Laurel, I’m Desperate! I Think I Totally Screwed Up My Window Shades

Hey Guys,

I promise that there is more coming about kitchen issues, but first I got a real email from someone who did say in the subject “I’M DESPERATE.”

(Slightly edited only to protect identity.)


Hi Laurel,

I am a devoted reader of all your weekly emails! You are a fabulous designer and a hilarious writer – so I feel like I already know you (and dare I say… that we are friends!!!) I guess that is why I have the nerve to actually reach out and ask for your advice. If you don’t have time I totally understand and just disregard this email.


I am a Home Stager in a northeastern suburban area. I have little formal training in Interior Design (I’m actually trained in graphic design) but I have learned a lot after 4 years of staging. Anyway…. the following pics are of my own home, a family area where my teens hang-out. A place where they do homework and entertain friends.

I don’t usually decorate with such loud patterned window treatments and colors but I was trying to get away from the “EVERYTHING MUST BE GREIGE”, which is how we stage every home these days!! I felt I needed a little color and pattern in my life especially in an area for kids/teens; it didn’t need to be sophisticated!

So I ordered these Roman window shades with a busy floral pattern, working with my blue and white theme. But I was afraid that a whole row of this loud fabric was going to be too much pattern, so I ordered the wovens for the french doors in-between the windows, to break it up.

floral shades 2

floral shades

Now I think it was a big mistake! I think the door treatments should have been in the fabric too, right? Or better yet, probably all the windows should have been in the wovens (I already have too many wovens in my house though!!)

I can’t even tell you how much money I have already spent, but regardless, I need to make this right. I guess my question is – does the use of these two different treatments in a row look strange to you? And what would you do to remedy this situation? You can be brutally honest, I have a thick skin….

Thank you, Thank you, Thank you so much! And please keep those emails coming! I always look forward to the weekly read!!

Ima House-Stajer



Hmmm… Ima told me to be brutally honest.


All in all, it’s a pretty room.

And yes, the window shades look strange.




It isn’t her fault. This is a difficult and awkward situation. But, I think her instincts were correct to break it up. However, Ima can see and I can see that it’s not quite coming together.

The problem begins with a pair of two double windows and then a pair of French doors in between.

And the ceiling is low.


Double Windows Are Not Historically Accurate– At least not until Victorian Times.


(Yes, there may be exceptions, but for the most part no.)


DesignLens_tan-colonial-house_s4x3.jpg.rend.hgtvcom.1280.960 (1)

HGTV- Classic Colonial Home


Southern Living Craftsmen Beauty


via chicsprinkles charleston home

Chic Sprinkles Charleston Charmer

federal farmhouse

Greek Revival Farmhouse in Greenwich, CT white house reflected in lake

Quentin Debriey

But all too often in new construction, I have this situation below.

dhidealtest, 6/3/05, 11:32 AM, 8C, 9000x10890 (0+828), 150%, bent 5 stops, 1/30 s, R15.0, G25.0, B53.0

a side-by-side window configuration

Or, my worst which is the humongous picture window flanked by two itty bitty windows.

Well, one of my worst.

There is worse.

too many windows living room

(Thank you decorating den for providing us with that example.)

I know what you are thinking… and no, I’m not saying that windows should not be put together, but there’s a right way and a wrong way.

Quite frequently, there is no inset whatsoever if one wants to hang inside mount window shades. And when that happens, life really sucks.

400 Series Woodwright Double-Hung Windows, White Interior, Colonial Grilles American Farmhouse Home Style Georgian / Federal Home Style

The right way to have a series of windows.

Ideally, there should be nice thick mullions separating them as shown in this Anderson Window ad.

craftsmen home side by side windows

It is typical for Craftsmen style homes to have windows sitting side by side.


But Getting Back To Our Window Shades Issue.



Ima sent me some more images. The room is really lovely. And I love the fabric! Ima’s windows do have a thick mullion. It looks like there’s enough inset space, to do two separate shades–inside mount. I always have the shades made this way whenever possible.

The other thing I do is have my workroom make the shades a little longer than the window so that there’s one extra pleat. It looks not-so-great if the window shades are let all the way down, and there’s just a straight piece of fabric flapping in the breeze.

I tell my clients that it’s better to have a little glass showing even when let all the way down. Unless you must absolutely have every single inch of the window covered, they do look better this way.

too many windows 1

Already, with the shades pulled up things are starting to improve– a lot!


But we need to make it so that they look great all the time.


My first recommendation is to have the shades remade into two shades which will be an inside mount installation. It is not necessary to have the little valance flap. It’s fine to have it as long as there’s enough inset room.

There needs to be a minimum ONE-HALF INCH inset space to mount the shade inside the window frame.

Please know however that commercial vendors/brands who make these kinds of shades will say NO, but baaalieve me, I have done dozens of Roman Shades with a very shallow inset, including my old home and it works out just fine.


here’s the trick.


The board that the shade is mounted on is generally 1″ x 2″ and it usually runs with the two inches being set in the window horizontally. But, if it’s a very slim inset, then the board can be run the other way. The installer will use longer screws to install. The shade will stick out about 1/2″ from the frame, but that’s okay.


Now,  for the door window shades


 My first idea was to take the shades off and create a frosted glass window. That would be the cheapest way to handle this for sure. But… it is rather nice to be able to see out the window.

Frosted glass is a great option for any area when one wants a glass door but doesn’t want to see what’s behind it.

frosted glass doors are great for privacy in this bathroom


A sliding frosted glass door separates two parts of a bathroom. This way light can come in the bathing area, but there’s still privacy.

You won’t need to replace the glass. There’s a spray that’s available at most home renovation and hardware stores.


But then I got to thinking that Ima wasn’t going to like this solution and I better rethink this.




Another idea popped into my head for the French Door Window Shades


There’s a rule if the windows are all the same the window treatments need to be the same.


Since we have a different window which of course is actually a door, we don’t need to do the same treatment. But the treatment needs to coordinate.

Usually, I would do the same fabric, and that is an option, but I also think it might make the door extra special to do something else that coordinates.

So, I decided to choose a cream-colored linen to match the background of the Roman Shades and then trim it with the dark blue color of the Suzani pattern floral shade fabric.

And with a little computer magic, I am ready to reveal the after.


DRUM ROLL ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~


window shades and drapes for a casual family room

Ta Duuuuuh!

I think I rather love it!

There is a rod for the drapes, but it is hiding behind the beam.

But I love how the drapes soften the room and provide greater balance on the window/door wall. And I think that the four inside mount Romans look a lot better than the big long one, IMO. They are easier to put up and down too.

I had a lot of fun recreating the mullions and adding in the lamp with the light on…

And please notice the inside mount Roman Shades!


The woven wood shades looks terrific now.


I do like the dark accent, but it would look better left mostly up and then close the drapes when privacy is necessary.

The drapes should be two widths wide each in order to close properly.

And yes, you could use the same fabric, but since the room is primarily a no-pattern contemporary/transitional room, I think it would be better to do a plain linen and allow both the door and the side windows to be special. But it wouldn’t be wrong to do everything out of the same fabric.

Rooms are about composition and balance. So, as long as we’re mindful of that, it should be okay. Sometimes the situation won’t be perfect. This is one where the architect/builder didn’t help us out too much.

And there it is…

Do you like this? Can you think of another solution? Please discuss in the comments if you wish.


One last thing– A gentle reminder.


I LOVE hearing from you guys. I really do.

And I’m starting to get a LOT of requests for help which would be great if there were five of me.

I hope this doesn’t sound nasty, but I’m not doing consultations– even paid consults. And I am not giving out free advice unless it’s for the benefit of everyone. I’m hoping that some of you will see these messages, because I don’t want to embarrass or make anyone feel badly.

Of course, you may ask, and if I think it’ll be helpful to others, there might be a blog post about it. No guarantees because I’m getting several notes a day! Every day!

But, YES! Please continue to comment here after the posts. Your comments are so wonderful and add so much!

Thanks again for all!




138 Responses

  1. Hi,

    Could you quote the price of a 2″ Faux Wood blind with the following specs?

    Slat Size: 2 Inch Slat
    Color: White
    Width: 36 inch
    Height: 60 inch
    Mount type: Outside mount
    Tilt position: Left
    Tilt option: Cord tilt
    Valance: 3 inch Crown Valance
    Operating system: Standard
    Blinds on Headrail: Single
    Cord position: Right
    Ladder option: Traditional Routed


    1. Hi Brian,

      I’m not taking on any clients and I don’t sell wood blinds directly. You would do better going to a store that sells blinds or perhaps look at Smith and Noble.

  2. Hi Lauren,
    What do you suggest for those of us with the side by side windows AND the “worst case scenario”, a humongous picture window flanked by two little windows? Mine have mullions too–6 over 6 in the normal windows and the same size in the big windows. It’s a brick house, so the windows can’t be changed.

  3. Dear Laurel.
    I loved the solution that everyone can benefit from.
    I always search thru your past posts when looking for a solution to my design querries….thanks for posting them and then replying to them when I cannot find what I am looking for.
    But honestly, you have given me self confidence for my design ideas….I used to be locked into the latest ‘trend’ and I ‘had’ to copy that trend. But I am being much more open to my own ideas and other suggestions as they relate to what my exact design wants to be.
    So thank you so very much for all you share freely and in such a savvy manner.
    Sincerely yours!

    1. Hi Susan,

      That really makes me want to cry. (the good kind of crying) Because that is the very crux of what I’m trying to achieve. And that is for people to create their own personal haven that is true to their heart, not what some blogger or magazine is saying the top ten trends you MUST incorporate in your home– or else, you’ll just be a hopeless dolt. Oh, they don’t say that, but isn’t that what’s implied?

      So, I am happy that some people are gaining that confidence to buck the trends. After-all, a good many of them will look silly in a few years and you won’t get caught up in those mistakes.

  4. A problem similar to a picture window is the doorwall. I have a huge one in my living room and one in the family room. I have wood shutters in the FR and stationary drapes in the LR. I’d like more privacy when desired in the LR. I’d love a post on doorwalls since the suburbs are full of them.

    1. I think I’m very tired Donna. But what is a doorwall? I’ve never heard that term before. Do you mean a wall of sliding or French Doors? The only option I have ever done are drapes, but they are not cheap because it’s a lot of fabric and labor.

      1. It is a sliding glass door of two or three panels usually metal framed with wood framing on the outside edges to attach a window covering. The large expanse of glass is like a picture window. Our shutters were terribly expensive but we needed the privacy and insulation in the winter in the often used family room. The living room is more formal but the whole end wall is glass with stationary drapery panels covering the ends and the middle giving the illusion of two big windows. In the midwest subdivisions they are very common. French doors open like doors but these slide over each other to produce an opening doorway. Many people use vertical blinds that are like hanging pieces of vinyl covered with fabric.. You are so lucky not to even know what they are! They are also called patio doors.

    1. LOI! I have missed you so much dear twin! ;] But I can’t keep up with all of your magnificent homes, tours, etc. As you can see… things have changed. Yes, please, call me up. Anytime! xoxox

  5. Laurel, your genius astounds me!!! I just love this contribution to your blog and loved seeing your advice for this room (and your photo shopping skills are fabulous too)! Bravo on a really great post!

    1. Hi Megan,

      Thank you so much. I’ve definitely gotten smarter as I’ve aged. Experience really does make a difference. I use Pic Monkey for photo shopping. It’s very easy to use, but one needs to just play around with the different features.

      One hint is to click on the icon with the woman’s head. That’s where you fix makeup and but a lot of those makeup fixes work for objects too!

  6. Dear Laurel,

    My dining room has a double window that looks just like the craftsman windows. We have inside mount blinds and curtains. The curtains are essential in the winter to keep out drafts at night. I am embarrassed to admit that I think that we have lived with incorrectly hung curtains for the past 19 years. In fact, I am so embarrassed, that I will not even describe what I suspect that I have done wrong. Could you educate your curtain challenged readers on the best, most esthetic way to hang functioning curtains on a double window with mullions?

    1. Hi Laura,

      Do you mean drapes with a rod? If so, that is the same as any window. If the window is more than 6 feet wide, you’ll need a center bracket. I’ve done a couple posts about drapes and how they should be hung.

      But don’t be embarrassed. Whatever it is… I’m not about perfection, but in authenticity and that is different things for different people.

      1. Dear Laurel,

        I appreciate your reply. I suppose that it WOULD be more helpful to describe our curtain mistakes. We do have a rod with a center bracket and tab top curtains. Unfortunately, my husband insisted that we place the rod on the upper wooden window casing because he didn’t want to put holes in the old plaster walls. The curtain panels hang in limbo about 4 inches off of the floor. (Hubby thinks that looks just fine, too). I’ve always thought that the whole thing looked off. Also, I’m not sure about the correct placement of the curtain panels. When the curtains are open, is it appropriate to cover the mullion in the center with curtain panels, or should all the panels be placed on the outer edges of the pair of windows with the mullion showing?

        Thank you for your time.

        Thank you for your time.

        1. Please look at the other posts on window treatments to see how it should be. You can do a search in the box in the sidebar. window treatments should get you there. And I have lots of other images with beautiful, correctly installed drapes.

  7. Hi Laurel,

    This is a bit off the subject of your post, and I am not asking you to dispense free advise, but not long ago you did a very informative post on wood floors. I have inherited an old house from my parents with gorgeous old growth, one foot wide and and about 10 feet tall, one inch thick, pine paneled walls which I would never cover with paint or wall paper. I’m at a loss as to how to take care of them. I could just leave them be, as they have been for 85 years. That would certainly be preferable to doing something and then later regretting it. You would never find this in a house today. You could only get this if you were lucky enough to find this from an antique dealer or someone who sells pieces of old houses that have been torn down. Living back east, you must at some point dealt with a client, or clients who have very old houses with these amazing features. Have you ever encountered this situation? I searched your blog to see if you had written a post on very old wooden walls, did not see one, but perhaps it is not a common enough occurance to blog about. Is there a particular kind of craftsman who might specialize in something like this? If I am asking too much of you, my apologies. I will just keep researching.

    1. Yes, one time; a home from the 18th century. I had a decorative artist doing some work in the home and he restored the wood with linseed oil. Maybe do some research on that? Also, “This Old House” will most likely have some good advice on the topic.

  8. I just stopped by again after reading the post yesterday, just to read the comment posted since then…OMG, Laurel, I think you are on the fast track to being the next design blogging superstar! The last two post have had so many comments, it takes me an hour to read them. Everything is so great and interesting. Been following you for quite a while now, and I think your ship has come in! I wonder if you will be able to keep up your great habit of replying to everyone. I love reading all of your replies and learn so much just from them alone! You’ll be overwhelmed soon…but I selfishly wanna say “keep it up!”

    1. Hi Chris,

      Yes, indeed! You are right about the time thing. And it’s something I need to think about. At the moment, writing two posts and JUST answering emails and comments is a full-time job! No exaggeration.

      So, I need to regroup a bit and probably get some help with some of the other behind the scenes things.

      But gosh. design blogging superstar? haha! That is way too kind!

      Well… I just felt like bloggin’ (in Forrest Gump voice) :]

  9. Big improvement Laurel! Love the navy band on white drapes. There’s one other element that could tie the two different types of Windows together: make the valance piece on the Suzani patterned Romans solid navy…..or put narrower navy banding around side and bottom edges of shades. Btw, your second image of beautiful houses is actually called a Four Square. They were built in the early 1900s right before the decade of craftsman houses. I should know. I live in a simple craftsman across the street from a Four Square. Enjoy your summer!😀

  10. Dear Laurel,

    I simply have to comment today to say “what a brilliant solution!” And your use of curtains with a wide band of blue, together with separating the windows, helps to emphasize the vertical line, thus improving the rather low ceiling. Terrific!

    Re the previous kitchens post: if you want to see an authentic French country kitchen in 1981, and perhaps what it’s become (very unfashionable but suitable to the house), let me know … I don’t think one can post a pic in the comments (or am I just technically-challenged?).

  11. This is a great solution and I love the outcome. Your advice is, as always, very helpful. Ima’s sectional is nearly identical to the one I have arriving in 3 weeks; wedge with curved back. I’m waiting until it is in place before problem solving lighting, side tables, etc. I’d love to see your thoughts on working with a sectional (especially in a smallish space!)

    1. Hi Susan,

      Sectionals are tricky because a common problem is people buying one that doesn’t fit. So when I hear section + small space, I get a little nervous.

      I am not saying that one cannot have a sectional in a smaller room, but it needs to be in proportion and situated in a way that fits the space.

  12. I love your commentaries with detours into design history– so helpful. I also appreciate the fact that you work with the structure/age of the house– nothing makes me more crazy than complete disregard for a home’s setting/lineage. Your clients are lucky to have such a thoughtful and talented gal as their interior design guru!

    1. Hi Jean Marie,

      I think that’s what drew me to interior design more than anything and that is architecture. I love old buildings, both inside and out! And yes, feel strongly about respecting their past.

      It doesn’t exist anymore. They are rare jewels.

  13. Entirely love what you did Laurel and totally agree, if you can hang Roman Shades as an inside mount by all means do so and think function. That said; I am just a ‘hobby sewer’ however have made my own window coverings for many years now and have even gone to such lengths to achieve an ‘inside mount’ by applying industrial (quality) velcro to their headings and its selected inset mounting board. That said; another tip that I will add if you do have fabric window coverings; consider their uniformity from outside. i.e.: Try to keep all their linings at least the same colour even though their designs and purpose may differ. -Brenda-

    1. That’s a good note Brenda about the outside lining being the same.

      Not sure I get the velcro. My installers screw the shade into the window frame. It is a happy day when there’s plenty of room to do that.

  14. We live in an older home that has many smaller windows similar to the picture you posted (the “right way” to have a series of windows). We are in the process of having custom shades made for our whole house. What’s interesting to me is that the Smith and Noble rep I had come out strongly recommended doing larger shades over multiple windows (like the original picture of the room above). She said otherwise too many individual roman shades look fussy. I actually didn’t agree, but found myself doubting my instincts about the windows. I didn’t go with Smith and Noble for a variety of reasons, but would love your thoughts on the appropriate treatments for a series of small windows like that. I don’t find that a series of tailored, flat fold roman shades looks fussy – or is there a solution I am missing? I always appreciate your unfiltered advice.

    1. Hi Elizabeth. If the windows are verrry tiny, like 15″ and there are like 12 of them, yes, that might look funny. But usually, there’s a way to break that down. But even if they are 24″ and there are six of them or so, that should be fine to do individual shades.

      And yes, S&N is a great example of a brand that will come out and give you advice that is rote, unimaginative and unaccommodating for difficult situations.

      Like the depth of the mounting area. They’ll say that you need 2 inches minimum for inside mount and that is just not true!

  15. The room looks great!

    Don’t get me started on windows without grills, especially large windows.

    I live on a street of 1930s brick homes and before we moved in, some trend swept the neighborhood and all these people replaced their windows with casement windows and no grills. They didn’t match the homes and it looked awful.

    We swapped ours out last year with Andersen double hung windows with grills and they look great. Some neighbors saw it and they replaced theirs too. I really hope I started a new trend.

    1. Hi George,

      Are grills the same thing as muntins? That was the term I learned, but grills works too. I agree, they add a lot of character to the windows.

      1. When I have bought glass cabinet doors I’ve refereed to the dividers as mullions. But, Andersen windows refers to them as grilles (with an ‘e’ apparently’)

        So that’s what I thought the term was. But I just googled and muntins is also the correct term… spell check doesn’t like it though. 🙂

        1. Hi George,

          Mullions are the large vertical pieces that separate two windows as in the ones I redid when I put in the inside mount shades.

          Spell checker is a little iffy. haha.

  16. Wow- another great post-I honestly would remove the door wovens completely and just add your fantasy curtain-you can close them for privacy-its all just to much with that long line of windows-I think I almost would have just had drapes that closed across the whole shebang- of course, this is coming from a person that lived on 3 wooded acres and only had blinds on the bedroom windows and all of the other windows were bare because I loved my cool, decorative oak wide trim, and only deer could look in at us at night, so I should just shut up-LOL

    1. Hi Kathi,

      Thanks so much! That’s another good solution and maybe if starting from scratch what I would recommend. But this is fun I think as it’s primarily the kids’ hang out place.

  17. Great post, Laurel! I love how your blog is always pragmatic. I can’t even begin to relate how much I’ve learned from you. You are completely unique and super valuable in the design blogosphere!

  18. Love how you tied it all together! I like how the drapes add a vertical element along the long wall.

    So, being the lucky owner of the large window flanked by a small window on each side, I have been reluctant to add just one shade fearing it would be too heavy and appear chunky. All I have at this time is neutral stationary panels flaking the window on the sides, but I feel like I need to add shades for light control. What do you think about using shades made from a woven material? I’m not concerned about privacy but could use some help filtering the morning sun from my furniture.

    And thanks for keeping me laughing!

  19. Brilliant! Laurel to the rescue! I love that you corrected the situation without wasting what was there, just modified and added. Wish you were available for fee consultations!

    1. Hi Jo,

      Thanks so much! It’s very difficult and part of that is weeding through all of the requests. And then there are a lot of people who are jerking my chain even if they don’t mean to. I was finding that people either didn’t want to pay what I was asking for and/or the task took me twice as long as I thought it would.

      It’s bloody difficult to work long distance. Photos are almost always very bad. Sometimes that are mistakes that are so difficult, that there’s nothing I can do.

      Or an ugly home with ugly permanent finishes. Same deal.

      And finally, it was making me exhausted and unable to do anything else.

      Those are the reasons why I needed to stop.

  20. Nothing worse than standing back to look at something you planned out, spent money on, and had installed, only to be disatisfied. No better feeling than being able to help someone with a “fix” that takes it beyond what they had imagined it could be. Nice job, Laurel!

    1. Hi Tricia,

      And there have been times, when I’m the one who’s responsible. Not that it’s always my fault. It’s not but it’s my responsibility to fix it. And yeah, sometimes it comes out of my pocket.

  21. Just as a room with a single color for everything is deathly dull, so is a room that’s “matchy matchy “. Maybe dull is the wrong word – frightening? I didn’t mind the wood blinds in the first shot. Gorgeous color and texture. I love the final design. Warm, well proportioned, and a bit of fun!

  22. Laurel,

    I am NOT a decorator, etc but I do enjoy reading your blog. It’s funny, well-written and educational – even for a non-decorator type like me.

    Just had to tell you that my mouth dropped open as I scrolled through and read today’s blog. It was a genius solution. I’m really stunned at much better it look. You are a brilliant decorator.


  23. Well well well, you are no Luddite now, Ms Bern! First, I thought you were going to tell the person to start over. I could envision no hope for that room with those shades. The separate windows and the entrance curtain was magic. I love when people can envision magic. And it really is neat to see them be able to transford a space or object with a few moves of a mouse so that it moves from bomb shelter to a room.

  24. I loved your note that all windows that are the same need the same treatments. I have some interesting window situations in my home.. including that all require inset mounted window treatments and are sheetrock-encased. Not many affordable options when you need to do your entire home! I have 2nd story windows in my foyer that they put mini blinds in! Have mercy! I’m wondering if it would look strange to do the frosted window idea for privacy, though you could see it from the front of the house. Hmm, will have to think on this. Thanks, Laurel!

  25. Wow! It is so amazing to see what a good designer can do! I love laughing and learning on your blog:) I think my husband is getting sick of me saying, “But Laurel Bern says….” every time we do something to our house…lol…but it is looking so much better because of posts like this…

  26. Laurel this was very educational and helpful. We all get stuck sometimes and need a good word. Your solutions are great and I will save this post to refer to.
    By the way you are hysterical! I love your comments on decorating. I sit here night after night laughing my a.. off!!! I had tears in my eyes one night. Thank you so much for the info. I look forward to every post! Wish I had been able to use your talent.

    Thanks again,

    Lorene Bastulli

    1. Hi Nancy, Thanks! I know and you can probably relate to this too. I’ll spend hours weighing the different options (behind the scenes) when there’s something a little tricky.

      The other thing I didn’t mention is there’s a 4th wall that we can’t see at all. Wonder what’s over there?

  27. WOW! I thought the room looked great before Laurel’s finishing touches. But, she really took it to the next level!!

  28. First off, I am a complete no nothing person. Now that I have made that clear, I would like to have seen the large blue and white rug replaced with a sea grass or woven-like rug to tie together the woven blinds and just give the room a more casual, welcoming feel. The patterened rug seems to compete with the Roman shades.

    1. I think that either choice works in this case. And that’s what’s great about design. Usually there are choices and it’s a matter of preference.

  29. The drapes were a great solution. It’s your magic eye and real sense of balance the 3 things you changed makes a huge difference.

  30. Laurel, I love the changes!! But one question: what does it mean that the drapes should be one and two widths wide each? I have no idea what you mean and I want to understand!

    1. oops! typo. I had said one and a half and then took another look and decided that we probably need 2 widths. Thanks for noticing that one. I’ll go make the change now.

  31. This was an awesome lesson in window dressing. Thank you for helping those of us who have great taste but sometimes lack designer experience in executing our vision.

  32. Thank you for another great post Laurel! You confirmed what I’ve always suspected – that most of the windows in the properties I’ve lived are weird. You think the “humongous picture window flanked by two itty bitty windows” is one of the worst? Now imagine the same picture window and ONE itty bitty casement window, no mullions. Is there any option for such an arrangement?

    1. Hi Val,

      A backhoe?

      just kidding.

      I would just do drapes and sometimes cover up most of the stupid window and extend the rod farther out to make the window look bigger. Just depends.

  33. Laurel,
    You saved the day with those suggestions! On a much smaller level, today I advised a client to keep her perfectly good white tile backsplash and just remove the 10 ditsy hand painted (with fruit) tiles and replace with plain white. She is just trying to freshen to sell and it will save her lots of $$

  34. Well Ima’s story sure benefitted me so I am glad you helped her out. I learned that if I have any doubts about my window configurations while thinking about coverings, I’m calling a pro. Sometimes we think we’re talented or smart enough to figure things out on our own. I get that with choosing paint or pillows or art. But for the expensive things like window treatments or custom things that cannot be returned, I want to be sure of and not second guess myself like poor Ima did. That torture probably aged her five years. I dont’ know how old Ima is or if she is as vain as I am but I don’t have a day to spare! 🙂 you’ve proved hiring a designer for a project like this is the way to go!

    1. Hi Karen,

      Well, I concur. lol And I also don’t recommend just going to a store that does window treatments. The reason for that is that a lot of them as I said earlier, get very set in their ways.

      Of course, that is not all of them. Some shops do fabulous work. But, some of those places are mega bucks!

      Also, some designers are better at windows than others.

  35. I have a very old Victorian house with a set of front doors that have two arched windows in them. I purchased a frosted patterned vinyl window covering that that you install with a squeegee and a little water. It looks very authentic and nobody can guess that it’s just vinyl. You can peel it off and reapply if needed without hardly any trouble. I liked it so much I put it in a bathroom window also.

    1. Hi Patty,

      Yes, I have seen that too and considered mentioning it as an alternative if one wants a frosted glass. So, thank you for doing it for me! Some of them have patterns–some better than others.

  36. Well done! Everything looks in sync now, and the addition of the lamp was the crowning touch. I hope she goes out and buys one right away!

    1. Hi Elise,

      Thanks so much! Yes, I thought that touch of orangey red would look nice. Also I don’t like only recessed lighting in any living space. Lamps always warm things up and make it more homey, IMO.

  37. I think you hit the nail on the head with that advice. It’s the perfect solution without wasting anything. All that’s required is for the Romans to be reworked and the door panels added. No biggie! And I do love the solid panels with the trim. Perfect! I’m a little baffled though as to why any workroom would have made Romans in that width to begin with. (They look rather wide but it could just be the angle of the photo) Not only do they become hard to operate because of the weight but they don’t even look good in that width. Just my humble opinion.

    One question…what program did you use to do that nice little trick?

    1. Hi Susan,

      I use picmonkey for all of my “photoshopping.” It’s a barrel of fun! And sometimes the monkey winks at me.

      As for the workroom. I can’t speak for that but over the years, some are very set in their ways and are not adaptive to different situations. But I have seen wide shades and once in a while I’ve done one wide one when there are for instance three very skinny windows. No other choice. But it’s always been just one and then I make a slight dip where the mullions are so it’s not just straight across and it looks nice.

      1. Laurel, I’m curious as to what that dip might look like and how you achieve it. Do you have a picture on your website anywhere?

        1. Duh! I am so glad I asked, although I am embarrassed to say that I thought you meant there was a dip at the top. I could not imagine what you were describing. But I do love those relaxed Roman shades. That is what I installed on my ridiculous picture window in my turn of the century house. Loved the linen shade; still hated the window.

        2. Laurel, hopefully you don’t mind me jumping in here but for the interest of your reader Teri; the Roman Shade treatment featured is often referred to as ‘relaxed’. Basically; construction requires less cording that of which positioning of the cording dictates the style (in other words the number of dips) and the lower hem is usually not horizontally weighted entirely across.
          P.S.: Please note that I am just a ‘hobby sewer’ so more than likely there other descriptions of it in the world of window dressing … ☺.

  38. Who am I to comment–I’m neither a designer nor a stager–but I kind of liked it without the draperies flanking the door. Maybe the colors are off, but it just seemed somehow cleaner that way.

    Rest assured, Laurel, that I absolutely adore 99.999999% of what you post–actually EVERYTHING other than these draperies, which are not at all offensive, just not my thing! Anyway, please don’t punish me by blocking me from your site. LOL

    I will also say that I love the shade fabric–not too loud at all with the solid sectional and simple rug. The world needs much less greige!

    1. Hi Joyce,

      Don’t be silly. That was a perfectly respectful comment and you are absolutely entitled to not like what I did.

      Please keep in mind that I was striving to do the least amount of change. The problem lies when the shades are down, not up, so much.

  39. Remarkable difference! With double windows is it better to go with interior mount shades and refrain from the use of drapes?

    1. Hi Linda,

      No, you can definitely do drapes either alone or with shades or just shades. But yes, always better to do inside mount because it’s nice to see the window frame.

      I have a photo somewhere of a bank of about 3 or 4 windows and then two doors! We did these beautiful Roman Shades and then flanked the window with drapes trimmed in the Roman Shade fabric. Hang on. I think I posted it here somewhere.

      Yes, it’s in this post pretty far down. The shades are in greens and cream and needed blackout lining because of the type of fabric. But when the light isn’t coming through the drapes the two fabrics match perfectly.

      1. Laurel, one of your tribe of fans here. You know, you really have a great way of,developing rapport with your readers 🙂 Nice work on that and this post! What is your stance on the the inset mounting to see the window frame when there isn’t one? You know, for those newer homes with no character. And since we’re talking window coverings. I have a wall that is two 12′ sliders with a foot in between and on each side. Is it wrong to want a window covering (I’m cool with drapes but that is a LOT of fabric) that can be operated electronically?

        1. Hi Christine,

          Well, I would add the moulding! I think it’s bizarre not to have it– unless it’s a super modern place and that is absolutely part of the design. But this just sounds like cost-cutting.

          As for the doors… that’s a challenge for sure.

  40. Hi Laurel – I love your solution. My thought when I saw this was to add a thick floral banding in the pattern of the window shades around the edges of the woven. What do you think of that? I think I like the curtain idea much better though!

    Thanks for all your posts – I adore your blog.

    1. Hi Elizabeth,

      Thanks so much!

      I think I would leave the woven plain, but the other idea which I forgot to mention was to put a deep hem of the floral on the cream colored lined. It wouldn’t have shown up in the photo though.

  41. I think your suggested solution was genius. I understand but am so sorry you will not be doing consultations for a fee. I love the way you write as it is so fun to read as well as learn. Best, Geri

    1. Hi Geri,

      If someone told me ten years ago what I’d be doing today, I would’ve laughed in their face and said no way and then I would’ve had a quiet nervous breakdown. LOL

      In fact, I was so bad with computers and everything that my wasband called me a LUDDITE! He was right.

      But right now, what I’m doing feels like the right thing for me.

  42. Excellent reply!! Love your computer magic. I am older and retired and so I really enjoy the blogs to stay in touch with design. Thank you for brightening my day.

  43. It is a nice room and I love, love your solutions to make that wall terrific and work with the room.
    Great Photoshopping. I hope that she will be able to get the shades remade. The orange lamp is a perfect touch!

  44. Laurel, this is fantastic! I absolutely love what you did. It looks SO much better, and it all ties together In a lovely way. The fabric Roman shades look infinitely better this way, The white drapes with the trim in the blue to match the Roman shades makes such a difference, relating the French doors to the windows. Brilliantly done. The room is perfect. Now, what DOES one do with those awful side by side windows with almost no mullion, and not enough space for inside mount?! I have these exact windows throughout and have no idea how I’m going to deal with them………..large sigh here…………..!

    1. Hi Maggie,

      I had a client about 12 years ago with those windows. AND, out of about 200 people I’ve worked with, she’s in the number 200 spot. (1 being the best client ever). That’s how bad it was.

      On top of it, one of the THREE of this type of window butted up against the kitchen door!

      I recommend drapes for these windows.

      BTW, after #200 and I parted ways, about a year later, I happened to drive by her home and guess what?

      She changed the windows!!!

  45. I really, really hate picture windows. I hate everything about them – the size, no panes, the fingerprints and faceprints….

    Someone before me installed a giant one in my turn of the century house and it looks ridiculous.

    1. Oh Gawd Teri,

      What’s worse than a picture window? A picture window in an historic home! Criminal!

      Years ago, I had a client who lived in a landmark Victorian in Northern Westchester. Well, the previous owner had installed a ginormous Poggenpohl Kitchen. Just gross!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Welcome To Laurel Home!


Hi, I’m Laurel, and Laurel Home is the website and blog for Laurel Bern Interiors.
I’ve been creating new-traditional interiors since 1988. The blog is where I share all.

New Edition, November 2023! Get The Indispensable Guide For 100s of Home Furnishings And Interior Design Sources That Everyone Is Raving About

laurels-rolodex-final-book-cover-master 10th edition 23-24

laurel home archives


Please click the image below for more info about my rockin’ Interior Design Guides for 2024!

Laurel Home Interior Design Guides 2024
Amazon ad

please click below to check out my favorite decorating & design books

Laurel Bern's Favorite Interior Design and Decorating Books
Subscribe To The Laurel Home Blog And You Will Receive A FREE Guide Where I Share How To Get Your Paint Colors Right, The First Time.