Best window treatments for arched windows (detailed guide)
Arched windows add an interesting look and feel to the room they are found in. Because of its special design, and of course because it is also a window, it must be also covered with it’s own window treatment (or not – there are people that leave them uncovered). I think it is important that this window looks good because arched windows, naturally, are a focal point in your house.
The best window treatments for arched windows are (in no particular order): shutters, curtains, honeycomb shades, and some people leave them uncovered. Curtains are, by far, the most common and the easiest to mount, but shutters and honeycombs also work and look good when installed in your arched windows.
I honestly do not have that much experience with curtains for arched windows since I haven’t sold curtains and that is what people usually go for when covering their arched windows. But this blog was written describing my experience working with them, what I see with my clients’ arched windows and the treatments they use for them, and my opinion on getting them dressed.
Choosing the right kind of window treatment for your arched window(s)
In my experience with arched windows, clients have really not thought of how they want that arched window(s) dressed; a few do have the idea of what they want for this window, but not all of them do. When I get to that window, and ask them about the treatment they want to dress the window with, if the treatment they selected for the rest of their windows is available as a treatment for arched windows, they go with that. Sometimes, the treatment they have selected cannot be made for an arched window (any treatment can always be made if they are to be installed outside the window – not within the window opening), and if that is the case, then they go for curtains. This is something that must be taken in mind so you don’t make, or take, a design decision, and later find out that your idea cannot be done.
Curtains for arched windows
I think that curtains for these windows look perfect and above than any other treatment dressing an arched window. I should probably start selling curtains because I like them a lot – who knows? My daughter is an interior designer – I should ask her help designing curtains for clients – that is a very good idea! I’ll definitely let you guys know if I start selling curtains.
There are different options of where and how to hang curtains for arched windows. For example, they can be hung over the window mount and have them fall over and cover the whole window from above the arch (I think that is the most common style to hang curtains). Another option is to have a curtain hung up at each side of the window mount. Also, covering the inside of the arch, and having curtain fabric to run down at each side of the window. There are SO many options on how to hang your curtains. Take your time and consider all options because all options have their up and down sides.
The color and style of the fabric you choose is the most important decision. Yes, where to hang them and how, is also a very important choice to make, but the style you go for is like defining the character and personality of your arched window. You could have your plain curtains, or have a pattern design, or perhaps a fabric that makes your curtain transparent. The possibilities on the colors and styles to choose from are limitless! I’m sure that you will be able to find the right curtains, and only you (or a designer) will be able to make them look perfect for your home.
I looked at photos that people uploaded to Pinterest and there are some that look quite good (here is the link). The photos are mostly of curtains, but there are a few other photos of shades and shutters in arched windows. Really, I could love almost every style there is, on how to hang and the style of window treatments for arched windows.
As far as energy efficiency goes, curtains don’t do a good job (that’s the only downside to them). If the fabric is thick or completely solid, they may block the light coming in from the outside adding privacy to the room, but as for the heat transfer (or cold) it won’t do much. If you are looking to increase your home’s energy efficiency, I don’t recommend curtains at all unless they have some kind of protection for mildew; they also collect so much dust. Instead, go for shutters or honeycomb shades; those are the best energy efficient products (for all windows) and they can fit you arched windows with no problem.
Shutters for arched windows
Another great option for arched windows are shutters. Really, shutters should only be installed if you are going to install shutters on the rest of your windows in your house – it would look weird if you have, I don’t know, let’s say roller shades installed on every window in your house, and shutters only on the arched windows – hahaha.
Shutters that follow the curvature of an arched window give a pretty structured look. I like that a lot. Plus, aside from the nice structured look, you get nice light control and shutters also do a good job increasing your house’s energy efficiency. Also, this energy efficiency can be increased if you select a reflecting color that will reflect the sunlight (and any light trying to come in) reducing the heat that comes through.
As far as operating systems for shutters on an arched window, the system is the same as the system for regular windows: you use your own and strong human strength to open or close them, and also to tilt open and close the louvers. But there is also a motorized option that will allow you to tilt open and close just the louvers on the shutters; that can be very handy, but honestly, I don’t see it necessary – but hey, that’s just me!
Honeycomb shades for arched windows
Honeycomb shades are within my favorite window treatments (shutters as well, I just didn’t mention it). Actually, you can read about my top 5 window treatments by clicking here – honeycomb shades are my second favorite window treatment, and they remain on a nice spot for arched windows.
Really, honeycombs have it all you need for arched windows (and any window shape in general): great looks and great energy efficiency, plus they can be motorized and be controlled with a remote or your phone, and they are also safe for kids and pets. I really can’t see any negative side to them.
The energy efficiency they provide is the best out of any other type of window treatment. The air pockets within the cells trap air (hot and cold) creating a great insulating effect. On top of that, a blackout fabric can be used for the arch you are trying to cover and this will increase their energy efficiency.
Also, it must be mentioned, honeycombs have mildew protection. This is something big if you live in a place with a lot of humidity. A tiny amount of mildew shouldn’t be a health problem. I must mention: I am not, in any way, someone that you can trust on that, if you have questions about the mildew subject or think that you may have issues with the air quality in your home, talk to a professional.
There is only one downside to honeycomb shades for arches (and a big one). If you go for them, they’re gonna remain fixed and will be non-operational. If you instal honeycombs (or really any kind of shade), on an arched window, that is how it is going to be, non-operational. It will always remain fixed. It is always going to be up to you, so better keep that in mind. I thought about it, and I think that for a room that has an arch window, I would not select honeycombs; I gotta have the option to open them up if I wanna see the outside. A big parenthesis, though, what I just mentioned is for purely arched windows – if you have a squared window with an arch on top, then you can have the squared window with a regular shade operation, and the part of the arch can be covered with a fixed shade – you wouldn’t be able to open it.
Leave your arched windows undressed
I have also seen arched windows left uncover while the rest of the windows in the house get covered. That is cool too. The arched windows look pretty cool on their own too, and will still be a nice focal point on your house. Sometimes, while taking into consideration everything else that is around the window (furniture, rugs, paintings, anything), the uncovered windows might be giving you the desired look and feel that you’re looking for.
The bad thing is that you won’t have anything that gives you privacy, cool looks, or energy efficiency, but who knows, maybe your room doesn’t need any privacy, the look the arched window with no treatment provide is the look that you are going for, and you aren’t looking to make your house more energy efficient. I am sure that there must be houses like that.
I'm Hector Garza. I started Starlite Blinds & Shutters over a decade ago. I have learned a lot over the years from my experience in working with clients and coming up with solutions to their needs. It has always been fun to work with window treatments and to help transform houses and offices. This site is to promotes my service, and to share my knowledge and opinions regarding window treatments.