How to Decorate a Dormer

Updated February 21, 2017

Dormers are vertical windows built into a sloping roof. Typical in Cape Cod houses and attic spaces, dormers create small alcoves and dramatic angles in otherwise ordinary interior spaces. To accentuate the unique angles of the dormer, paint the room walls all one colour. Soften those angles with a fabric window treatment or soft cushioned seat below. Because of the sunlight dormer windows bring into a room, they make great spaces for reading. Bookshelves or window seats are natural uses for them.

Add seating or shelves beneath the dormer window. A built-in window seat or bookcase is the most charming option, but also the most expensive. A small chair, bench or ready-made bookshelf serves the same purpose.

Add the first layer of your window treatment for privacy. Because most dormers are in bedrooms, blinds, shades or plantation shutters are a necessity.

Choose a fabric decorative window treatment to top your privacy treatment. Options include a valance, cornice, swag or curtains. Swags suit formal rooms, while cornices and valances are more casual.

Once you select the style of your window treatment, pick a colour and pattern that appeals to you and complements the room. Some ready-made window treatments coordinate with bedding, an option that would unify the entire room.

Purchase the window treatment ready-made, have it custom made by a professional or sew it yourself at home using a pattern bought at a fabric store. Mount the treatment above the window.

Use the window treatment fabric on a cushion for the window seat, bench or chair. To complete the designer look, throw pillows in the same fabric can be displayed on the bed.


Other options for decorating dormers are: Hang curtains on swivel rods. The swivel rods swing out so that the curtain is against the wall. It swings in again to cover the dormer window. A lightweight fabric is the best choice for swivel-rod curtains, because it won't weigh down the hardware. Hang curtains inside the dormer walls, creating a tentlike structure. Attach three rods to the wall: one at the top of the recess and one on either side of the window. The curtains envelope the recess around the window. Cover the window itself with a shade.

Things You'll Need

  • Bench, chair, window seat or bookcase
  • Shades, blinds or plantation shutters
  • Curtain rods
  • Fabric window treatment
  • Matching accessories
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