Bedroom Windows Buying Guide
Bedroom window treatments aren’t given much thought by many homeowners or renters. You might throw something over the window to block out light if you sleep late or skip it altogether if you’re an early riser. But bedroom window valances, curtains or other window treatments can help turn your house into a home, adding a uniquely personal touch. Here is what you should know.
What are bedroom window treatments?
Although curtains are certainly included, window treatments provide a variety of options to dress-up your bedroom window. Ideas run the gamut in styling, from vintage to ultra-modern. Bedroom window treatments include everything from shades to formal drapes, as well as decorative valances, window scarves and cornices that sit above the window.
Master bedroom window treatments are often used to add luxury and serenity to the room, while window curtains for a bedroom in another part of the house might impart a different feel or function. For example, blackout curtains can make it easier for a toddler to nap.
How to buy the best bedroom window treatments
The best bedroom window treatments are the ones that work for you. You might want simple curtains for a bedroom window in a minimalist room or heavy formal drapes topped by valances in a vintage-inspired room.
It’s also important to consider the actual window. Bedroom windows come in many shapes and sizes, and some lend themselves more easily to small window treatments like mini-blinds. If your window glass is thin, thermal insulated curtains can help improve room comfort.
Choose colors that blend with the existing colors in the room, including paint and trim, for a peaceful and harmonious look. Or add drama to the room with contrasting colors and bold patterns. A color wheel can help you select colors that work well together.
Types of bedroom window treatments
Although there are seemingly innumerable styles, window treatments fall into a few simple categories:
Curtains and Drapes
The two terms are often used interchangeably, but curtains and drapes are not exactly the same thing. Both consist of two panels that come together in the center of a window (though single panel curtains also exist), but drapes are thicker, longer and more formal than curtains.
Curtains and drapes come in a range of light filtering options, from sheer to max blackout:
- Sheer: Sheer curtains allow nearly all light to filter through. They can help reduce glare without blocking your ability to see out the window.
- Semi-sheer: Semi-sheer curtains provide some privacy, while still allowing a great deal of light into the room.
- Room darkening: As the name implies, these curtains greatly reduce the amount of light that comes into the room, creating a soft twilight effect.
- Blackout: Blackout curtains offer privacy, noise reduction and some insulation while creating a dark sleeping environment even during the day.
- Max blackout: For a truly dark sleeping experience, consider max blackout curtains, which filter 99% to 100% of light. They also provide maximum privacy and insulation, as well as protection against noise pollution.
- Thermal insulating: Some curtains or drapes, especially blackout and max blackout styles, have an extra back panel of acrylic foam for further insulation. It’s also possible to buy a separate insulating liner for existing curtains or drapes.
Shutters are generally the most expensive window treatment for a master bedroom or other room. However, they add the timeless elegance of wood to your bedroom design. Off the shelf shutters are available, but it’s typically better to have them custom made. This ensures that they properly fit your window for maximum protection, privacy and room-darkening effects, as well as aesthetics.
Generally the least expensive option, blinds are also the simplest of the master bedroom window treatment ideas. Slatted and operated with a cord or small handle, blinds can sit inside or just outside the window. They can be a great choice for modern, minimalist bedrooms.
Shades are a fabric option similar to blinds. They come in several styles, from simple roller shades to elaborately folded roller shades, and in different levels of light filtration. Depending on the style, shades can go with nearly any bedroom.
Valances, Window Scarves and Cornices
Bedroom window valance ideas also include decorative window scarves and cornices, but the three are not exactly the same thing. A valance is a piece of fabric that hangs at the top of a window. Simple valances are casual, while box valances hang straighter and are considered more formal. A window scarf is a long piece of fabric that is draped loosely around a curtain rod. A cornice is a wooden frame that may be painted or covered in fabric and hung at the top of the window.
Valances, window scarves and cornices may be used alone, but they are often paired with curtains or drapes. They can add visual interest, contrast or even drama to a master bedroom window. They are sometimes used in other bedrooms as well, especially rooms with a vintage or shabby chic decorating aesthetic.
Choose the right size
Choosing the right size window treatment is extremely important. But how to measure depends on which type of window treatment you select.
For blinds or shades that will be mounted inside the window frame, measure both the length and width of the window in three different spots. Use the narrowest width and the longest length. If they will be mounted outside the frame, measure the outside of the frame and add 1.5 inches to each measurement to account for overlap.
For curtains or drapes, measure the width of the window and then add 3 to 8 inches, depending on how full you want the curtains to appear. To choose a length, decide where you want the top and bottom of the curtain to be and measure the distance between those points. Formal drapes tend to be floor length, or even puddle on the floor, while more casual curtains may hang just below the windowsill.
Interior shutters are measured similarly to blinds or shades, but exterior shutters are significantly more complicated. Consider having your window professionally measured or follow the manufacturer’s measuring instructions for the specific shutters you choose.
As long as the width is at least as wide as the window frame, you have a great deal of latitude with valances and cornices. Window scarves are the most flexible, as they are draped rather than precisely hung, but for best results choose a scarf that is significantly longer than the width of the frame.
Compare bedroom window treatment costs
Master bedroom window treatment ideas often involve multiple pieces, such as two curtain panels and a valance, so when looking at costs be sure to include everything you will need. You can find window treatments for less than $15 at big box stores, or pay hundreds of dollars per panel at specialty shops. Curtain rods are sold separately and can drive up the price. In general, the bigger the window, the more you will pay to cover it. Floor-length drapes are also typically more expensive than windowsill length curtains, and the material that you select matters a lot in the final price.
Read bedroom window treatment reviews
Bedroom window treatments come in all types, sizes, styles, and price points. Yet none of these factors is necessarily an indicator of quality. The best way to know if you are choosing window treatments that will last is to read customer reviews of them. Look for comments on durability, ease of installation and even whether the indicated sizing is accurate.
Installing most bedroom window treatments is relatively simple. You will need some basic tools such as a drill, a tape measure, a level and some screws, along with a ladder. You may also need anchors to secure the mounting brackets or hardware to the wall, depending on the type of walls you have and whether you are drilling into a stud. Outdoor shutters can be a bit tougher to install, as can window treatments for windows that are very high or large or are located in an awkward area such as above a stairwell. Always seek professional assistance if you have any doubts about your ability to safely perform the job.
Bedroom window treatment brands
There are innumerable brands for each style of bedroom window treatments, and which is objectively better depends on your individual needs. In many cases, store brands (Amazon, Home Depot, The Shade Store, Bed, Bath & Beyond) are every bit as durable and long-lasting as more expensive specialty brands. Custom window treatments are also available from both national brands and local shops. Focus on features and reviews rather than brand names, and you will find the window treatments that are right for you.