Quick Tips for Small Windows and Short Ceilings

May 23, 2007 § Leave a comment

Every home has a few quirks: from small windows and short ceilings to odd angles and peculiar niches. And it’s not just old houses either. Even new houses have challenges, from oversized rooms that echo to a lack of wall space for art (we’ll deal with those problems later). Here are a couple of quick tips that won’t cost much money but will help you solve some common decorating dilemmas.

Problem 1: Lots of small windows. How can I disguise them and make them look bigger?

Solution: Correct the placement of your window treatments. To disguise the fact that your windows are too small, first remove all the curtains, valances, panels, and anything else that’s currently on the windows. Then take a look at the window placement on the wall. Is there a lot of space above the window between the window frame and the ceiling or moulding? If so, terrific.

Reposition your curtain rod so that it’s about two inches from either the ceiling or the moulding. A 14″ valance hung from just below the ceiling should not cover anything more than the wood and possibly a pulled up window shade at the top of the window. That trick will maximize the visual height of your window and maximize the light coming through it.

If you have panels, make sure they stack outside the window and do not cover anything more than the wood window frame on either side. That will increase the visual width of your window without compromising any of the light.

Bottom line: Your window treatments can be larger than your window and hung higher and wider, and that trick will make your windows appear larger than they really are.

Problem 2: The ceilings in my ranch are only 7′ high. Is there any way to make the room feel taller?

Solution: Hang vertical panels on the windows instead of horizontal valances. Just like vertical lines on clothing can make someone look taller, the same trick works for room height. If you have a ranch or a cape with a large picture window in the living room and a very short ceiling, avoid the temptation to put a long horizontal valance over the window. Instead, hang panels (vertical striped panels would be terrific) on either side of the window. The vertical lines will add height to the room. If you’d prefer no window treatments at all, consider painting tone-on-tone vertical stripes on the walls. Again, the vertical lines will add height.

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