How to Pick Window Treatments to Go Over Wood Blinds

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Choosing to dress your windows that have wood blinds on them with a second layer can give a polish and richness to a room and frame a view to its best advantage. There are many things to consider with regard to color, pattern and fabric, but what is most important to determine is the functionality and architectural impact you want. Do you like the look of a valance or cornice board that masks the top of the blind? Do you want functional closing curtains, or are dummy panels that look like full curtains more to your liking? Do you want to create an illusion so the window looks larger? Do you like large decorative rods, and hardware or do you like to see mostly fabric with invisible but functional hardware? These are the key elements in determining how to most effectively and attractively dress your window and wood blinds.

Things You'll Need

  • Valance or cornice board
  • Side-panel drapes, decorative
  • Side-panel curtains, functional
  • Decorative curtain rod or rods
  • Functional curtain rod
  • Curtain rings or hooks
  • Determine if you want a valance or cornice board running across the top of the window, slightly masking the blind header. Valances can be made of hard surfaces as with wood or plaster or upholstered wood, or they can be made of lined fabric for a softer look. Valances and cornice can be sized to run from the ceiling to just below the blinds mounting brackets or they can be narrower floating above the window. Often, larger valences and cornices give the illusion that the window extends up into them making the window seem larger. It's a visual trick but it makes people feel like there is more light and space.

  • Decide if you want to have side-curtain panels. If so, do you want just dummy panels or completely functional full-width curtains that can be closed over the entire window opening? This is an important decision for both the visual and the budget. If you do not need functional curtains for privacy or light control because you have blinds, dummy panels can give the luxurious look of curtains without the cost or bulk of full-width fabric taking up precious window space. Also key here is deciding if you will hang the curtains high---toward the ceiling---or just over the window opening. Hanging curtains higher and using a valance or cornice to cover the difference also will give a room the illusion of greater height and greater sense of architectural detail.

  • Decide whether you prefer a decorative curtain rod, rings and finials, or if you prefer your drapery hardware to be invisible on a track. Curtains on decorative rods add another layer of detail and texture in a room that can tie into the other furnishings, whether they are formal and traditional, country French, baroque or in an island-inspired idiom. Conversely, curtains can be mounted on transverse moving rods or even thin wires that cannot be seen unless you're inspecting closely. This is almost a purely aesthetic preference, as both styles can be made to look modern, traditional or every style in between. When using decorative rods, rings and finials, you wouldn't need a cornice board but could easily layer on a valance.

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