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

Lindsey - October 31, 2023
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.