Windows and window treatments are among the most underrated elements when it comes to home design, yet they’re also among the biggest investments you can make to your house — so getting the right advice is crucial in achieving a stylish and functional effect which will also add value to your home.

When it comes to window treatments, curtains are back, according to David Michael, of Gummerson Fabrics and president of the WA branch of the Window Coverings Association of Australia.

Mr Michael said there were several new curtain trends to watch, including sheers in soft, feminine designs; bold printed fabrics; monochrome as the new neutral; and motorised tracking systems.

“The past 12-18 months has seen a stronger emphases on a softer, more feminine touch to window treatments, ” he said.

“Sheers will continue to remain popular, with many new and exciting ranges in both colours and textures, including burnout sheers from JW Design.

“Add to this a touch of print in some wonderful cotton and polyester-cotton combinations, which also continue to gain popularity.”

Karen Thomas, of Innovation, said such trends were due mainly to the changes in window configuration in new homes.

“A lot of homes now have very large spans of glass that require different styles and one of the trends is towards motorising either large banks of blinds or really large curtains, ” she said.

“This is not only more efficient but does away with the need for multiple cords, which can be unsightly and have to be secured to conform with current legal obligations.”

Ms Thomas said there was an unlimited range of fabrics for curtains and blinds to choose from but blind fabrics were still mostly available in a variety of neutrals.

“We are seeing a lot of linen being used in soft-furnishing fabrics and also a range of textured fabrics that have the appearance of linen but are in fact the much more durable polyester, ” she said.

“Viscose is also being used in some fabrics where a more luxurious sheen is wanted.”

She said printed cottons had also come back on to the market in a big way, featuring bright colours, florals and large designs such as peacocks, palm trees and other birds and animals.

Sheers provided a sophisticated look and were perfect for the WA heat, where we didn’t need heavy curtains.

Mike Stacey, of Wilson Fabrics and Homewares, said one of the key trends for window treatments in 2015 was the emergence of a monochromatic palette — think strong greys, blacks and whites.

“Natural tones have always been popular. However, greys are becoming the new neutral choice, ” he said.

Blinds and shutters are a terrific choice for that uncluttered, minimalist look but Surface Australia interior designer Fiona Thomas said she was seeing more feature windows in homes.

“A lot of people are using them around stairs and more houses are doing internal courtyards, ” Ms Thomas said.

“It brings the outdoors in and creates flow, as well as letting in light and views.”

Ms Thomas said treatments such as Granite Glass allowed light in but still offered privacy. The modern, natural-stained glass could be double-glazed and was easy to install.

“It’s a playful material, ” Ms Thomas said. “We’re seeing a lot more of it in entries and showers.”

Motorisation is being seen in more and more homes as the size of windows increases, according to Tony Carbone, of Mr Venetian.

“Motorisation is becoming more affordable and will continue to increase as consumers use smart phones and tablets to control window coverings, ” he said.

“Battery and solar-powered motors are also available. However, usage is currently limited.”

Trax West’s Stuart Thomas said he was also seeing motorised tracking inch into the family home.

“In Perth it was not that long ago motorised tracks were only being installed into high-end, luxury homes but today they are being installed in everyday family homes by the multiples, ” he said.

K-series 600 tracking. Picture:

Mr Michael said window treatments should last 10-15 years.

“It’s an investment in your property, ” he said.

“You’re coming home to it every night and you’ve got to wake up and see it every morning. I encourage all consumers to visit one of our many member retail outlets to see the vast array of wonderful, new and exciting products coming your way.”

Five questions to ask when choosing windows or window coverings:

How much will it cost?

Windows and treatments are an investment for your home but make sure you have a budget. Work out what you’re willing to spend, including installation, tracking, accessories and professional fees.

What is it made of?

For curtains, check that the material is easy to clean and will hang in the desired way. For windows, make sure the materials used are of high quality.

How will I measure it?

If going down the DIY route, it’s best to take all measurements twice and don’t forget to allow for clearance.

How long do I need it to last?

Look at if it’s for a sun-drenched lounge room or young kid’s room. Can it be updated as they grow? Pirates are cool at six; not so much at 16.

Does it require regular maintenance?

Make sure this is factored into the overall cost.


© The West Australian

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