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We have divided our 'Understanding Window Dressings Designs' into 5 different design groups. These are meant as a guide to help you identify the window shapes and window sizes within your own home. They are by no means exhaustive, but you should be able to pick out from the illustrations, window shapes that are similar to your own. 

Small windows

Medium windows

Wide windows - to follow

Large windows - to follow

Bay windows - to follow

By doing a simple scale drawing of your own particular window, you will be able to design a window dressing totally in keeping with the situation, and avoid any timely and expensive mistakes. Even if you are not thinking of making your own soft furnishings, this approach will ensure that you have a very good idea of what you want when approaching your curtain maker or high street store. It will certainly help you to get the scale of the window treatment correct and allow you to experiment with the depth of valances or pelmets and how they look with various curtain styles or accompanying blinds.

Modern standards

Builders invariably use the same size windows throughout a house as it enables them to cut down on costs and create a uniform appearance. So, if you have a modern property you will almost certainly find the same size windows appearing throughout your home. For example, in the design groups shown below, the small window in Diagram 1 is merely increased in width in Diagrams 2 4 but the same depth is retained throughout.
I have encountered these particular window sizes many times in modern houses, with Diagram 1 being the window used in a small downstairs cloakroom or possibly either side of a front door. Diagram 2 shows a style often found in a utility room, on a landing or in a bathroom. Diagram 3 could be in a smaller bedroom, with the window in Diagram 4 found in a master bedroom. Diagram 5 shows the window often located in the sitting room, dining room or drawing room. Bay and bow windows come in all shapes and sizes and often are the most difficult to dress satisfactorily. Make sure you understand the difference between an angled or square bay and a bow window, as certain window dressings work well for one style, but not for all three. Stiff pelmets being a particular example. Unfortunately, getting a good finish on the internal corners of an angled or square bay is very difficult if not virtually impossible, so do bear this in mind when planning your project!

Beware of radiators and shrinkage

Invariably, there will be a radiator installed beneath many short windows, as that is the most energy efficient place for them to be located. It is the area of the room where there is the maximum amount of heat loss and where heat is required the most. This will directly affect the type of window dressing you design, as you must give due consideration to problems caused by placing fabrics in close proximity to a heat source. Many fabrics will distort or shrink when subjected to the changes in atmospheric conditions within a room. Long curtains over radiators may well help insulate against draughts but will restrict the amount of heat coming into the room. The curtains themselves could also become severely damaged over time due to the closeness of the heat source. Many manufacturers state that allowance must be made for this shrinkage and that extra fabric should be built into the making up process to allow for alterations at a later stage. As you can imagine, this can cause some serious problems for the professional and amateur curtain maker who must produce a perfectly fitting article initially but may then be faced with major alterations that will spoil the look of the curtains later.

Small, medium and wide windows styles

Wide and large window styles

Select a window style from the list below to learn more about the specific design principles involved in choosing the best style of window dressing for your particular windows:

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