Traditional Window Treatment Styles
Find Your Perfect Blinds
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Last updated: Sunday, April 27, 2008 | 21751 Views

Much has been written about modern and contemporary style window coverings, but if you interior design tastes tend toward the more refined and ornate styles of Baroque, French Provincial or even Queen Anne Victorian decor, then an old world style of window covering is in order!

You don’t want to spoil the look of authentic Queen Anne furniture with modern Venetian blinds or detract from your French provincial furniture with aluminum mini blinds, which would be entirely out of keep with the look of that period.

Still, while you want your window coverings to match your traditional style of decor, you may also want the convenience and practical features of modern window fashions.

So, how do you achieve the look of old world design while retaining the functions of controlling natural light and privacy we all expect from a modern window treatment?

Read on for tips on designing practical, yet elegant window treatments that enhance and coordinate correctly with the design, color and feel of your old world room decor.

Floral prints and contrasting colors can give your window coverings a touch of the old world!

Begin with Window Covering Basics

Richly ornate, this Queen Anne Victorian decor featues deep red drapes with contrasting gold fringes, tasseled tiebacks and a curved, double-layered valence.The style of traditional, old world decor almost demands full length draperies in order to be authentic to the period and style you are trying to recreate, but using a functional window covering such as pleated or roller shades as a base can make your window treatment entirely more functional and flexible.

As with any window treatment, a well though out design begins with consideration of the use of the room and practical matters of window size, what lies outside the window that you wish to leave unobstructed or conversely need to obscure from prying eyes and how much or little natural light you desire entering the room.

If privacy is not of great concern and you want a lot of natural light then forego any base layer and design your old world window treatment purely for aesthetics and an authentic appearance that is true to the room decor.

On the other hand, in a bedroom, bathroom or any other room where you want the versatility of modern window coverings, a base layer is probably the best route to take. Use a base window covering such as a roller shade or pleated blind in a neutral color like white or off-white for privacy and flexible light control without detracting from your decorative window fashion elements.

If you opt not to use a base layer, you can also achieve privacy and block out natural light using lined draperies, which may even look more authentic with some old world interior decors.

Decorative Window Treatment Elements

Once you have the basics of privacy and light filtration covered, you can consider the more decorative elements that will best achieve the old world look you’re after. Historic references can be helpful at this stage of your planning and design efforts.

Like a scene from a fairly tale, the fabric valance and arched window in this frenc provincial sitting room invite the eye to discover curves and patterns echoed throughout the decor.Look at all the pictures and drawings you can which best represent the type of window coverings used during the period you are recreating. Pay attention particularly to the colors, materials and patterns used in drapery fabrics used predominately in the period.

For instance, if you are designing a room to emulate the look of 17th century Baroque, then a decorative topper such as a window cornice with ornate Baroque style carving and finished in gilded gold will appropriately match velvet, chenille or taffeta drapes appointed in the colors and patterns of the baroque style.

To create the look of a French provincial sitting room or bedroom, then perhaps using a swag or scarf in a deep red and/or gold fabric would make an excellent topper, contrasting with cream colored full length drapes in a soft taffeta fabric.

In the ornate Queen Anne Victorian style, you will want to select drapes that match the color scheme and patterns of your furniture upholstery, area rugs and throw pillows, with gold embroidery and dark, rich colors in your drapery fabric or else adding some texture with white or cream lace. A fringed or tasseled valence and tiebacks with tassels or fringe will complement your elegant Victorian room decor quite nicely.

Or, if your Victorian home has ornate window casings, trim and crown moldings, you might go with something simple like white lace curtains that don’t detract from the eye candy!

For a slightly more casual look, you could use tapestry cafe curtains with a fringed detail to add texture to your old world window coverings.

Elegant full length drapes in rich gold fabric give this dining room a formal mood and nostalgic feeling of the distant past, when only royalty would have such a beautiful table upon which to feast.

Old World Drapery Hardware

Drapery hardware such as ornate finials and tiebacks will also complement your old world interior nicely, adding a finishing touch to your elegant window treatment.

Be sure to use drapery rods, curtain rings and other hardware that is in keeping with the period as well, using finishes such as gilded gold, antique brass or faux finishes that would have been commonly used for window coverings of the time.

Drapery hardware is like jewelry that adorns and completes the luxurious, formal window coverings typical of the traditional design aesthetic.

Designing an old world window treatment takes patience and careful consideration but will be worth the time invested if you want your window coverings to enhance the theme and period or design movement you are striving to achieve in the look of your interior!


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