Dress windows in layers

The time lag between what we are wearing and interior decorating styles has almost disappeared. Travel experiences and global browsing on the net have collapsed the time between runway and shopping at home.

Well dressed windows feature the fashionable layered look for year-round comfort.

Well dressed windows feature the fashionable layered look for year-round comfort.

The time lag between what we are wearing and interior decorating styles has almost disappeared. Travel experiences and global browsing on the net have collapsed the time between runway and shopping at home.

Layering is all the rage in the fashion world, and in climates where the weather dips and soars, it makes good sense. We dress for comfort as well as style, and this approach is equally valid for how we decorate our windows.

Window treatments have come full circle, and we are enjoying a renaissance of luscious fabrics that swag, tier, drape and frame windows in every room of the house.

The best line of defence against heat transfer through windows is to install industry rated glass that is properly sealed.

Whether you have the latest in window installations or you are coping with older varieties, here are some helpful tips for choosing the right combination of window dressings for your home.

Shades and blinds are a practical first step. They increase energy efficiency, and provide light control as well as privacy.

They generally fit inside the window frame and can be adjusted according to your preference for day and night settings. The quality of the material that makes up the shade will determine not only its energy efficiency but also how it looks and its durability factor.

Before you choose, check out the stats on the internet, including company guarantees to ensure you have the best you can afford.

The custom fit Vignette Modern Roman Shades shown here are by Hunter Douglas. The linen weave fabric shade in Orchard Pear is designed front and back without gathers, cords or grommets, and lined with a neutral white fabric, it looks just as good from the outside.

Draperies complete the look. For practical purposes, when closed, drapes block out any heat and light leakage that occurs around the edges of shades or blinds.

Fabric draperies and valences are a clever decorating tool for improving the proportions of a room. Add height to the walls with a valence or cornice above the window. Unify two or three odd size windows with drapery

panels and tops. The fabric creates a frame that balances the different shapes and sizes.

Enhance your own style with a drapery design that builds up the atmosphere. A cornice is a rectangular box that is fitted over the window and overlaps the top of the window enough to hide the top of the blinds and drapery hardware.

The front edge of the cornice can be cut in many shapes including large and small scallops, tear drops or a clean edge. Cornices can be painted, stained or covered with fabric.

Valences are fabric toppers that can be hung on their own, or matched up to complement drapery panels. Pleated, ruffled, fringed or plain, a valence is versatile; it can be hung around a curve and softens the look of a series of bay windows.

A swag is like a fashionable stole or shawl for your window. Draped over a rod, it is the big finish.

Drapery fabrics can be costly, but all you need is one long panel to fashion a swag and it can be as posh or plain as you choose.

Debbie Travis’ House to Home column is produced by Debbie Travis and Barbara Dingle. Please email your questions to house2home@debbietravis.com.