By: Natalie Elmhurst
Ready to get new window treatments in your home? You’re likely excited and prepared for the upgrade. But who knew there were so many options and details to work through? How do you know which window treatment option will suit you best? With this Ultimate Window Treatment Guide, you won’t need to look any further.
Whether you’re updating your current space or outfitting a new home, you need to find the right balance of style and functional light control. That’s not easy to do when you aren’t an interior designer. Even if you have a good eye for this kind of thing, you need to understand your options.
There are TONS of options available for window treatments. But you don’t have time to explore every one of them in depth.
Don’t worry. No need to spend weeks (or months!) staring at your bare windows while you go down endless internet rabbit holes. *This Ultimate Guide brings all window treatments together so you can find out the most important details — fast. *
The Ultimate Guide to Window Treatments also digs deep into the buying and installation options out there, so you can purchase with confidence and enjoy the experience from start to finish.
Read on to discover everything you need to know about window shades, blinds, and getting the perfect window treatment for your interior.
For many, the first step to starting this process is measuring your windows. Keep in mind that sometimes this won’t be necessary if you partner with a full-service company, but for those who need to, we’ve got some steps to help you through it.
To measure your windows for new window treatments, you’ll need:
(If your windows are too high or out of reach, consider using a professional. At Stoneside, we do ALL the measurements for you.)
When you’re ready, measure from one end of the window to the other. Make sure you pay attention to the type of measurement you need — interior vs. exterior. An interior measurement is from edge to edge inside the trim. An exterior measurement includes the surrounding trim on the wall.
(Typically, blinds are an interior measurement. Shades can be interior or exterior, depending on your style goals.)
Record your measurement to the nearest quarter inch on a piece of paper.
Do the same thing, but this time vertically. Again, ensure you’re getting the correct type of measurement per the instructions of your manufacturer.
Record your measurement to the nearest quarter inch on a piece of paper.
Repeat these steps for all your windows, even if you believe they are the same measurements. You’ll want your measurements as accurate as possible to ensure a snug fit and optimal light and temperature control.
The way you measure may need to be adjusted depending on how you plan to mount your treatments, and some places even recommend measuring six different points in the window. If you know where you’re ordering your window treatments, reach out to their customer service or check their FAQ page for a tutorial to ensure you’re getting the correct measurements for your new window treatments.
Sound like a little more of a hassle than you want to take on? You’re not the only one. Many people opt for custom window treatments so they can outsource these details to the pros. If that sounds like you, go ahead and put that measuring tape away. This full-service approach means zero measuring on your end, my friend.
Many shade and blind companies will outsource the installation teams, subcontracting this task to other companies. At Stoneside, we do things a bit differently, and according to our customers — a whole lot better.
Stoneside is proud to have our very own installation team. We’ve done extensive vetting and training, so these installers are the best in the industry. They’re focused on giving you a 5-star experience, and they’re experts on all of our products, as opposed to having general knowledge on how window treatments work.
If you’re still unsure about what installation experience you prefer, that’s okay! You’re still at the starting stage, and as you go through this guide, you’ll likely gain some insight into what you may be looking for for your home. Don’t let this part of the process keep you from exploring your options for your new window treatments.
Next, you’ll need to know that most shades are split into two categories: blinds and shades. The main differences between shades and blinds are:
Overall design: Blinds have the classic slatted look, where sunlight peeks through the parallel pieces when open. Shades, on the other hand, can be made from many different types of material but traditionally only have one long piece that fits over your window, rather than being broken up like slats.
Function: Blinds are primarily used for light control, while shades have many different uses. You can use shades for temperature control, privacy, sound dampening, and energy conservation. While blinds do well when it comes to privacy, their strength lies in light control.
Aesthetic: Their different designs and construction give blinds and shades different looks and feels. Blinds can be easily used in traditional and classic homes but can also be a wonderful touch in contemporary homes.
The variety of shade types makes them a more versatile choice. In more modern homes, roller shades and solar shades provide a streamlined, barely-there look that maximizes views. For a more transitional or traditional look, Roman shades offer a bit more volume and structure. Both options can range from light filtering sheers to blackout options for maximum light control.
It’s essential to understand the differences so you know where to start your search. Get a more in-depth look at the differences between blinds and shades here.
Blinds have long been a favorite for homeowners and interior designers. Their function, combined with their classic look, makes them an easy choice for many homes. Blinds offer the timeless, slatted look that keeps a room feeling clean and polished, but the right blind can also be warm and comforting or inspire a fresh and new feeling.
Each type of blind is different. Check out our breakdown of the most common types of blinds available so you can filter out what will work — and what won’t.
This combination of wood and polymers is where faux wood meets real wood blinds. Although a bit heavier than some, composite blinds are incredibly durable and easy to keep looking fresh and clean.
Love the look of wood blinds, but the price tag has you rethinking it? Faux wood blinds might be your perfect answer. Faux wood blinds are convenient and easy to clean, making them a top contender for blind lovers.
Wood blinds will undoubtedly remain a favorite for years to come. Their traditional look is hard to pass up, and modern touches that limit the look of cord holes make this classic choice more appealing than ever.
Vertical blinds have come a long way in recent years, maintaining their place as a favorite for many homes and businesses. Simple and efficient, vertical blinds now have more options for materials and looks than ever before.
If you think there are a ton of different shades out there — you’re right. There are many different shades, all with their unique look, feel, and function. The good news? You’ve got options to choose from, so you’ll have better luck finding the perfect fit.
But you’ll need to understand the different types of window shades— and how they work. We’re going to give you enough information so you can choose which ones to look into more fully and which ones to skip.
Roller shades are a very popular shade and are one of the top window treatment trends of the year.
The roller shade is known as one of the most versatile window treatments, and is gaining momentum in interiors. No matter the room, and no matter the style of the home, these heavy-hitters harmonize with many different designs.
Roller shades come in a wide range of materials, so you’re sure to find the right texture, color, and opacity for your space.
It’s no wonder roller shades are one of the most popular window treatments today. With add-on options like valances and motorization, these window treatments are popular in a wide range of climates and home types.
Solar shades are often confused with roller shades because they look very similar — and for good reason. Solar shades are actually a subset of roller shades but differ in their main function: solar shades are crafted specifically for filtering sunlight.
This functionality goes beyond simple light control. Solar shades are crafted to control the amount of visual light, stop harmful UV rays, and mitigate heat transference. This makes it a top choice for homeowners who have larger windows or who have intense sun exposure.
They’re also a great choice for retail spaces with large windows, as they can preserve views while reducing glare and heat. You’ve likely seen these shades at your local coffee shop or office building.
If you want the look of a roller shade, but with more light control and heat mitigation, this will be your perfect shade. Whether it’s to optimize those days in your home office without glare keeping you from productivity, or to make your living room less of an oven in those hot summer afternoons, solar shades will treat your home — and your family — well.
Cellular shades (or ‘insulating shades’) are known as THE shade for climate control. Their unique design keeps temperature fluctuations at bay, making them a favorite in areas where seasonal changes bring about temperature swings. Low lows and high highs? Keep those outdoor temps where they belong with cellular shades.
Cellular shades are the most energy efficient window treatment available and remain an understated yet very popular window treatment.
Love the idea of blinds but don’t love the material? You’re in luck. Transitional shades have a slatted look — but without the solid slats. Transitional shades are crafted from layered transparent fabric with darker cloth vanes, giving it a striped look without the solid slats that are featured in blinds. You get just the right amount of light with transitional shades without losing your view.
Transitional shades make a wonderful alternative to blinds. When it comes to their look, transitional shades offer a unique, “interior designer” feel because of the array of options for designs. Wavy lines, geometric shapes, or simple stripes give your home a pop of personality or a soft classic character.
Roman shades have been around for centuries and are still one of the most sought-after window shades on the market today. Beloved by homeowners and interior designers alike, these classic window shades are timeless and beautiful. They are often chosen because of their high-end look that’s a bit more subtle than drapery.
Roman shades are an excellent choice if you’re looking for a shade that has high functionality and gorgeous appeal. They’re also a great option for open-concept living. You can opt for drapery panels for more formal spaces like the dining room, while keeping things more casual with Roman shades in the same material in adjacent spaces.
At Stoneside, we know how important it is to have high-quality shades. That’s why we source only the best for our customers and have each piece custom-made right here in the US. We specialize in custom window treatments because every home and every window is unique, and creating each order on demand ensures that each window treatment gives an impeccable fit and look every single time.
But hold on — blinds and shades aren’t the only window treatments to consider. There are still window treatments you may want to know more about.
Just because you’re outdoors doesn’t mean you always want to be exposed to the elements — or to your neighbors. Outdoor window treatments help block unwanted light, can act as a slight wind break, and provide privacy for your patio, porch, or California room.
Please note: Stoneside does not offer outdoor window treatments at this time.
What comes to mind when you think of drapery? Elegance? Luxury? Drama? If so — you’re right. Those are all used to describe draperies, which have been a dream window treatment for many designers and homeowners alike.
[Drapes](/drapery/custom-drapery add a high-end feel to any room but don’t have to be a statement piece. They can also be a subtle finishing touch that pulls a room together.
Drapes are crafted from a blend of different fabrics, including rayon, polyester, cotton, linens, velvet, viscose, and more.
If drapery is your top choice, make sure you’re getting true drapery. Often, drapery is confused with curtains, but the difference between them can substantially change your end result.
Curtain panels are what you see in stores and online, available for purchase at various standard lengths. The options are limited and most panels are unlined.
Custom drapery, on the other hand, raises the bar on quality in every way. You’ll have your choice of hardware, pleat style, backing, and length (do you want it to pool at the floor or merely graze your toes?). The weighted hem also creates that gorgeous, effortless drape, for panels that hang flawlessly every time.
With Stoneside, we use only the highest quality fabrics to ensure your drapes are truly the best. Our design team is on hand to help you select the right fabric, liner, and hardware, while our in-house installers ensure you don’t have to lift a finger.
Layering your drapes is one of the best ways to optimize your window treatment experience. Instead of just getting the benefits of one type of window treatment, you’ll get the benefits of both. That means more light control, more privacy, more temperature control… and all the comfort.
Drapery panels can be layered with blinds, shades, or even a second set of sheer panels. The options are truly limitless, and the functionality of layered window treatments is unmatched. That light gap mentioned above for many window treatments? Not an issue if you layer with drapery.
You may not think of valances as a window treatment, but they’re definitely not something to dismiss. The right valance can bring your home, your window, and your window treatment together.
Valances are placed at the top of your window treatment, drawing the eye up and making your windows appear larger. They also often pair with other window treatments, covering the mounting hardware to highlight the style rather than the mechanism responsible for manipulating the shade or blind.
Valances are a classy and simple touch that can bring your window treatments style and harmony.
These days, motorized window treatments aren’t a thing of luxury — they’re expected. Modern interior design is about comfort, but it’s also about practicality. No one wants to have to open and close their window treatments while focusing on not knocking over the lamp or stretching over the furniture. Larger windows and out-of-reach windows make manual manipulation not only an inconvenience but also a safety concern — even downright impossible in some cases.
Motorization is the answer. With the major bonus being safe for children and pets, motorization gives you a luxury feel but a practical benefit few would choose to do without. When you’re looking into window treatments, be sure to check whether your choice can be motorized or added to a Smarthome device.
Even if you know what style of window treatment you want, where do you get them and how. What should you expect from different types of providers?
Shade and Blind Options and Buying Process: This budget-friendly option will give you the basics. You’ll be able to cover your windows, but your choices may be limited. Curtains and shades will come in pre-determined measurements and styles.
Measuring and Preparation: You’ll be responsible for measuring and doing all prep yourself.
Installation: Be prepared to install them yourself or outsource to a contractor at your own discretion. If you choose to do this yourself, make sure you have the equipment you need.
If you don’t want to purchase your window treatments from a box store, you can seek out a professional window treatment company.
These providers will show you your options, but you’ll still be responsible for choosing your own window treatments without expert industry knowledge and insights or guidance from a design professional.
Measuring and Preparation: Most likely, you’ll be expected to measure and prep yourself before ordering.
Installation: If your provider does offer installation options, they’ll most likely be outsourcing the installation to a subcontractor who deals with all types of window treatments — but doesn’t necessarily specialize in the provider’s products themselves.
If you want to go beyond a basic provider, Stoneside specializes in providing a white glove experience from start to finish.
Our consultants aren’t salespeople — they’re designers. And they’ll come right to your home to give you face-to-face insights into Stoneside’s process and share their interior design knowledge. You have access to all of the details so you can select your window treatments with confidence.
Measuring and Preparation: Sit back and enjoy your cup of coffee (or maybe a glass of wine). Our experts will do the rest.
Installation: The quality of products we provide can only be matched with installers who know and understand our products. Our installers are thoroughly vetted and are only ours — they’re a part of our team, not subcontractors. They’ll install your window treatments with absolute professionalism — and clean up every bit of dust and debris from installation before they leave.
Every customer, home, budget, and design goal is different. Your home deserves the best, and we hope this guide has helped you get one step closer to discovering what window treatment will be best for you and your goals.
Getting new shades or blinds for your home should be exciting! If you’re interested in learning more about our full-service approach, reach out to us here at Stoneside.