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Affordable Fashion At The Window: Decorating On A Budget

These days, everyone is talking about “simple living” and getting “back to basics.” And, hey, who doesn’t like to save a few dollars here and there? Curtainworks can help you balance your decorating budget with a large assortment of stylish window coverings that don’t break the bank. Fashionable window treatments are a surprisingly affordable way to freshen up a room, and new energy-efficient fabrics even can help you save money on your heating bills.

Perhaps one of the quickest, easiest and most cost-effective ways to update your window décor is to add a new valance or scarf treatment. Top treatments are offered in a wide variety of shapes, styles and fabric choices, ranging from simple, straight tailored valances to more decorative shapes, such as swags or poufs. Top treatments also come in very elaborate silhouettes, including festoon, crescent, waterfall, toga and trumpet valances.

Valances usually cover the top one-quarter to one-third of the window, and are sold as individual pieces. Valances can be used as a standalone treatment in rooms where privacy is not an issue, or can create the perfect finishing touch on a layered window treatment. Valances are measured width for length, with the width stated first; you should generally buy enough valances to cover one-and-a-half to three times the measured width of your window to give the appropriate appearance of “fullness.” (Please see our Window Decorating Essentials section for a thorough explanation of fullness.)

Scarves are an extremely popular and trendy way to decorate your window, and because you generally only need to purchase one scarf per window, they are perfect for the value-conscious consumer. Scarves almost always are sold in six-yard lengths (216 inches,) and can be constructed of virtually any decorative fabric.

Scarves are one of the easiest window treatments to hang: simply drape the scarf over the top of the window and let the fabric hang down the sides. Scarves can be wrapped around a decorative rod or held up with sconces, swag holders or drapery holdbacks. For a decorator look, you can hang a scarf asymmetrically with one side longer than the other, or let the ends of the scarf “puddle” on the floor.

Another chic and inexpensive way to decorate your window is to use sheers. Sheers are constructed of light and airy fabrics and fit in perfectly with today’s emphasis on open, spacious home décor. Sheer panels allow outside sunlight to enter a room, yet filter out harmful UV rays that can fade furniture and carpets. Sheers are measured width by length, with the width stated first. Sheers generally are sold as individual panels, but usually should be purchased in pairs; wider windows will require more panels to create the desired fullness. Use coordinating sheer valances or a sheer scarf to create a fresh, layered look at the window.

Sheers also can be used as an under-treatment and paired with a variety of ready-made curtain or drapery panels to create tasteful layered window fashions. Layered window treatments are generally considered more decorative than using tailored panels alone, and are often used in rooms where privacy, light control and energy efficiency are concerns.

Layered window treatments can be created using curtain or drapery panels: in general, curtain panels are unlined and constructed of lightweight fabrics, while drapery panels typically are constructed of heavier fabrics and often are lined. Curtains usually are considered more casual treatments and are suitable for nearly any room, while draperies are considered more formal looks and usually are used in living rooms, dining rooms and bedrooms.

Curtain or drapery panels also can be used as stand-alone window treatments for a more tailored, casual appearance. Curtain and drapery panels typically are sold as individual panels, and measured width by length, with the width stated first. You will need to purchase enough curtain or drapery panels to give your window treatments “fullness;” a good rule of thumb is to purchase enough panels to cover one-and-a-half to three times the measured width of your window.

Energy efficiency is another important consideration in today’s home design and décor, and innovative window treatments have been developed with superior insulating properties. These energy-saving draperies combine fashionable, heavyweight fabrics such as velvet, suede or chenille with a special lining, interlining or coating to reduce heat loss though the window. As an added benefit, many energy-efficient panels also block out a higher percentage of exterior light and reduce exterior noise. Energy-efficient panels are available in a wide range of styles and colors, proving that you can be environmentally friendly and fashionable at the same time!

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