Linda is a seasoned writer and home-decorating authority. She loves sharing design trends, decor ideas, and useful tips with her readers.
You fell in love with your brand new dream home. You painstakingly selected all the paint colors, finishes and flooring. You even purchased some of the window treatments. Unfortunately, you overlooked several oddly-shaped windows during the whirlwind of design choices.
Now you are left with the dilemma of how to cover these irregular window openings. Although it's much easier than you might think. All it takes is a little ingenuity to find the appropriate window treatment for problem windows.
What to Consider
Windows are much more than functional. While they provide air circulation and let in natural light, they are also architectural features that can transform the entire look of a home. Most are rectangular or square but some come in various shapes and sizes that create a special need for window treatments. Before you decide on irregular windows coverings ask yourself these questions:
- Do the windows require a certain level of privacy?
- Will the covering block a beautiful view?
- Which direction does it face?
- Does the window need to open?
- Do you need to control light?
- Is the treatment stationary or operational?
Circular windows provide a unique design feature but can pose a problem for homeowners. Round or oval windows are often located in a stairway or flanking the front door. If they are oriented such that you require privacy or light control your best bet is to consider a sunburst window treatment.
Sunbursts are made from sheer fabric, paper or synthetic material either shirred, gathered or folded.The sunburst opens up as it reaches the outer edge of the window frame–much like a circular fabric fan. To conceal the center it is often covered with rosette or medallion.
A sunburst can be integrated into the window opening or connected to a flexible track that fits directly inside of the window frame with hook and loop tape. Window treatment retailers sell sunburst shutters made from wood or vinyl that have adjustable or stationary louvers. They also offer custom pleated or cellular shades for circular or oval windows.
You'll find arched windows placed above tall, rectangular windows or French doors that add additional architectural interest. Arched windows add drama and light to rooms with high ceilings. Privacy is usually not a problem with upper windows but light control can be an issue. If you need to cover an arch you have several design and budget options from which to choose.
One is to create a semi-custom look for the arch and the window below. Purchase tie-top or loop-top curtain panels and make sure the panels are long enough to reach the floor from the peak of the arch. Install drapery medallions above and along the curve of the arched window. Hang the ties or loops onto the medallions. Hem the curtains to account for the curvature. Pull them back with decorative tie backs or close them for evening privacy and daytime light control.
If you prefer, you can completely ignore the arch if light control is not an issue. Simply install a rod along a sight line that runs between the arch and lower window. Hang the curtains just as you would over any rectangular window.
Some newer homes feature a row of small windows positioned on the upper part of the wall, near the ceiling. These windows are an interesting architectural accent, allow natural light and provide privacy for homes that are set close to each other.
These small windows do not pose a problem until the summer months. If they are west facing they're treated to a blast of the afternoon sun and associated heat. In order to retain natural light and reduce the afternoon heat and harmful UV rays, the best solution is to install custom solar shades.
The semi-opaque screening material stretches over a custom size frame that is designed to fit snugly inside each window opening. If you don’t want to go to the expense of purchasing custom solar shades, simply use tinted window film to cover your small accent windows.
Pitched ceilings in main living areas or converted attic spaces often have problematic angled windows. Custom made shutters or cellular shades could be the answer. Adjustable shutter blades allow for light control and nighttime privacy. Motorized cellular or pleated shades provide ease of operation for tall angled windows without the need for long wands or a tangle of cords.
For those who like soft window treatments, a drapery professional can design a curtain system that follows the top angle of the window. These curtains can draw on a traversing rod or be hung in a stationery manner and tied back at a point below the angle.
Make it easy on yourself by hanging a rod straight across--using the highest point of the angle as the line for your rod. Measure from that point to the floor to determine your finished curtain length.
Here's a Unique Solution for a Triangular Window
You no longer have to be discouraged by odd-shaped windows. Be creative and have fun designing your own special window treatments!
© 2012 Linda Chechar
Start a Conversation!
Linda Chechar (author) from Arizona on January 19, 2014:
Thank you vespawoolf! I especially like round and arched windows. I've dealt with my share of weird windows over the years and have always found an attractive way to cover them, if necessary. I could have gone into much greater detail with this Hub. Maybe it's fodder for a future ebook. Hmmmm...
Vespa Woolf from Peru, South America on January 19, 2014:
I love oddly shaped windows! But you're right--sometimes the summer sun and other issues can present problems. I like your creative solutions and think this information is very useful. Voted up and shared!
Linda Chechar (author) from Arizona on February 03, 2013:
I totally agree, Sharkye11, it would have been a crime to have to cover such a special window. Why do architects do that to us? They must take great pleasure in driving us homeowners crazy with their creativity! ;) Thanks for stopping by for a read. Greatly appreciated!
Jayme Kinsey from Oklahoma on February 02, 2013:
Great tips! Luckily the strangest window I have ever faced was a skinny rectangular window built at the top of an eleven foot wall. Luckily it was on the north side of the house, so it didn't require covered. It would have been a shame to have covered it, it was an original 1920s window, with real leaded glass and real wood lattice trim across the glass!
At the moment my biggest window issue is that every single one of the precious few windows in my house are a different size. Even the measurements for the double windows are different between the left and right! crazy architects!
Loved this advice though, and I will pass it along to those I know who own decorative windows!
Linda Chechar (author) from Arizona on December 19, 2012:
Jackie, I've heard of porthole windows but not sure about the ship's steering wheel window. Very unusual! Wouldn't want to have to cover that one! ;)
Jackie Lynnley from the beautiful south on December 19, 2012:
Now those windows would be hard to fit! Very pretty though. A friend had a ship's steering wheel window (can't rem what those are called, lol) and I so loved that!
Linda Chechar (author) from Arizona on December 16, 2012:
Yes, Angela, odd-shaped windows are pretty common. Like you, I now have nice rectangular windows, so I don't have to worry. A few years ago I owned a window covering store and we ran across every weird size window imaginable. It was challenging, but fun!
Linda Chechar (author) from Arizona on December 16, 2012:
Glad you like the tips, Om. I could have written an entire book about covering odd-shaped windows, but I wanted to keep the ideas as simple as possible. Thanks for visiting and commenting. So nice to hear from you!
Om Paramapoonya on December 15, 2012:
Nice tips. I've actually never had this issue. All the places I've ever lived in had regular windows. How boring , right? I find arched and circular windows to be very charming , though. So maybe some day I'll have these odd-shaped windows in my new house. :)
Angela Blair from Central Texas on December 15, 2012:
Excellent Hub and information -- I can't imagine anyone who's not run into the "odd" window problem. All the years I rented it was my worst nightmare! Fortunately, now that I own my home, the windows are pretty "normal" and easy to work with. Best/Sis