There is something about arched windows that gets me inspired. An arch and arched windows go back to Roman times and it is undeniably one of the most important inventions of our time. It’s creation changed the face of the architecture as we know it. Sometimes, I secretly hope for the client to leave them uncovered. To me, architecture is the bones and if the bones are strong there is no need for extra meat, aka accessories.
If you are looking to dress arched windows there are some decisions you want to make:
Should I cover arched windows with draperies? Or, should I leave them alone proudly opened with the panels hanging on each side? Finally, should I create a faux arch or a curve with moldings because I’m obsessed with curves?
Following are the examples of a WIN or a LOSE arched window treatments:
Covering Arched Windows
These window treatments consist of two layers, an Italian strung drapery, and a balloon shade. The arched window treatments are stationary (can’t open and close). However, it feels like the draperies were just opened to let the light in. Another clever design decision is that the fabric stripe is placed horizontally which makes the window look wider.
Think creatively when it comes to placing stripes or other patterns. They don’t necessarily have to be vertical. When placed horizontally, the stripes can create an illusion of a wider window.
These arched window treatments are beautifully executed. I love the color combination. They consist of the top treatment: lined swags and jabot, sheer panels and drapery panels.
Changes that I’d make: I would lose the existing rod with rings and finials (ends on both sides of the rod or a pole). Instead, I’d chose a drapery top pleat style (header) that covers the rod.
Here above is an example of the hidden rod (pole). I think it would make them look even more elegant and uncluttered. Then the architectural details, such as columns and decorative lighting would breathe in an original dimension of the room.
Here is another example of covered arched windows. The drapery panels are installed behind the molding on special arched hardware. I like that the draperies are functional and can open and close. Also, the design of the window glass is so pretty that it would be a shame to cover them. The fabric of the draperies is gorgeous and its’ color goes so well with the room and the outside.
Now, let’s talk about some arched window coverings that I don’t quite understand.
The above curtains seem to take away from the room rather than complimenting it. It’s way too much fabric and repetition for my taste. I would highlight the arched windows by putting up a thin rod all through the wall and hang simple curtains. I think that would draw more attention to the beautiful garden outside.
Uncovering Arched Windows
The rod is all across the wall so that the draperies can open and close. Because of the room’s height, the “stripes” of a different color fabric make the curtains look a bit more grounded and proportionate.
The above panels are beautiful! They look like they have enough fabric to open and close effortlessly. The drapes are behind the molding for a clean, unfussy look.
This is my design work above. Honestly, I’m proud of the way it came about. The client wanted to balance out the scale of the fireplace wall. I decided to visually draw the line that goes from the top of the arched window drapes to the fireplace wall. Of course, it helped to work with amazing craftsmen who followed my instructions to the dot. The lower curtains are behind the metal custom, hand-painted cornice. Because the cornice had to accommodate the traverse system in the back it is double width and double depth. The high-quality traverse system by Orion is a bit more money but it’s worth it. After all, my client doesn’t need to change the hardware for a long time.
3. Creating an Arch with a Cornice
If you are as drawn to arched windows but don’t have them, no worries. With a little imagination and help from a skillful carpenter, you can install curved moldings over your rectangular windows to give you an illusion of a slightly arched or curved window.
Of course, the above window with the curved molding is gorgeous! But you don’t have to go with such an elaborate molding to achieve a curved effect.
If you want to know more or need help with arched window coverings, please just write me a note right here in the comments. I’ll be glad to help.