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Top 10 Tips for Successful Window Treatments

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With the holidays rapidly approaching, I have been meeting with many customers who want a new look for their windows.  I have had some recent concerns from my customers about measuring, ordering, cleaning, and maintaining window treatments.  Here are my Top 10 Tips you need to know about your window treatments:








1. Measure with a metal tape measure.  Do not use a wooden, fabric or paper tape measure.  Metal tape measures will give accurate and consistent measurements and the measure will not tear, twist, fade, or bend.  Do not take any deduction when measuring; most manufacturers have standard deductions for the type of window treatment being installed.  Our Window Treatment Measuring Guide has more information about measuring windows. 




2. Measure each window accurately.  Each window is different – especially as it ages!  There is NO “average-sized” window.  I recently had a customer who had 4 identical windows installed in the dining room only to find out that the dimensions varied by 1/4 inch between them!  Always measure – never guess – and certainly do not assume that all windows are installed equally!  Also note whether the window material is wood, metal, or masonry.  Most manufacturers supply hardware suitable for installing into wood.  You may need to purchase additional materials when installing into other bases.




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3. Whether purchasing stock window treatments from the store or getting an estimate for a Special Order window treatment,  be sure to measure the width, height, AND depth of the window.  Some window treatments cannot be installed as an inside mount if the window depth (casing) does not meet the minimum required for the installation hardware.  Alternatively the window treatment may need to be installed as an outside mount or ceiling mount.  Note any locations for cut-outs or handles.  Your Home Depot Décor Specialist can help ordering window treatments to be installed in a bay window or in corner windows. 




4. Practice safe window treatments – especially around children and pets.  Use a cord stop or cord cleats to secure lift cords on corded window treatments.  Contact the Window Coverings Safety Council (1-800-506-4636) to receive a free retrofit kit for older corded window blinds, shades, draperies, Roman shades, and roll-up blinds.  New window treatments can be ordered using cordless or continuous cord loop (secured to the casing) for best and safest outcomes. 




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5. Order a sample of a Special Order fabric, louver, woven wood, or slat before you place an order for large sized or large quantity window treatments.  I recently had a customer who had to cover a large sliding glass door. I explained that the bright color would be similar to adding an accent wall in that room.  Be sure that the new window treatment color and texture will complement existing wall colors and textures.  I have another customer who loved her new cellular shades so much that she painted her walls to match!




6. Review the warranty to see exactly what is covered.  Some warranties will replace the window treatment even after several years (for manufacturer defects).  I recently had a customer who was able to restring his 10 year old blinds (for a small fee).  The necessary information is hidden in the headrail!  Special Order blinds and shades should have a small label inside the headrail that shows the manufacturer, order number, size, and other essential information.  It is a best practice to keep this information as well as a copy of your receipt in a safe location for future reference. 








7. Window treatments are not a common purchase and your investment should last many years.  Pets and children have an affinity to sticking fingers and paws between blind slats, jiggling louvers, and poking fabrics.  Some large shades are even a great place to hide!  Be sure that the window treatments are properly installed and check them regularly to ensure that they are still secure.




8. Clean as directed.  Most fabric shades and wood (even faux wood) blinds should not be cleaned with water.  Most window treatments will benefit from a regular feather dusting and many can be lightly vacuumed with the upholstery attachment from your vacuum cleaner.  Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for safest and best results. Be sure to keep the window treatment away from the window when using window cleaning products.




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 9. Use temporary (paper or vinyl) shades on unadorned windows.  They will give you the privacy that you need and can be installed in less than one minute – just trim, peel and stick.  They can fit correctly and are much safer than hanging a sheet over the window.




10. Make the window treatment fit the window.  Do not install wood blinds in the bathroom; the humidity and moisture will harm the wood over time.  An economical vinyl blind may work well in an infrequently used basement, while a stunning plantation shutter may be the pièce de résistance in the foyer.  A vertical blind may be more effective in covering an oversized horizontal window.   A top down-bottom up shade may provide light from above while ensuring privacy.








BONUS: Double up as needed.  Cellular shades will improve energy efficiency but need to be opened for the view.  Consider a combination shade – pleat on top and cell on bottom – to enjoy the view as needed while enjoying energy savings when not in use.  Wood blinds look lovely in the dining room but you may want to finish the look – and cover the sides – with drapes.  A wood cornice may provide a top treatment – and add balance – to a set of sheer curtains.  A Roman shade with blackout liner may provide the necessary light blocking needed in a bedroom.  


Check out the Inspiration Gallery for the various types of window treatments available. 






May all your windows and window treatments be beautiful and safe!             






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Not what you were looking for ? Try posting a question
Posted 2013-10-10T20:55:36+0000  by Eileen_HD_ATL Eileen_HD_ATL
Great discussion Eileen!

How To Design Your Perfect Room takes a wider view; coordinating wall colors to carpet, lights, window treatments ... everything you need to complete your room.

Click the link for a discussion and "How To" video.
Posted 2015-07-16T12:50:18+0000  by Pat_HD_ATL
Almost forgot!

If you select new lighting, you might want to read:

The home where we shot this "How To" photo series was absolutely gorgeous!
Posted 2015-07-16T12:57:29+0000  by Pat_HD_ATL
Not what you were looking for ? Try posting a question