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A window is an opening in a wall (or other solid and opaque surface) that allows the passage of light and, if not closed or sealed, air and sound. Windows are usually glazed or covered with some other transparent or translucent material. Windows are held in place by frames, which prevent them from collapsing in. Windows also perform another major function in that they allow for the indoor, outdoor relationship. A room with a view appeals to almost everyone but even when a beautiful view is not possible we need the psychological association with the outdoors that windows provide. It is necessary to consider doors as well as windows in finishing a room. The placement of these openings will influence the arrangement of furniture as well as the door of the room.

Parts of a Window

Head Jamb – Groove at the top of the window which allows the window sashes to slide into place and seat inside the window frame

Side Jamb – Grooves in the window that allows the window sashes to slide up and down or side to side.
Casing – Molding of various widths, thickness and shapes applied to the framework of window and door units. Muntin – Applies to any short or light bar, either vertical or horizontal, used to separate glass in a sash into multiple lights.

Sash: It is wood or metal frame that holds the glass panes and is usually movable.

Sill: It forms the base of the window on which the casement rests.

Apron: The strip of a wood sometimes placed underneath the sill for support is called the apron.

Types of Window

The treatment of windows may be determined to a large extent by the type of window as well as its placement and size. For most windows, a casing is built into a wall structure. This is the fixed part of the window designed to hold the sash.

The sash is a wood or metallic frame that holds the glass and frame that holds the glass and is usually the moving part. In some windows, there is a sill at the bottom. An apron is a strip of casing below the sill. The sashes hold the small individual panes.

The various types of windows include

1. Double Hung: It is the most commonly used type of window with sashes that slide up and down.

2. Arched Window: A curved arched arrangement at the window or the door may have glass panes or top of which is part of the design on the wall.

3. Awning Window: Wide horizontal panels that open outward from the bottom to any desired angle.

4. Hopper Window: These are similar to awning windows except that they are fixed at the bottom and the top of the frame is pushed out to open the window.

5. Bay Window: A composite of three or more windows, usually made up of a large centre unit and two flanking units. The angles most commonly used on the inside corners of the bay are 90, 135 and 150 degrees.

6. Bow Window: A composite of four or more window units in a radial or bow formation

7. Cathedral Window: A slanted window set high in the wall close to a cathedral ceiling.

8. Clerestory Window: These are shallow windows that are set high on the wall usually near the ceiling.

9. Corner Window: Various types of windows are designed to form the corners of the room.

10. Dormer: When a small alcove projects from the room, a window is often placed at the end. Mostly found in attics.

11. French door: These can be used whenever ordinary doors are used and also serve the purpose of the windows. They are useful when easy access to another area as important. An ordinary door cuts out too much light.

12. Jalousie: Narrow strips of glass mounted at different angles.

13. Picture: The window may be one large pane of glass that remains fixed. It may have sections that slide. These windows give a good view of the exteriors.

14. Skylight: Small windows of one or more fixed panes of glass set into the roof or ceiling of the room.

15. Sliding Casement: Window panels that operate by sliding from side to side in horizontal sashes.

16. Swinging Casement: Window panels hanged at the side so that the full area of the window is operated when the panel is moved.

17. Window Wall: Here an entire wall of glass may be sectioned in various ways so that some panels are stationary, other act as windows and still others act as a door.

Decorative Treatments

Also known as a window treatment. The ultimate purpose of any window treatment is to make the window function and to make it attractive from both the outside and the inside. In most rooms control of the amounts of light and air that enter is important. At times it may be desirable for sunshine to flood the room and at other times it may be appropriate to block out odd sunlight. Also at times, privacy may be particularly important.


1. Exterior Window Treatments:

They are usually not emphasized or decorative in nature. Some of these treatments are:

a. Awnings: Which protect the window from rain, sun and wind.

b. Outside Shutters: These are seldom used. They are popular in Mediterranean countries to temper light, heat and cold.

c. Grills: These may be made of wood, plastic, aluminium or steel and help in controlling privacy, sun and wind.

d. Overhanging Roofs: Are exterior shading devices that do not control privacy but offer some protection from the sun.

e. Hard Indoor Window Treatments: These combine function with a beauty and are available in a wide variety of styles and colours. Anyone of them can provide a complete window treatment or can be used with draperies, curtains, valances and cornices. How they are to be used in a room depends on the style of furnishing and the amount of money available.

f. Blinds: Also called Venetian blinds. These actually originated in China and are available in a variety of styles and materials. Blinds are popular for their light filtering and room darkening qualities as well as for providing privacy and controlling air. They are mostly made of metal, wood or plastic and are available in many colours, textures and thicknesses. Blinds can be used with or without draperies. Blinds have been supplemented by a newer version called shade cloth vertical blind which consists of vanes of shade cloth approximately 11⁄2-6 inches wide. They can be cut to fit the regular sized windows or the floor to ceiling type. They can be wall or ceiling hung.

g. Shutters: Although shutters are expensive, they have a long life and require little maintenance. As well as being decorative they can disguise problem windows, concealed, air conditioners and enhance the architectural elements of a window. They allow maximum flexibility in light control and ventilation. They also ensure privacy. Shutter panels are designed with movable or fixed louvres of cane, wood, stained glass etc. shutters can be used with draperies or instead of them.

h. Shades: Shades fit windows of all sizes and can be made to suit any decorative finish. They come in plain or textured material, i.e., either opaque or translucent. The opaque material ensures complete room darkening qualities and the translucent material allows light to filter through. They are basically of four types:

  • Pull down shade

  • The Roman shade (Shirred and Draped)

  • The Austrian shade (Pleated and Draped)

  • Bottom-up shade

i. Beads: Strands of beads can be purchased in many colours in opaque, gem-cut crystal and in wood. They are permanently fused to nylon chord and can be cut to any length and mounted on a bead track.

j. Lambrequins: They provide a decorative frame for a window. They are usually made of wood and covered with fabric or adhesive paper. They are available in interesting shapes.

k. Shoji Screens: Are paper screens serving as wall partitions or sliding windows. They are used in many oriental homes.

l. Panel Track: It is a sliding fabric panel that looks like a shoji screen. It is ideal to be used with contemporary or oriental furnishings.

2. Curtains and Draperies:

a. Curtains

  • They are made of sheer lightweight fabrics.

  • They cannot be used alone and are always accompanied by draperies.

  • The term ‘curtain’ refers to various types of fabric covering that may extend only over a part of the window, all of it or from the top of the window to the floor.

  • Are always hung next to the glass.

b. Draperies

  • They are made of heavy fabrics.

  • Can be used alone or with curtains.

  • Draperies extend from the top of the window to the sill or the floor and cover the entire window.

  • They are hung next to curtains if used.


Similarities in Curtains and Draperies

  1. Both can be tied back to leave the windows uncovered.

  2. Both may be used with or without shades or blinds. But most windows have all three, i.e., shades/blinds, curtains and draperies.

  3. They are useful in controlling light and air and in providing privacy.

  4. Both are decorative window treatments and add a feeling of warmth to a room.

  5. They may also be useful for reducing noise in some areas.


The style of curtains and draperies should be in keeping with the spirit of the room. However, texture, colour and pattern of the fabric play an important role in determining the appearance of the window. E.g. plain curtains that that hang straight at the windows may be cheerful or may be rich and elegant depending on the fabric. Different curtain styles suggest different degrees of formalities. E.g. short curtains tend to be more informal than those that extend to the floor. Also, some special treatment at the top of the window may provide a particular note of interest. Frequently the top of the window is used for concealing a source of light.

Types of Draperies, Curtains and Headings

  1. Café Curtain: These are short curtains that lower a portion of a window. They are often hung on decorative rods by means of tags, clips, loops or hooks.

  2. Cornice Curtains: This is a stiff box like treatment at the top of a window. It may be made up of wood or metal. The width of a cornice is less than 1/8th of the overall length of a floor-length drapery.

  3. Criss-Cross Curtains and Pricilla: Wide panels mounted so that they overlap and then tilt back. These are usually made of sheer fabric. Pricilla curtains are similar to criss-cross but they do not overlap.

  4. Draw Curtains Or Draw Draperies: These are mounted on a transverse rod so that they can be drawn open or close. Different types of transverse rods permit a wide variety of treatments. Some may have a two-way draw while others one-way. Curved and angled, transverse rods are also available for the bay and bow window.

5. Glass Curtain: These are made of sheer fabric in simple straight lines. These usually cover the whole window and are used with draperies.

6. Jabots: These are pleated or draped lengths of fabric that hang down the side of the window. Jabots may be of floor length or only a foot long.

7. French Pleated Or French Draperies: Draperies that are pleated at the heading and are most commonly used.

8. Sash Curtains: These are similar to glass curtains mounted on a rod attached to the sash or frame. These may cover only part of the window.

9. Swag and Cascades: Swag is a draped section of fabric at the top of the window. This is usually accompanied with short pieces of fabrics at sides to form cascades. They are suitable for a formal window treatment. They are suitable when the depth of the swag is about half of the drapery length.

10.Tier Curtains: Two or more short curtains in horizontal rows mounted to overlap.

11. Valence Curtains: Is a decorative finish at the top of a window. This may be a pleated or gathered flounce or fabric. The width of a valence is approximately 1/7th of the overall length of the drapery.

Types of Curtain Pleats

  1. Goblet pleat

  2. French Windsor pleat

  3. Triple pleat

  4. Box pleat


Fabric Selection for Window Treatment

  • Durability which will be judged by

    • material

    • soil, heat, abrasion, fire, sunlight, & water resistant

    • yarn quality &yarn thickness(denier)

    • construction

    • Pest and moth resistant

    • crease-resistance

    • Fast-colors, should not run or bleed

  • Drapability

  • Fabric stabilizers

  • Price

  • Fabric backing e.g. milium

  • Design and pattern are also the factors to be considered in selecting fabric. The pattern or the lack of it will depend on the amount of pattern already in the room. The colour of draperies may be white, off-white, beige or a colour that blends with the wall colour. Duplicating exact wall colour may be monotonous and may give a unified and spacious look to the room. The texture must agree with the mode and style of the room and will largely depend on the type of fabric and weaving method.

    • Large patterns are preferred in small rooms.

    • Amount of artificial light entering the room.

    • Color, theme and décor of the room.


Measure for Draperies

Length: Length should be calculated keeping in mind that the pelmet rod is fixed four inches above the window. One height of a curtain rod from the floor + 3” for hemming + 6’ for turning at the top + 1-2% for shrinkage.

Width: Minimum 11⁄2-2 times the length of the pelmet + 6’ for hemming on both sides.


Measure for Lining of Curtain

Length should be 6-8” less than the length of the curtain.

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