• Tara

The Art of Layering Window Treatments

Updated: Nov 13


Custom draperies with sheers curtains in a living room.

We often think of a single-window treatment such as a blind, shade, shutter, or drapery, but what happens if we layer window treatments? If done correctly, it creates a unique look that can add dimension, texture, pattern, and color around and through the room to construct a cohesive room design. There truly is an art to layering window treatments to enhance a room’s décor style and, at the same time, add functionality to control the light and improve privacy.


First, let’s do a quick review on hard and soft window treatments. Window treatments are categorized into two groups which are hard window treatments and soft window treatments. Hard window treatments utilize hard materials such as wood, metal, and vinyl. Examples of these would be wood blinds, metal blinds, and shutters. Soft window treatments are made from fabrics or other soft materials. Soft window treatments include draperies, curtains, valances, sheers, and shades.


Layering window treatments means pairing blinds, shades, cornices, or shutters with a soft treatment such as draperies, valances, and fabric cornices. Combining the blinds or shades with the soft treatment allows additional functionality, and it provides the ability to pull inspiration from other elements in a room to unify the overall design. The trick is to find balance when layering these different window treatments so it doesn’t look overly decorated and cluttered. Let’s look at three tips that can be followed to create a one-of-a-kind finished look when layering both hard and soft window treatments.


What do the window treatments need to do?

The first step is determining how the first blind, shade, or drapery layer needs to function. For example, does it need to provide complete privacy, filter the light, provide an unobstructed view, direct the light, etc.?


Next, if draperies will be used as a layer, determine if they need to open and close or will they be purely decorative drapery panels or curtains.


If layering with a top treatment such as a wood cornice, fabric cornice, or valance, these layering pieces are primarily decorative. Still, they can also add some functionality by covering light gaps at the top of the window when a blind or shade is mounted inside a window frame.

Which window treatment will be the star of the show?

There are many options to choose from for layered window treatments. It’s usually best to allow only one layer to be the show’s star and let the other recede into the background to avoid the chaotic window treatment design.


For example, a bold print drapery paired with a complementary neutral solid color shade, blind, or shutter creates a subtle layered look. Remember that patterns and prints can be a fun and dynamic element in room design, but it does take some finesse to decide how to use them to avoid things looking too busy.


Sometimes you want your window treatments to play more of a supportive role within the room design and not be the show’s star. In this case, you can still layer the treatments to add depth and dimension but stick with neutrals or more tone-on-tone combinations with fabrics and shade materials.

The overall décor style of a room and the desired focal point will determine the role the layered window treatment plays in relationship to the other design elements within a room.


Proper sizes, drapery fullness, and installation are essential.

The key to a stunning layered window treatment is proper sizes, fullness for draperies and curtains, and installation. To fit each window perfectly, all custom window treatments are measured to the nearest 1/8”. Remember that the appropriate amount of space is required between each treatment as it is layered to function correctly. In draperies, length and width play an essential role in creating a stunning layered window treatment. Hanging draperies high and wide will create the most dramatic look if space permits.


Properly layered window treatments are a great way to enhance the décor of a room while adding functionality and wow factor to the room’s design. Keep these three tips in mind when designing the treatment, and you’ll be sure to love the completed look.


If you’d like to explore layered window treatment possibilities, T. Lynn’s can assist with finding the perfect solution for your home that is on-trend and within budget. We offer a comprehensive collection of blinds, shades, and draperies. Call 715-441-7997 today to schedule a FREE, in-home consultation, or go to tlynns.com and contact us.


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