As an interior designer, window treatments are something I deal with on a daily basis. Do we want long lavish drapes, or simple modern shades? Sometimes, even bare windows work for a room with a stellar view.

If you’re not sure how to dress your windows (or if you should dress them at all), there are a few things to keep in mind. Consider your personal style and the room’s functionality, and take into account the amount of natural lighting the room sees. Heavy drapes wouldn’t make sense on a bay window overlooking the ocean in the living room, but you certainly don’t want to leave your bedroom windows bare. Here are a few window design ideas to help you decide which look is right for your space.

Window Design Ideas for Your Rental Home

Do You Need Privacy?

This is the make-or-break question. If privacy is a must, such as in a bathroom or bedroom, then you will definitely want some form of window treatment. These are the kind of rooms that require “hard” window treatments—ones that completely block the view. If you still crave natural lighting, then consider a top-down or bottom-up shade that allows natural light to filter in while retaining privacy. Remember, these shades don’t have to be boring. There are numerous fabric options that amp up the style factor, making Roman shades modern and funky.

Let There Be Light

As I mentioned above, there may be certain views that you really don’t want to detract from with fussy window treatments. My hard and fast rule is simple: Why mess with what Mother Nature gave us? If there was a glorious ocean vista outside, why would we want to cover it up? Likewise, for a private wooded lot, I say skip the window treatments and enjoy the view. The same goes for a unique window with an intricate design. Just because it’s made of glass doesn’t mean you need to cover it up! Show off your home’s features whenever possible and let the natural beauty surround you.

Style Around the Window Instead of On It

There is a happy medium. Perhaps you want to enjoy the views, but still require some privacy. This is where we have to get creative by styling around the window instead of on the window.

Envision a relaxing guesthouse or vacation rental. Of course, guests want to enjoy a great night’s rest in a dark room, but they also want to wake up and sip coffee as the sunlight streams in. One perfect solution to this design dilemma is shutters. Indoor window shutters easily block views but also flip open to allow optimal viewing of the outdoor world.

Layering window treatments is also a possible option, especially for someone who desires a decorated look. Long floor-to-ceiling draperies are always a classic, and when paired with blackout shades, they allow for the perfect combination of outdoor beauty, indoor beauty and privacy.

Every room is different, as is every design. Window treatments must speak to your personal style while allowing you to enjoy the most of your natural surroundings. Every room requires a different level of privacy and protection, and every room has different windows that you may want to cover or celebrate. Consider all of these options before making the assumption that you have to have window treatments—sometimes less is definitely more.

Jen Visosky is an interior designer in Jackson Hole, Wyoming. Jen writes online about decor and style for Home Depot, and with the stunning vistas beckoning in the region where she lives, she has bold ideas on window design ideas and treatments in the home. To review a selection of windows available at The Home Depot, you can visit the company’s website. Image is courtesy of Grace Home Design.