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How to Choose Window Treatments

*All photography courtesy of Camille Styles

Just as your eyes are the window to your soul, so too are windows to your home. From the outside in, they give a glimpse into the sanctuary you've created for yourself, and from the inside out, they offer a private view of the world around you and fill your space with natural light. When Camille and her husband Adam built their house over a decade ago, she had no idea what to do with the huge steel windows and doors. While she loved their drama, leaving them bare felt a bit too stark.

Cue window treatments. There is nothing quite like the transformative power of curtains, drapes, shades, blinds, valances—well, besides paint!

But how to choose the right window treatment is the big question. Seeing a bare window is akin to working with an empty canvas, which is exciting but it can also be super intimidating, especially if it's your first time.

So with her recent design refresh, Camille teamed up with Graber product design expert, Julia Dorn to help choose the right materials to match her aesthetic and to help her think through the functionality of what she needs in each space. While she had a vision for the look and feel (see her Pinterest board here), Camille admits she's a bit "clueless" when it comes to window treatment logistics so she really leaned on their professional team to guide her through the process. "We have extremely tall windows and doors, and some that are unconventional sizes, so the custom aspect ensured we could get something perfect for our home," she reveals.

Last month she shared some of her window treatment dilemmas, this week, Camille, along with Dorn, is taking us through the process, from start to finish, of creating custom blinds and drapes for your home.

*This post is sponsored by Graber Window Treatments.

Come Prepared with Questions

Not having much experience with window treatments and the process before meeting with a Graber expert, Camille says it pays to come prepared to the meeting with questions so you know what to expect when choosing and installing window blinds. "I was curious about the light control of the different types of window treatments. For the office, how can we let sunlight in while still blocking enough light to prevent screen glare? Similarly, for the guest room, how can we allow light to be filtered in (and keep my house plants alive!) while still providing light-blocking options when we had guests actually sleeping in the space?"

Think about the kinds of benefits you’re looking for, are you in a cool climate that could use insulation? Are the windows at ground level or on a trafficked street, so privacy is a concern? Are you remodeling a laundry room or bathroom where moisture might be present? Once you know the problems you want to solve, your Graber designer can help you consider the style that pairs with your needs. You’ll also want to ask your expert for recommendations on control types based on your lifestyle and window placement.

Some other questions to have in your back pocket are:

  • How long should my drapes be? Should they pool on the floor or just barely touch the floor?
  • Should I have rings sewn on, or use clip-on rings for hanging?
  • Are there window treatments that provide UV protection for some areas of the house?
  • When would I go with roller shades versus roman/natural shades?

Camille was thankful to have a Graber expert to guide her on the design journey, while taking care of all the technical details and tasks, ensuring a worry-free, enjoyable experience from start to finish.


Create an Inspiration Board

Graber is a truly custom experience so there really are no limits to the creativity and design. But sometimes all of the options can be overwhelming. So, to truly visualize what she wanted the windows to look like, Camille created some inspiration boards to capture the look and feel she was hoping to capture in each of the different rooms. "I also used this document to list any particular needs, like light-blocking or motorized," she adds. "When I had my first meeting with the Graber team, I was able to share this and they immediately guided me towards a few options to choose from. It was much easier to select from their narrowed-down selection than start with the thousands of available options."


Consider the Function of Each Room

Take time to think through who uses the space at home and how. For example, Camille previously had heavy Belgian linen drapes in the kid's children's rooms upstairs to block out light when they slept but they would never open up their drapes so their rooms tended to stay dark all day. To solve that, Graber suggested light-blocking roller shades in a white material that would virtually disappear when raised.

They then added the motorized option and put it on a timer, so that in the morning, the shades automatically raise. "Not only does it allow for a beautiful natural light to flood his room, but it also gently wakes him up in the morning when it’s time to get ready for school," says Camille. "We went with the same solution in Phoebe’s room, but chose a pretty Naturals option that’s a little more soft and feminine."

Graber offers cordless options in most product lines, as well as motorized styles, and for windows that may be too tall or wide for a cordless option, a tethered Continuous Loop Lift will stay mounted to your wall and have no dangling cords. It's one of the reasons why Graber window treatments are certified Best for Kids by the Window Covering Safety Council. If you already have corded styles, Graber can even offer a free kit to make shade cords safer for families.

For children’s rooms and other high touch areas, selecting a wood blind or other easily washable product can be a good choice. For those that love the softer look of shades, Graber offers a large assortment of fabric colors and materials for those worried about little hands and white window treatments. Also, most cordless products come with a clear plastic handle on the bottom rail which allows for easy lifting and helps to keep those frequently touched areas cleaner.


When in Doubt, Use the Visualizer Tool

While the inspiration boards helped Camille get clear on the look and feel of her window treatments, she still wasn't sure how it would all come together. Enter the window treatment visualizer tool. You simply take a photo of your room and upload it onto a desktop or laptop computer. The program automatically masks out furniture, but you can make adjustments as needed. There’s also example rooms to choose from if your home window isn’t nearby.

Once you’re inside the tool you can hover over the window to choose the product line you’d like to see virtually installed, from there it’s very easy to change the materials or fabrics you want to try. There’s a menu at the bottom which allows you to open and close the window treatments, or tilt vanes and louvers if you’re looking at blinds—the light even changes as you make adjustments.

If you’re deciding between a few styles, you can click “add to compare” and it will allow a side by side comparison with a slider. You can download any of the images, or email them to a Graber design expert. It’s a great tool to help you narrow and compare styles, as well as share them for opinions or inspiration boards.


Measure Up

Measuring for window treatments can certainly be a headache. Not all windows, in fact-very few, are square, then you have to consider the differences between the product lines, inside mount or outside mount—it can be very overwhelming! But don't stress. That's where your Graber expert comes in. They take all the right measurements based on the product you’ve selected, so it’s completely hands-off for you. This really took a lot of the stress out of the process for Camille who has almost floor to ceiling windows!

Stay tuned for the final window treatment reveal coming to soon!