"Window treatments are a big-ticket item now," says Sheri Peterson, an interior design consultant in Victoria. "I find if you have the budget and you really want to do the windows nicely, custom blinds and drapes are the way to go."
But she says homeowners can get a similar look on a smaller budget. Premade drapery panels can be purchased at many decor stores and with some basic alterations can be used to create dramatic looks.
Natalie Fuglestveit, principal designer at Calgary's Natalie Fuglestveit Interior Design, says single-panel drapes with hardware are quite affordable.
"One option on how to save money is by selecting a fabric less than $20 per yard for side panels. Usually only six yards (metres) will be required," says Fuglestveit.
"The side panels will be non-functioning, but this will still provide a powerful impact in a room and help finish it off. Homeowners can always purchase roller blinds to help provide privacy in the evenings or when away from their home."
Interior designers and homeowners have been drifting away from metal Venetian blinds toward more classic looks such as that achieved by wooden blinds with wider slats that create the look of a California shutter without the cost.
According to Peterson another timeless window treatment is the use of sheers, particularly in patterns and colours.
"Right now grey is our neutral, so a smoky grey sheer with a pattern would look really nice," says Peterson. "The pleats on all drapes and sheers are very loose. You don't see French pleats anymore."
To achieve a complete look Peterson often combines blinds, which help with privacy and light, and drapes to add a dramatic look or to soften the window frames.
"A lot of people are using a combination of drapery panels to soften the edges with their blinds," says Peterson.
"I recently did a condo, and they had a view of another condo right across from them. We installed some Silhouette blinds that would give them some sheer privacy but could also be tilted to have more privacy. I also installed drapery panels on the side to soften the edges."
Like Peterson, Fuglestveit has seen trends in window treatments include fabric drapery with beautiful hardware, roller blinds for a clean, modern and sleek finish, or fabric Roman shades with trimming for a fun do-it-yourself look.
"I am currently loving doing floor-to-ceiling sheer ripple-fold and double European pleats drapery," says Fuglestveit. "It is fun to play around with mixing hardware finishes and using a combination of fabrics."
As the design and technology around window treatments has evolved, one of the biggest problems with blinds has been addressed. Homeowners don't have to worry about the time-consuming chore of dusting metal Venetian blinds anymore.
"Some of the new blinds have anti-static paint on them so they don't collect the dust as much," says Peterson. "The polyester fabrics used on some blinds is so easy to vacuum or spot clean if they need it. Blinds are not nearly as tricky to clean."
Even though Peterson calls window treatments the "crown jewel" of a room, she says there are cases, such as when a room showcases a spectacular view, where it would be appropriate to forgo drapes or blinds.
"If you live up on a hilltop and are overlooking a view, instead of a window treatment, I might have carpenters do a really over-the-top treatment of finishing carpentry around the windows so the trim is very dressed up," she says.