Stoneside Custom Drapery

Everything You Need to Know About Window Treatments to Make the Best Choice for Your Home

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.

Things to Consider Before You Buy

Getting Started: Measuring Your Window Treatments

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.

Step 1: Gather your materials

To measure your windows for new window treatments, you’ll need:

  • Pencil
  • Paper
  • Steel measuring tape
  • Step ladder

(If your windows are too high or out of reach, consider using a professional. At Stoneside, we do ALL the measurements for you.)

Step 2: Measure the width

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.)

Step 3: Write it down

Record your measurement to the nearest quarter inch on a piece of paper.

Step 4: Measure the height

Do the same thing, but this time vertically. Again, ensure you’re getting the correct type of measurement per the instructions of your manufacturer.

Step 5: Write it down

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.

Stoneside Custom Transitional Shades

Understanding the difference between shades versus blinds

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.

Guide to Window Blinds

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.

Composite Blinds

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.

  • Distinctive Traits: crafted from wood and other materials, often left in place hanging with only slat tilt being manipulated
  • Blind Material: wood and polymer
  • Top Functions: privacy, light control
  • Pros: easy to use option with a classic look, easy to clean, durable, classic
  • Potential Cons:
    • Weight: much heavier than other blinds, composite blinds are best used for spaces where they’ll be left in place, versus the entire blind being pulled up and down.
  • Commonly used in: Living rooms, sunrooms, dens, dining rooms, offices

    Shop Composite Blinds

Faux Wood Blinds

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.

  • Distinctive Traits: natural element without the real wood restrictions, look like real wood, classic slatted aesthetic
  • Blind Material: polymer blends, vinyl, laminate, and other synthetic materials
  • Top Functions: light control, privacy
  • Pros: water-resistant, budget-friendly, easy to clean, fresh look
  • Potential Cons:
    • Weight: because they’re heavy, they may not be best for areas where you won’t need to raise and lower them frequently.
  • Commonly used in: Kitchens, bathrooms, basements, offices, living rooms

Shop Faux Wood Blinds

Stoneside Custom Wood Blinds

Wood Blinds

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.

  • Distinctive Traits: Natural, timeless feel, classic slatted look, clean lines
  • Blind Material: wood
  • Top Functions: privacy, light control
  • Pros: available with auto-tilt motorization, elegant and refined appearance, easily cleaned with wood cleaner
  • Potential Cons:
    • Real wood: real wood is gorgeous, but can warp with too much moisture from humidity or if the wrong cleaner is used.
  • Commonly used in: living rooms, offices, dining rooms, dens, sunrooms

Shop Wood Blinds

Vertical Blinds

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.

  • Distinctive Traits: vertical slats, complete coverage of window
  • Blind Material: fabric, vinyl, aluminum, or faux wood
  • Top Functions: privacy, light control
  • Pros: excellent for patio doors or sliding glass doors, easy-to-care-for, simple to fix if there are issues
  • Potential Cons:
    • Light gap: Because of how they’re mounted, some vertical blinds may allow for some light to flow from the sides of the treatment
  • Commonly used in: living rooms, dining rooms, sunrooms

Shop Vertical Blinds

Stoneside Custom Vertical Blinds

Guide to Window Shades

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

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.

  • Distinctive Traits: modern, sleek design that makes it perfect for blending in traditional spaces or seamlessly integrating into modern homes
  • Shade Material: fabrics, vinyl, polyester, fiberglass, PVC, PET, bamboo, rattan
  • Top Functions: light control, versatility, privacy
  • Pros: streamlined design, minimalist, maximizes window size/views, versatility, maneuverability, variation of light control, varying textures and material, can be easy to clean (depending on material)
  • Potential Cons:
    • Light gap: Because of how they’re mounted, some roller shades may have a very small space between the window and the treatment.
  • Commonly used in: Living rooms, bathrooms, bedrooms, offices, nurseries, bathrooms, kitchens — roller shades can work well in almost any room.

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.

Shop Roller Shades

Stoneside Custom Roller Shades

Solar Shades

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.

  • Distinctive Traits: Protects interior from damaging UV rays, comes with varying openness which allows the shade to block light without blocking the view, sleek design
  • Shade Material: PVC, fabric, vinyl, fiberglass, HDPE mesh
  • Top Functions: UV protection, temperature control, light control, glare reduction
  • Pros: see-through opacities available to keep the view, excellent at heat mitigation, top performer for light control and glare
  • Potential Cons:
    • Light gap: Because of how they’re mounted, some solar shades may have a very small space between the window and the treatment
    • Privacy: Depending on the openness of the weave, solar shades may not be as private as other window treatments
  • Commonly used in: Sunrooms, living spaces, offices, areas of intense sunlight

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.

Shop Solar Shades

Stoneside Custom Solar Shades

Cellular Shades

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.

  • Distinctive Traits: distinct honeycomb cell structure that creates pockets of insulation against temperature fluctuations, top-down and bottom-up options for opening and closing. Can come as vertical or horizontal.
  • Shade Material: polyester fabric
  • Top Functions: temperature control, privacy, light control
  • Pros: number one shade when it comes to temperature control and energy efficiency, easy to manipulate, no light gap, motorization options available
  • Potential Cons:
    • Cleaning: Stain removal can be challenging due to cell structure. Stoneside recommends a soft, damp cloth and light vacuuming for normal maintenance.
  • Commonly used in: Living areas, bathrooms, bedrooms, basements, and any area of your home you’d prefer to keep warm/cool.

Cellular shades are the most energy efficient window treatment available and remain an understated yet very popular window treatment.

Shop Cellular Shades

Stoneside Custom Cellular Shades

Transitional Shades

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.

  • Distinctive Traits: slatted double fabric layers, available in different patterns
  • Shade Material: fabric
  • Top Functions: light control
  • Pros: See-through opacities allow unhindered window views, classic or modern look depending on the chosen material
  • Potential Cons:
    • Privacy: their open striped look may not offer as much privacy as some other shades
  • Commonly used in: Offices, nurseries, bedrooms, living rooms, offices

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.

Shop Transitional Shades

Stoneside Custom Transitional Shades

Roman Shades

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.

  • Distinctive Traits: high-end feel, numerous style and fold options, top down bottom up options
  • Shade Material: Fabrics, woven woods
  • Top Functions: Privacy, light control, temperature control
  • Pros: Gorgeous design, excellent privacy and light control capabilities, luxury feel, motorization available
  • Potential Cons:
    • Cleaning: Stoneside recommends a soft, damp cloth and light vacuuming for normal maintenance, but consider having your roman shades cleaned by a professional.
  • Commonly used in: Living areas, kitchens, dining rooms, bedrooms, nurseries, powder rooms

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.

Shop Roman Shades

Stoneside Custom Roman Shades

Consider the quality of shade

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.

Now that you’ve chosen a couple of shades that you may be interested in for your home be sure to check out reviews, inspirational photos, and use other resources to help you choose the right shade.

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.

Outdoor window treatments

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.

  • Types of outdoor window treatments: sun screens, shutters, roller shades, blinds, awnings, Bahama shades
  • Material: vinyl, fabrics, canvas, metal, wood, composite wood
  • Top Functions: Most of these window treatments offer light control, and many offer privacy.
  • Pros: You’ll have a bit more control over sunlight and privacy, and in some cases, other elements such as wind and rain.
  • Potential Cons:
    • Upkeep: because your window treatments are exposed, they’ll need more regular maintenance.
    • Lack of maneuverability: Some outdoor window treatments are static, held in place by mounting. Because of this, you’ll be limited to that area of coverage.

Please note: Stoneside does not offer outdoor window treatments at this time.

Stoneside Custom Drpaery

Drapery

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.

  • Distinctive Traits: luxurious display, heavy quality material make them long-lasting, weighted hems to keep them in place
  • Material: High-quality, durable fabric
  • Top Functions: Privacy, light control, temperature control, sound mitigation, energy efficiency
  • Pros: one of the most functional window treatments available, elegant aesthetic
  • Potential Cons:
    • Cleaning: we recommend getting your drapery professionally cleaned.
  • Commonly used in: Living rooms, bedrooms, dining rooms

Shop Drapery

What are drapes made of?

Drapes are crafted from a blend of different fabrics, including rayon, polyester, cotton, linens, velvet, viscose, and more.

Get the most with custom drapery

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.

How do you layer drapes?

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.

Valances

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.

How are valances used?

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.

Stoneside Custom Valances

Motorization: Shades & Blinds

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.

Where to buy window treatments

Stoneside versus Box Stores

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?

Box Stores

  • 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.

Other Shade and Blind Providers

If you don’t want to purchase your window treatments from a box store, you can seek out a professional window treatment company.

  • Shade and Blind Options and Buying Process: These will give you more options, but depending on whether they do custom treatments, you may still face some limitations. Keep in mind that even if your window is close to the measurements available, a custom fit will still be much more snug.

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.

Stoneside’s Approach: Custom, Quality Window Treatments, and a 5-Star Experience

If you want to go beyond a basic provider, Stoneside specializes in providing a white glove experience from start to finish.

  • Shade and Blind Options and Buying Process: We provide you with your very own design consultant to support and guide you throughout the process. They’ll ensure you understand all your options — even let you see and feel material samples to help you decide the best style and function for your needs.

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.

Stoneside Installation Experts

Choose what’s best for you using this window treatment guide.

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.

Get started today with your free consultation, and discover just how easy and exciting getting new window treatments can be.