It can be a challenge to come up with a window treatment for basement windows because they are located up near the top of the wall and they tend to be very small. Also, since a basement is naturally dark, there is a need to design window treatments that allow the maximum amount of light into the space. Many people add curtains to the sides of the window to keep the glass area open so it can let all available light into the basement; the problem with this approach is that there are times of the day when the setting or rising sun can cause annoying glare, so some kind of light control is needed. The solution is to design a functional window treatment that effectively controls natural light while looking great.
Controlling Natural Light
Basement windows are typically set in cement; this presents a major challenge in designing effective basement window treatments because it is difficult to install hardware. A tension rod is one solution that can give you some flexibility and light control. Install the tension rod inside the window’s casement with curtains that can slide back and forth as needed; tab curtains or curtains on metal rings are easy to adjust as needed. Choose a fabric in a light color that can diffuse the glare but still keep the look light and bright; you’ll be able to pull the curtains open on the rod leaving part of the glass exposed while adding a nice visual frame to the window.
If you prefer to completely block natural light at certain times of the day or to insure privacy, install a roller shade or blinds beneath the curtains. Either can be installed with cement screws and anchors, or you can build a wood frame inside the window and attach the hardware to it. Paint the wood frame to match the color of the window’s casing for a harmonious, seamless look.
Illusions of Grandeur
Hanging a short window treatment on a basement window just draws attention to its awkward shape. Try this trick to make your short and squatty basement windows seem larger than they are: Buy a pair of window shutters as wide as the window and install them beneath the windows; then add a fake window sill beneath the shutters and trim out the entire window, shutters included. This will make your little window look like a standard double hung window with the lower shutters closed. Paint and stain the window trim and shutters as desired. The upper portion – the real window – can be fitted with matching shutters that can be opened and closed. To finish the look, hang curtains that will drape outside the window, making it look like a regular window. Another option is to hang cafe style curtains above the lower shutters. They can also be drawn as needed and you can display collectibles on the actual window’s ledge for a casual, colorful look.
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