Decorating & Design

December 10, 2008

Unifying Window Coverings

Q. I have an open-concept living room, dining room and kitchen with cathedral ceilings. On the north wall there is a 6’ patio door and a 6’ window. On the south wall in the dining area there is a 4’ by 5’ window and in the kitchen area there is a 4’ by 4’ window. I have vertical blinds on the patio door. The 6’ window next to it is treated with a straight valance and has a honeycomb blind underneath. On the dining room window there is the same valance with venetians. The kitchen window has simple curtains. I would like to change them all but I’m not sure what to do. Our house is situated on a lake, which is the focal point of the space through the north patio door and window. The interior theme is country with dark green carpet, pine walls and a green, burgundy and blue plaid sofa.

— Wendy Thompson, Skootamatta Lake, Ont.

A. You are very fortunate to have the possibility of bringing so much light into your open space. But remember that windows are essentially what relates one space to another. Groups of windows, even if they are not the same size, should be treated in the identical manner. This works to unify a space visually.

In your case, it will help to bring together the three separate functions of your space. Keep fabric, colour and style the same throughout. However, you will have to deviate somewhat for the covering of the patio door. A simple style of window coverings should be used in each area. This will emphasize the two focal areas in the space — the view of the lake and your magnificent cathedral ceiling. Consider roman blinds for all of the windows — they work especially well in living and dining rooms as well as kitchens. They are easily rolled up or down and allow a lot of light indoors. As well, when they are drawn up, they create a neat pleated pattern. For your patio door consider a simple pleated draw curtain to complement the romans. You can also use a tie-back to let light in through the door.

Try to stay away from bold patterns and stick to solid colours. Strong patterns will overwhelm the natural texture of the pine walls. For colour, pick up the blue or burgundy of the sofa to contrast the dark green of the carpet. A muted version of one of these colours should work well. A darker colour will make your space too dark as there are many dark colours already. Roman blinds require a sturdy fabric, not flimsy. When selecting fabric look for a simple cotton or canvas to go with your country theme.

Don’t forget the linings of your window coverings because this is how your windows present themselves to the outside world. Be sure to keep these consistent — white is usually best because it is neutral.

If you are feeling a bit daring, consider leaving the patio door uncovered with romans on all of the windows. This is the ultimate way to bring in that wonderful view of the lake.