Answer: A picture is worth a thousand words! I will refer to this perfect example in the photograph. The treatment is very open and elegant, however the following considerations can be included in a list of selling points for adding practicality to the design:
1. How is the shadow cast in the room?
2. How does the light hit elements in the room and for how long are these elements exposed to direct light?
3. The area of the carpet that receives more direct light will fade more quickly and cause spots of discoloration.
4. The wood coffee table will become very dry and brittle over time.
5. The window treatment itself appears to offer no protection from the sun nor energy efficiency. On such a large window, the inefficiency can cause a dramatic increase in energy costs.
6. Neighbors and passers-by can easily view the interior of this room and home, especially at night. This can pose a serious security risk as well as privacy problems.
A practical solution for this room would be to replace the window with an insulated double-paned window. The glass can be specified with low-e glass or low-emissions glass which offers a greater degree of energy efficiency and protection for ultraviolet rays. Also, tinting the glass or installing window film will add an even greater degree of efficiency and protection without sacrificing the open/airy look of the design. However, there is still the matter of privacy and security.
An additional window covering such as a soft shade that stacks up and out of the way may provide the optional privacy and security needed for this room. The swag can be adjusted to hide the hardware and even cover the undertreatment when it is completely opened.
Overall, remember when designing a window treatment for a large window, consider very carefully the energy costs of leaving the window bare. If this look is demanded by the client, explain the pitfalls of a window that is not protected from the outside elements. If possible, address this issue during construction of any new home or addition to specify higher energy-efficient windows be installed. The client will be more than happy when the job is finished and her energy costs, comfort and feelings of security have been addressed.
Please feel free to e-mail me at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
This is a continuing series of articles written by Sharon L. Anderson which will answer some of the many questions we receive at Draperies & Window Coverings, as well as questions Anderson has encountered in her own business.
Sharon L. Anderson, Associate Member, Interior Design Educator's Council (IDEC), has more than 14 years experience as a commercial and residential design professional. She has taught numerous courses at colleges and universities throughout Southern California and is a published author and frequent public speaker.