Window treatments like curtains and blinds are essential in the bedroom to add privacy, make it easy to adjust the lighting, and help maintain a steady temperature. There are many different types of window treatments, however, and exploring the options can be confusing. Some curtains are sheer to offer privacy without filtering too much natural sunlight, while others are designed to be room-darkening for peaceful, uninterrupted sleep. In addition to popular styles of curtains and drapes, there are several ways to cover your bedroom windows with shades, blinds, shutters, and more—and even stylish combinations that offer function and fashion at the same time.
Below, we'll break down 9 different types of bedroom window treatments to shade your space and help you decide what's best for your home.
01 of 09
- Best for: Lightweight window coverings that can be customized and tied back easily
Curtains are one of the most common types of window treatment used in homes. They are typically made of lighter weight fabric than drapes and hang from a curtain rod. Curtains are usually sold in packages containing two panels, and some have rings that attach to the rod. Rods can be installed anywhere from just above the window frame to a few inches below the ceiling line.
Curtains are especially popular in the kitchen, although they are also frequently found in the bedroom. Curtains are available in many different styles, colors, and patterns, making them an easy way to add a shot of color and pattern to your room. These options are often cheaper (but less durable) than drapes, which are made with heavier materials.
Since curtains are customizable for many different lengths to fit basic window measurements, there are various ways to hang them and tie back the panels. Some methods include puddling the curtain panel on the floor, basic right or left tie-back, and cascading.
02 of 09
- Best for: Formal settings and temperature control
Window drapes are similar to curtains—sold as panels of fabric with many different lengths, colors, and patterns—but are normally made of heavier fabric, lined, pleated, and hung on a traverse rod with a string or rod pull so they can be easily opened and closed. Drapes are more formal than curtains and are used in many rooms of the house, including the primary bedroom, living room, and dining room. While drapes may often be more expensive than curtains, they are especially durable over time.
If you're having trouble sleeping because your room is too light, blackout drapes—which have a heavy lining to block out all light—are a great solution. These drapes not only keep out daylight but also block cold drafts or heat from leaking through the windows.
03 of 09
- Best for: Layering with curtains or shades
Sheers are lightweight curtains made from sheer fabric that allow light to enter the room. They add a dose of dainty charm to a bedroom but don't provide privacy or block out light, so they are typically layered over blinds and shades or under curtains.
Sheers are a nice choice for a small bedroom, as their gauziness gives the room an open, airy feel. They are especially popular in cottage, coastal, and country designs. Because sheers are made with lightweight, delicate fabrics, they are not as durable as curtains (and usually have similar prices).
04 of 09
- Best for: Design versatility and ease of use
A window shade is a length of fabric or similar material which is cut to the width of the window, then attached to a rod or frame that allows the shade to be lifted up and down with a pulley or roller system. Shades are one of the most popular types of window treatment throughout the home, thanks to their nearly endless range of styles, colors, and patterns, and also because they work well with just about any decorating style.
There are many varieties of shades, including Roman shades, bamboo, cellular (translucent), pleated (shown here), solar, motorized, balloon, and roller (the most basic type).
Shades can vary in price and durability based on their material and system of lifting. Motorized shades are available for high-end, luxury designs, while many types of Roman and bamboo shades are long-lasting and suitable for lower budgets. Blackout shades are also a popular choice for blocking out sunlight in bedrooms.Continue to 5 of 9 below.
05 of 09
- Best for: Privacy and blocking sunlight
Blinds have slats or louvers that can be tilted open and closed by cords running up and down the length, which can also be lifted or lowered completely to allow sunlight in. Blinds are simple, modern window treatments that are wonderful for bedrooms because they add privacy and do a good job of blocking out sunlight. These window treatments are generally made from hard materials such as wood, metal, or vinyl.
Blinds are hung horizontally with an inside mount over smaller windows, or vertically over a sliding glass door or very large window. There are many different styles and colors of blinds to suit various budgets, but higher quality blinds are more durable and often have moderate to high price points.
06 of 09
- Best for: Durable materials with a natural style
Shutters are a type of old-style window treatment that are fitted within the window frame with hinges that allow them to swing open and closed. They also have small louvers that can be open and shut with a lever to filter the light. Although not commonly used in the bedroom, do look wonderful in a coastal, cottage, country, or rustic room.
Shutters make a great option for a durable, long-lasting window treatment, and typically cost more than blinds or shades. They are usually made from painted or natural wood, although faux wood is another option. You'll find shutters in a wide range of colors, although white and natural wood tones are the most popular.
07 of 09
- Best for: Decorative treatments in casual styles
Valances are decorative top treatments used with drapes, curtains, shades, or blinds to conceal the mounting hardware and also add a touch of color or extra pizzazz. Valances are swaths of fabric draped around the top of a window frame. There are many styles, including pleated, arched, gathered or flat, straight or shaped, and they can be mounted on dust boards, poles, or rods.
Valances can create a dramatic effect in both casual and formal rooms, such as primary bedrooms, parlors, kitchens, or dining rooms. Valances are not typically moved often, so even sheer options can be durable over time. They also tend to be cheaper in cost than curtains or blinds because they do not require much material.
08 of 09
Swags and Cascades
- Best for: Decorative treatments in formal styles
Swags and cascades are a form of valance, and these popular top treatments are layered over another window treatment to provide privacy and block light. Both varieties offer a touch of dramatic elegance to a room.
Swags are typically draped over a horizontal rod in folds. They might match the underlying window treatment, or more often, add a contrasting dose of color or pattern to enliven the room. Swags can cost considerably less than cascades and are customizable to various shapes.
Cascades are lengths of attached fabric that either drape down the sides of the window in a zigzag-styled fabric or puddle across the top of the window. They can be used underneath or over swags, curtains, or shades. Cascades are high-end window treatments that are typically reserved for elegant spaces.Continue to 9 of 9 below.
09 of 09
- Best for: Hiding mounting hardware in a structured style
Cornices are formal window treatments that are typically made of wood or similar hard materials. A cornice is shaped like a box and fitted over the top of the window frame to hide the mounting hardware for the underlying window treatment. The cornice's wood might be left natural, painted, covered with fabric, padded for extra texture, or even covered with wallpaper.
The bottom of a cornice can be shaped and trimmed in many different ways, and some homeowners opt to have their cornices custom-made to match the material of their furniture. Cornices are more durable than other types of window treatments thanks to their sturdy design, and they typically have a higher price range (especially when custom-made).
Choosing a Bedroom Window Treatment
Always remember to measure your windows before purchasing coverings. When it comes to choosing the best window treatments for your home, consider functional factors. Most importantly, decide how much light you prefer in the room. Blackout curtains and shades will block all light, while blinds, curtains, and sheers can allow various amounts of sunlight through depending on their material.
If your window treatments will be moved often (lifted up and down or pulled shut), it's also best to choose durable options. Thankfully, most types of window treatments come in various levels of quality. For rooms that are best suited to blinds, for example, it's possible to use wood or metal blinds that won't deteriorate when used regularly. On the other hand, curtains and drapes can both be long-lasting when made with hardy materials.
Consider your bedroom's decorating style, too, when deciding what type of window treatment will complement the decor. Heavy drapes might not suit a cottage style as well as sheers, shutters, or curtains, while Roman shades, drapes, and swags complement a traditional style.