What is a “window treatment”? Is it the draperies, curtains, blinds or shades? In fact, these are all correct answers. However, there are different types of window treatments; some are primarily functional, while others are generally for decorative purposes only.
HARD WINDOW TREATMENTS
“Hard window treatments” are defined as: Shades, cellular or ‘honeycomb' pleated fabric
shades; Single layer fabric shades; Wood blinds; Mini blinds (metal or vinyl),
Vertical blinds (vinyl, fabric, metal or wood); Vertical pleated shades; Silhouettes
(a combination of a sheer drape and a horizontal slatted shade); Luminettes
(a combination of a sheer drape and fabric vertical blinds); Roller Shades, Roman
Shades and Wood or Vinyl Shutters.
The purpose of hard window treatments is generally for functionality. The function of these products include: Keeping the light out of a room, whether it is to soften the sunlight in order to see the TV, provide a total blackout for sleeping OR anything in between. Hard window treatments will allow you to control the light in your home, retaining the heat or the cool air already in the home. Hard window treatments are considered a functional element of the home and many of them actually pay for themselves within a few years as they make quite a difference in heating and air conditioning bills due to the “R” value ("R" value refers to In home insulation, the R-value is an indication of how well a material insulates.) This is an insulation term which measures the amount of heat or cold the hard window treatments keep out of the house or in the house. They are a good investment both financially and functionally. For more than 20 years, many hard window treatments have been made to be quite attractive and can double as a decorative aspect in the room, though most styles of hard window treatments are missing several elements of the aesthetics of a ‘soft window treatment’.
SOFT WINDOW TREATMENTS “Soft window treatments” are defined as being purely decorative in nature. The one exception is functional draperies which open and close to cover your entire window(s) or sliding glass doors. There is a small selection of 'readymade' draperies which can be purchased at specialty or department stores, however, they are generally single panel draperies generally sold in three (3) standard lengths; these are good for small windows or decorative purposes only. In order to obtain functional opening and closing draperies, you almost always need to custom order in the length and width of your window
or doors. These types of fully lined-draperies are the one exception of a soft window treatment
being completely functional. Soft window treatments can 'finish' a room by adding aesthetic
warmth, infusion of color and pigment, texture, patterns in fabric, coordination for the room and
Examples of soft window treatments would include: Lined drapery side panels (whether they are plain
panels with rod pockets, or pinch pleat panels or have trims or other interesting add-ons to introduce an interesting focal point to the room); Swags; Cascades, etc. These types of ‘treatments’ are decorative only and provide no functionality, as described above. Their job is to frame a window and its view much like a regular frame, they frame around the picture or painting to enhance the artwork it surrounds. A good soft window treatment will not cover glass, or obstruct the view, it's job is to enhance the room. Even functional draperies should be able to fully open and expose the glass and the view beyond the window to let in light and retain the enjoyment of the view outside the home.