Window treatments for period homes: 20 new ideas

These beautiful and practical window treatment ideas will make a feature of your period windows. We've got everything from blinds and shutters to curtains

window treatments with white shutters in a dark living room with fire
(Image credit: The London Shutter Company)

When it comes to window treatments, there seems to be an overwhelming amount of choice. If you are redesigning a traditional kitchen or starting from scratch in a new living room, how you choose to dress your windows will be an all important finishing touch. 

When assessing different options, consider the look and feel you want to create, and whether you prefer to draw attention to window frames and shapes or disguise them. It is also important to address any practicalities, such as retaining privacy, reducing draughts and insulating against cold and noise. 

From traditional curtains and shutters, to innovative blinds and window films, there is something to complement every living space. Find more beautiful window treatment ideas on our dedicated hub page.

1. Make a statement with a vibrant shade

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Although they can be overwhelming in smaller spaces, vibrant shades are perfect for larger rooms. Set against a white backdrop, a statement accent colour can be used to complement other accessories and furnishings. The bright hue draws the eye to the window, making the space feel bright and airy. Knitted velvet fabric made-to-measure curtains, £30 per m from John Lewis & Partners

Find more inspiring window treatment ideas for living rooms; find out how to choose the best curtains, too.

orange curtains in living room

(Image credit: John Lewis & Partners)

Matching curtains and cushions in a traditional living room

(Image credit: Clarke & Clarke)

2. Turn your window into wall art with artisan fabric 

It's tricky to find space to hang artworks in a bathroom, so why not opt for a gorgeous statement print at the window instead? Pictured is the Simple Ticking Detail in Dormouse Fabric from Vanessa Arbuthnott's collection which has been made into a roller blind.

Find more pretty window treatment ideas for bathrooms; and read our guide to choosing roller blinds, too.

Window seat in bedroom by Vanessa Arbuthnott

(Image credit: Vanessa Arbuthnott)

3. Mix and match prints to create a co-ordinated look

Picking fabrics that don't entirely match but complement each other carefully is easy to do if you shop from one collection. Accentuate a mid-century modern scheme with an iconic print like this Orla Kiely Scribble Acorn Cup design, from £55.60. Soften the sharp lines of blinds with flowing curtains in a complementary shade, such as the rich mustard hue of the Scribble curtain in Olive, from £76.34, for a relaxed look, both from Illumin8Blinds

Orla Kiely blinds and curtains in living room

(Image credit: Orla Kiely)

4. Opt for flexibility with a Venetian blind

For an easy way to control light levels in a room Venetian blinds are the perfect option. More affordable than sought after shutters, they have sleek fuss free design and are available in a range of finishes to match your decor. Often period homes have irregular sized windows, so in this case, opting for bespoke blinds from Hillary's is a great option. Alternatively Ikea has plenty of standard off the shelf designs. 

traditional utility room with venetian blinds

(Image credit: Jeremy phillips)

5. Add privacy with a patterned frosted window

Working with a front facing living room? Intricate frosted window film will obscure the view into your room but still allow light to flow through. If a frosted film alone feels a bit bare, 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.

Check out more of our window film design ideas

corner of a living room with large open windows covered in a polka dot window film, dressed with neutral coloured curtains and styled with deep blue arm chair and patterned cushions

(Image credit: The Window Film Company)

Frosted windows also work perfectly in a traditional bathroom, especially if it's a smaller bathroom as you won't need to overwhelm the space with bulkier window treatments. 

Emma Jeffs window film

6. Choose a vintage print for a country feel

Designing a country kitchen? Opt for a lightweight, pretty floral blind to create a welcoming environment. Roman blinds are perfect if you like the softness of a fabric window treatment but don’t have space for curtains in your kitchen.

Find more kitchen window treatments in our guide.


(Image credit: Colin Poole)

7. Make a statement with bold prints

If you love colourful bold prints, but are cautious when it comes to using them, opting for curtains and soft furnishings in statement fabrics is a great solution, as they are relatively cheap and easy to update as and when tastes change. Covered with a blousy poppy design, Sanderson's Embleton fabric in Claret/linen brings warmth to this large muted kitchen. 

See more kitchen window treatment ideas in our guide.

kitchen with statement curtains

(Image credit: Sanderson)

8. Add a touch of luxury with velvet curtains 

Velvet’s a huge trend for sofa upholstery and we think it’s just as appealing used for curtains. While roller blinds and shutters both work well in traditional space, nothing beats the luxurious look of velvet curtains with deep swags, lush fabrics and ornate pelmets.

Bedroom by Neptune

(Image credit: Neptune)

9. Take control with tier-on-tier shutters

Tier-on-tier shutters have two sets of panels sitting top and bottom, giving you the flexibility to operate them separately, and greater control over the levels of light and privacy. Furnishing a period room? Pick smaller slats for a more traditional appeal; wider slats for a more contemporary one. These hardwood shutters at Apollo Blinds, are bi-fold opening for enhanced versatility.

Find more information and inspiration for shutters in our guide.

(Image credit: Apollo Blinds)

17. Add a pop of colour with a patterned blind

Add a pop of colour to a neutral interior with a decorative blind, like this Fruit Garden design from Vanessa Arbuthnott’s new Orchard collection, £54 per m2. Presenting a flat canvas, roller and Roman blinds are perfect for experimenting with bold pattern and colour since they are not constantly on full display.

blinds in living room

(Image credit: Vanessa Arbuthnott)

11. Inject colour with solid shutters

Make windows the focal point in an otherwise neutral space by choosing shutters in a bolder colour. Opt for a strong shade that you can repeat throughout the room – we can't get enough of the olive hues in this bedroom. 

Find more smart bedroom window treatments in our guide.

California Shutters from £166 psm

(Image credit: California Shutters)

12. Use shutters to add privacy in Victorian homes

Owners of Victorian homes will be familiar with the struggle of dressing bay windows, particularly when you don’t want curtains. These Pearlwood full-height plantation shutters, £275 per m² from The London Shutter Company, make a feature of the window while offering privacy. 

white shutters in a dark living room with fire

(Image credit: The London Shutter Company)

13.  Add warmth to a living room with a Roman blind

checked fabric roman blind

(Image credit: Moon)

Roman blinds come in different styles, so think about the overall look and feel you want to create. Hobbled Roman blinds are made using dowels so you get a neat pleated look when pulled up. Heavy fabrics like wool work well with this style, such as this Legacy, Broadway design in Mustard from Moon.

Read our guide to choosing the best blinds to get the right design for your home; find out more about picking the best Roman blinds, too.

14. Use a block colour for impact

If you've chosen a strong wallpaper design for your room, picking out a block plain for your window treatment will keep the scheme feeling elegantly restrained. Choose a dark colour only if the window is large and the natural daylight is good. 

Bathroom with rolltop bath by Little Greene

(Image credit: Little Greene)

15. Treat an interior doorway like a window

From cracks under doors to poorly glazed windows, period homes are no stranger
to draughts. Changing the doors and windows may not be an option, but a heavy-lined curtain can offer a quick and affordable draughtproofing solution while also adding a welcoming wash of colour to rooms. Plus if you pick a patterned print it's a really quick and easy way to add some interest to a space. The rich berry tone of the Fern and Dragonfly fabric in Raspberry, £52 per m from Vanessa Arbuthnott’s Woodland collection, beautifully complements the characterful, aged original tiled floor in this country cottage. 

Vanessa Arbuttnott curtain over door

(Image credit: Vanessa Arbuttnott)

16. Let in the light with a sheer curtain

 Heavy wools and velvets are perfect for creating a cosy atmosphere throughout the winter, whereas sheer curtains, made of linen or voile, are ideal for summer. Filtering out bright sunlight, they still allow natural light to flood the room – even on the most grey days – while also providing privacy. This Aspen design features an embossed repeating pattern inspired by mountain terrains, priced £50.40 from Prestigious Textiles.

Discover more practical and pretty treatments for French or patio doors.

Sheer curtains in a bedroom

(Image credit: Prestigious Textiles)

17. Replicate French style with floor length shutters

Be inspired by the stylish décor of Parisian apartments with matt white floor-length shutters, like this half solid raised design, £260 per m2 from California Shutters. The best option for total privacy control, the controllable slats let you adjust light levels while their bi-fold design means that you don’t have to compromise on the view.

floor length shutters in a dining room

(Image credit: California Shutters)

18. Hide fixings with a pelmet 

We know pelmets may be associated with the chintzier end of traditional country house design, but when they are done right they can lend style and elegance to a window. They are also a great way to hide fixtures, here a pelmet has been used to disguise a simple roller blind – a good idea if you want to add interest to a window but don’t have the room for bulky treatments. 

floral curtains with pelmet

(Image credit: Brent Darby)

19. Have the best of both worlds with a sheer blind

A sheer roller blind is a brilliant option for giving you privacy from the outside  world without compromising on the benefit of natural lighting in the room. This linen-look design costs £70 from Luxaflex’s Reflection range.

If you're thinking of transforming your dining room into an elegant space, take a look at our traditional dining room design ideas for inspiration. 

sheer blinds in a dining room dark interior

(Image credit: Luxaflex)

20. Let in the light while maintaining privacy with cafe shutters

Covering the lower half of the window, café-style shutters are perfect for rooms where you would like additional privacy but do not want to compromise on light levels. They are particularly well suited to street-facing rooms and ground-level windows. These shutters in Driftwood cost £299 per m2 from Shutterly Fabulous.

Learn how to design your own home office with our handy guide. 

half shutters in home office next to desk

(Image credit: Shutterly Fabulous)

Looking for more window treatment inspiration?

Pippa is Style Editor for Period Living magazine and spends many a weekend exploring the Cotswolds for decorating shoot ideas. A collector at heart, she is currently looking for a vintage cabinet to store her favourite wares.