If your living room benefits from notable architecture, such as vaulted or high ceilings, ornate woodwork, or interesting and unusual window shapes like clerestory, Palladian, or bay windows, you can use window dressings to draw attention to these features. In this two-story space, lower windows are elegantly finished with woven shades and flowy sheer panels that are mounted high to draw attention to the room’s height -- and to direct the eye up to the simply undressed upper windows.
If your living room’s decorating style has international or regional flavor, the window dressings are an important ingredient. Provincial prints reinforce a French country theme and Native American weaves suit Southwest style, for example. In this Asian-influenced living room, the window treatment is a simple roll-up shade designed to highlight indigo-dyed fabric in the Japanese shibori style. Black-painted window trim is the perfect simple complement.
The fabric you choose for window treatments helps establish a color palette for the entire room. In this case, the window panels are a solid aqua, but a patterned fabric could be just as influential. The watery shade coordinates with the celadon rug and concrete gray walls, providing a colorful backdrop that’s also soft enough to let bright accents in fuchsia, purple, and pumpkin stand out.
In another instance, you might want the window treatments to be passive players in the room’s scheme. By choosing neutral, subtle, and pattern-free window treatments, you ensure they’ll be a calm background. These Roman shades do just that in this historic living room, yet the linen fabric glows in the daylight, revealing interesting texture that is far from boring.
Living rooms that really live -- playing host to parties and play dates -- need to have function and simplicity built in. There’s no room for fussy window treatments in such a hardworking space. This living room, for example, gains privacy and light control when needed from wide Roman shades. They are constructed with soft folds, rather than crisp pleats, so the overall look is imperfect enough for daily life. And the nubby linen in a warm taupe supports the hues in the collected, comfortable furnishings.
Some living rooms are more for show -- carefully decorated to provide an environment for special occasions. These spaces call for window treatments with elegance and sophistication. In the case of this precise space, loose gathers and wrinkles won't do. Instead, panels fashioned from raw silk and edged with colorful tassels hang from metal rods that underline the room's crown molding detail. Pinch pleats at the top of the panels are extra fashionable touches that suit the formality of the room.