Design Strategies to Solve Problem Windows


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.

Fixing problem windows

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!

French Country family room design

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.



Like this article?

Share on facebook
Share on Facebook
Share on twitter
Share on Twitter
Share on linkedin
Share on Linkdin
Share on pinterest
Share on Pinterest


Leave a comment