How To Best Dress Windows With Expert Tips

Winter holes us up indoors, making our view to the outside all the more important. Framing that view—and moderating the temperatures and light that pass through it—is key. For the past 18 years, the Willis Design Center in Roslyn Heights has been taking the confusion out of that task. Their interior designer Gail Eyl provided insight into how to best dress windows to suit a room’s function and style.

What’s trending in window treatments?
A simpler look: clean lines, simple trim and lots of solid neutrals with a pop of color thrown in. We do a lot of Roman shades. Raw silk and textured linens are also trending. For patterns, it’s simple florals and abstracts as opposed to busy geometrics. If someone wants something busy and bright, use it on the pillows because there’s less of a commitment.

What’s the best way to decide on the colors?
We consider the entire room, including carpets and furniture. In a room that’s neutral and calming, you don’t want the window treatment to stand out. But if you want it to pop—maybe it’s the only color in the room—choose a pattern and color that contrasts and draws the eye. If the wall is white or off-white, bringing color into the window treatment will definitely bring interest into the room—take inspiration from the colors in a rug or a painting.

How does the room’s intended use influence the selection?
For a casual den, go with wood blinds or something sleek. A treatment that has a little bit of a shimmer that looks industrial would also work. So would roller shades, which come in metallics and textures. They’re battery powered and younger people think that’s cool. If the room is more formal, go in a different direction: silk, warmer tones and maybe more trim. There are so many different types of flat tape trim and they are simple; we’re using a lot of that.

Why use layering treatments?
It softens the window, bringing warmth into the room. Plus, it’s a way to bring in color. Use any number of woven wood shades with a color to match the fabric. Even silk works well over woven wood. And the drapery can have a pattern. For example, if the walls are navy, use a light color, like an off-white linen or silk drapery over a grey Roman shade or woven wood shade.

What do you like about Roman shades?
I would use them in every room—they can work in any design style. They’re versatile. They act as a blackout in the bedroom, they can be sheer in the living room where you don’t want privacy or semi-opaque in the den for some privacy but also to let the light in.

What about shutters?
They can be used in just about every room. Shutters are custom built, like a piece of furniture. There are lots of colors to choose from, including custom. There are plantation shutters—the wider louvers let in more light. A tilt bar in the back makes for a more contemporary look. Shutters can darken the room and they can also bring the light in. With shutters, the windows are done, there’s no need for fabrics or anything else. They are well worth the money.