Windows are our gateways onto the world and are similarly the neighbours' gateways into ours..! It's important to strike the right balance between privacy and letting in the maximum amount of light during the day. Similarly, the balance of wanting to enjoy any views, but also wanting to create a feeling of cosiness, particularly in the evening. The problem is that there are so many choices: Curtains, roller blinds, roman blinds, shutters, top-down/bottom-up shades.... If you have curtains but want a change, how do you know what might look nice without having to buy first? Are there any rules to help guide decisions? Or at least a way of narrowing down the choices?
The main point to ask yourself is if light or privacy is important to you or do you need both?
Curtains, Roller blinds or Roman blinds?
This is the big debate. Curtains are felt to be cosier and the fabric choice can add depth to a colour scheme. They also allow you to play with perspective because if you hang them higher than the windows, they can make the room look bigger. Roller blinds have cleaner lines and could be better suited to a more modern home. They also take up less space than either curtains or roman blinds. Roman blinds have pleated fabric which is always on show at the top so they are a good mix of curtains and roller blinds. They are a soft addition to a room and the colours don't tend to fade in the sunlight like some curtains could do.
But there's no rule to say you can't use two styles at the same time. If you want cosiness, privacy and light, it might be worth considering a roller blind in a thin fabric which can let light in and at the same time ensure privacy and then hang curtains to pull across in the evenings.
All 3 choices can be fitted with a black out blind backing, a particular must for children's bedrooms!
However, the choice doesn't stop here, there are many other ways to make your windows work for you. Here are more options below:
1) Semi-sheer shades
Great for dining or living rooms, where privacy isn't critical but you do want to always have a little light coming through.
2) Window film
Similar to semi-sheer shades, but especially good for town living and period properties where there is a natural 'break' in the window design. Window film will mean that you get all the benefits of light coming in through the top half of the window, but no-one will see you walking through the rooms as eye level is covered. The great thing about this is that you can get plain, patterned or even coloured film. Be daring!
3) Stained glass
If you have a door with window around it or within it, stained glass is a great way to get light and privacy. The colours will be beautiful in your hallway! But don't feel you can only use stained glass in doors, it would also look lovely in windows or as an edging to windows. A great tip to decrease the expense is to use stained glass window film...
Great for bedrooms, shutters look pretty, are good at keeping out unwanted light and give privacy too. They are economically efficient and keep the heat in during winter and the heat out during summer. Shutters can also be painted and bring charm to a room. Though you will need space either side of the window for when you want them completely open.
5) Specialist drapes
Bedrooms on the first floor usually need more privacy than bedrooms on the second floor, but both still require natural light. These very contemporary floor-to-ceiling drapes offer light as well as privacy. When closed, they become an entire wall of fabric which still allows light in.
6) Top-down/bottom-up shades
Similar to window film but not such a permanent feature, these shades are ideal for rooms where you might want more control over the light coming in. They give you maximum flexibility and allow you to lower the blind from the top or raise it up from the bottom so you can best determine how much light and privacy you'd like at any given time of the day. As well as another option for living rooms, it's good for bathrooms or offices and conservatories. The honeycomb design on some ranges are especially good at keeping the cold out and the heat in.
Hopefully this will help you decode some of the window styling options out there! The main thing to remember is how much light and privacy you'd like and then it's just going with your instincts about whatever you think looks the best within your decorating scheme.