Industry Reports

Window Treatments Enhance Room Decor

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio – No product is entirely resistant to the push of technology, not even things as seemingly simple as windows and their associated décor.

At Packard Paint Decorating Centers in Hermitage, Pa., designer Andrew Wilson has seen the rise of window treatments integrated with other technologies, allowing homeowners to communicate with and operate their blinds and drapes. 

If a homeowner is gone for a long time, for example, they can be opened and closed via a phone app or preset to open and close at specific times or as the temperature inside the home changes.

“Remote-managed window treatments are especially sought after for their simplicity and ease of use,” he says. “Someone with a medical condition or a physical disability, for instance, will find the automated and motorized options very helpful.”

And, with the rise of smart technology, such installations have gotten cheaper.

“These high-end window treatments were expensive at one time, but now they are very affordable for the convenience,” he says. “We just try to facilitate what the customer desires within their budget.”

Trends in upscale window treatments vary in style, material and design, but even as the list of available options has grown, the final choice still comes down to individual taste.

In many homes, “soft treatments” are now favored. The most desired trend Wilson has seen are side curtain panels or airy sheer curtains draped over a long rod, which are more decorative than functional. 

Vertical blinds that used to be popular, especially for floor-to-ceiling windows and sliding glass doors, are being replaced with more unique blinds of various styles and materials. Gone are the blinds with attached strings. Modern styles now offer a breakaway or magnetized rod – or even a rod-free option – making them safer for children and pets.

Wilson says where once wallpaper was the primary decorating technique for homeowners, window treatments have now become a “very big part of our business.” 

Founded in 1983, Packard Paint employs eight at sites in Hermitage, Greenville and New Castle, Pa.. The company specializes in window treatments, paints and stains. Owner Joe Wilson says it meets a lot of needs not found in big box stores. 

“Unless you know exactly what you need, you won’t find it easily in a large retail store,” he says. “We are here to walk you through the entire process, offer advice, take measurements, install and maintain your purchase. We stay with our customers for the duration of their design needs.”

A good portion of business, he adds, comes from upscale treatments. “We know it’s a competitive market and we price accordingly,” he says. 

His best advice: Get an idea of taste and style, then consult with a professional. “It’s our job to talk about your taste and your budget and find something that works your space,” Andrew Wilson adds.

In high-end homes, the Wilsons say people should look for window treatments that complement the other high-end features and finishings in the home. 

Packard Paint Decorating Centers also works closely with local interior designers, including Brianna Piccirilli of Brianna Piccirilli Designs in Sharon. Drapery trends this year, she says, focus on “relaxed, yet timeless” design. 

“Soft, neutral colors highlighting strong textures rather than bold prints are very popular,” she says. “Exposed rods with understated finials provide a casual feel, while highlighting the homeowner’s finish metal of choice.”

Piccirilli says that at her business, heavily-layered looks are being replaced with lightly accented details. In addition, homeowners are now looking for drapery that is just as beautiful as it is functional. “Whether it is a Roman shade, simple drapery end panels or even blinds, the homeowner wants the shading to serve a purpose rather than be just for show,” she says. “I always introduce drapery fabrics early in the design process, focusing on a cohesively centered design process, looking at every finish in a room before moving forward with paint, custom cabinetry or furniture.”

Mitzie Paine of J&M Décor, Youngstown, says her wood plantation shutters and sliding doors were gaining in popularity. “It’s a ‘once and done’ treatment and it’s very popular right now,” she says.

Paine, who has owned and operated the business with her husband, John, for 30 years, agrees that motorization and automation are the most desired products right now but, in contrast, she has seen the comeback of full draperies, which she sews herself. 

“If you can imagine it, I can make it,” she says. She also has seen a growing interest in Roman shades and says simple wood blinds are “taking a back seat.” 

Rosemarie Nair of Interior Decorating Company, Inc., Poland, says homeowners are looking for simplicity in their window treatments. 

“I think there is a generational difference,” she says. “Blinds are more sophisticated but very minimal. People will put more money into upscale blind products.” 

Her company sells the Hunter Douglas brand, which she calls “the most innovative company out there.” Although sheer blinds and silhouettes are pricey, “people want those.”

Window treatments are the last item on Nair’s checklist when decorating a room, she says.

“We want to know what the furniture looks like before we cover the windows and tie the room together,” she says.

For her business, the biggest seller is wood and faux wood blinds. 

“New homes have a lot more windows these days, so people look for the most practical way to cover them,” she says. Having been in the business for 25 years, the work of Nair and her business partner, Jennifer Bannon, was featured in House Trends magazine.

“We’ve been doing this a long time and I can tell you there is no magical answer to window treatments,” Nair says. “It comes down to the individual’s taste and style.”

Pictured: Mitzie Paine, co-owner of J&M Décor, Youngstown, says she sees the return of full draperies, which she sews herself.

Published by The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.