Guide to Window Treatments

window treatment
If your wife or girlfriend says the words “window treatment,” your first line of defense is to ignore her and continue watching the game. But when the bills start coming in, believe me, you’ll want to know why she’s spending all that money just to make your windows pretty.

Let’s begin by asking the question: Why window treatments?

Home decoration is in the genetic code of most women and windows are considered part of the home. I know you think a window is just something you look out of to see if it’s raining, but to a woman, it’s much more.

To her, a window is like a canvas. But instead of putting paint on it, she puts a treatment on it. The treatments come in the form of drapes, curtains, shades, shutters, or blinds. These are words you want to memorize. Read on to learn more.

Drapes and Curtains

Few people can tell you the difference between a drape and a curtain. All you have to know is that if it’s called a drape it will cost a lot more than if it’s called a curtain.

If the window treatment will be draped, you can expect to see a long piece of fabric, pinched together on top, hanging down from a window. Fabric, in case you don’t know, is a cloth material – like the stuff they use to make the jeans you’re wearing.

Drape fabric is usually heavy, in which case it will block out any light that thinks about getting into your window. Because they are heavy, you will have to use long hanging cords and a pulley system to open and close the drapes. What’s more, you will probably be asked to install rods that look like they came from a medieval castle above the windows to hold the drapes. Get out your power drill.

If there is no rod, your loved one may use something called a valance or cornice to cover the top of the drape. Why do you need to cover the tops of the drapes? It’s all part of the decoration process, so don’t worry your pretty little head about it.

If the window treatment is going to be a curtain, the hanging fabric may be plain or have a pattern on it. Or it may be a see-through fabric called “sheers.” Sheers will let a lot of light into the window and people can see through them from the street. For privacy’s sake, encourage heavy fabric or one with a pattern – like the helmets of your favorite NFL team.


window shade

Shades are simply materials in front of the window that you move up or down in different ways. They’re called shades because when they’re covering the window they give the room shade. Pretty straightforward, right? Here’s a description of some common types of shades.

Roller shades. The basic shade. Fabric or vinyl you pull down from a spring roller near the top of the window. They work well and don’t cost a lot. If you were living alone, this would be your shade.

Solar shades are for keeping out the sun’s heat. Nice if you don’t have air conditioning or live in the middle of a desert.

Roman shades. If you see fabric hanging on top of other fabric hanging from a window, it’s probably a roman shade. Of course, with more fabric, the manufacturers can charge more money.

Honeycomb shades. Basically, two pieces of fabric with some honeycomb-shaped cells between them. Makes them good for blocking light and providing some insulation. You should appreciate the fine engineering that created this type of shade.


You’ll recognize the shutter widow treatment because there will be a frame on either side of the window. Inside the frame will be a panel of louvers/slats or solid wood. The frames will swing together to close or swing back to the sides of the window when open.

A small bar in the middle of the panel will let you move the louvers up and down so you can control the light and air coming into the window. If you’re bored, moving the louvers back and forth can provide hours of fun.

Sometimes the louvers will be very large – about 3 to 5 inches – to let in even more light and air. These are called plantation shutters. These, too, can be moved up or down so you can look out the window and feel like you own a banana plantation in the tropics.


Blinds are also based on slats – but the slats have no frames. They just hang together with strings and wires. There are a few different types of blinds.
Venetian blinds have horizontal slats. You can tilt the slats to let in more or less light. When the slats are lying completely horizontal, you get the most light. When the slats are tilted to overlap with each other, you get no light, but you do have plenty of privacy.

If the slats are small, say 1 inch wide, they are called mini blinds. Why do you need smaller slats? – So you can have more blinds to clean. If all your windows had mini blinds, you could spend all day cleaning your blinds. If you have teenagers, this is a good activity for keeping them out of trouble.

There are also vertical blinds, which you have probably figured out hang down vertically from the top of the window. They can be turned one way or the other to let in more or less light. And you can pull them back and out of the way if you want a clear view out your window or want people to see you inside the house. If you have a large glass window or sliding glass door, you’re probably going to have to learn to live with vertical blinds.

The Bottom Line

If your wife or girlfriend wants to do a window treatment, you should support her efforts because of window treatments:

  1. Can keep the glare off the TV set so you can see the game clearly.
  2. Cover the window so you can walk around inside your home in your briefs.
  3. When closed, make the room dark, quiet, and excellent for taking naps.

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