Mix window treatments throughout a home. (Photo: Shutterstock).

Should you have window treatments or go without? Install solar shades or drapery? The reality is when it comes to dressing windows, there really aren’t rules, just a myriad of options based on your desired aesthetic, look and budget.


  • Consider solar shades when looking to achieve a more modern look. Solar shades come in different opacities. The higher percentage, the more open the weave. A shade that provides 3 percent opacity will allow light to enter a room when down, while a 1 percent opacity shade gives a near blackout look.
  • Consider a natural material such as wood or bamboo blinds. They tend to be durable and cost-effective.
  • Cover an entire window opening. Whether you wish to have your window treatment hardware mounted inside or outside a frame is a personal choice. But be sure to have window treatments at either end of the windowsill, or in the case of long drapery, extend to the floor.
  • Mix window treatments throughout a home. It is perfectly acceptable to integrate shades, blinds and drapery throughout different rooms, depending on the desired aesthetic.
  • Consider partial draperies. This is a common trick of interior designers involving a technique in which panel drapery is installed as stationary decorative panels on either side of a window or door opening. These types of panels are not intended to be functional.


  • Purchase window treatments without consulting a professional or understanding what measurements are required to achieve a desired look.
  • Forget to clean window treatments on a regular basis. Whether via dusting, dry cleaning or placing window treatments in a washing machine, you will want to keep them clean and fresh, as they can often be magnets for dirt and dust.
  • Ignore safety. Always opt to use suggested child safety devices around small children.
  • Choose window treatments that will clash with your decor. In many cases, less is more.
  • Forget that window treatments are decorative enhancements, not a must. In many instances, a gorgeous view should take center stage in lieu of window treatments that could be a potential obstruction

By Cathy Hobbs, Tribune News Service. Cathy, based in New York City, is an Emmy Award-winning television host and a nationally known interior design and home staging expert with offices in New York City, Boston and Washington, D.C. Contact her at [email protected] or visit her website at cathyhobbs.com.