Selecting the right window covering can often be a challenge for many homeowners. You want to control the light streaming into a room, yet you also want your privacy. Many of today’s windows come in “odd” shapes and measurements, making it even more difficult to find the right window covering solution.

When you start shopping for window coverings, there are many factors that you’ll consider (in addition to privacy and light control). Depending on the location of the window, you’ll also look for durability, ease of cleaning, safety and price.

Window coverings range from sheer to opaque:

  • Sheer coverings allow light to enter the room while defusing the glare; objects are fairly visible.
  • Translucent coverings allow light to enter, and although objects are still visible, the view of distinct images is reduced.
  • Filtered coverings transmit filtered light and hinder a view, for more privacy.
  • Semi-opaque coverings are impenetrable by light when closed, but allow some light to come through the gaps.
  • Opaque coverings do not allow light to come through and provide total privacy.

A factor homeowners should consider when choosing window coverings is durability. Your windows are susceptible to harsh conditions – primarily sunlight – that will affect the coverings, too. For instance, your curtains and sheers will filter sunlight; however, they will also fade over time, while shutters and blinds will have a longer life-span.

Cleaning is another important aspect to think through. If you have a window that is high off the floor, you’ll want to pick a window covering that doesn’t need to be cleaned frequently. Fabric coverings are the most difficult to clean, while solid-surface coverings, such as wood, are a bit easier to wipe down and dust.

For families with small children and pets, you may also consider the safety factor of the window coverings you select. Window blinds, for example, have a long cord that raises and lowers the blind – which could be dangerous if played with by young children. Besides being a choking hazard, the cords could release the heavy blinds and injure tiny fingers and arms.

Another factor is price. Professional window treatment companies offer dozens of options for you to consider and that can, for the most part, be customized to fit your windows, but this hands-on service generally is more expensive than doing it yourself. Price also varies between types of window treatments, too. Keep in mind that you often get what you pay for – so if durability is important to you, you’ll want to avoid the cheapest option.

Above all else, make sure you think about the primary function of your window treatment. Are you trying to gain privacy, diffuse light or simply decorate the room? Your end goal will drive the type of window covering you should select – so that you are happy with the results.