Round, Elliptical or Trapezoidal Oh My What a Decorating Dilemma Have I? - The Great Room

Round, Elliptical or Trapezoidal Oh My What a Decorating Dilemma Have I?

Triangular Windows

Tips for Treating Challenging Window Shapes

Your new home has lots of bare windows just begging to be covered but the challenge is some of them may not have ninety degree angles.  They may be round, oval, elliptical, trapezoidal or arched.  This type of window is usually an important architectural feature of a room and is often best left alone.  Do some careful planning in your choice of window treatment if there is a good reason for one.  Custom blinds, shutters, shades and curtains can be made to fit any shape window.

First things first, take a quick inventory and decide why you want to cover this window.  Are there issues with too much light, privacy or an unpleasant view?  Perhaps the window itself is not that attractive because of its shape and size.  Do you want some type of covering to enhance a window or add to the decorative elements of a room?   Would you prefer the window completely uncovered part of the day?  What solution is going to work with your budget?  Don’t despair because there are many window treatment options to challenging windows that will work for you.  Even with professional help it’s a good thing to identify the problem and learn about the different solutions.


Palladian or Arched Windows

One simple and effective approach for a Palladian window (an arched window sitting over a rectangular window or French doors) is a straight rod at the bottom of the arch extending beyond the sides of the window so it is bordered by drapes that can be left open to display the entire window and closed when needed.   If the window needs to be covered for privacy, leaving the arch uncovered will allow it to act as a transom allowing light into the room.  The curved design of this window also works well with graceful rounded swags bordered by jabots over some type of shade.  If you want to showcase the window and tie it into the rest of a room, a simple swag just below the arch on a straight rod may do the trick without detracting from the design of the window.  If too much sunlight is an issue, think light filtering sheers on a curved rod attached to the arch.  The transparency of the fabric will allow one to see the shape of the window.


Bay Windows

The desired effect is to create a cozy nook, an inviting space that provides an interesting focal point.  One solution is to place curtain panels outside the bay recess and hang them as high as possible adding an illusion of height to a ceiling. For privacy or light issues, install blinds or shades on each window inside the window frame. A continuous valance on a curved or angled rod will make a bay look wider.   If this is combined with the side panels, hang the valance at the same height as the curtains.  The length of the valance should barely cover the top of the window frame.


Corner windows

A challenge when there isn’t enough room between windows to allow for a separate window treatment.  An angled rod can solve the problem treating the windows as one unit.  If you want the window to look wider, hang curtain panels outside the window frame so that they border the window.  Another solution is to simply mount individual blinds or shades inside the window frame.  This can be done alone for a clean modern look or combined with curtains for a soft traditional feel.


Window Walls

Do all the windows need covering?  Are there different shaped windows?  Your problem may be solved by doing the bottom part of a window wall similar to treating a Palladian window if there is a lower rectangular section.   If that isn’t an option, fabric panels may do the trick and would be your most economical solution.  If you want the windows uncovered part of the day, custom blinds or shades are the answer especially styles that blend into the woodwork when closed and not detract from the beauty of your window.  Consider motorized shades for high difficult to reach windows.


Dormer windows

Sometimes there isn’t enough space to mount a customary treatment.  Consider mounting the treatment outside the recess or doing a treatment that can be mounted inside the window frame like a simple swag over sheers.  Another option is a curtain on a hinged or swivel rod that can open out and fold back in when privacy is needed



This type of window is usually left uncovered unless sunlight is an issue.  A roller shade mounted inside the frame, motorized if its location is difficult to reach can handle the problem.  Consider matching the shade to the color of your ceiling and decide whether you simply want to diffuse the light or block it out completely.


Round, Octagon or Ovals

Your best choices are sheers, fabric panels or custom shades or shutters.  Sheer fabric gathered in the center and covered with a rosette will create a stunning sunburst design.  The fabric is attached to a frame that sits inside the window frame. This treatment will provide privacy and allow light in…..a good solution for a limited budget.


Inappropriately Shaped Windows

Is a window too short and wide for the room?   This is a common problem in some older style homes built in the fifties and sixties.  The solution is to install a valance over the window above the frame and add drapes that hang inside the frame.  This will add height and make it appear narrower.  Do the opposite for a tall narrow window by covering the top of the window with a valance that is wider than the window and hang drapes outside the frame.

And so…

You don’t have to worry yourself into an apoplectic fit!  There are many solutions to problematic windows.  Whether working with a design professional or the “Do It Yourselfer” surfing for pictures and how to advice on the net, having an idea where to start is half the battle.

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About the Author: Brian Kennedy