Blog: How to Dress a Window

Blog: How to Dress a Window

How to Dress a Window – As the darker nights are closing in and winter is fast approaching, we are all back to spending more time at home.  We have been thinking about window dressings and how to make the most of your window reveals!

We have recently completed our design work at a family home in Malham, North Yorkshire and the variety of window treatments in this five-bedroom property inspired us to put together a shortlist of considerations for when you are selecting a window treatment for your home.

Blind or Curtain?

The first thing to consider is whether you would like a blind or a curtain (or even both).  Each option has its benefits.  Both options can provide a lovely luxe element to a room.  Bespoke blinds are often more cost-effective than bespoke curtains due to the reduced amount of fabric required.

Blinds, as a rule, are well suited to functional areas such as kitchens, utility rooms, or rooms that have less available floor space.

Curtains add warmth and cosiness to a space that blinds do not tend to offer.  Curtains not only help with acoustics but can be a significant feature of an interior scheme. They can help with draft excluding and energy efficiency.

How do you pick a fabric for your window treatment?

The fabric selection for your scheme is crucial; heavy linens or velvets add a really cosy element to a room, whereas light, flowy linens or voiles can feel much more ethereal.  In bathrooms where you need privacy but you do not want to block the light, then voiles are the perfect solution.  Also do not forget that you can layer these window treatments, see the image below. This is a master bedroom with a lovely voile that can be used on its own to create an ethereal look then with the added facing curtain that feels cosy and warm.

Bedroom dressed in white

Image Credit:


When you dress a window, pattern fabrics can make a real statement and tie an interior scheme together.  When selecting a patterned fabric consider the pattern repeat and the motif placements to ensure that the pattern will read on the curtain or blind. When looking at fabrics for roman blinds, consider how this will look when folded, checked fabrics often work well for roman blinds.

Image credit: Bowman Riley


Curtain detail

Image credit: Bowman Riley


One of my favourite curtain fabrics is a ticking stripe (image above). This always looks contemporary and elegant, without a huge price tag, added trim details really elevate this look!

Image credit:


Window blinds

Image Credit: Bowman Riley – Window detail at our Malham House Project


Before selecting your fabric, really think about what your desired effect is, are you trying to achieve a cosy snuggle up on the sofa kind of space or an elegant calming space? Do you want the curtains to be a feature of the space or a blend in with the rest of the scheme? Do you need privacy or blackout?  This will help you to select the right fabric and avoid costly mistakes or changes.

What length should my curtains be?

When considering the length of your curtains, you may want to consider how practical they need to be with regards to the length. For high traffic areas such as entrance halls or circulation areas, curtains that just touch the floor help protect the base of your curtains from dirt. A good go-to for most other rooms is a 1-2cm added onto the pole drop of the curtain to create a slight kink at the base of the curtain to help with draft exclusion and for a cosy feel.

Bottom of curtain

Image Credit: Bowman Riley – Curtain detail at Malham House Project


For a dramatic and more formal look adding 1-3 inches to the pole, a drop will create a puddled curtain that feels sumptuous and works in both traditional and contemporary spaces.  This option is often more high maintenance and requires more frequent cleaning.

Long cream curtain

Image credit:


Don’t forget to consider lining and interlining?

These are details that are often forgotten or left to a standard, the interlining of curtains or lack of interlining is a crucial element. If you are seeking an energy-efficient, sound-absorbing super cosy pair of curtains with a duvet-like feel; then a heavy interlining will help achieve this look.  Consider using double the width of the curtains too.

If blocking out of the light is crucial, then be sure to specify a blackout interlining.

The lining of curtains is one of my favourite details, as this can change a window treatment from simple to sensational!  Especially if you are someone who likes to use tie-backs, as it allows you to add another layer to your scheme. This detail often adds little to the cost but elevates and highlights your windows. This option can be work for rooms that can be seen in from the outside, as it adds a decorative element to the elevation.

curtain detail, fringe

Image credit: Playroom curtain at our Malham Project


Pole or Pelmet?

A common query for window treatments is fixing.  In our recent home interior project in Malham, we had to consider pole placements and track placements to avoid light reduction whilst also ensuring a secure fixing. For poles, wall fixed is the standard and these should be placed ideally 10-15cm above the window reveal. However, if you have low ceilings and you would like to elongate the look of the room, then position your pole a little closer to the ceiling to make the room look taller.

If you don’t have enough room above the window for a pole then you can get ceiling fixed poles, although these will require pattresses in the ceiling for the weight and can be more expensive. The alternative option for trickier windows can be a pelmet. A pelmet is often considered to be traditional, however, when designed correctly with the right proportions, they can be quite contemporary.

Window red pelmet treatment

Image Credit: Games room at our Malham project


Should your blinds be inside or outside the reveal?

This is often a personal design preference, however, if you are not sure here are some key elements to consider with each option, although I find that quite often the window helps to dictate this for you.

Blinds within the window reveal create neat finishes as the blind is not sticking out passed the reveal.  The blind controls can be neatly tucked away within the reveal. They can be lowered without covering the sill but this treatment blocks more light when raised as the stack is covering some of the glazing.

cream window blinds

Image Credit: Bowman Riley – master dressing room


Cream roman blinds with trim

Image Credit:


Trim Placement of Treatment

Trims are a beautiful addition to a window treatment. They add to the cost of the window treatment but can transform a simple, inexpensive fabric into something beautiful. There are literally millions of trims to choose from.  Each has merit in a scheme. Here are just a couple of the common trim placement ideas.

Adding trim to the leading edge of a curtain, whether this is a braid, fringe or tassel, will help to elongate the edge of the curtain.  It will draw your eyes to the window and through to the view behind the curtain.

Borders or braids on the leading edge of a curtain can help to protect the fabric from sun fading or grubby marks from closing and opening curtains.

cream curtain detail

Image Credit: Bowman Riley – playroom at Malham project


cream blinds detail

Image Credit: Bowman Riley – child’s bedroom at the Malham project


On the bottom edge of blinds, I like to add a trim with a bobble or a tassel as it helps to soften the blunt edge of a blind as well as making it a little fun and playful.

To jazz up a pelmet, adding a trim to the base of the pelmet is a lovely way to make a feature and to create a break between the curtains and the element especially if they are in the same fabric.


As we continue to spend more time in our homes, it is a great opportunity to review decoration and soft furnishings to create a perfect haven. When you dress a window there are a variety of window treatments that can add a wonderful finishing touch to a home renovation project.  We hope we have given you some ideas and inspiration.

Laura Baarda – interior designer

01756 795611


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