Here is How To Dress Up Your Windows To Bring More Light Into Your Life

Lindsey - October 31, 2023

If the eyes are the window to the soul, your home’s windows are certainly a big part of your home’s interior visual appeal. You might think of curtains or blinds and stop there; they’re great options for a reason. However, with a little creative thinking, you can make your life a little brighter with windows that match your unique aesthetic.

Photo: Better Homes and Gardens

Curtains or Drapes

As mentioned above, curtains or drapes may be the first thing you think of when you think of window decoration. That’s not a bad thing! You can choose fabrics that suit your space. Pick a thick, blackout fabric drape for great sleep in a bedroom. Perhaps a sheer curtain would be best in a room where you want light and not lose all privacy. This option is great for people living in homes or apartments near others; privacy and a bright room aren’t mutually exclusive.

Do you know the difference between curtains and drapes? Drapes are often more ornate, and they’re often lined with a second layer of fabric to block out light. Curtains can also be made of blackout fabric, but it’s typically just one layer. Keep these differences in mind when you go shopping!

Photo: Bali Blinds

Curtain Length

The fabric choice of your curtains is important, but the length you choose can make or break a space. For example, a curtain mounted high and puddling at the floor can look regal. However, it may not fit the vibe of your space, adding formality you don’t want or need. On the flipside, a tall, high-mounted curtain can also add a sense of height or drama to a room when it’s lacking.

Custom length options are available, of course. If you’re looking for ready-made, there are five main types from longest to shortest: sill, apron, floor, trouser and puddle lengths. These standard sizes are the way to go if you want the most affordable options out of the box.

Photo: Style by Emily Henderson

Curtain Hardware

Once you’ve selected your curtains, it’s time to choose hardware! Consider decorative curtain rods and finials that match the room’s decor. Wrought iron, brass, or acrylic rods can add elegance or a modern touch, bringing additional (if subtle) interest to your space. There’s also the functional option of using stylish tiebacks or hooks to create decorative accents while creating a simple solution to bring more light into your space when you want it!

There are a couple of other considerations you should take into account when you’re making hardware selections. First, it’s recommended that you choose a curtain rod that extends a few inches wider than the window. This allows curtains to bunch at the side of the window when it’s open, allowing more light (and the illusion of a wider window!). It’s also important to consider the weight of your curtains or drapes. Many rod manufacturers specify the weight capacity of their products, allowing you to hang even heavy curtains with confidence.

Photo: Budget Blinds

Roman Shades

Perhaps traditional curtains and drapes aren’t your style, and you’re looking for something more streamlined. Roman shades could be the answer for your space! They come in various materials, from fabric to bamboo, and can be customized with patterns and colors.

They’re a great option for small windows and spaces, especially if an obstacle is in the way to the side or bottom of a window. Roman shades stack neatly when raised, taking up very little space. If a drape isn’t an option, they kind of allow that look without the extra. Whether you want to create an elegant, cozy, or functional window treatment, Roman shades offer a versatile and attractive solution.

Photo: Target

Window Film

Decorative window film is another great option with endless choices to make it your own. Interested in added privacy without blocking light? Simple window film options that blur your home’s interior would be a great choice. There are also options that could help you save energy and decrease UV light coming into your home. Saving money and protecting furniture and art from fading? Win win!

Colorful patterned versions are also possible if you want to go bolder in your window film choices. If you want to add a stained glass look to your home without the cost, add film! This change is pretty low risk and non-permanent, too, though make sure to check your window manufacturer’s warranty to make sure they won’t void yours.

Photo: The Handmade Home

Stained Glass

If you want to go a step further than film, you can install real stained glass in your windows. Stained glass pieces can be contemporary, traditional, or eclectic, so you can choose a design that resonates with your personal taste. Granted, this option will likely be pricey, so making sure you’re choosing something you love is key.

If you want real glass without the cost and permanence of full windows, there are options. You can use a stained glass panel as a decorative accent in part of a door or within an interior window or divider. You could choose a single panel of colored glass as well, eliminating the need for complex design work. Finally, instead of installing full windows, you can hang up panels or other designed pieces as decorative accents.

Photo: Jen Spends Less

Faux Leaded Glass

Faux leaded glass windows present a fantastic alternative for those who covet the classic allure of traditional leaded glass without the associated costs and weight. These windows excel in mimicking the intricate beauty of genuine leaded glass at a more budget-friendly price point, enabling you to embrace your architectural vision. With the flexibility to personalize these faux windows according to your aesthetic preferences, you can easily find a design that complements your interior style. Plus, as a DIY option, they effortlessly allow the soft diffusion of natural light, adding a touch of timeless elegance to your living spaces.

Faux leaded glass windows offer the best of both worlds, combining affordability with elegance. They can serve as a sophisticated and practical addition to your interior design, infusing your space with a timeless charm while allowing natural light to filter through. With their customizable designs and ease of installation, these windows are a fantastic choice for those looking to enhance their home’s aesthetics without breaking the bank.

Photo: Calico Corners via HGTV

Window Valances and Cornices

Let’s say you’ve got the body of your windows decided – blinds or curtains and hardware. Well, let’s not forget the tops of windows. These can come in the form of valances and cornices: decorative tops for windows. Both can be upholstered in fabric or made from wood, but what’s the difference between the two? Again, a valance serves as a decorative covering, and it can come in wood, faux wood, or fabric options. It can be mounted at the top of your window treatment to conceal the curtain rod or the upper portion of aluminum blinds.

When using a fabric valance, it can provide a softer and more inviting touch, especially when paired with blinds or shades. On the other hand, a cornice differs from a valance in several ways. First, it has greater depth, allowing for the sides to cover elements such as motorized drapery systems while keeping them hidden underneath. A cornice is constructed by upholstering a solid box frame, commonly crafted from wood and padded with a layer of batting. Depending on your choice of fabric, a cornice can also exude a more formal and sophisticated vibe in contrast to a valance.

Photo: Ashley Furniture

Window Scarves

The term “window scarf” might bring out an image of old silk scarves dangling from windows. While that’s not a bad idea, the reality is simpler and more elegant. A window scarf is essentially a long, flowing piece of cloth that helps hide curtain rods and add layers to the look at the top of your windows.

Their soft, flowing effect can be matched with your room’s color palette. Plus, it doesn’t cost much to add this simple look to existing decor. Whether you prefer a classic, tailored appearance or a more bohemian and artistic vibe, the versatility of window scarves allows you to tailor this element to your unique taste. Bonus: There are so many ways to hang up a window scarf, too, so you can find what fits best for you!

Photo: Bluebird Landing

Bird Feeder

Bird lovers unite! You can decorate your window with a bird feeder to attract your fine, feathered friends (and be able to watch them snack close up). Window bird feeders typically use a suction cup to attach to your window, and have been tested to hold a good amount of seeds and birds up to 4 ounces. To have the best chance of attracting bird friends, choose a window that faces away from incoming weather.

It’s also important to select your feeder based on the size and type of the bird you’re wanting to feed. For example, if your yard houses larger birds like jays and cardinals, make sure the feeder has an opening large enough for them to comfortably rest and chow down. If you really want to get up close and personal with bird friends, you could also try installing a bird house on your window. Will a bird move in? It could be fun to see!

Photo: Philly Mag


Layers on your windows can add to the luxe look of your space. And it’s okay to like more than one typical window treatment – sheer curtains and drapes, or curtains and blinds, or roman shades and window film! Combining these different options is a way to add additional texture to your windows and meet your functional needs.

If you’re concerned about cost and doubling up each for your windows, utilizing standard sizes for the items you choose is the best way to keep layers affordable. You can also choose a window scarf as your layer – those can be implemented quite affordably. Mixing and matching different window treatments not only elevates the aesthetics but also provides practical benefits, allowing you to control privacy, light, and insulation effectively. Additionally, the versatility of combining options lets you create a unique ambiance in your living space that suits your style and preferences. If you’re mindful of cost, opting for standard-sized treatments and considering affordable options like window scarves can help you achieve the layered look without breaking the bank.

Photo: Probably This

Window Planters

Place indoor plants on window sills or in decorative planters to bring a touch of nature to your windows. Greening up your windows with indoor plants is an effective way to infuse a natural and refreshing element into your living spaces. Whether nestled on window sills or displayed in decorative planters (like hanging macrame). Positioning plants in windows also provides ample access to light for the plants, ensuring the plants thrive as much as your space. Indoor plants serve as more than just eye-catching decorations; they are nature’s air purifiers, helping to create a healthier and more vibrant atmosphere within your home.

Their presence by the windows not only adds aesthetic charm but also contributes to improved indoor air quality by removing toxins and enhancing oxygen levels. By placing your green companions strategically on windowsills or in stylish planters, you can enjoy a harmonious blend of natural beauty and wellness benefits, all while ensuring your plants receive the light they need to thrive. So, whether you’re adorning your windows with succulents, trailing vines, or leafy tropicals, you’re not only enhancing your living space but also taking a breath of fresh, naturally purified air.

Photo: This Old House

Window Seat or Bench

If you have the space, consider adding a window seat or bench with built-in storage beneath. This could transform an unused space into a unique, cozy vantage point to take in the outdoors. A well-designed window seat can seamlessly blend with your room’s decor, offering an opportunity to introduce cushions, throws, and decorative pillows that coordinate with your style, too. Moreover, its dual role as a decorative element, practical seating area, and perhaps even storage makes a window seat a great addition for those seeking to optimize both space and comfort in their homes – form and function.

Photo: Apartment Therapy

Window Mirrors

This isn’t exactly a treatment for your window, exactly, but it does add more light to your home with the use of a window: hang a mirror on the wall opposite a window. A mirror’s light reflecting qualities can make rooms appear larger and brighter. So, pairing one with an existing window is a great way to enhance natural light. Plus, in addition to their practical function, mirrors also introduce an element of visual interest, making them a valuable and versatile tool in interior design.

Hanging a mirror on the wall opposite a window is an ingenious way to amplify the natural light streaming into your space. The mirror’s ability to reflect light not only enhances the brightness but also creates the illusion of a more spacious room, making it feel even airier and inviting. Beyond its utilitarian purpose, a well-placed mirror infuses a touch of elegance and visual allure, adding a layer of sophistication and depth to your interior decor.

Photo: The DIY Mommy

DIY Ideas

For bold and budget-friendly ideas, get creative with do-it-yourself window decor. The DIY world offers an array of creative possibilities for you. One avenue is to embark on a treasure hunt at thrift stores, where you can discover unique and cost-effective fabrics that can be transformed into no-sew curtains or drapes. These versatile alternatives allow you to choose fabrics, colors, and patterns that resonate with your personal style and can be customized to fit your windows perfectly.

Consider crafting a valance out of placemats with the power of a hot glue gun. For an artsy and playful touch, take old book pages and craft them into a whimsical paper garland to drape above your living room windows. It’s an easy and captivating DIY endeavor that not only adds a unique decorative element but also sparks conversation. The ideas are endless – you just have to find what works with your time and skills. Oh, and if you have an old, rustic window you no longer use? Repurposing the windows as frames for art or photos.

Photo: Urban Outfitters

More Fabric Options

Fabrics like cotton or linen may fall into the traditional curtain material options available, but that doesn’t mean you have to go the traditional route. Macrame curtains or hangings can add a bohemian and artistic touch to your windows. They come in various styles and sizes and are particularly popular for creating a relaxed, beachy vibe. If you’re a beachy person at heart (wherever you live), it’s an idea worth exploring.

Likewise, if your home leans more 60s or 70s, a beaded curtain may be the way to go. Beaded curtains made of colorful or natural beads can be a fun and whimsical way to divide spaces or add a playful element to your windows. A different kind of vintage – more Victorian – could look to lace as an elegant option. Delicate lace curtains create a timeless and romantic look. Plus, both of these choices allow filtered light to enter while maintaining privacy.

Photo: The Spruce

Window Lights

String lights can add a warm and inviting ambiance to your home, and they look particularly charming when used in windows. There are SO many creative ways to put simple string lights to use in your space. First, string lights can be hung around the perimeter of the window frame. This creates a cozy, inviting glow and highlights the shape of the window. Next, you can incorporate them into your current window treatments. Attach string lights to a curtain rod or tension wire just behind the curtains or combine string lights with curtains.

Hang the lights on a tension wire or curtain rod behind a sheer curtain. This diffuses the light and adds a soft, romantic glow to the room – inside and out. Remember to use window-safe hooks, adhesive clips, or suction cups to secure the string lights to the window, ensuring they don’t damage the surface. String lights come in various colors and shapes, so you can easily find a style that complements your home’s decor and the atmosphere you want to create.

Photo: Go Smart Blinds

Smart Blinds or Shades

If you’re already in the smart-home club, this may come as no surprise, but smart blinds and shades are gaining popularity. Compared to the fabric and hand-operated window treatments most of us are using, smart versions represent a significant leap forward in window treatments and home automation. These intelligent window coverings offer a range of benefits, including enhancing convenience to improving energy efficiency.

They can be programmed to align with your daily routines, optimizing natural light and temperature, which can lead to reduced energy consumption and cost savings. With the convenience of remote control, scheduling, or voice commands, smart blinds and shades allow control over the amount of light and privacy in your home, right from your smartphone or smart home devices. Cost is, of course, a consideration. However, even companies like IKEA are getting in on the smart blinds options.

Photo: Style by Emily Henderson

Wood or Fabric Shutters

Installing interior shutters as window decor is a timeless choice that brings a touch of historical charm and practicality to any home. These window treatments consist of hinged panels or louvers that are mounted inside the window frame. One of the main benefits of interior shutters is their ability to provide light control and privacy. You can easily adjust the angle of the louvers to let in as much or as little light as desired, while still maintaining a level of privacy. This versatility allows you to create the ideal ambiance in your living spaces.

Interior shutters also contribute to energy efficiency. When closed, they act as effective insulators, helping to regulate the indoor temperature. This can lead to reduced heating and cooling costs, making them a practical addition to any home. If traditional, wooden shutters aren’t your taste, you can soften them with fabric. Shutters with space for fabric panels can let more light in, depending on the fabric you choose. They also won’t look as heavy as traditional wood versions. The customization options are greater, too, allowing not only paint/wood choices, but fabric interest to compliment your room.

Photo: The Spruce

Window Sill Herb Garden

In addition to regular window plants, you may want to consider choosing edible herbs for a window sill garden. This can offer benefits that extend beyond just culinary convenience, but that is a big plus. Growing herbs on your window sill provides immediate access to fresh, flavorful ingredients that can elevate your cooking. Whether it’s basil, rosemary, mint, or parsley, these herbs infuse your dishes with vibrant, just-picked tastes that can’t be matched by dried counterparts.

It also saves you trips to the grocery store and the cost of purchasing packaged herbs. You can trim only what you need, reducing waste and saving money in the long run. Plus, pre-packaged fresh herbs often go bad quickly. With the right conditions, you can enjoy fresh herbs year-round, and experience the aesthetic benefits of a window garden.

Photo: Hunker


Incorporating prisms in your windows is a perfect way to infuse your living spaces with a play of light and color on the daily. These faceted glass or crystal shapes, when suspended in a sunny window, catch and refract sunlight, creating rainbows that float around the room. Prisms can turn a mundane window into a dazzling display of artistry, enchanting people and perhaps even your pets. Whether you choose to hang a single prism or an array of them, these small, multifaceted wonders could be a magical addition to your decor.

Incorporating innovative window decor ideas into your home is a journey of personal expression and creative design – sometimes even DIY! Choosing to express your style through your windows can enhance what you need from your windows – privacy, seating, bird watching, too. So, explore your options and choose what’s best for your space.