The shades or curtains on your window were probably the last item you considered for your home. Carpets? Check. Cushion covers? Check. The cloth coasters for the coffee table? Those were probably considered before the windows. Most of us are pleased if our window coverings block out some light and provide a modicum of privacy in high density Hong Kong. But a little advance though during the decorating process and the window can suddenly lend an assist in putting the finishing touches on a room.
“Incorporate them into the design of the apartment from the beginning; don’t wait until you’re completely done. Window dressings are perfect to add the final touch to an interior design project and to keep the design of a space together,” says Bricks & Mortar’s Cynthia Lie-Breit. “If you are using wooden shelves in a particular space, try use a wooden blind that matches the same wood finish as the shelves. By doing so this will create a calming effect and keep the place streamlined.”
With or without a designer there are a few things to bear in mind when it comes to covering up the windows. While style comes down to personal preference — some of us are blinds people, for others it’s drapery or death — the size of the window is crucial. Know it and respect it. “Choosing the right style and type of window covering to suit window size can make all the difference to the overall look and style of the room, obviously, but also how large the window appears to be, and how much natural light you will get in the room,” states Suzy Annetta at Studio Annetta. “Curtains that hang at random lengths in the middle of a wall will not help with the appearance of higher ceilings. Curtains that don’t fall to the floor are a pet peeve of mine.”
Like most other interior design and décor elements, what’s going on our windows is fluid and as subject to fashion trends as anything else. Some of the more prominent trends in window treatments this year include the use of organic materials like bamboo and so-called green design such as honeycomb shades that maximise natural heat and warmth, vibrant colours and bold prints, luxury fabrics like silk, velvet and damask, and of course simplicity and clean lines never really goes “out.” But the basics remain: function should be at the top of the list (do you need pitch blackness when you sleep? Are you willing to get the curtains cleaned or would your rather dust them off?), what kind of hardware do you want or need, and how much do you want to spend?
To Annetta’s mind, there are circumstances that demand traditional curtains and/or sheers. Drapes are demanding, however, and don’t always work in confined spaces and shouldn’t be forced into a room. Roman blinds are a good substitute for standard horizontals, and now come in a huge variety of fabric blends for easy cleaning and just as many anti-bacterial and anti-microbial ones. “However there are some really great designs and materials available now that can look really modern, like leather or timber,” adds Annetta.
Lie-Breit, on the other hand, is partial to natural wood. “My favourite materials for window dressings are wooden blinds and plain white roller blinds (with black out lining for bedrooms). The reason I like wooden blinds so much is, apart from adding a final touch, they do cover ugly window frames but still let enough light trough.” We weren’t going to mention the ugly frames but there is that too.