When working with existing homes and new builds alike, I see many windows that are placed awkwardly or feel too small for the scale of the wall or that just lack in overall interest. You probably have windows like that in your home as well. While we could certainly replace them with a larger size or move them in an existing wall for better alignment that is often cost prohibitive. Fortunately, there are ways to make your windows feel large and luxurious without reworking the architecture of your home.
In this week's HILL - HOW you'll find some great do's and don'ts for disguising those small or awkwardly placed windows and turning them into something grand and luxurious with window-coverings. This is the first in a series of HILL-HOW's to come and so stay tuned, subscribe or check back for more design tips and tricks soon!
Drapery: Mounted Higher & Wider than Your Window
The first trick up my sleeve to creating that large luxurious window feel in your space is with drapery. Not only do draperies add dimension and texture to your windows they can also give the illusion that your windows are much larger than they actually are. To get this effect there are a few essential guidelines I recommend following.
- Do -
Install your drapes HIGHER than your window. Typically, half way between the window and the ceiling or within a few inches of your ceiling. The taller you hang them, the taller your ceiling will feel.
Install your drapes WIDER than your window. Ideally, the whole panel should be able to stack back to the side of your window and cover up to the edge of the glass. This allows for an unobstructed view outside and gives the illusion your window is much larger than it is.
Use draperies with thickness and a lining. That extra layer of material not only adds to the longevity of your drapery against damaging sun rays and the "R" value or heat/cold control in your space, it also adds more visual weight making them feel luxurious and expensive.
Use a larger rod thickness, I like to use rods at least 1" thickness so they stay straight and feel more to scale with the size of your drapes.
"Rod Pocket" style drapes are my go to. Even better when you attach your drapes with rings for that extra layer of detail.
Have 1.25-1.5 x the width of your drapery rod in drapery materials. That way they have more substance and don't lay flat when they are closed.
- Don't -
Don't use Sheer Drapery, while sheer drapes can be lovely, they don't do well at disguising the size of the window behind. If you'd like to use a light filtering sheer drape then layer it with a double rod behind something with more thickness.
Don't mount your drapery to the top and sides of your window trim. When you keep your drapes just above and to the side of trim it will make your window feel smaller.
Many inexpensive drapery options are one flat panel of fabric seamed at the edges. These drapes don't drape as well without the weight of more fabric, and don't do well masking the size of the window behind them.
Don't use "Grommet" style drapes. They often are made with one thickness of fabric, the grommet size also doesn't feel to scale with the rod itself and they usually have a cheap appearance.
Here's look at before and after adding drapes in my primary bedroom:
These drapes are a faux linen from Amazon and they look great! I just installed them this week in our new home and I love them so far! They are the "Blazer Gray" color with a room darkening lining so they still let in a subtle amount of light but block the majority so they're great for a bedroom. HPD or Half Priced Drapes with Amazon has a great selection of colors and sizes, many with a rod pocket style top as shown here. Click on the photo below or this link to get your own!
I'm still debating if I'll keep them puddled on the floor a few inches or if I'll add rings and hem the base. I'll let you know when I decide! Not only do my windows look larger now that they're framed in linen drapes but they have been so great to have on a Saturday morning so we can sleep in. At least, when the kiddos let us.
Roman Shades: Outside Mount for Extra Height
In my kitchen I employed another style of window-covering, a Roman Shade, to make my window appear larger than it is. Roman shades are great for adding pattern or texture even layered behind drapes to hide the expanse of wall between the window and the drapery rod. They come in styles from flat to hobbled and relaxed roman. I opted for a flat style roman shade that feels more structural and architectural for this window.
Here's a look at before, after with the shade up and after with the shade pulled down.
When the shade is lifted up it covers most of the wall space above and gives the appearance the window is that much larger. If I had mounted the shade inside my window space rather than outside it would have covered a quarter of my view and made the window feel much smaller. I aligned the sides with the outside of my window trim and the top of the shade I carried nearly to the ceiling so it acts as sort of a valance when it's raised up.
I have always loved the look of a roman shade and wanted one for years and so I have been hunting for weeks to find one that was affordable and had the function and look I was after. They're classy and give some much character and depth to a window.
I got price quotes from a few different sources online and in person which put a cordless Roman shade about $800-900 for the size I needed. That was out of my price range and so when I found these great custom striped drapes from Amazon I was overjoyed. This shade is lined with a light filtering material and has a cordless operation so I can pull down the shade to whatever length I'd like without any hanging cords. It only cost a little over $230 delivered which was a quarter what the other options cost so it was perfect. It also only took between two and three weeks for my custom cordless Roman shades to be delivered and they have a smooth function and look beautiful.
It's important in this kind of application to get the shade size just right. I mentioned that this shade was custom sized which is huge! If you get a shade that is too long then the bulk of material at the bottom is out of proportion and won't look as refined and tailored. I measured the window and they verified the exact size I needed which was perfect for this application. Here's a link to the roman shade I used.
If you're looking to enhance the look of your windows and make them feel larger and more luxurious I hope you found these tips and tricks helpful! We often have to work with the architecture and placement of the windows in our home but that doesn't mean we have to compromize on style. Adding window-coverings that are wider and higher may be just the thing your home needs to feel more beautiful than you even imagined. If you need assistance for your specific application reach out to me and I'd be happy to help!
What design dilema would you like learn about on the next HILL-HOW? Be sure to send them my way!
All the best,