Frankly Dear, I Prefer Contemporary
Today’s contemporary window treatments are “simply” beautiful!
Like many fashion and home decor trends, our window treatments have run the gamut from complicated creations to simple statements. In the past we’ve seen elaborate curtain designs that incorporated yards and yards of fabric lavished with embellishments, and presented on stately curtain rods with carved finials. These window treatments were almost as opulent as a ball gown. Just ask Scarlett. Scarlett O’Hara was a complicated Southern belle who lived a charmed life, so it’s no wonder she wore her grand window treatments when she fell on hard times. And many can remember the classic Carol Burnett Show spoof of Gone with the Wind, where Carol also dons her window treatments, but includes the huge curtain rod as well. There’s nothing simple about that.
The simplicity of today’s contemporary trends in window treatments wouldn’t do for Scarlett, but for many of us the look is a welcomed change. According to Millie Hammond, senior stylist for Fabricut Inc., a worldwide distributor of decorative fabrics, people have embraced the cleaner aesthetic of contemporary design as their lives have gotten busier. Companies like Fabricut are working hard to provide designers with contemporary fabrics and accessories their clients will feel at home with. For those who prefer the non-custom option, retailers are also offering contemporary ready-made window treatments.
It’s too loud, can you tone it down, please
Color is what has changed most significantly in fabric designs for contemporary settings. By just reducing the number of colors in a fabric, manufacturers have captured designs that are more fitting to the quiet, serene look that is so popular today. Fabric with a large-scale design can appear somewhat understated and fitting to the scheme when the number of colors is limited and the tones are muted. Even intricate patterns such as Fabricut’s “Sister Sister” and “MacGyver” have a contemporary vibe when they are presented using simple, muted color combinations.
For those who prefer to limit their use of patterns, you can never go wrong with a solid curtain panel. Trendy colors range from white/cream to organic shades such as mushroom, jute, gravel and ash. What makes solid curtain panels so visually desirable is the use of fabrics with a texture. Linen weaves are hugely popular and can be nubby or smooth, weighty or very sheer. Emphasize the texture of the fabric by choosing a color that is similar to the wall color—either a shade lighter or darker and see how the texture of the fabric becomes even more noticeable and interesting. This works very well with velvet fabrics also.
Less is more in the actual design too, of course, so rather than pinch pleats or overlaying swags, the top of contemporary treatments feature straightforward folds attached to slick, unobtrusive drapery hardware (curtain rod, rings and finials). If it sounds too simple to be stylish, it’s not. The contemporary person will appreciate the restrained, classy presentation and how it becomes a beautiful element within the room.
Pull the shades
Not a fan of curtains, but still want a window treatment? Shades and blinds lend themselves beautifully to contemporary rooms because they are streamlined and can fit within the window. Fashion aside, blinds and shades are also functional treatments that provide light control and privacy. Hunter Douglas’ design trend expert, Sally Morse, recommends the Silhouette and Pirouette shade systems to finish a contemporary window. To play up the contemporary look, Morse says, “If it has a slat, vein or louver, always select the wider slat for the cleanest look because you will have half as many slats and a better view to the outdoors.” Morse also suggests that you can use the optical illusion created by the horizontal lines of shades and blinds because they tend to elongate the look of a window when your eye follows the horizontal line. “No one ever asks for their windows to appear smaller,” Morse says.
Morse also suggests the Skyline Gliding Window Panels which are super sleek and can be used to dress even the largest window expanse. These sliding panels are installed on a two-channel track that can split and open in the center or at the left or right side of the window. Hunter Douglas offers a large selection of sheer and opaque fabrics for the system in natural and woven grass options.
Believe it or not, roller shades have made an impressive comeback. If the last time you saw a roller shade it was white, plastic and in your grandma’s house, then you will want to see the latest in this window covering. Today’s roller shades come in a plethora of custom fabrics that include organic, woven looks and textured finishes that result in an uncomplicated but “wow” appearance for windows.
So maybe Scarlett did get her curtain “swag” on, but today’s contemporary window treatments are so classy and stylish, they’re enough to rival Scarlett in all her ball gown glory.