How to Class up your Standard Issue Windows
“A window is such a gay, animate thing!” Elsie de Wolfe, the iconic interior designer of 1900s, wrote in her seminal The House in Good Taste. Transforming your window into one that would fit right into an apartment on Fifth Avenue in New York is not so much about how elaborate it looks. Overdo the gold beams and velvet draperies, and you’ll seem like a tacky “show-off”. A classy window is one that is elegant and can highlight the best features of your home, and the areas to look at when classing up your windows are pretty standard:
Curtains are to windows as what eyelashes are to eyes. How can you make your windows stand out from the rest with curtains? For starters, pay attention to even the most minute details of your curtains, like its shade, texture, length, and even weight.
A silk taffeta curtain in tiffany blue exudes playful vibes reminiscent of Marie Antoinette’s tea parties, whereas a Belgium linen curtain in Chalcedony Blue gives your space a relaxed summer-house feel. If you want to go bold, you can experiment with prints like Chintz, or with lush tones like Windsor Green. Just be sure to invest in quality material, because lousy fabric in rich colours shows.
Another #protip is to create a sense of elevation and grandeur by using full-length drapery (even if your windows are of the smaller standard variety).
If you just want to jazz your existing curtains up, consider adding trims and borders (e.g. Greek key border) and engaging a tailor to do it for you. To make your curtains hang straight, you can insert weights in the hem of the curtains. Finally, if your window is exposed to a lot of light, Mydomaine advises to “line the drapes with a sun-safe material to prevent sun rot and fading.”
If you find curtains to be too much of a hassle, there is still plenty you can do. Roller shades are an elegant option for those who prefer neater lines, while still affording a good dose of versatility. Just keep in mind that roller shades are very light and when it’s windy, the metal rod at the lower end of the curtain can create some noise as it hits the window pane.
“You can try to insert weights or attach something at the side to keep it from moving” suggests Rosa from Ideal Design Interior. If you prefer Roman types, instead of going for the stiff-looking Roman style that a lot of people use, switch it up for a soft Roman style which has more relaxed folds and pick a breezy linen fabric to give your window instant effortless class.
Alternatively, Venetian blinds might work better for those who prefer greater control over the amount of light streaming into your homes. They are also easy to clean. There are plenty of stylish ones like those made of wood, just don’t go with aluminium, lest you want your house to look like an office from 2006.
Instead of embellishing your window with cute but unimpressive little mason jars of cacti, a classier way is to have your window flanked by 2 houseplants. The current “it” plant is the Monstera Deliciosa, which allegedly counts Henri Matisse as one of its fans. Otherwise, take a leaf from boutique hotels’ playbook, have a row of ivies tumble down luxuriously from your window sill.
If you only ever look out of the window because you have to close it to hide the view, maybe you don’t need a transparent window pane. A creative solution is to replace it with a patterned one, like leaded glass panels. However, as Henry from In2Space Design&Solutions cautions, only do this if you strongly dislike using curtains or shades. “You should bear in mind that with frosted glass or leaded glass, there will be loss of natural light so you may have to use artificial lights.”
Perhaps all you need to do to class up your window is to give its frames a fresh new coat of colour! To give your window frame a fast “glo-up”, the most popular is black finishing since it can easily lend your space a sheen of sophistication. It also suits the industrial theme well, which is found in many homes. “Or you can try gold paint which is another elegant colour. Just make sure it fits the rest of the look.” offers David from Imposed Design.
There is a myriad of ways to class up the windows in your home. For more ideas, check out HomeRenoGuru or discuss with your interior designer!