

First, I can tell you that I think plantation shutters used as a complete window treatment in this room would be a mistake.  In my opinion, the last thing you need in here is the addition of another hard surface.  Fabric window treatments would add some much needed softness to the room.

However, I do see your challenge with the windows around the fireplace being spaced quite differently from the windows flanking the entertainment center.

It’s a challenge, but not necessarily a problem.  I don’t see any reason why the two sets of windows can’t be addressed (and dressed) separately.

If I’m looking at the pictures right, when someone enters your house through the front door and walks into the living room, the first wall they see is the fireplace wall.  And in most rooms where there’s a fireplace, that wall is the focal wall of the room.  And since those windows have more space, that works out perfectly.  I would definitely put draperies on those windows.

Hang them high (place the rod about 10 to 12 inches above the window, and hang them as wide as you can while keeping the panels evenly spaced on each side of the window.  Use two 50 to 55-inch panels per window, one on each side.  (Remember that industry standard for draperies is that the fullness of the fabric should be 2.5 to 3 times the width of the window, and that includes not only the window, but also the trim and any wall space that you also want to cover with the fabric.  So in your case two full-width panels on each window would be just right.)

Now to coordinate the fireplace wall windows with the entertainment center wall windows, there are a few things you could do.

The first option would be to use natural woven shades on all four windows, like this…

window treatments - intrinsic designs portfolio traditional bedroom via houzzTraditional Bedroom by Vero Beach Interior Designers & Decorators jill Shevlin – Intrinsic Designs

You can see that the designer of that room used draperies only on the one main wall, but tied all of the windows together by the use of the woven shades on all of the windows. That would definitely work for your entertainment wall, while also adding some beautiful texture and a rich dark color to contrast with the white of the trim and entertainment center.

Another option would be to use the same fabric on all of the windows, but make draperies for the fireplace wall, and Roman shades for the entertainment center wall.  That combo of Roman shades and draperies made out of the same fabric is what I’m using in my own living room, and you can see it here in this living room also…

window treatments - living room from enviable designs via houzzTraditional Living Room by Vancouver Interior Designers & Decorators Enviable Designs Inc.

A third option would be to choose two coordinating fabrics. Use one of them for the draperies on the fireplace wall, and then use the second fabric for Roman shades that could be used on all four windows. That would give you a look like this…

window treatments - farm fresh traditional bedroom dc metro via houzzTraditional Bedroom by Alexandria Interior Designers & Decorators 2 Ivy Lane

So those are my suggestions for solving your window treatment challenge. The main things are (1) your fireplace wall needs fabric, softness, height, and color, (2) your entertainment center wall doesn’t have to be dressed in the same way, but (3) there needs to be something coordinating the two walls so that your separate treatment of the walls looks intentional.

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  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    March 8, 2014 at 12:53 pm

    After looking at the suggestion pictures and hearing your input, Kristi, I think any one of the three window treatments would be the most beneficial for the room’s look and feel. I especially like the one where 2 coordinating fabrics are used, that way bringing 2 colors and 2 patterns into the room.

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    jacqui holmes
    March 8, 2014 at 1:09 pm

    Hi There, i have just seen Ashleighs photos, and had exactly the same problem in our house…two windows on each side of the fire place. I decided after 10 yrs they had to go and just bricked them in and put to large mirrors in their place…what a difference it has made having that space to use. The room still has enough light…Cannot beleive i waited so long to do it..

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    March 8, 2014 at 1:34 pm

    Love the 1st and 3rd pictures!

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    March 8, 2014 at 1:57 pm

    [I always avoid dressing windows, because I never like what I do] Me too! In fact, we are moving from the home we have lived in since April 2003 and with the exception of vertical blinds in the bedrooms for privacy and to help it be dark in the summer when it stays light forEVER there are no window dressings anywhere.

    Our farmhouse has corner windows kind of like the first picture in this post only they are completely different sizes and heights. That is one of the many odd things that I have to figure out how to deal with in a house built in 1898 and renovated several times by DIY-ers of various skill and ability. Obviously, I am going to have to dress them to camouflage them.

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    Diana Taylor
    March 8, 2014 at 2:29 pm

    Kristi, your suggestions for Ashley are spot on! All options work and would be wonderful in her space. Wish there was a way you could follow-up on those with decorating questions and keep us informed as to what is chosen to address their problem!

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    March 8, 2014 at 2:55 pm

    What beautiful views. I hope you don’t block them. Also like your stone fireplace.

    • Reply To This Comment ↓
      March 8, 2014 at 3:38 pm

      Thank you! We don’t need to cover for privacy, just to block glare from the sun and for a little added decor! When I thought about shutters, I was thinking old school style covering only the button half and leaving the top free to be seen and seen through. But it may look outdated and not retro!! So, I’ll ponder these three ideas and let y’all know!

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    Gilmer Gal
    March 8, 2014 at 2:58 pm

    I want to THANK Ashley for asking that question, and YOU, Kristi! I got three great ideas for my windows. They are all very, very nice. Now, where’s my sewing machine…

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    March 8, 2014 at 3:45 pm

    I really like the idea of the panels on the entertainment center wall and the roman shades flanking the fireplace.

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    Genelle McDaniel
    March 8, 2014 at 3:50 pm

    My suggestion may not be a popular one, but as I look at your windows and see the beautiful craftsman style with the woodwork being a step above normal, and that your windows are deep set in the frame, and that you are in a 10-acre field rather than having a neighbor against you, I want to suggest something a little different. You do need some fabric for softness. I would hang sheers inside the window frames and let those beautiful window frames show. They would have to be the same size as the window. And then I would raise the windows a little in good weather and let the breeze blow those sheers, giving it the feeling of vintage days. My heart flutters when I see sheers flowing in the breeze.

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    March 8, 2014 at 4:00 pm

    I too like the idea of having the drapes all the way to the ceiling on the fireplace wall with roman shades underneath, and repeat those same roman shades on the entertainment center wall. That way, the fireplace will remain the focal point on that wall, and the entertainment center will take center stage on its wall, while allowing the window treatments to coordinate. I wouldn’t run the rod for the drapes over the fireplace though, but just end them with finials in a line with the edge of the fireplace. Great suggestions, Kristi, and it really helps that you include pictures that illustrate what you are saying. Ashley, I do hope you will post pictures of what you decide so we can all share in your victory over those windows! 🙂

    • Reply To This Comment ↓
      March 8, 2014 at 4:07 pm

      P. S. Also, to add some softness to the room, you could add a simple room-size rug with bound edges under the sofa extending toward the entertainment center. Your floors are beautiful, but a rug would add a measure of warmth and allow the children a play area. Just an idea for your consideration!

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    March 8, 2014 at 4:31 pm

    I would use draperies hung high above the window with extra length to the floor, but pull panels to the outside wall on both sides. You don’t want the fabric too close to the fireplace (dangerous!!!) or the entertainment center. This would crowd the look. Also, have the rod extend outward, and pull the panels to the edge of the trimwork on that side to let in as much light as possible. I would do the same treatment on both sides of the room.

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    March 8, 2014 at 7:46 pm

    I was wondering, maybe someone already suggested it but why not “half rods” on the windows that can’t fit whole rods or to the sides of the entertainment stand? Like these on Houzz……

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    March 8, 2014 at 7:58 pm

    I love that fireplace! How cozy! I am a huge fan of Plantation shutters (sorry). The home we bought 4 yrs ago came with them. I was actually quite lucky as the prior owner had great taste. The front window in the “formal” living room is a bay & has the most beautiful Plantation shutters with an arch top. The other window are 2″ wood blinds. I had a chair custom upholstered & had throw pillows done in the same printed fabric. I bought a valance kit online & used the same fabric for the valance over the 2″ blinds. I think this is a good way to incorporate a print fabric without going overboard, & have a custom look.https://scontent-b-lax.xx.fbcdn.net/hphotos-prn1/t1/1013685_10201395566156612_1210173031_n.jpg

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    March 8, 2014 at 8:03 pm

    What about dummy panels on the outside of each window? Something with a short rod, similar to what is used in this post: http://beautifulhabitat.blogspot.com/2010/03/before-after-window-treatments-4.html

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    Colleen F.
    March 8, 2014 at 10:51 pm

    I think all three of Kristi’s suggestions are great, but I especially like option #3, especially something colorful.

    PS–I really love your living room, love the crisp white against the warm tan.

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    March 8, 2014 at 10:55 pm

    Take a look at Thistlewood Farms: http://www.thistlewoodfarms.com/get-the-look-smocked-burlap-curtains

    KariAnne uses just one panel on her windows, but it looks fantastic… I think that might go well in your room.

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    March 9, 2014 at 3:37 am

    This might not be a popular opinion but I would chuck the entertainment center. It is too big and bulky. Also, am I seeing this correctly, there are two TVs in the room? One over the fireplace and one in entmnt center? Find a different room for it and then put your drapes up.
    I would also use sheers. So lovely.

    • Reply To This Comment ↓
      Kristi Linauer
      March 9, 2014 at 8:53 am

      I’m pretty sure the entertainment center is built-in as a permanent part of the room, rather than being a free-standing piece of furniture.

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    March 9, 2014 at 3:42 am

    Oh I see it is a painting over the fireplace. My mistake for not looking more closely.

    • Reply To This Comment ↓
      March 9, 2014 at 11:46 am

      It’s a mirror. I have been changing my mantle decor seasonally and am in the middle of decorating it now. There is only 1 tv and the ent. center is a built in. I love it and designed it myself, as I did everything else in my house. I’m not a professional but believe I have pretty good taste if I don’t say so myself! Window treatments get me every time though! Lol

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    March 9, 2014 at 12:34 pm

    Thank you for answering my questions! And thank you to all your readers who have responded! I love all the different ideas and I may be closer to a decision… Maybe! Lol I would love to share an after picture if possible here later!

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    March 9, 2014 at 4:05 pm

    Hey Kristi, You know what’s awesome? I knew what the general answer was before reading your answer! And that is because I have been reading your blog for over a year now, and have learned soooo much. Thanks for being my interior design professor!

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    March 9, 2014 at 5:08 pm

    As usual Kristi, your suggestions are excellent. I agree the fireplace wall needs full draperies hung well above the trim of the window. A one side only panel could work by the entertainment center, but I like the ideas of roman shades on those windows. However, to soften the look a bit, I would suggest a London blind design for the shades. You need some curving lines in addition to the softness of fabric to warm up the room and make it zing. Not pleated, and not the flouncy kind, just a soft curve. Hope this link works, this is what I have in mind: http://www.jameskinginteriors.com/images/london_blind1.jpg. Anybody agree?

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    Elizabeth Sagarminaga
    March 21, 2014 at 12:38 am

    Your plan is very amazing, and I think this is a good way to incorporate a print fabric without going overboard, & have a custom look. One should get inspired from your ideas. Also, love your fireplace, as it is very cozy.