How to Ditch the Drapes and Let Your Windows Shine
rapes are a beautiful — and functional — home privacy solution, great for covering up an unwanted view inside or out. But when your home has beautiful windows and privacy isn’t an issue, why hide them? Consider some of these classic and creative ways to dress your windows, whether you live in a secluded country house or a high-rise city apartment.
Sashes in interior design refer to the parts of the window holding each pane of glass in place — the frames within the frame.
Painting your sashes black is a classic way to create instant drama in a window without adding anything else. It’s common in countryside estates but looks perfectly contemporary in a more modern home that isn’t the size of an estate.
Tip: Pair this look with small touches of black elsewhere so the space feels harmonious without looking gothic. Inexpensive frames or espresso wood chairs are perfect complements.
Or try a dark green window sash. It’s softer than black but still classic and neutral, as it picks up the colors in nature. A magnificently tall ceiling like this one is beautiful but not required
When a client’s home has historic character, I never want to cover it up. Shades mounted inside the window frame, paired with eye-catching trim, allow light control without feeling fussy.
If you don’t have historic molding, a window is a great place to add some. It’s a smaller task than lining a whole ceiling, and you can do it in just one room.
Tip: I often paint window trim the same color as the wall to obscure any flaws or uneven edges. But I use a higher-gloss paint to make it shine.
Keep in mind when considering this look that north-facing windows are the best ones to leave bare, as they don’t receive harsh direct light. South-facing windows without shades or blinds could leave you blinded and overheated at midday. (The reverse is true in the Southern Hemisphere.)
Uncovered windows also can create more heat loss, so if you live in a cold climate, you may want to consider adding a heat-retaining film or an in-window shade for winter warmth.
Mirrors. Here’s a look I recently enjoyed while visiting the Shangri-La Hotel in Vancouver: mirrors layered over bathroom windows. It creates a resort feel but is practical and can be re-created at home.
Hanging a mirror in the window (either on a picture wire or by fixed metal supports) fills in the window enough to create a sense of privacy while still allowing light to filter in. For more privacy simply cover the exposed glass with translucent film.
Using a mirror this way allows you to move the vanity to areas you didn’t think possible. Imagine the floor plans you could create with your sink in front of a window.
This arrangement works with many shelves, or one, at a lower height for everyday items and a higher height for special pieces, such as the good china.
The look is especially effective when your kitchen view is of a neighboring building. You won’t feel too boxed in, but the emphasis will be drawn away from the wall beyond.
Tip: Make sure your art is secured well to the trim (and is in a UV-filtering frame). Or simply hang a light, inexpensive print on a stick-on hook for a fun look that can be changed when you want a different view.