I’ve got another reader request post for you this morning, to kick off the week! How was your weekend, by the way? It was a mix of work and relaxing for Emmett & I- which is our preferred kind of weekend over here. I also shared a spring giveaway on Saturday, if you have yet to enter… click here! Ok, today’s post is all about window treatment pairings. I get lots of questions about how I layer window treatments for a more customized look. I’m a big fan of installing inset roman shades or woven shades, as well as drapery panels for that layered look we all know and love. Textiles can really help to soften a space, and it’s a nice functional pairing that can also add extra privacy or light filtration. Today I’ve rounded up lots of readymade pairings for you (shades paired with drapery panels), if your window treatments or drapery dilemma has you stumped. Click through to check out the pairings and to get some design tips…
The most asked about window treatments in my house is definitely the combination in our formal living room. I mixed and high and low for this one… budget friendly roman shades with custom drapery panels. Regardless of the price or the pairing, it’s the layered look that I keep coming back to and repeating throughout our home: a shade paired with panels.
It’s especially functional in our home because we have multiple sets of French doors flanked by windows. Without adding bulky window treatments or shades to our doors, having drapery panels that can easily slide all the way to the center of the doors, creating a beautiful and functional look.
This layered look works well on any windows though… whether you have doors anchoring the vignette, or not. It’s also visually pleasing with center draw curtains, or left & right draw drapery panels. In our guest bedroom, pictured below, you can see another good example of how I layered drapery panels over a simple woven shade. Ready to see some favorite pairings?
Click directly on the items to be redirected to the source- or use the numbered links below the collage to shop…
01: relaxed roman // 02: blush panel // 03: blue roman // 04: striped curtain // 05: dark woven // 06: hem stripe panel // 07: light woven // 08: green velvet panel // 09: striped roman // 10: grey pinch pleat // 11: linen roman // 12: white blackout // 13: ribbon roman // 14: pinch pleat velvet // 15: medium woven // 16: blue velvet
Hopefully these winning combinations will get your wheels turning! It’s always a good idea to keep contrast and texture in mind. The ones most similar to the vignettes in my home include: #5 with #6 and #15 with #16.
Why layer shades and drapery panels or curtains in the first place? Here are five of my top reasons…
- Aesthetic Purposes // They add softness to a space and look more custom when layered.
- Additional Privacy // They can provide additional privacy if your shades don’t include a privacy liner.
- Less Light Filtration // If your shades don’t have a blackout liner, layering adds an additional room darkening barrier.
- Interesting Window & Door Layouts // In unique layouts (like my French door situation), layering can make more sense from a functional point-of-view.
- Better Balance // They can really make your windows appear larger and provide better balance to a space.
Well done window treatments does not always have to be custom or super expensive. If you are curious to learn about the custom route, click here. Otherwise, check out this post on how to install casual linen readymade drapery panels, like you see pictured above in our primary bedroom. You can achieve beautiful and designerly window treatments in a variety of ways, based on your aesthetic and budget!
Hit me with your window treatments, drapery, or shade questions in the comment section below. I’d be happy to help! For those of you that requested some pairing ideas, I hope this post was helpful and helps to jumpstart the brainstorming process. Window treatments truly depend on the style of your home, functionality for your family, and your personal aesthetic.
PeggiApril 26, 2021 at 6:05 am
Such pretty pairings! The soft swoopiness and subtle shimmer of #1 & 2 are so romantic. The striped shade in #9 instigated thoughts of all the pattern-mixing possibilities that I had never considered. So many layering opportunities! The funny truth is that I have never lived in a home with drapes. I generally have the barest minimum of blinds or no window treatments at all. I always crave the maximum amount of sunshine! (Leo problems.) They are so lovely and provide such polish to a room design though. And, with all the time I spend on Etsy, I never would have thought to shop there for window treatments! Duh. Oh! Just yesterday I saw a fascinating idea on a designer’s IG stories. He was at the demolition sale of an estate (like, whoa, estate). The curtain rods in one of the rooms had been wrapped in the drapery fabric, and the panels were hung from rings to make it visible. I’m not sure if my explanation is clear, but the levels of detail were staggering. For a girl who has no drapes, I certainly have thoughts about them!
Let’s have an amazing last week of April, yea?! 💜
SarahApril 26, 2021 at 7:00 pm
Thank you! Your picks were also my favorites. I’m all about layering, as you know :) I miss living in a rural area where window treatments weren’t even needed, because I also love the natural light, but I’ll admit- I like the way they look, in addition to privacy. Etsy actually has an amazing selection of handmade pleated drapery panels! There are lots of talented people with shops who sew custom ones. I know exactly what stories you’re talking about- I watched those. The estate sale I went to last week had all of the custom window treatments for sale, and people we’re unscrewing them from the wall. It’s always crazy to see that. Yesss- cheers to an amazing last week of April. Here’s to hoping all these showers bring plenty of flowers (and help our drought here in Utah), haha! xox
Jennifer LauraApril 26, 2021 at 8:33 am
I’m curious, do you think it’s a faux pas to have curtains and nothing else going on underneath? That’s what I have in many places!
SarahApril 26, 2021 at 6:52 pm
Not at all! I think it depends on the function and design you’re going for. Some windows look better without any window treatments- or very minimal ones.
LaurenApril 26, 2021 at 9:06 am
I love the pairings you’ve shown here! I’m glad you mentioned to think about contrast and texture-two details that elude me when it comes to brainstorming window treatments. I’ve never lived in a home that doesn’t have blinds as the base layer. Roman shades didn’t appeal to me until I started seeing the fabric options, or the light to medium toned woven options. However, as someone who has only lived with blinds, the idea of having Roman shades sounds like tons of harsh bright light coming in. Do you ever feel like the light is too bright when they’re open? If I chose a light filtering option for windows that I tend to turn my blinds slightly open, will the amount of light coming through be similar? From a designerly perspective (or perhaps resale perspective), how many different types of window treatments is acceptable to see in a home? You know I’m a person that loves cohesion- when I’m brainstorming window treatments for this house that is my major stumbling block. We have so many windows-some with so much light that it’s harsh (south facing home-so all the front windows), some with wonderful indirect light (all the windows on the back of the house), and some with hardly any (only one side of the house). Is this a situation where necessity should determine the treatment? I envision Roman shades being the best option for the sides and back of the house. Which leads to another question: should the base layer be the same for all front windows so that appearance from the outside is cohesive when all of them are closed? Clearly I have all the questions-too many for a Monday morning! Ha! My favorite pairings are #1&2 (I envision something like this for Brooke’s room), #9&10 (Aaron’s room), and something similar to #3&4 or #15&16 for our room-15&16 are closest to the vision in my head. Your knack for these striking pairings is beyond what my brain can come up with-I appreciate you putting this together! Our weekend was cold but snuggly-we just chilled. We have rain today and a few more days this week, and then we’ll jump right into the 90’s this weekend. California weather is one extreme or the other. We have so few days of that perfect in between-I cherish them, but I hope we get a few more before the heat of summer hits! Have a wonderful start to your week!!
SarahApril 26, 2021 at 6:52 pm
Thanks, Lauren! Amazing questions! To answer your one about roman shades first… the brightness totally depends on the liner. In our previous home, I opted for blackout and privacy liners, so the sun really didn’t come through at all. In our current home, all of our shades are woven or wood shades, which have no liner, so they filter the light. They’re also not rated for privacy, so you can see through them. It’s really more of an aesthetic window treatment, while the curtains have liners and provide more for light and privacy. I honestly don’t think window treatments are a huge selling point one way or another- since they’re personal to your aesthetic. Typically the contract says they stay with the home (which especially makes sense if they’re custom), unless you have your agent rewrite that part of the contract. I do agree that function and necessity should drive the design for window treatments. Keeping them cohesive throughout your home or on one side of your home is totally personal preference. We have different window treatments in every room in our home, and none of them match (which doesn’t bother me). I like mixing it up, and you can definitely tell from the front of our home. I love all of your picks :) We’re having cold rainy weather here today AGAIN, but I really can’t complain. We need all the rain we can get. 90’s this weekend?!! That escalated. Haha! Ready or not, here comes summer. Lol! Glad your week is off to a good start!! xox
Cici HausApril 26, 2021 at 12:22 pm
How do you get rods that long that don’t require extra supports that make it a pain to actually close the curtains? I’ve been struggling with this!
SarahApril 26, 2021 at 6:36 pm
All extra long rods do require a center bracket or additional support of some kind. I prefer it in the center where the curtains close. I had the rod in our living room custom made, and the other rod in our primary bedroom came from Annie Selke- it’s linked in the DIY post :)
jenApril 27, 2021 at 7:30 am
I’d love to know more about how to use wovens vs a linen Roman. What determines this decision? Should you have other wovens in the room? Should the decor have a coastal vibe? I love the layered look, stuck on the type of blind underneath. Also, if you have a large picture window, can you layer that window but keep smaller side windows with just a Roman blind to keep the sides (where there will be furniture) clean look–so you don’t have drapes falling behind tables and sectionals?
SarahApril 27, 2021 at 8:59 am
Amazing questions, Jen! Typically functionality and the aesthetic determines my decision. If I need additional light filtration, privacy, etc and I don’t already have blackout drapery panels, then I’ll layer up with inset shades. Sometimes I install them just because I like the look (like in our formal living room). You do not have to have other wovens in the room, but I do like the warmth they add and how they can complement other warm materials in the space (flooring, textiles, etc). Your decor doesn’t need to have a coastal style- in fact, most spaces with woven shades do not. It’s really whatever look you’re going for! Every window treatment is dependent on the home, the floor plan, and how you use it. You can definitely mix and match window treatments in the same room as well- like your picture window and the smaller windows flanking it. I hope that helps!
SharonApril 27, 2021 at 8:16 pm
What about roller blinds? I feel like those with a simple valence are very minimal and sleek…
SarahApril 28, 2021 at 3:30 pm
That’s actually what we have in our guest bedroom (pictured in this post). They’re woven roller shades… I usually just classify those with shades because they’re so similar- and we always use a valence when taking that route! Great point, Sharon.
AidaApril 27, 2021 at 9:30 pm
Hi Sarah! I feel as though this is a big design no-no, since I haven’t been able to find much guidance on the topic… I would love your thoughts on cellular shades. I was initially turned off by them completely, because I was thinking about the cheap-looking white paper ones. However, perusing the options at Home Depot/Lowes, I keep seeing some seemingly higher quality ones. They even have some with more texturally interesting fabrics – along the lines of the woven shade look. I like the idea of them from a practical standpoint: we do not have central AC, have a lot of larger windows (34″x60″), and so I was thinking it could be a good way to keep the house temperature more regulated if I put them on the 2nd and 3rd floors. The third floor is only used when guests come over. The other aspect that appeals to me about the cellular shades is the ability to get top-down ones, because the windows can open from the top in addition to the bottom. In my mind, I can see myself wanting to open the window from the top or have light coming in from the top, but keep the shades expanded at the bottom for privacy. I’m so indecisive though because I’m worried they won’t look good when they are up. I would also be layering drapes on top of them. I love all of the combinations you put together – I think 1/2 and 7/8 are my favorites! Thank you so much for sharing this!
SarahApril 28, 2021 at 3:29 pm
Hi Aida! I think it’s really a personal preference. You could probably make them look better by layering and choosing the higher end materials (to look woven, etc)! They’re not my favorite, in terms of aesthetic. In regards to functionality, I wonder how they compare to other thermal window treatments. That’s something I’ve honestly never looked into it, but I bet you could find some shades that provide similar benefits for temperature control :)
NikkiMay 1, 2021 at 11:02 am
I’ve been around for a few months but haven’t posted before. I’ve learned so much and appreciate the explanations and how you detail your thought process on design decisions.
My question is regarding a 2 story family room. We have a wall of windows: 3 separate windows below, 3 windows above (so a grid of 6 windows) separated by about a foot of space between the bottom row and the top row – with a smaller arched window at the very top. Great view of the pool and back yard. We currently have cheap cellular shades that came with the house. The cords are a challenge. And they constantly get off center/off balance and have scraped up the paint on the window walls. It’s time to replace them but I’ve been unsure how to proceed. I don’t like the look of 2 story (non-functional) curtains. So, I suppose a layered look is out.
We will probably replace the current shades with some sort of roman shade or woven shade that is cordless. But I haven’t been able to decide if I should try and match the paint and have the shades “disappear”. Or go with something darker that stands out. If we don’t want to spend the money for the upper windows then the lack of balance drives me crazy. Currently the bottom windows look slight smaller than the top row of windows because of the inset shades. It is a small thing but one that drives me crazy! Thoughts? Anyone dealing with the same situation? Thanks!
LaurenMay 1, 2021 at 8:38 pm
Hi Nikki! I am in a similar situation: my front room is a two story room, and we have one large arched window above a large picture window. That pattern repeats on the adjacent wall. We currently have aluminum inset blinds throughout the house (built in 96). I have come across the same challenge with cords-the uppers are completely useless. In my situation the blinds weren’t custom created for the arched windows, so we have a portion of the arch that lets the worst bright light in during the late afternoon, shining right into your eyes. I have found functional, extra long drapery panels on Amazon, that also include the wand for sliding open and shut-I plan on utilizing that option for layering when we do change the window coverings. It’s likely that I will outside mount the drapery panels, in the space between the two windows. For me, not being able to functionally utilize those upper blinds has shown me that not having the ability to open and close them doesn’t bother me. So I’ve decided that I will have a custom light filtering shade of some sort made for the uppers, and functional cordless shades for the lowers- purely for matching aesthetic purposes, and those I will inside mount. That’s where my brainstorming has led me, purely because I hate plantation shutters, and like you, we have a great view. I hope that helps you brainstorm your situation, and I’d love to hear your thoughts and Sarah’s as well! Happy Saturday!
SarahMay 3, 2021 at 6:44 pm
I love your idea, Lauren! Maybe for the ones you can reach, motorized would be a good option so they actually function? I think it totally depends on the look and feel of the home, too… which I feel like we’ve chatted enough about in your home, to know that this is a good, solid plan :) Thanks for sharing with Nikki!
LaurenMay 3, 2021 at 10:35 pm
Oh I’ve never thought about doing motorized!! That’s genius!! Also hadn’t thought of blending them into the paint color; very smart!! You have my wheels turning!! Would contrast be a bad thing for windows like these?
SarahMay 4, 2021 at 9:32 pm
I think contrast could also be cool! It just depends on the look you’re going for. Regardless- motorized is SUCH a nice and functional feature when you have THAT many windows in one room and they’re tall :)
SarahMay 3, 2021 at 6:42 pm
Hi Nikki! I love hearing that. I’d be happy to weigh in on your family room window treatment dilemma. Depending on how low or high the windows are, it may be nice to get sleek, low profile motorized shades that nicely blend… especially if you have an excellent view and love all of the natural light! Plus, it’s much easier to control when they’re on a remote (plus no scratching the paint). Because I personally like a balanced look, I’d keep them all consistent. In terms of the color, in this scenario, I’d keep it monochromatic (similar to the wall color) so they disappear. You could also soften the lower section with sheers if you’re craving some added softness or framing. Our friends have an a-frame cabin with SO many windows from floor to ceiling and motorized shades are really the best- and super functional for retaining / reflecting heat. I hope that helps :)
NikkiMay 4, 2021 at 6:08 am
Thanks for all the feedback! I love the layered look so much. But I think I need to face the fact that it just doesn’t work for this room in this home. The best plan seems to be the motorized shades with a monochromatic look. Your final statement is key: “Window treatments truly depend on the style of your home, functionality for your family, and your personal aesthetic.” We’re near Houston so window treatments on the upper windows will help with the heat as well as the glare. Function wins this time. Thanks again everyone!
SarahMay 4, 2021 at 9:18 pm
Maybe you can do the layered look elsewhere in your home? I think the monochromatic motorized shades would be my top pick if it were my home- it’s a great functional option that allows you to enjoy your view. Heat is definitely a concern since you’re near Houston. It would be a major bonus if they made the space more efficient and kept things cooler for you. Even as a designer who loves form, sometimes the functional choice is the best one :)
ElisaJuly 14, 2022 at 8:25 pm
Hi, Sarah!! Thanks for this post. I’m here a bit late but hope I can still bother you. The bedroom in the place I’m moving into has a window that’s flush against the wall on the right side – meaning very little space for a rod or an outside mount that can fit both blackout and sheer, the combo I’m usually into for privacy and sleep considerations.
So I think layering like this is the best way to go. The question is: given the space constraints for a rod, do you think it would it be advisable visually and practically to have blackout shades with an inside mount and then sheer long curtains on a rod over the window (since I feel it’ll be easier to disguise the tight fit on the right)? I feel like that way it’s easier to have the sheer pulled across for longer periods in the day for privacy and then just roll down the blackout at nighttime.
Or should I try an inside mount that’s more sheer and have the blackout outside even it bunches up?
SarahJuly 15, 2022 at 9:04 pm
Hi, Elisa! I’m happy to help :) I would install a ceiling track or rod that terminates into the right wall, then draw the curtains to one side (the left side)… rather than trying to disguise the asymmetry, embrace it! It will also make your window look much larger, providing more natural light. I vote either black out drapery panels, or whatever type of panels you prefer with a blackout inside mount roman shade. I hope that helps :)
ElisaJuly 16, 2022 at 12:17 pm
I love that idea, thank you! So would love to get your take: should the curtain rod on the left end about 4″ wide out or would it be visually more appealing if I extend it out wider like by 12″?
SarahJuly 18, 2022 at 4:19 pm
No problem! I would push the rod on the left out further if you can… 12-16″. I like a full look and it will make your window look a lot larger!
KellySeptember 10, 2022 at 9:07 pm
Hi Sarah, your blog has been incredibly valuable for helping us determine window treatments. we’ve completed our home and zero window treatments. We are almost 10 months in our home and still have paper shades because I just want to get them right. I think we’re going with Roman shades for most of the home but our master bedroom has a wall that could really benefit from the layering of drapes. However, there’s a third window that is only 27” wide, is behind a nightstand and has less than a foot on either side of the window so drapes wont work. My question is this…can I layer drapes on the two larger windows on the one wall but only a roman shade on the small window behind the nightstand? Thank you for your guidance.
SarahSeptember 22, 2022 at 5:35 pm
I love hearing that, Kelly! Congratulations on your completed home. You can definitely mix and match- I think it’s more about the styling and making things feel intentional and balanced. I hope that helps :)
jenniferOctober 6, 2022 at 11:32 am
I found your website by accident and I’m go glad! Thank you so much for the information. It is so helpful. This is not related to window treatment. Where did you purchase the chairs and the white round table? Thank you.
SarahOctober 6, 2022 at 10:54 pm
Aw, I’m so glad Jennifer! Welcome! The chairs and table were both vintage finds. Have a good weekend ahead!