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Seven rules for window dressings


colourful curtains

Colourful curtains from 'No Chintz'
Textiles & Soft Furnishings

For people building or renovating their home, usually one of the last items to be addressed is the type of window dressing to use which really completes the space. The range available is very broad which can be a good thing but can also make the final choice daunting.

The first rule to remember however is don’t leave this decision until the end of the project. Consideration of the type and style of window dressing should be made right at the start of the renovation to ensure the look that you want to achieve can be accommodated within the build.

For example, do you want pelmets built in to hide curtain tracks or blind fixings? Do you want to be able to mount blinds or shutters into the window reveal rather than fixing them onto the architraves? In which case the depth of the window reveal is important as chunky door handles will almost certainly get in the way. Do you want insulation from your window dressings? If this is the case you may want to consider using low e glass for your project and then window dressings become almost superfluous and are there for decoration only.

Outrigger Awnings

Image courtesy of Outrigger Awnings


Image courtesy of SilentGliss


Image courtesy of Luxaflex

Privacy, heat and glare control

The second rule to consider is whether you need the window dressings to provide privacy, heat and glare control from the sun or both. You will need to consider the aspect of each space, and the size of your eaves and verandas. If the issue is sun control, have you considered using external retractable awnings?

Many of these can be retracted automatically when wind levels reach a certain level or you can retract them electronically and again consideration needs to be given before the building is finished so that an electrician can make allowances for this. An alternative are external blinds on the windows.

For the interior you may just want to use simple transparent roller blinds with UV protection. These will cut down the harsh UV rays and a large proportion of the heat and glare whilst filtering natural light without forsaking the view. Interestingly, the view through the blind is clearer with darker fabrics.

Some UV protection blinds now have a silver coloured metal backing for even greater heat and glare control. Should you require privacy you will need blinds with a blackout fabric. Don’t despair though if you want both heat and glare control during the day without giving up your view and privacy at night as you can use a dual roller blind solution.

Remember that roller blinds don’t have to be plain. There is a great range of textured and subtly patterned fabrics on the market now for use in these applications.

Style considerations

Your next consideration, and an extremely important one, is the style you are trying to achieve. The solution of roller blinds is a very practical one, however the look may be too simple or contemporary for your taste. If this is the case you may want to consider installing shutters on your windows and doors. They will offer privacy without forsaking your view, will provide sun control and insulation and also look fantastic in both modern and classic decorating schemes.

Shutters made from Australian Western Red Cedar, that are stained or painted white are the premium choice. These can be fitted into the window reveal to open directly into the room, placed on tracks for sliding door situations or designed as bi-fold solutions so that you can open up the window fully to the external view. You are really only limited by your imagination as you can also use them for skylights to control the sun.

Shutters come with varying blade sizes and the larger size blade offers a more contemporary look and gives the best unimpeded view. Shutters can also be installed on verandas and outdoor areas and then your windows and doors can be left clear of window dressings or perhaps finished simply with some soft drapes.

timber shutters


white shutters

Shutter images courtesy of Open Shutters


curtains by Zepel Fabrics

Image courtesy of Zepel Fabrics

Venetian blinds are a less expensive option but with a similar look. Often these are ready made and are a cost effective solution that looks very smart and suits a number of decorating styles.

The fourth rule to remember is that simple drapes are back in fashion. Often perceived as out of date, curtains are now gracing many windows in even the most contemporary environments.

Simple sheers in dark greys offer a cutting edge look and offer protection from harsh UV rays while softening a space. These can be installed on a concealed track or for a more classic look you can use silver curtain rods.


The golden rule with window dressings is to keep it simple. Don’t be tempted to use elaborate tie backs or tassles or elaborate swags and tails for curtains. Pelmets for either blinds or curtains must be kept very simple and rectangular in shape.

Curtains should simply fall straight, either to the floor or slightly pooling at the base. It is therefore important to use a good quality fabric with a decent amount of weight to ensure the curtain falls properly.

A good quality natural linen is an excellent choice and hemp is an environmentally friendly fabric that looks great for curtains. Simplicity is the key with shutters too as these look stunning on their own and don’t need additional pelmets or accessories.

Fun with colour

The sixth and a very important rule with window dressings is to not be afraid to use colour! Bright, wonderful, saturated colour is back in fashion. Window dressings are an expensive part of a project so you may want to be conservative with your main living areas but consider having some fun with some of your smaller windows. Custom made roman blinds look great in fabrics with strong colour and pattern.

This is a great way to bring fun and interest into a children’s room too. Roman blinds are a great solution for windows however they are not always so successful on doors as when the blinds are pulled up to the top, the pelmet becomes so thick that it doesn’t sit very well. No Chintz has a fantastic range of colourful fabrics so consider using a different fabric for a trim to really jazz up the room.

Roman blinds can also be made with the same fabrics as roller blinds, for example with translucent, sheer and sunscreen fabrics for a very practical yet smart finish.

window shades

Image courtesy of Luxaflex

Odd shaped windows

Finally, you don’t have to leave those odd shaped windows, high up in your room without window coverings. There are many options now for windows that are in an arch or triangular shape. For an arched shape window you can simply use a fabric covered pelmet to disguise the arch or you can have a shutter custom made to fit the space perfectly.

Luxaflex Duette shades which are pleated can be cut to fit an unusual space. These blinds are very versatile as they use a colour coordinated honeycomb shape that nestles inside another to provide superior energy efficiency. These blinds can be raised from the top or the bottom which offers a wide range of applications.

Pleated blind systems from Verasol are also a good solution for an arched window.

pleated blinds
Image courtesy of Verasol

About the author

Samantha Bacon designs unique colour schemes for interiors and exteriors of residential and commercial properties and is a colour feature and trends writer for various magazines. Samantha specifies the colour, product and finish for every aspect of a renovation or new build including bricks, windows, roofing, hard landscaping, kitchen and bathroom surfaces, paint, flooring, furnishings and fabrics. Samantha can also assist with interior stying and space planning. Samantha is a graduate of the International School of Colour and Design and is a Member of the Design Institute of Australia.

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