Living room window dressings really are the icing on the cake. They bring pattern, colour and texture into the room – but they need to be practical, too. What’s on your list of requirements for your living room window treatment? Does it need to create a focal point? Keep the inside of your home private? Stop sunlight damaging furniture and flooring? All of the above? With an exacting list of specifications, and whether you’re planning a new living room scheme or simply swapping a dressing that isn’t working, follow our guide.
How to treat living room windows
Dressing a living room window provides the opportunity to impress, or use a more understated treatment that quietly solves the problems it has to. If it’s a separate room, you won’t need to think about the window dressing in relation to others, but in an open-plan kitchen diner and living space, consider repeating colours from a kitchen window treatment to pull the whole space together.
A living room might include bi-fold or sliding doors or more traditional French windows, a shapely bay, or casement windows, and blinds, shutters, curtains and panels might all prove good-looking treatments that could inject colour and – when it comes to Roman blinds, curtains and panels – pattern, too. Roman blinds and curtains will also add to the balance of softer elements in a living room scheme, and the latter can look especially luxurious with generously draped fabric. Other treatments have a simpler, contemporary effect.
However, it’s not only the aesthetic of the dressing that’s a factor. Light control to reduce glare on screens and protect upholstery from fading may be vitally important, depending on the room’s orientation. Street-facing rooms, meanwhile, need a treatment that brings privacy without making them gloomy, and here specially designed blinds, shutters and window film can come to your aid.
1. Choose easy-update roller blinds
If you like the idea of being able to change the colours and patterns at the window for summer and winter, or want a simple method of updating the window treatment when you give the room a makeover, check out these roller blinds. The original fabric can be hooked off and replaced with a new one while the blind system itself stays in place. The blind pelmets are changeable, too.
These Fabric Changer designs are Woodland Burst Blackout pelmet roller blind (left), from £91.27 each, and Raspberry Blackout roller blind, from £69.44, all Bloc Blinds.
Read our guide to roller blinds for practical buying information.
2. Showcase pattern with panel curtains
Make a focal point of the window – or distract from a view that leaves much to be desired – with a patterned window treatment. Flat panels put maximum focus on the motif itself as there are no fabric folds, and look contemporary to boot.
This palm leaves pattern 141-71 is part of the Urban Jungle collection at Dekoria, from £15 per metre with curtain making free.
3. Stay flexible with shutters
Street-facing living rooms can leave you feeling on show when you’re trying to relax. To avoid the goldfish-bowl sensation, consider tier-on-tier shutters. The stacked panels allow you to cover the pedestrian-height portion of the window and fully open the top, or screen all of the glass, while the slats mean fine control of privacy but will let light in during the day.
These two tone blue shutters cost from £299 per square metre for standard and custom colours, including home consultation and installation, from Shutterly Fabulous.
Find out more about choosing the best shutters for your living room in our guide.
4. Save space with a Roman blind
Small living room but like the softness of a window treatment made from fabric? A Roman blind will create a generous effect with pleats of fabric apparent when it’s pulled up, but as it fits neatly and hangs down flat it won’t take up space alongside the window or create bulk against the wall.
This Orla Kiely Rosebud Orange Vintage Roman blind costs from £68.45 for W55cm x D60cm, English Blinds.
Find out more about choosing Roman blinds in our practical guide.
5. Prevent living room furniture fading
Bi-fold doors and generous glazing create a fabulous connection between indoors and out but the sun can cause furniture and wood flooring to change colour. These blinds are designed to stop UV light damage – and they’ll also make screens easier to see on bright days. Older home with traditional windows? They fit sashes, too.
A made-to-measure blind starts from around £150, Duette.
Find more practical and pretty dressing ideas for glazed doors in our design gallery.
6. Combine window film and curtains
To keep light flowing into a living space and obscure the view of the curious, window film is a simple and effective solution. Doesn’t feel dressed up enough for the space? Team it with curtains for a more opulent window treatment. Letting the curtain fabric pool on the floor, as here, will make the look more luxurious.
This is MissPrint Ditsy Dandelion film, from £30, The Window Film Company.
Find more window film ideas in our design gallery.
7. Choose a modern take on nets
A blind that maximises light in while foiling attempts to take a nosy at your interior is a 21st century solution to a problem of urban living, and a discreet way to dress a window. It’ll do the same job at night, too, when it can be completely closed.
Silhouette shade, from £299, Luxaflex.
8. Stop streetlights intruding with blackout blinds
Prevent the glare from street lamps disrupting the carefully created ambience of your living room in the evenings with a blackout blind.
These Hive Cellular blinds have a pleated structure that’s also designed to absorb sound to keep that element of the outside out, too. From £118 for a 400mm x 600mm made-to-measure, Style Studio.
Find the best blackout curtains for your bedroom in our buyer's guide.
9. Think curtain fabric to up luxe levels
Velvet’s a huge trend for sofa upholstery and it’s just as appealing used for curtains. It looks and feels soft and, of course, drapes beautifully. Try dark shades for a contemporary effect and add brighter jewel tones as accents to the scheme.
These are Premium Velvet Royal Blue curtains, from £56.45 for a pair of curtains measuring W70cm x D70cm, Blinds2Go.
Read our guide to choosing living room curtains for more.
10. Dress up a bay window
A shutter and curtain combination is an ideal way to draw attention to the lovely lines of a bay window. Here, café-style shutters mean the room’s kept private, while floor length curtains frame the attractive feature. Once night-time comes attention’s focused on the sumptuous drape of fabric.
Richmond café-style shutters, from £375 per square metre; Astro Steel curtains, from £123 for W127cm x D137cm, both Hillarys
11. Go for a combination of curtains and blinds
If you want a relaxed, informal look in your living room, choosing curtain and blind fabrics that complement each other but don't match is the way to go. Picking designs from the same collection is an easy option. Fabrics by Vanessa Arbuthnott.
Find out how to mix patterns and prints in our design guide.