By Ande Waggener
Wouldn’t it be lovely if windows could be changed as easily as paint colors or furniture? If a window was too small, you could just press a button and elongate it. Too big and you could shrink it down. Unfortunately, unless you have an unlimited budget and lots of time on your hands (whether you do the work yourself or oversee someone else), changing out windows isn’t that simple.
So what can you do when your windows don’t suit you? Are you stuck with windows too big, too small, too wide or narrow, or simply not the style you prefer?
Yes and no.
The window may have to stay, but you can create the illusion that it’s more to your liking. If a window isn’t right, it’s usually for one of these reasons:
- The window is too big.
- The window is too small.
- The window is someplace you don’t want it to be.
- The window has a style that doesn’t match your décor.
- There’s no window where you wish there one.
Here’s how you can create the windows you want without replacing what you have.
1. The Window Is Too Big
Large windows can be awesome if you want a lot of light or you love your view. Sometimes, though, that view to the world can be too intrusive.
To handle overly large windows, you can do one of two things. First, you can use window coverings that are draped in such a way that only a small portion of the window is exposed, such as the windows in the bedroom below. Notice how much cozier the room is because of the extensive window treatment.
Second, you can use simple drapery panels hung with loose gathers to create a sort of wallpaper effect, thereby turning the windows into dramatic walls that add the color of your choice to the room. If you still want light, use a sheer fabric. If you want to keep the light out, use opaque fabrics.
2. The Window is Too Small
You have three choices in making small windows larger. First, if you wish the window were just a bit bigger, simply choose a rod that’s as wide as you want your window to be. Then hang curtains that are as long as you’d like your window to be. This creates the suggestion that the window is your preferred size.
Second, if the window is too small to suit the area it serves, choose draperies that match the space, not the window. For example, in the dining space below, the wide, squat window looks more like an office or bathroom window than a window that belongs in a dining room. The curtains do, however, suit a dining room: they are long, tailored, and they are hung on a decorative rod. These window-covering qualities appear to transform the window to fit the room.
Third, if you wish you had floor-to-ceiling windows to create a sophisticated impact in a living area, simply cover the entire wall with window coverings as if you had such windows. This technique is similar to the one used in #1 above, but instead of having the effect of downplaying the windows, it seems to expand them. To create this look, it’s important to use a combination of drapery panels and sheer panels, such as in the room below.
Fourth, if your window is too narrow, you can make it look wider by using just a single drapery panel, pulled to one side only. Leaving the other side of the window bare appears to stretch the window out.
3. The Window is Somewhere You Don’t Want It
Windows are great, but sometimes what you really need is wall space. It’s not that you have a problem with privacy or too much light. It’s that you need to put some furniture where the window is, and that furniture looks oddly-placed in front of a window.
The flat screen TV below, for example, would look a little awkward in front of the big window behind it. But against the backdrop of the gathered sheers, it almost looks as if it’s placed against a wall.
4. The Window’s Style Doesn’t Match Your Décor
Just because your window is attractive, that doesn’t mean it’s your kind of attractive. These Mission style windows, for example, aren’t going to suit someone with a more romantic design sense. Notice how the windows go from masculine to feminine with the addition of the arched curtain rod, elaborate gathers, and deep, rich colors contrasted with soft white.
The same effect can be achieved with a more monochromatic color scheme as well. Different fabric textures layered together can completely change the personality of the window style itself.
5. There’s No Window Where You Want One
This trick might seem as wild as pulling a rabbit out of a hat, but yes, you can get the illusion of a window where one doesn’t exist. You can do it in two ways.
First, if you wish you had a view and you don’t, get a window mural painted on your wall.
Second, if you’d just like the interest of a window but don’t care about a view, add a rectangle of trim or framing to a wall. Paint it a contrasting color to the wall itself, and hang shutters or a shade in the rectangle. Voila! A window.
So, are you ready to get out your magic window wand? By experimenting with window covering styles, sizes, colors, and textures (and sometimes a little paint and trim), you can have almost any kind of window you prefer — no matter what kind of window you’re stuck with.
Have you found other ways to transform your windows? Tell us about the magic you have hidden in your curtains and drapes.
Images used with permission, courtesy of www.shutterstock.com