Contemporary window curtains

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Are the Most Popular Window Treatments Modern or Contemporary?

Modern vs. Contemporary


When you’re thinking about ideas for your window treatments, most often your decision is made on the look and feel of the room. Is the design modern or contemporary?

While the two seem synonymous, when you look up the definition of contemporary, the dictionary says, “modern, current.” Therefore, one might ask, “if modern is used to define contemporary, how then can modern and contemporary be different?”

Modernism dates back from the early to mid-twentieth century (i.e., 50s – 60s). Contemporary design gained popularity in the seventies.

According to Elle Décor, “Contemporary is, by definition, what's happening in design at this very moment in time. This definition makes it more fluid and hard to pin down. Modern design, on the other hand, has a distinguishable aesthetic that emphasizes crisp lines, warm neutrals, and balance.” So how does this apply to window treatments?


A room isn't fully dressed until it has been adorned with the right window treatments, and, thankfully, we are seeing a resurgence of beautiful, artisanal pieces that act as focal points of any space. Whether it's a set of voluminous taffeta curtains to frame the windows of an entertaining-ready dining room, tailored roman shades to bring formality to a makeshift home office space, or breezy, patterned curtains in a light-drenched white bedroom, there's an abundance of window treatment fabrics, materials, and patterns to reflect your personal design aesthetic.

Window treatments have much more to offer than being a stylish statement piece, though. Beyond providing shade, light control, and privacy, the textures and colors of window treatments can dramatically transform the ambiance of any room in the house. While drapery à la Marie Antoinette and 18th-century France lends a theatrical, regal air, sheer shades or curtains made from natural fibers establish a breezy yet chic informality reminiscent of a charming island cottage.

The window treatments you choose can also forgive many an architectural fault or solve a range of layout issues, be it subdividing an awkwardly large space into more intimate seating areas or giving the illusion of taller ceilings with smart drapery placement. Follow along to learn how to harness the power of a thoughtful window treatment in any room of your home with inspiration from the VERANDA archives.

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Contemporary Kitchen Window Treatments

Contemporary kitchen window treatments offer a solution of balancing a kitchen's hard edges with a soft approach.

Contemporary kitchen window treatments offer a solution of balancing a kitchen's hard edges with a soft approach. Whatever window coverings you choose, they should enhance your kitchen's style, color and design.

Contemporary is a dynamic, changing term. The basic definition of contemporary is "of the moment." Contemporary styles allow for more freedom and trends. Considering there are endless possibilities for contemporary window treatments, the shape and style of window along with a budget will help you determine the scope of the project.

Anything near a stove or sink can absorb odors and soak up spatter. The material for kitchen window coverings can make the difference in how easy it is to maintain your new window treatments. For example, you can launder fabric draperies and other performance materials. You can also wipe down synthetic blinds, shutters, and solar shades with soapy water. But wood blinds and shutters have to be cleaned and conditioned with wood cleaner, which can be more tedious.

Contemporary kitchens are clean, effortless and minimalistic. Window treatments made from a variety of materials in a range of colors and styles create versatility among contemporary window treatment ideas. The contemporary style celebrates bold, bright and unexpected uses of color and materials. If your kitchen is particularly small, then light, cool colors can make it look larger and brighter; dark, warm colors can make an oversized kitchen feel more balanced and inviting. Geometric patterns or asymmetrical styles can create a stunning visual impact. Solid colors that complement or contrast the other colors in your kitchen will draw your eye to the window; beige or cream color palettes absolutely shine with a striking contrast of royal blue or purple accents.

If privacy is a concern, have you thought to perform a quick check before starting your project? Turn on the lights in the kitchen one evening and venture outside to see what others can view through your windows. For privacy, look for screening materials that let you see out but allow some daylight to pass while blocking views from the outside. Roman shades and roller shades made from translucent or woven materials have a contemporary feeling, or you might try sheer fabric curtain panels. Frosted vinyl is also a simple, affordable solution that's a good design fix for windows that require both privacy and light.

Consider adding a valance or cornice to update an existing window treatment. Sheer drapes are especially effective for larger windows or French doors. Select drapes with limited pleating to avoid creating an overwhelming treatment of folds, colors and patterns. Opt for drapery panels that can be secured to simple curtain rods, free of ornate embellishments, which allow large loops of fabrics that are not ruched or pleated like traditional curtains.

For the most personalized effect, choose resources that express your lifestyle: materials, texture, colors and design.

How to choose curtains - Interior Design

7 Contemporary Ideas For Window Coverings

7 Contemporary Ideas For Window Coverings

Windows are great, but sometimes you need to shut out the light, so here are 7 different ideas for ways you can cover your windows.

1. Roller Shades

Available in a range of opacities, these window coverings are easy to use and can give a bit of extra privacy or be completely blacked out letting you sleep in total darkness. They’re on a roller that’s usually rolled up with an attached pulley system, but can also come in high tech alternatives that let you open and close your blinds at an easy press of a button.

This roller shade provides a way to partially block out the sun.
Designed by Muxin Design completed this modern office. Photography by Zhang Daqi.
This workplace has roller shades to provide shade and reduce glare on computer screens.
Designed by IWAMOTOSCOTT ARCHITECTURE. Photography by Bruce Damonte.
This window seat and window has three panels of rolling shades, allowing for different light options.
AO Studios designed this modern interior. Photography by Alvin Oh.

2. Shutters

Shutters are typically associated with older, traditional houses, but modern shutters do exist, and they can look amazing. With options for both interior and exterior shutters, they can be a stylish way to block out unwanted light and increase the privacy of your home.

This house has sliding wood shutters to protect the windows from the elements.
ARCS Architekten designed this modern house with sliding shutters.
Interior window shutters can be a playful element in a children's bedroom.
Alexander & Co designed this child’s bedroom with interior window shutters. Photography by Murray Fredericks.
Wood shutters with a pattern can be closed but still let the light through.
Mihaly Slocombe designed this modern wood house. Photography by Emma Cross.
Sliding wood window shutters provide protection from the sun and elements.
Aamodt/Plumb designed this contemporary farmhouse. Photography by Casey Dunn.

3. Frosted Glass

Frosted glass lets you enjoy the natural light coming through your window but ensures that nobody will be able to see into your home. You can frost an entire window for ultimate privacy or you can partially frost it so you can still enjoy the views outside.

A window transitions into a frosted screen at the touch of a button.
Fernanada Marques Arquitetos Associados designed this modern bathroom. Photography by Fernando Guerra | FG+SG.
A partially frosted window creates privacy for a bathroom without blocking the light.
Designed by Griffin Enright Architects.
A partially frosted window provides privacy for a modern bedroom and bathroom.
Designed by Griffin Enright Architects.

4. Curtains

Probably the most common window covering, curtains provide privacy, block light, and act as an important decor piece in any room. They can be made from virtually any material, come in endless pattern possibilities, and can make a space feel open and airy or quiet and dark, depending on the thickness of the material used.

Soft light billowing curtains add a a delicate touch to a large open plan interior.
Aamer Architects designed this house with large glass walls. Photography by Albert K S Lim.
A light white curtain is installed for daytime, while a black curtain blocks out the light at night.
Denis Rakaev designed this modern bedroom. Photography by Andrey Avdeenko.
Two layers of curtains create privacy and block out the light.
Denis Rakaev designed this bedroom interior. Photography by Andrey Avdeenko.

5. Roman blinds

Roman blinds, also called roman shades, are similar to roller shades but take on a different look when they’re pulled up. A special type of stitch is done along the sides to create folds in the fabric as it’s pulled open, which creates a distinct look at the bottom of the blinds. They can be made from gauzy fabric that’s more decorative than functional or they can be made from blackout material to plunge rooms into darkness when the blinds are closed.

A brown Roman window shade complements the wood found in this small room.
SVOYA Studio designed this bedroom. Photography by Tanya Kovalenko.
A black Roman shade on the window contrasts the white walls.
SVOYA Studio designed this living room / home office. Photography by Tanya Kovalenko.
Black roman blinds draw attention to the tall ceilings in this living room.
Designed by Baden Baden Interior. Photography by Marjon Hoogervorst.
Patterned Roman blinds add a fun accent in this kid's bedroom.
Architecture by Lauren Rubin Architecture. Interior design by Eric Perry. Photography by David Gilbert, Alyssa Kirsten, and Billy Siegrist.

6. Venetian Blinds

Venetian blinds are a simple type of blind that opens in two ways to give vary degrees of openness and light. When the shades are open, only a bit of light is let in and an element of privacy is retained. When the entire blinds are pulled up the windows are completely exposed and let all of the light from outside come pouring in.

White Venetian blinds cover a wall of windows in a modern concrete house.
Designed by Axelrod Architects. Photography by Amit Geron.
White Venetian blinds cover the large window in a modern bedroom.
Widawscy Studio Architektury designed this modern bedroom. Photography by Tomasz Borucki.
Wood Venetian blinds have been used to cover the windows in a steel kitchen.
Designed by Egue & Seta designed this modern kitchen. Photography by Vicugo Foto + Mauricio Fuertes.

7. Louvres

Louvers are a combination of shutters and Venetian blinds. To allow maximum light in, they open like shutters. But when they’re closed they have shades that can be tilted to allow varying degrees of light through them. While they’re typically horizontal they can also be made vertically for a more unique and modern look.

Blue louvres cover the bay windows and add color to the wall white home office.
Inspiration from the Shutter Store.
7 Contemporary Ideas For Window Coverings // Louvers are a combination of shutters and Venetian blinds. To allow maximum light in, they open like shutters. But when they're closed they have shades that can be tilted to allow varying degrees of light through them. While they're typically horizontal they can also be made vertically for a more unique and modern look.
Inspiration from The Blind Company.
7 Contemporary Ideas For Window Coverings

Window curtains contemporary

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