Design Talk: Framing the View


Design Talk
Framing the View

By Margaret Blunt  |  Photography courtesy of Sew Beautiful



In the world of design, obstacles are merely opportunities in disguise. This maxim is especially true with window coverings. Windows are often perceived as so challenging to dress that homeowners may leave them bare. Yet, with some basic principles, you can find a solution that will complete a window of any shape or size and finish the room.

When designing a custom window treatment, the most important factor to consider is the function of the space and the need for privacy, light control, or pure aesthetics. In a bedroom or bath, you may consider a top/down bottom up shade to allow light in the room through the upper part of the window, while keeping privacy by covering the lower half. A shade with more opacity will provide room darkening for those who need pitch dark to sleep. In the main living areas, sheer or screen shades will filter harsh sunlight while maintaining a view to the outside. In a room where the view is the focal point, stationary panels that blend with the walls and furnishings will frame the view and focus the eye on the landscape beyond the window.

Sounds easy, right? But how do you treat the two-story, the specialty shape, or hard to reach windows? The same principles apply—consider function, needs, and aesthetics. Here are a few solutions for the most common window challenges.

Two-Story Windows can be the focal point in the room or the looking glass to a spectacular water view. Long panels that frame the windows and connect the upper and lower stories are a great way to add warmth to a room. A top treatment hung at the second level would look like it’s floating on the wall. If the room needs light control, motorized shades are the best option for those hard to reach windows. And with today’s advanced motorization systems, the shades can be scheduled to open or close at any time of the day, even when you’re not home!

Specialty-Shape Windows like quarter-rounds, arches, and angled windows add interesting architectural detail but can be a challenge for privacy or light control. Fortunately, many blinds, shades, and shutters can be fabricated in special shapes and motorized for hard-to-reach windows. If you just want to add a window treatment for aesthetics, then consider a style that honors the shape of the window. For example, arches are enhanced by a curved treatment like swags or a shaped cornice.

Bays, Bows, and Picture Windows or a “wall of windows” can be a beautiful feature, especially when it frames a spectacular view. Stationary panels or a valance custom fit to angles and bows are a great way to frame the window and create a focal point of the view beyond.

Don’t let not-so-simple windows intimidate you. Be inspired by the custom options that will help finish your rooms beautifully!



Margaret Blunt, owner of Sew Beautiful, helps homeowners dress their windows and complete their rooms with custom window treatments, pillows, cushions, bedding, upholstery, and more. Sew Beautiful is located in the blue-green cottage at the corner of Evergreen and Riggs in Severna Park. Design consultations offered by appointment. Contact Sew Beautiful at 410.544.3300 or visit




From Vol. 7, No. 2 2016
Annapolis Home Magazine