Contemporary Window Treatment Ideas

Updated February 21, 2017

The Whitney Library of Design defines contemporary style as the use of simple patterns, natural materials and unexpected uses of bold colour to create visually intriguing focal points. Dress up windows with contemporary window treatments that create cohesive style within a living room, bedroom or general living space. Curtains made from a variety of materials in a range of colours and styles create versatility among contemporary window treatment design options.

Contemporary Materials

Contemporary designers are concerned with both the aesthetic and environmental impact of design materials. Blinds made from sustainable bamboo or woven grasses are both functional and stylish options for contemporary window treatments. Bamboo and grass shades are available in earth tones like brown, cream and green, a colour scheme found in many contemporary home designs. Wooden slat shades made from reclaimed or sustainable wood adds an understated, rustic appearance to a contemporary room. Another trend in contemporary window treatments is the use of elegant or indulgent fabrics like suede, microfiber or silk. Choose dark, saturated colours like burgundy or sapphire for luxurious contemporary window treatments; avoid patterns that will make the treatments appear too busy or distracting.

Sheer Drapes

Sheer drapes that complement a neutral colour scheme are an option for contemporary window treatments. Sheer drapes are especially effective for larger windows or French doors. Select a sheer drape in a colour that matches or complements other fabrics within the room. For example, choose a mint-coloured drape to match with an olive carpet or couch. For a more striking contrast, choose complementary colours; sheer purple drapes pair well with yellow walls or throw pillows while a sheer orange panel complements blue chairs and rugs. Secure drapes with a simple brushed nickel or bronze curtain rod that is free of elaborate embellishments. Braided rope tie-backs add a natural elements to the treatments. Experiment with layering several panels in different shades to increase light blocking and add vibrant colour to an otherwise neutral space.

Colours and Patterns

Contemporary design celebrates bold and unexpected uses of colour through fabrics and accent pieces. In a contemporary space with neutral walls and furniture, window treatments are one of a few places where bright colours and patterns can be used to create a stunning visual impact. Geometric patterns like repeating circles or rows of wide and thin stripes incorporate the simple, clean lines of contemporary design into a bold pattern for heavy drapes and curtains. Solid colour drapes in colours that complement or contrast with the other colours of the space draw the viewers eye to the window; lime green, bright yellow and saturated red are well-suited for white or grey schemes while royal purple and deep blue coordinate with beige or cream palates. Select drapes with limited pleating to avoid creating an overwhelming treatment of folds, colours and patterns. Instead opt for drapery panels that secure to simple curtain rods with large loops of fabric that are not ruched like traditional curtains.

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About the Author

Hannah Wahlig began writing and editing professionally in 2001. Her experience includes copy for newspapers, journals and magazines, as well as book editing. She is also a certified lactation counselor. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in English from Mount Holyoke College, and Master's degrees in education and community psychology from the University of Massachusetts.