How to Layer Window Treatments & Styles

How to Layer Window Treatments & Styles

Window Treatments

Layering drapery over blinds or shades is the perfect way to dress up the windows in your home.

From sheer curtains and blackout drapes to sturdy wooden blinds and soft woven shades, we’ll walk you through all of your style options. Read on to learn more about how you can coordinate your window treatments with the existing design style and fabrics in each room to achieve a polished, upscale look.

Hard vs. Soft Treatments

When you layer drapery with blinds or shades, contrast is the key to preventing the two treatments from clashing. Your first layer, or the base, should consist of hard window treatments like faux or wood blinds, shutters, or woven shades. You can also opt to use base treatments such as shutters, roman, roller, or cellular shades.

Whether you use hard or soft treatments as a base layer, neutral finishes will work well with any patterned or solid fabric when layering drapery on top. If you love working with layers of soft treatments using printed fabrics, be sure that one has a large pattern and the other is a minor or delicate pattern.

Here are a few points you need to keep in mind regarding layered window coverings:

Sometimes uniformity is better than variety.

Whether you're doing the whole house or one room, mixing window treatments is possible. You will need to determine which windows need a different treatment and which ones should stay consistent with the rest. It's called mixing window treatments, but the essence of the act lies in striking a balance. Don't sacrifice the aesthetic balance for being too showy.  

What is your theme and color palette?

Sticking to a theme and a color palette are as relevant to mixing drapery as any other aspect of décor. Remember to choose a drapery color, print, and style that aligns with the rest of the fabrics for a cohesive design. Plan and design around your existing area(s)!

Fabric Material and Weight

Client requirements are an excellent parameter in choosing prospective materials for window treatments. In areas with no distinction between other windows, it's best to stick with fabrics that aren't too different in texture or weight. Besides aesthetics, you should consider each room’s safety, privacy, comfort, lighting, and energy efficiency.

Layering Sheer and Solid Draperies

Sheers as a top or base layer

When layering curtains, you need to decide whether you'd like to use your sheer curtains as the bottom or top layer of your window treatment. Here are two points to keep in mind:

  • A sheer base layer will only be visible when the top layer is drawn open. A sheer base layer offers aesthetics, privacy, and light control versatility.
  • A sheer top layer is generally used over a light control bottom layer such as blackout drapes.

Drapery Rods for Double Layers

There are many styles and finishes of drapery hardware available. We suggest a double rod that allows both drapery treatments to move independently.

Laying sheer and solid draperies
Photo Source: Wayfair

Combining Draperies with Soft Window Treatments

Draperies and Roman Shades

Roman shades combined with drapes work well together, but they are also a timeless treatment and give your room a cozy vibe. For daytime, use a light-filtering roman shade for privacy and match it up with blackout drapes for complete darkness at bedtime.

Draperies and roman shades
Photo Source: Smith & Noble

Draperies and Cellular Shades

Cellular shades are great insulators from the heat or cold outside, and they will help block cold drafts from windows. When combining these two treatments, pick your draperies first and use a matching solid color or neutral for the shades.

Draperies and cellular shades
Photo Source: Smith & Noble

Drapes and Roller Shades

Try pairing roller shades with curtains if you have shallow windows or want a sleeker look.

Drapes and roller shades
Photo Source: Smith & Noble

Draperies and Sheer Shades

Sheer shades can be tilted open and closed like blinds to adjust the amount of light coming in. The outside layer is a sheer fabric, while the interior vanes can be closed for a room darkening effect.

Draperies and sheer shades
Photo Source: Smith & Noble

Combining Soft and Hard Window Treatments

Curtains Over Blinds

Two-inch blinds with layered draperies are classic and perfect for more traditional homes or formal spaces. Remember to use faux wood blinds for high moisture areas such as bathrooms.

Curtains over blinds
Photo Source: Smith & Noble

Draperies and Shutters

Although shutters are more expensive, they can increase the value of your home. For your shutters to operate correctly, ensure that your curtain rods protrude out far enough so the draperies clear the edges of the open shutters.

Draperies and shutters
Photo credit: At Home in Arkansas

Draperies and Woven Shades

Woven shades come in various styles, and their beautiful weaves add a pop of texture to neutral spaces. Draperies add softness to the area and provide extra light control when you need it.

Draperies and woven shades
Photo Source: Smith & Noble

Mixing Window Treatments in One Room

The picture below shows a room with a sliding door and a large window where the same treatment will not work. In this instance, a combination of a roman shade and drapes with coordinating fabric pulls the room together. If the window had ample space for stacking drapery, the same treatment could have been done on both.

Mixing window treatments in one room
Photo Source: Smith & Noble

Layering Window Shades 

Woven Shades and Roman Shades

Within one window, you can layer decorative window treatments like roman and woven shades.

Keep in mind that layering treatments in the same window may only work for very deep windows. It’s ideal if the back shade is mounted inside the frame and the top shade is mounted on the wall outside.

Woven shades and roman shades
Photo Source: Smith & Noble

Need Help Finding Your Perfect Window Treatments?

Style for Life Interiors can help you enhance your home with new window treatments for all spaces in your home. Schedule an introductory call with one of our experts today!

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