The view from the window varies dramatically with the changing of the seasons. The way that we choose to frame the windows probably won’t change very often so it is worth taking some time to look at how to bring the two things together for the best effect. Whatever your preferred French style – Provençal, Country, Parisian, Chateau or Shabby Chic, something light and airy can help to bring the outdoors inside, for the (hopefully) warm spring and summer months. Of course lots of factors can have an influence. The view itself, especially if it overlooks a nice garden, the size and type of windows, whether shutters have been fitted and the way in which they open (in France windows generally open inwards). These things might all need to be considered.
Country style is always very popular for it’s relaxed, fresh and simple look. Kitchen windows can be dressed café style in either plain, printed or check cottons. Delicately patterned lace panels perhaps depicting trees, flowers or butterflies also work very well. Consider hanging them full length or brise-bise – covering only part of the window, usually the lower half. For a very chic idea, look out for curtains that hang from the top of the window and are shaped to a point, with or without added tassels or pompoms! For other windows in the house allow plenty of material so that the curtains are left billowing casually on the floor. Sheer voile curtains can look very pretty and also help to diffuse the sunlight but shutters may be required for evening privacy. Of course how can you have French country decor without a touch of toile and curtains? Especially with a pastoral theme, it can be a great reminder of the outside even on darker days.
A formal style of window dressing should be beautiful, fine and elegant. Take into account just how grand (or not!) the furniture and furnishings in the room are before looking at curtain fabrics as these can range between fine linens and cottons (again if unlined, shutters might be required), to decadent silks and velvets. Like the country style, be generous with the material and allow the curtains to drape in gentle folds on the floor. Parisian pleats with or without matching pelmets are a great way to define a formal setting. For a rich and sumptuous feel, embellish with a choice of beads, braids, tassels and fringes. Help to bring the garden theme indoors, with floral patterned materials in earthy colours.
One thing to remember is that it’s your window and your view so make it your own. A piece of antique or contrasting fabric in keeping with the rest of the room can be used as a pelmet to make an individual statement. Strips of toile or French ticking used for tie backs add a streak of colour to otherwise plain voile. A chaise longue or a stylish chair placed in front of the window, with cushions or throws as necessary, can bring the whole look together. If possible and if space allows, a carefully positioned dining table and chairs can look chic and be very useful to view the outside in comfort.
Just one more thing. Don’t forget to have a look at the windows from the outside!
•With thanks to Ann Horne, Topic Host
Photos by kind permission of Country Curtains