Window Treatments for Small, High Windows; A Design Dilemma

[photo above: Emily Hertz] Happy Friday!!!  Here we are smack dab in the middle of the holidays, and I’m popping into your world to share a little interior inspo.  But first, do you follow me on Facebook?  My friend Claudia Ricciardone of Claudia Josephine Design and I have been chatting via Facebook Live each Friday around noon.  We talk about design trends, tips, and help you address design dilemmas you might have. Today we’re both at our kiddos’ holiday activities, and won’t be chatting on FB, so we wanted to address this challenge here instead.

We would love for you to submit your Design Dilemma by messaging us on FB or sending an email.  We’ll address one each week!

Here’s the challenge we’re tackling today:

“The house we’re moving to has small, high up windows in the bedrooms. I’m not sure what type of window coverings to use. I don’t have any pictures but I went over this morning to take measurements. They are 41” across and 83” from the top of the window to the floor. Should I use curtains to the floor? No idea.”

Can’t you just picture those high windows?  I seem them often around here, mostly in mid century homes.  Though I’ve seen them in new builds, as well…often in bedrooms.  You may have seen them in basements, too.  They are sometimes called clerestory windows.

As we see it, there are four approaches to take regarding these high, small windows.

Tiny window Approach #1:  Inside mount shades or shutters

As seen at the top of this post, Emily Hertz used custom plantation shutters for her high windows.  This is a super simple and clean approach.  Have a set of custom shades or shutters made to fit in the window.  (By the way, here’s a link to my favorite inexpensive natural shades.  They are custom made to your specifications -with loads of finish options- and won’t break the bank!). This gives a classic look, and works well if you are “grounding” the window with appropriately scaled furniture below.  Notice the walls in the examples below are filled with beds and night stands. The drawback is, you lose natural light by blocking a good portion of that lil’ window.

Image via Better Homes and Gardens

Small Window Approach #2:  Long drapery panels

Adding floor-length drapery panels will help bring visual height to the room.  They draw the eye upward and add a good dose of texture. You should mount the rods at least 10-12″ outside of the width of the window so they don’t block the light when they’re open.

This would be a lovely way to frame the bed, if the bed can go beneath the window.  A high headboard would help fill that awkward wall space between the pillows and window.

 Image via Oahusix

Little Window Approach #3:  Long drapery panels + a distraction

Hanging vertical art below the window kind of tricks the eye and mimics the look of a larger window.  The drapes frame the window + art beautifully.

Jennifer Reynolds Interiors

Take it a step further with even more of a trompe-l’œil and hang a mirror directly below the window.  The mirror will reflect light, and you can hide the edges of the window and mirror with the drapes.  Layer in furniture and accessories to totally distract from the smallness.

Image via Decorologist

Aaaand, Approach #4:  Add height above the window

If your lil’ windows are along a footpath or if long drapes would be cumbersome, you can also add visual height by hanging a valance or roman shade above the window. Be sure the bottom edge of the fabric covers the top of the window molding.

Image via Palmer Weiss

Image via Georgia Home Staging on Houzz

There you have it!  Four options to improve the look of small, high windows.  I hope this helps our #designdilemma client see that those windows don’t have to feel so odd. 

December 15, 2017

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