Use Window Treatments to Reinforce a Theme
Window treatments are not only functional and decorative in their own right, but can also help highlight your general decorating themes. Your choice of materials, colors, patterns and placement will help bring life to traditional, contemporary, eclectic or exotic decorating schemes alike.
A more traditional or formal look may require a more elaborate window treatment. Treatments with volume, such as gathered, ballon or pleated styles are appropriate, and can help soften the feel of solid wood, leather upholstery, and other formal furnishings that tend to be more substantial. Mix sheers with classic fabrics like damasks and brocades in tones that play on existing colors on the walls, furniture upholstery or floor coverings. If you'd like to incorporate a splash of color contrast without disrupting the traditional feel, consider using finials, tie backs, tassels, or a border to incorporate a jewel tone or rich punctuation into the existing color scheme. Window treatments in traditional settings tend to symmetrical placement, and draw on a minimal library of patterns which themselves draw on more muted, low contrast color palettes: for example, tone on tone stripe, damask, woven paisleys or brocades, and classic florals like a single color toile. An excellent non-fabric option for a traditional room would be a classic european wooden shutter.
Contemporary rooms can easily be overwhelmed with the heavier, more elaborate treatments that are fitting for traditional/formal environments. For the purist, a flat treatment such as a roman shade provides privacy and coverage with minimal fuss. The fabric or paper for such a shade can be chosen in a wide variety of whites and neutrals, with a slight textural element provided by the weave of the material itself. Industrial touches like grommets are also appropriate. Renewable materials like bamboo are both environmental and modern. The organic appearance of bamboo, or the softness of a modern fabric choice like microfiber suede keeps contemporary decorating schemes inviting rather than sterile. A single well thought out color can help showcase existing decor, as can a graphic pattern such as a geometric design or organic silhouette. Symmetric placement is certainly the easier choice - the minimalist look of many contemporary trends means that each of your decorating choices will stand out clearly.
In eclectic decorating, anything goes. Well, almost anything. It is your choices and good judgement that will keep an eclectic decorating scheme playful rather than chaotic. In your window treatments, a cheeky use of color, asymmetrical placement of a decorative feature such as a jabot, or non-standard material will help achieve the desired effect. If you're unsure, start by keeping two rules for every rule that you break. For example, if you'd like to use an unusual material, match the color to an existing piece in the room and arrange the window treatment in the standard fashion. Or, try using a standard material and placement in an experimental color. Likewise, a classic drapery can find new life if placed jauntily askew.
Window treatments can help give exotic decor a solid sense of place by drawing on the traditional textiles, natural materials and color palette local to the source of your inspiration. Any type of treatment will likely be suitable, but do a little research to find out what type of materials you can incorporate to underscore an exotic look. For a more understated approach, embellishment techniques that are traditional in the region can be added to pre-fabricated window treatments.