There is something about arched windows that gets me inspired. Sometimes, I hope that a client wants to leave them uncovered. To me, architecture is the bones or a room and if the bones are strong there is no need for extra meat aka accessories. That’s true unless you are looking to change the whole mood of the room. The above stunning design is a proof of amazing transformations if you are brave enough to go for some unapologetic colors.
If you are looking to dress arched windows there are three decisions to make:
- Should I cover arched windows with draperies?
- Should I leave them alone proudly opened with the panels modestly hanging on each side?
- Should I create a faux arch or a curve with moldings because I’m obsessed with curves?
These are the questions that I hear all the time. Let’s talk about arched window coverings.
But first, since I have your attention, one paragraph of history, just one, I promise.
An arch and an arched window 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.
Of course, architecture just like history has many radical U-turns. Peter Pennoyer, one of my favorite advocates of traditional and classical architecture recalls from his days at Columbia University when he talks about one of his Marxist professors critiquing his work. “What a pity there is an arch! Where there is an arch there are princes, and where there are princes, there are slaves.” Just like Mr. Pennoyer, I love the ARCH and I’m also a passionate opponent of anything radical. The professor’s statement is an absurd to me. That’s all I can say.
If you have a moment, look into a delightful book that just came out by Peter Pennoyer and Katie Ridder “A House in the Country.”
Following are the examples of a WIN or a LOSE arched window treatments for all three concepts:
1. Arched windows covered.
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.
Tip: 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 the 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 a 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.
2. Arched windows uncovered.
The rod is installed all through the wall so that the draperies can open and close. When open the arched windows are revealed making the room beautiful for any decor, traditional or modern. Because of the room’s height, the “stripes” of a different color fabric make the curtains look a bit more grounded and proportionate.
Tip: Your house is not a public place. You don’t need to be overwhelmed and humbled by its grandeur. Don’t be afraid to introduce a complimentary second fabric for horizontal “stripes.” Yes, they will make a twenty-something-feet-room look lower which is a good thing. The room will be cozier and less overwhelming, more natural and inviting.
The above panels are beautiful! They are also well made and superbly installed. They look like they have enough fabric to open and close effortlessly. The drapes are installed behind the molding for a clean, unfussy look.
This is my design work in partnership with one of my cherished workrooms. The client wanted to balance out the scale of the fireplace wall. I wanted to “draw” the line that goes from the top of the arched window drapes to the fireplace wall so that the look is more homogeneous. I worked with amazing craftsmen who followed my instructions and calculations to the dot. The lower curtains are installed behind the metal custom, hand painted cornice. The cornice is double width and double depth for the curtains’ traverse rod. I used a high-quality traverse by Orion to make sure that my client doesn’t need to change the hardware for a long time.
3. Faux arched windows.
If you are as drawn to arched windows but don’t have them, no worries. With a little imagination and a 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.
Of course, we can make your arched windows look even more beautiful by designing and making the arched window coverings. If this is something that you think you’d consider, please call me at 732 977-7686.
Stay tuned for my post about arched windows hardware
Please post your questions here below. I’ll be happy to help you!