Window Shades

Multi Layered Window Treatments – Ideas For a Classy Home

Layered Window Treatments

Top Layered Window Treatment Ideas & Tips

In today’s minimalistic world of decorating and design, less is considered more. The simpler the design, the more impressive is the effect. It is so with window dressings too. Most of us are content with a single dressing on our windows. We expect them to give their utmost in terms of function. If we have got our money’s worth out of this investment made, which it sometimes can be a huge, we are happy. Consider using more than one window treatment for our windows and this happiness will be doubled or even trebled. By using some ingenuity and creativity, we can convert a simple window into the focal point of a room. This style of decorating windows is called layering. It makes our homes look fashionable and dressed up, but there is a practical side to it too. Adding more than a single covering to a window helps in optimizing the functionality of the window treatment. Whether it is about light control, privacy, insulation or just framing a terrific view, several layers may do a better job than one layer.


Types of Window Dressings

Window dressings of the hard type like the blinds and shutters are made of hard material like wood, vinyl or Aluminum. Both these dressings have horizontal slats or louvers that can be tilted to control the amount of light filtering through them. Too much direct sunlight and the slats can be tilted or completely shut to block out the light.Shades of a vast array of fabrics, colors and textures can roll, stack or fold when raised and neatly fit into the top space of a window. Along with drapes, sheers or curtains, they constitute the soft type of window dressings.


Drapes-and-Blinds -


Draperies are usually tailored from heavy fabrics, unlike curtains that are made from lighter material. They are stationary or movable and hang from rods at the top of the window. Hardware like rods and finials enhance the beauty of the drapes while doing their function. Fabric tiebacks or fixed holdbacks, decorative and attractive, mounted on the sides of a window are used to draw them back when needed. They are either lined or unlined. A total measure of 1 ½ times the width of the window will give the desired fullness to a drape. The more contemporary, tailored drapes have less fullness while more fullness is achieved with more panels to give a rich, opulent appearance.


Side panels of drapery help cover light gaps on inside mounted treatments.

Sheers are lightweight, translucent curtains made of finely woven fabrics. Sheers can be used alone to create a light and airy feeling or as an under-treatment with heavier draperies for a layered look. They are often paired with curtains or drapes to create a fashionable, layered window dressings in formal living rooms and dining rooms. In bedrooms, they are sometimes paired with blackout draperies.


Valances are the top dressings for a window and its crowning glory. If used alone it gives style to a plain window, and if placed over another treatment they seal the heading, add flourish and capture any air that may seep in. Printed fabrics, tassel trims or a fringe lining on the valence helps create a dramatic look to layering.

A combination of any of these coverings, done aesthetically can transform a window from plain to posh.

The Art of Layering

Layering of window dressings is not given much thought while choosing window coverings. Blinds and shades are seen as the perfect fit for a window. Others like drapes or curtains as a better option. Update these treatments with an additional soft component and windows look tailored, luxurious and even more comfortable. They soften the space around the window, add texture and dimension and provide flexibility in use.

The most common form of layering is of two layers done with drapery panels as overtreatment and sheer curtains as an under treatment. The undertreatment should always be shorter.


When using a cornice as an overtreatment, mount the cornice at least 1 inch above the existing window dressings.


For layering inside mounted blinds and shades, the overtreatment is installed with a minimum clearance depth. The clearance depth is the inside measurement from the wall to the back of the over dressings.


For layering over outside mounted blinds or shades, your over treatment product must be deep enough to fit over the under treatment. The overtreatment depth is at least 1 inch greater than the depth of the under treatment.


When layering window dressings combine complementary patterns and colors to enhance the existing décor. Blending colors rather than contrasting them enhances the overall effect.


Insulated curtains and drapes rank highest in light blockage, thermal insulation, and privacy level of all window treatments used for layering. They are good insulators from light, sound, and outside temperatures. They work effectively on large windows and doors.


When they are not insulated, we get moderate light blockage, low thermal insulation but high privacy. They can achieve a soft, romantic look for large doors and windows.


Sheer curtains have a low light blocking effect because of their translucency. They provide moderate privacy but absolutely no thermal insulation.


Shades and blinds are moderate in their light blockage, low to high in thermal insulation depending on the nature of the fabric used and give complete privacy.


Shutters offer high light blockage and privacy control but have no thermal insulation.


Combining the individual benefits of each of these window treatments will help us in a successful layering operation.



Rooms that have huge windows or a series of window panels facing the sun may receive too much glare and solar heat gain, causing eye strain, discomfort and UV damage. On a cloudy or cold day, windows are a huge source of warm air leaking out. Install sheer solar shades as an under treatment for blocking the sun’s glare and insulation against the heat. Add custom drapery which when closed keeps cold and heat out and improves insulation. When not required the drapes can be elegantly tied off which helps finish the look of a room and accentuates the color scheme.


For a contemporary look pair a sleek looking valence with a textured Roman shade in coordinating fabrics.


Mixing wooden blinds or shutters with fabric creates a textural interest and adds variety to a window treatment. Coordinate the color of the fabric used on the tapes of the blinds with the fabric used for the drapes or curtains. Matching hardware will amplify the richness of this design.


Inside mount, sheer shades with stationary curtain panels with tiebacks can help keep the view.


Outside mount woven shades, when layered with full-length curtain panels, help in better light control.


A tailored valance combines effectively with a roman shade in coordinating fabric and contrasting drapery panels.


To maximize energy efficiency, one window dressings is not enough. Layering of window treatments on top of each other increases insulation. The most popular way of doing this is adding drapes to inside mounted window shades or cellular shades or blinds. This dramatically reduces energy lost through windows and looks great too.


Honeycomb shades present a clean, streamlined look and are an ideal backdrop for fabric treatments from simple to ornate. Give the design a finished cornice touch. With honeycomb shades, you can easily increase the comfort level of your room because of their efficiency. Whenever temperature control is not an issue, and you want to enjoy the outside view, they stack so thinly when opened that they virtually disappear.


Dressing a window in layers gives depth and dimension to it and appeals to anyone with its beauty. Let us dress our homes in layers to show we care about them.





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