How to Choose the “Right” Window Treatment

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Time and time again we’ve heard clients say how overwhelming it can be to shop for window treatments.  With so many options in the market these days, we can totally see why.  Sometimes having a lot of choice can complicate things rather than help hone in on what it is you really need.  Here’s a quick list of pros and cons for each type of window treatment to help you determine which is the right choice for your space.


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Blinds in the world of window treatments is a term that is commonly misused.  People often refer to any window treatment that covers a window as a blind.  However, if we want to get technical, a window blind actually refers to metal, wood, vinyl or plastic slats that are held together via strings or fabric tape and operate via a string, cord or control wand. 


  • There is a blind option for almost any budget so they are perfect for those on a tight budget
  • Lots of colors, fabrics, metals, wood and faux woods to choose from
  • Available in horizontal and vertical orientations


  • Strings and cords can be dangerous around young children
  • Difficult to clean; once soiled, strings and cords will never get back to their original colour
  • Inexpensive options may appear “cheap”
  • Not great for bedrooms as light peaks through every slat preventing optimal room darkening

    Window Blinds

Curtains and Drapes
Curtains and drapes refer to any window covering that includes fabric that is hung and arranged in loose folds around a window.  Although there are similarities between the two, curtains and drapes are not the same thing.  Curtains typically use cotton or sheer materials and are less expensive to produce and therefore cheaper to buy.  Drapes on the other hand, are typically lined, carry more weight and offer heating and cooling benefits as well as privacy.


  • Loads of choice when it comes to colours, patterns and fabric materials
  • Well-chosen curtains and drapes will add style and beauty to any room
  • Drapes provide insulation that assists with utility bills


  • Drapery fabric and labour can be very costly
  • Can be a pain to clean as most “quality” curtains and drapes are dry clean only
  • Not ideal for spaces with pets or small children as the fabrics can collect pet hair easily and are too accessible for dirty hands


Window Shades
When it comes to window shades, there is pretty much every option imaginable out there. Shades can be sheer, blackout, roller, honeycomb, roman, screen or fabric. The choices are truly endless. Shades are perfect for the “in between” client.  In terms of expense, they fall in the middle somewhere between blinds and drapes or shutters.


  • Tons of choice in terms of operation, colours and fabrics
  • Can add beauty and style to a space if the right fabric is chosen
  • Offer excellent light control (can achieve almost full blackout or let in a great deal of light, while still protecting against heat and glare)
  • Many shades (particularly honeycomb shades) protect against high heat in the Summer and cold winds in the Winter, thus offering a savings on utility bills
  • Cordless and power options available for tidy appearance and high windows


  • Some shades such as honeycomb and roman shades, can be hard to clean
  • String and corded options can be dangerous for young children
  • Cordless and power options add significant cost

Window shades

Shutters seem to be all the rage these days. They certainly are beautiful, but there are a couple of disadvantages that you should know about before making a purchase. Things to consider when shopping for shutters include; whether you want wood or vinyl construction, how much slat spacing you desire, where you’d like the tilt bar placed, whether you require divider rails for independent operation of window sections, will you require bi-fold or custom cutouts to accommodate tight spaces, etc.


  • Provides a very polished, cohesive look/appearance
  • Adds status to a home
  • Very easy to clean
  • Provides “some” shelter from heat and cold


  • Wood shutters will warp and fade over time
  • Obstructs view from windows 
  • Poor light control (not ideal for bedrooms
  • May require clearance to open shutters (consider furniture placement)
  • Can be quite expensive
California Shutters

So that’s it in a nutshell.  Hopefully we’ve given you some insight into the world of window treatments so that you can make a more educated decision when making your next purchase. If you'd like more interior design information or you'd like to get immediate access to our FREE interior design guides, checklists and cheat sheets join my Design Tribe.

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And, if you have any interior design questions that you just can't seem to figure out, check out our super affordable Design Advice service. You get to ask a professional interior decorator as many interior design and decorating questions as you like for a week at a time, allowing you the time you need to carry out your interior design tasks instead of soaking up all of your time researching them.  

Until next time, happy decorating! :)

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Interior Decorator Val Malnar
Interior Decorator Val Malnar

Val Malnar
Principal Designer | Orangetree Interiors

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  • What is a great window coverings for living room windows. There’s a rectangular window on top. Then there’s a 5 inch wall rectangular space then there’s a long window .

    Lily Estrada on

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