What are Appropriate Window Dressings with Vertical Blinds?

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Vertical blinds, a system of rotating vertical vanes (usually 3 1/2 inches wide) that traverse on a horizontal headrail, were invented by brothers Fredrick and Edward Bopp who sold the patent and their company, Sun Blinds, in the 1960s. In materials that vary from PVC vinyl to aluminum to non-woven fabrics, "verticals" have the advantages of affordability and the convenience they provide for privacy and light control. There are window dressing treatments that work well to soften and enhance vertical blinds and add a decorative finishing touch to any room.

Drapery Scarves

  • Drapery scarves, also called scarf swags, consist of one length of fabric that can be draped across the top of a window with vertical blinds and drop to the desired length on either side. This simple but effective one-piece treatment can be swagged on a decorative pole or drapery knobs to soften and enhance the rigid lines of the verticals.

Sheer Curtains on a Stationary or Traverse Rod

  • Sheer curtains covering the entire window on a stationary rod (or a traverse rod if easy window or sliding door access is required) are an economical solution to diffusing the daylight without darkening the room. They subdue the hard lines of the verticals and add a homey touch to the decor.

Valances with Side Panels

  • A more formal approach to a window with vertical blinds is to use a valance or across the top of the window with side panels hanging to the sill or the floor on either side. The valance covers the headrail and top of the blinds. When the blinds are opened, they disappear behind the side panels, framing the view. The side panels can be made wide enough to close

    on a traverse rod to cover the entire window, if desired.

Lambrequins or Shadow Boxes

  • A lambrequin is a hard cornice that frames three sides of a sliding door or floor-length window. Like a valance with side panels, it covers the headrail of the verticals and conceals the blinds when stacked back in the "open" position. A shadow box is a four-sided lambrequin for windows with a sill that frames the verticals completely and offers the same concealment of the vanes when the blinds are stacked.

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