If you’re lucky enough to move into a house with arched windows, be happy! Not only do you get to enjoy this beautiful architectural detail, you also get to be quite creative about covering these kinds of windows. Or should you cover them at all? Arched windows are among the trickiest ones to deal with because they are such a lovely focal point, not just an ordinary window. Arched Windows are often large and positioned high up in your house and are tricky because of their unique shape. Often you will need to make a special template to ensure the exact measurement of the size and shape in all directions. You might need a ladder (do you have any stilts?) and some large butcher paper and some helpers to create your template. Since arched windows are often large and stretch across a large opening, you hopefully will have a crossbar along your window. If you don’t, you will need the added support of a “floating headrail” which will prevent your window treatment from drooping and sagging. Since the arch is an ancient form of classic Roman architecture, its beauty should not be shrouded in an uneven, lumpy or ill-fitting window treatment. Details are really important when working with an arched window and choosing just the right arched window treatment idea is critical when you’re covering such an interesting shape. Here are some thoughts to get you started:
Arch-Shaped Cellular Shades
Cellular shades are one the most reliable and popular arched window treatment ideas. Cellular shades can be custom made in a perfect arch shape, which is a true half-circle, or they can be made for any other kind of arch. When it’s installed, the cellular shade’s pleats form an ethereal fan-type visual effect. Cellulars come in a myriad of colors and the light filtering fabric creates a gentle glow to subtly enhance the arch. A great bonus is that you can match your adjacent windows in the same fabric for a coordinated look throughout the room. Some grand homes even have arched windows in the bedroom, and if that’s the case, you can also get a custom arch-shaped cellular shade in blackout fabrics, too, so you can get some sleep. Most cellular shades for arches will be fixed and non-operational so you can go wild and make a design statement with a spectacular fabric or color to complement this impressive architectural form.
If you prefer the structured look and light control of shutters, you can get them handcrafted to follow the shape of your arched windows. With the sun shining through the slats, the result is a sunburst effect that can look quite stunning. You can also cover an arched shaped window with a traditional horizontal slat shutter. The advantage of shutters is that you can still keep some of the view through, preserving the halo effects of light.
In many cases, drapery is a good choice for arched windows because it can be designed to partially, but not completely cover the arch so you can still appreciate its form. Plus, the style of homes with arched windows is usually more formal or traditional, which lends itself well to the flowing look of drapery. If you’re concerned about obscuring the arch too much, you can use sheer fabrics, non-operational drapery panels, or swags of fabric to frame the window, and more. If your arch is over a bank of rectangular windows and the arch is high enough so privacy is not an issue, you can install your drapery between the two, so that the drapery rod is above the picture windows, but below the arch so it remains showcased as a lovely accent above.
It is possible to follow the arch shape with drapery. There are flexible and curved drapery rods available that will allow you to install drapery that conforms to the arch window molding. However, you will need to have special locking rings to keep the fabric from slipping down the rod. (Gravity!) In general, this type of drapery will be non-operational and fixed in place.
I know this sounds crazy coming from someone so obsessed with finishing off windows with the perfect treatment, but sometimes, you have to let the beauty of the window be the star and in this case, the best arched window treatment idea is NONE at all because the window is so unique and beautiful. If sun and privacy are not an issue in your space, why cover it? Let it shine on its own and enhance the other elements in the room through the dazzling arch. The arch, as one of the many different window shapes and sizes, comes with a poetic past which captures its essence:
“All experience is an arch wherethrough gleams that untravelled world.” -Alfred Lord Tennyson
To learn more about windows and how to discover a particular style, read our “Ultimate Guide to Window Treatments” today for the latest and greatest ideas.