Unless you are building a new home, creating an interior design scheme means working within the structure you inherited when you bought your house. Ceiling heights, fireplace placement and room size are just some of the architectural elements that are either impossible or expensive to change. Fortunately, problem windows are an issue that can be managed easily and beautifully.
Fixing Problem Windows in Interior Design
Unattractive View – For windows that look out over an undesirable view, you can add a semi sheer or an intricately decorated sheer window covering that will stay closed at all times. This design strategy hides the ugly view while allowing light into the space. Roman shades or decorative roller blinds crafted with a translucent fabric are also good options.
Another design strategy we have used is to insert frames into the windows. We stretch sheer fabric over the back of the frame, and then place a decorative fabric over the front. The frame is then slipped tightly into the window casing, allowing light to filter in while shielding the view and adding a lovely decorative element to the space. The window looks like it has been upholstered!
Lack of Privacy – Windows that make it easy for the rest of the world to look into your house are a common problem. We mitigate this issue in many ways:
1) Install “up from the bottom, down from the top” window shades which allow flexibility to balance light with privacy.
2) Bring in moveable window coverings that can be opened or closed depending upon your needs. Decorative roller shades, roman shades and drapery panels all do the trick.
3) Our favorite privacy management option are plantation shutters. They are easy to care for, compliment almost any space, and the slats can be placed at many angles to address light and privacy. While they are an upfront investment, they serve as a current and sophisticated permanent architectural feature of your room. Hang stationary drapery panels on either side of the windows to finish the look.
Unsuitable Scale – There is not a lot you can do about the size of the windows in your existing home unless you are willing to make a large investment in remodeling. We helped one of our clients manage this exact problem in the master bedroom pictured above. The top of the windows were three feet down from the ceiling, making them much too small and too low for the scale of the room. Our job was to create a design that made these odd-looking windows make sense in the space. We began by installing a fixed roman shade that went up to the crown molding. By lining the shade with black-out fabric, light was not allowed to shine through the part of the shade that covered the window, making the window appear taller than it actually was. We then added side drapery panels than can be opened and closed. A sheer under curtain helped filter the view and light. Finally, we installed automatic shades that could be lowered and raised for light and privacy control. Now you would never know that the windows were inappropriately scaled to the rest of the room!
Too Much Light – While lots of light is the trend in current home design, there can be times when we can have too much of a good thing. In our clients’ sitting room pictured above, three of the sides of the space were dominated with windows – not to mention those in the adjacent rooms! While the tall elegant windows were pretty and looked out over their beautiful yard, the intense amount of light made living in this space uncomfortable. We strategically limited the light let into the room without obstructing the view by designing layered window treatments.
We began by installing stationary roman shades made out of an off-white sheer fabric that filtered the incoming light. Across the top of each window we added another roman shade with a lovely semi-sheer fabric with a painted pattern. We then framed the windows with drapery panels in a neutral fabric. Automatic shades which can be lowered and raised as needed were added to control light and privacy. With this many windows, we had to make sure they did not overwhelm the space. We designed the window coverings to blend beautifully rather than pop off the walls, which would draw too much attention to them. The end result is a well-lit room that is still comfortable to live in.
It is important to remember that windows are on the vertical plane, the most visible part of a space. Therefore, the quality of your design and craftsmanship will be quite noticeable and will set the tone for the rest of the room. If you have problem windows, do not solve them with just another problem! An experienced interior designer can help you create a well-designed strategy that will make the issue disappear beautifully. Let us know if you have a design problem – we’d be happy to help. Send us an email, or give us a call at 317- 253-8986.
When we first met with the owners of this lovely Carmel, IN home, they were looking for the classic lines associated with transitional style. However, we noticed a stunning antique chest with a marble top in their entryway. At once we knew that combining the beautiful antique with a clean design would give our clients the sophisticated yet eclectic space they desired.
The goal of the project was to create a living room and dining room where our clients could entertain their guests comfortably. The living room welcomes people when they first walk in, thereby setting the tone for the rest of the house. The adjacent dining room is open to the living room, and therefore needed a complementary design.
Transitional Style Living Room Design:
Our clients preferred a soft color scheme, so we went with beiges and creams contrasted with blue and red. While we used variations of neutrals in the space, what made this tonal scheme truly successful was variation in texture. Combining fabrics with different patterns and feels helps lead the eye around the room. This design technique does not provide an overload of visual information, so the structural elements of the furniture are allowed to shine.
Using the horizontal plane of the room, we chose a rug that integrated pattern and color into the living room in an unobtrusive way. The blues and reds in the floor covering were pulled up to eye level through decorative pillows and accessories. In addition, our art-loving clients wanted to find a piece that supported their new, sophisticated look. We found an artist that created the perfect fit for the space.
The decorative pillow is an excellent example of how you can choose expensive fabric that you love and use it wisely. We found this embroidered silk that perfectly complemented both the soft and bold colors of the rug. The fabric pulled everything together and enhanced the visual interest – it is one the first things your notice in the room! While that one element was expensive for a pillow, it completes the room. Our clients felt the investment was totally worth it.
The drapery was the final element brought into the space, providing a finished look. While the window treatments highlighted the high ceiling and beautiful windows, the soft neutral tones of the room also needed an anchor. The color block at the bottom of the drapery provided a background layer for the furniture, giving it something to pop off of visually when you first enter the home. The large pieces of fabric on the virtual plane also added softness to the space.
Transitional Style Dining Room Design:
The neutral color scheme set in the living room was carried over to the adjacent dining room. We began by applying grass cloth to the walls to immediately warm up the space. Grass cloth has a distinct horizontal pattern, which added texture. Contrast was provided through texture rather than color by bringing in smooth, shiny silk drapery.
The hefty dining chairs were fully upholstered in a light fabric softening space while allowing their lovely structure to shine. The lines of the dining table are simple, but the gorgeous grain of the top leaps out when one enters the room. For the accessories, we went with fewer, larger items. Our intention was to layer the numbers of items as you looked into the room: three plants on the table, two pots on the buffet, five items on the wall. This technique adds balance to the space, as well as a soft, rich look.
Transitional style is built off of the classic lines of traditional furniture, without the embellishments. This design scheme celebrates the silhouette of furniture and accessories rather than the trimmings. While we were able to create the warm and inviting space our clients were looking for, the transitional look also allowed their highly-styled antique chest to be the star. As a gift from family, our clients were happy to have an element that was unique to them set the stage for the rest of their home.
Questions about this project? Send us an email, or give us a call at 317.253.8986.
Getting creative with your drapery hardware is an easy and fun way to take your window décor up a notch. We are currently working on a dining room remodel for a client, and she is looking for a space with a lot of bling. Her pleated drapes are being created out of fabric that looks like liquid metal, offering lightness and flow to the room. As we were searching for drapery hardware to compliment that look, we came across these glass finials. The transparent globe allows light to flow to the glittery silver leaf knob inside, which reflects it back. The sparkle of the finial will play well off the shimmery drapes, adding another bit of the bling our client desires.