Blinds Plus Curtains Equals Beautiful Form and Function

Blinds and shades together make a stunning combination. Many people love the tailored look of blinds - all straight lines and sharp angles. Some shy away from the look because it is too austere for their tastes. But you can jazz up the rigid lines of blinds by adding drapes or curtains.

Blinds generally come in three categories - wood, faux wood and aluminum, though other materials are available, including bamboo. Genuine wood blinds often come in various shades of wood grain, and one of the most popular colors for faux wood is white. Although other colors are available, colored blinds are less common.

Blend in or Stand Out

Unobtrusive, natural color choices can make blinds seem to practically disappear into the woodwork. Any blinds, noticeable or not, bring a linear feel to your room's d├ęcor. This is perfect for those who love order and strive for balance in a room. If this is you, but you still want to bring the softness of fabric to your windows, consider drapes. Although drapes can be had in a wide variety of patterns, selecting a solid color like gold, burgundy or a deep green can help you retain a proper feel to your rooms while adding a touch of serenity.

If you really want to soften up the look, go for floral patterns, shiny or velvet fabrics, tassels or heavy rope-style tiebacks. A large room can handle a bold pattern, so don't be afraid of those cabbage roses, flashy swirls or damask. Consider pooling the fabric at the floor for an added statement, or buy ornate iron or wooden carved tiebacks. These can be heavy, so make sure if you are installing them in wallboard or plaster you use the correct hardware, or they may pop right back out of the wall.

Relaxed Look

If your room is more informal, curtains or valances might be what you want. A lighter fabric like cotton print or lace brings an airy, cheery feel to your room, and a delicate chintz pattern is just the thing for spring. Tiny rosebuds or graceful vines bring the beauty of your garden right indoors. Valances require much less fabric than full curtains and can be changed with the seasons - a fun and economical prospect. Many swag curtain styles can look elegant and add a touch of drama, but a tailored swag or one in a gingham print makes for a homier look.

No matter the fabric or pattern you choose, definitely mount your curtains or drape hardware several inches above and to the sides the window - and maybe even at ceiling level, depending on the height of your ceilings. It keeps the fabric out of the way of the cords and other blind mechanisms, and hanging curtains and drapes higher and wider than the window frames makes the windows look much larger than they actually are.