6 Tips for Classic Window Coverings

A room isn’t fully dressed without classic window coverings. Windows (and access to natural light) can make or break a space, but the importance of window treatments is often overlooked. From ultra-feminine, voluminous taffeta curtains to tailored roman shades, window treatment materials and styles reflect the fashion of any space. With classic window coverings, it’s important to consider their purpose. Functional, purely decorative, or strike a balance between the two, depending on your space and the amount of natural light you receive and prefer.

When we say classic window coverings we aren’t referring to the style we mean timeless strategies when decorating windows. Whether it’s full and flowing drapes, modern coverings, classic curtains, Roman shades, or laidback shutters, these tips are sure to inspire a better idea of what to consider before choosing classic window coverings.

When selecting window coverings, you’ll need to consider:

1 Blinds or curtains?

THE LOOK: If you like drama, or want to emphasize the height of your space, curtains are the way to go. Curtains can provide texture, color, or pattern and look beautiful either open or closed. However, blinds provide a more minimal, inconspicuous option and can also be chain-controlled or automated for ease of use.

WHAT YOU’RE COVERING: If you’re covering doorways, curtains are the best option as they’ll soften the look of large doors while allowing easy access between indoors and out. Curtains are obviously also great for windows but can cause problems in small spaces or rooms with lots of furniture.

WALLS AND FURNITURE: Shorter windows, windows with limited wall space at the sides, and windows with furniture underneath are best suited to blinds, which can offer a compact alternative while retaining the insulation benefits and light-blocking properties of heavier curtains.

Tip: Hang curtains the same color as your walls to make the space feel larger.

2 Save or splurge on classic window coverings?

You have two choices when purchasing curtains and blinds: custom or ready to hang. Off-the-shelf curtains and blinds are a quick, easy and affordable solution that can change the look of a space in no time, but may not fit your space or decor exactly. Custom window treatments can be made in a wide selection of fabrics, with the precise pleat headings, tracks, and linings you need, but will cost more as they are made to measure.

Three cost-saving tips:

+ Install custom window coverings in living areas and ready-mades elsewhere – custom-made curtains or blinds in well-used areas such as the living room or master bedroom will fit perfectly, making those spaces feel more luxurious, as well as functioning better. If the budget is getting tight, ready-made products in bedrooms, the office or laundry are a great way to stretch your funds,” says Vicky Nisbet from Curtain Studio.

+ Use attachable thermal linings instead of buying a new set of curtains. “Adding ready-made attachable blockout lining is an affordable ‘no sew’ method to give extra insulation and light-blocking to existing curtains,” says Vicky.

+ Go for cost-effective fabrics that mimic the look of high-end materials. For example, linen-look curtains can provide a close imitation of the real thing. “It is possible to achieve a designer look at a great price utilizing modern fabrics which look and handle like natural fabrics,” says Vicky.

3 Top trends for classic window coverings

  • Natural linens – for a luxurious, natural look.
  • Lush botanicals – tropical flora and fauna.
  • Retro florals – both bold and delicate styles.
  • Soft pastels – duck-egg blue and blush pink.
  • Rust and mustard – earthy tones of gold and reddish-brown.
  • Insulation – window coverings that offer insulating properties, eg cellular shades.
  • Automation – blinds, and curtains that can be tilted, opened, and closed at the touch of a button.

What style of blinds?

  • Roman – combines the function of a roller blind with the softness of curtains.
  • Venetian – provides versatile light control with a stylish slatted look.
  • Vertical – flexible vertical slats, ideal for sliding doors that don’t have wall space for curtains.
  • Roller – affordable, effective light-blocking with a minimal look.
  • Cellular – a new type of blind with a horizontal pleated look that provides added window insulation.

Twice as nice

Curtain and blind double-ups that combine the best of both worlds with classic window coverings:

+ Double-tracked sheer curtains for daytime privacy and light-filtering combined with thermal curtains for night-time insulation and light-blocking.

+ A double-layer roller blind with a lightweight privacy blind underneath and a light-blocking blind on top.

+ Net curtains provide daytime privacy and light-filtering (fitted inside the window frame), while Roman blinds block light and create a soft, textured effect when lowered at night.


If you want the beauty of curtains as well as the practicality of blinds, you may be able to combine the two – a roller blind for blocking out light and curtains for softness and texture.

6. Pleat sheet for classic window coverings

A quick guide to classic window coverings curtain styles:

  • Pencil pleat – an adjustable curtain with cords running through the top that can be pulled to create the desired gather and width.
  • New York pleat – single pinch pleats at even intervals create a modern look with a little gathering.
  • Dutch pleat – double pinch pleats at even intervals create a modern look with a lot of volume.
  • French pleat – triple pinch pleats at even intervals create a full, luxurious look.
  • Inverted pleat or box pleat – a single pleat at even intervals along the back of the curtain creates a boxy, formal look.
  • Tabletop or tab curtains – a series of fabric loops thread onto a curtain rod, creating a soft, casual look. Best for sheer curtains that are opened or closed infrequently.
  • Eyelet–inset metal rings are threaded onto a curtain rail for a clean, minimal look. Easily adjustable.


When snugly fitted inside the window frame, net curtains can help insulate windows and prevent cold air from circulating into your living space.

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