People who are lucky enough to have a home that is full of character, such as an old gate lodge or a converted barn, generally are delighted by the inevitable accompanying eccentricities. These can include exposed beams, narrow doors, or extra wide ones, in addition to oddly shaped windows. Beams and door openings are mostly easy to handle when it comes to options for great décor, but oddly shaped windows can be more problematic, whether they are in a traditional or a contemporary home. Here are a few pointers that can help homeowners decide which options are best for their particular issue.
There are, in fact, many properties with architectural designs that are challenging. Homes that were built in the 1930s, for example, often had Art Deco features, including a flat roof, one or more rectangular balconies with curved edges, and gorgeous stained glass windows and doors in unusual shapes. Bay windows were a popular development, and both curved and rectangular versions can still be seen. A quick look at estate agents’ websites reveals that houses with porthole windows are still very popular. House builders today often replicate some of these elements, especially bay windows, in order to create an eye-catching interruption to the standard box shape of contemporary housing.
When a house or flat has a window that is an odd shape, the basic options are to leave it without any dressing at all, depending on its location; use blinds as a standard covering throughout the home; add curtains that suit the window shape; or install shutters, which can work in any location.
Undressed windows can be stunning as the outline shape is left alone and allowed to be seen exactly as the architect intended. The problem is that while this can work for oddly shaped windows that are not overlooked – for example, a porthole window in the roof space of a building – it won’t work when it’s important to control daylight and heat, ensure privacy or boost security. This is particularly true for ground floor windows, such as those in a living room, dining room or kitchen. However, it can apply equally to bedroom and bathroom windows. The alternative options therefore deserve some consideration.
Fans of Roman blinds, Venetian blinds and roller blinds will struggle when it comes to using these for odd-shaped windows. Right angles may seem easier to deal with, such as a rectangular or box bay window, but fixings and chains or wands to control blinds get in the way of the desired effect and make blinds difficult to operate. Another major drawback of using blinds is that if windows are arched or curved, blinds will actually hide those window shapes and may look like a rather clumsy intervention. This is not the way to achieve exquisite interior décor.
Curtains often seem like the obvious solution, but there are likely to be some disadvantages. This is another issue that is connected to shape and the control of daylight. While curtain poles are generally straight, it is possible to find variations that are as flexible as synthetic curtain tracks that can navigate corners. This means it is technically possible to use curtains on a bay window, although the pole or track often provides a distraction from the window frame. This means that those lovely strong, clean lines are lost and the eye is drawn instead to what is above the top of the frame. Curtains also do not have any part to play in shielding a room from too much sunlight or heat because the only way to do so is to keep them drawn.
Of all the options available, bespoke window shutters most closely replicate the undressed window treatment. They can be cut to fit the exact shape of any window frame, no matter how odd or awkward this may be. They are supremely elegant and come in a wide range of styles, finishes and materials. When closed, they all but disappear into the window shape. During the day, their manoeuvrable slats help to control sunlight and the amount of privacy needed. A particularly useful feature is that shutters can be made to fit all or just part of a window opening depending on the degree of privacy and security that is needed.
Odd-shaped windows and door openings can turn a relatively ordinary house into one that stands out from the crowd, provided they are given an appropriate treatment that enhances them without obscuring them. It pays to think carefully about the options before making a final decision.