Window treatments are both functional and visual. Curtains function to control light and privacy, and beautiful colors and textures accent the room.

The first rule in creating an elegant window treatment is to position the curtain rod as near to the ceiling as possible, leaving a working space of about an inch. This will make your window appear large and spacious. Cover the blank wall from the rod down to the top of the window using a valance of the same fabric or contrasting fabric color.

In the window opening, it is acceptable to use either blinds or shades in combination with the curtains. Blinds allow you to adjust the amount of light entering your room. A Roman shade completely blocks out light. Combining these window treatments results in a luxurious, stately look.

Additionally, you may hang curtain panels that extend several inches beyond the left and right sides of the window opening. This allows more natural light to beam in. An added visual benefit is the curtains will not be bunched up at the outside perimeter of the window but rather hang gracefully. A narrow width of curtain can be positioned to cover the sides of the window.

Curtains should complement other elements in the room, such as furniture, floors, walls, and ceiling. Consider upholstery colors, and in the bedroom factor in bedspreads and throw pillows. Curtain fabric above and on both sides of the window creates a large area for you to focus on color choice. A bold, colorful print will draw the eye to the window. Softer, neutral tones will prevent the space from being too overwhelming.

Bay window treatment is an inviting challenge with satisfying results. One option is to use a long pole to span the entire width of the window on the flat wall outside the bay. Hang sheers in the center where the windows are, and hang curtains on either side up to the edge of the bay area. Sheers will let in light and allow you to enjoy your view at the same time.

Another option is to place custom fit curtains in each bay window. Individual tension rods are an excellent choice for this window treatment. Also, there are curtain rods specifically manufactured to fit traditional bay windows. These rods have three adjustable sections connected by flexible elbows. Mounting brackets are included.

Instead of curtains, Venetian blinds or plantation shutters serve the same purpose resulting in a clean, contemporary look.

Roller shades are easy to reach and pull down if you place a small piece of furniture in the bay.

Solar shades are an ingenious development in recent years. These perforated shades reduce glare, block UV rays, and protect against fading of upholstery.

Curtain length is the personal choice of the homeowner. For cleaning purposes, curtains hanging to within an inch of the floor provide adequate cleaning access. For those who appreciate the puddled look, three or four inches achieves that effect.

Remember, creating window treatments is an exercise in fun.