Style: Warm up your windows

Mary Carol Garrity

I have fallen back in love with window coverings. Do you remember when we covered our windows in big, heavy drapes? I was not a fan. Then, as people grew tired of all that fussy finery, we gravitated toward clean, simple coverings like blinds and plantation shutters, or left our windows unadorned. Now, I think we’ve found our happy place right in the middle. Whether it’s a drape with a simple pinch pleat that breaks on the floor just like a man’s trousers, or a tailored Roman shade, today’s window treatments bring charm and character to a space without overwhelming it, adding that perfect finishing touch to well-decorated room.

Make them personal: Window coverings can be like art, a focal point of a space. When our daughter Kelly and her husband, Britt, moved into their home, they did some major renovations, including creating a sensational kitchen. The window coverings, simple and striking, play a starring role in the beautiful space.

We’re seeing lots and lots of interesting trim on shades and panels now. And Kelly’s kitchen is a great example of how something as simple as an intriguing black outline on cream fabric can make your jaw drop.

Add layers of interest: Customers often ask me if it’s OK to add window panels over other window coverings, like Roman shades, woven coverings like matchstick blinds, or plantation shutters. Yes! Yes! Yes!

Everyone has a different color quotient, but I am over the moon about the bold choice to layer two complimentary but very different fabrics together on a window. The panels give pizazz to the room all day long, but in the evening, when the shades come down, the room is extra special.

For years in my Atchison, Kansas, home, I resisted adding fabric treatments to my living room windows. I was pretty happy with the look of my plantation shutters and I was worried curtains would accentuate the irregular widow spacing in my old house and make the room feel darker. But drawn by irrepressible desire to always add gorgeous new textiles to my rooms, I decided to go for it. To make sure I allowed in all the natural light possible, I hung the panels on the outsides of the windows. The addition of the curtain panels, a soft blue floral finished with a green flange, warmed up the room so much, I was sorry I had waited so many years.

Variations on a pretty palette: When I worked with my friends Julie and Mark on their country dream house, they wanted to create a family home that was filled with color and patterns. They landed on a palette of gray and yellow for a number of the rooms, telling the story through one beautiful window covering after another.

In their living room, the floor-to-ceiling windows got a zip of pattern, thanks to sensational Roman shades. The pattern is bold, but done in a palette of soft grays and yellows, it supports the design choices in the room, accenting without overwhelming.

The charming color palette of gray and yellow continues in the master bedroom. Once again, Julie selected a stunning combination of fabrics to bring the colors to life and make the room truly unique.

The floral fabric used in the panels featured had sweet embroidered centers.

I’m a big fan of the time-honored cafe curtain. Simple and sweet, these timeless treatments do an excellent job of allowing natural light into a room, yet provide privacy. Julie went with a darling black and cream toile for the curtains, an unassuming treatment that lets your eyes drink in the fabulous coral ceilings. If my laundry room looked like this, I might do the wash more often!

This column was adapted from Mary Carol Garrity’s blog at