Vintage window coverings from the ’50s: It’s more than window dressing
Article and first set of photos from Family Circle – June 1956
Here are new window treatments designed to help you solve your see-in, see-out problems effectively and inexpensively
For a picture window with a real picture outdoors — a simple, dramatic treatment. Vertical metal blinds swivel to control light, air, and privacy.
Because the blinds serve as draw draperies, inexpensive panels of fish-net lace at window ends, coupled with the cornice of the blinds, frame the woodsy view, invite it in.
In the evening, vertical bars of moonlight can be let in through part-open slats or shut out and replaced by a strikingly theatrical display of closed illuminated blinds.
Tubes of incandescent light — concealed behind cornice and controlled by a dimmer switch — send shafts of soft light down upon the blinds or out through the star-like holes in the cornice.
“A window on the world is one thing; a window on a neighbor’s window, quite another,” says this homemaker who hit on a do-it-yourself treatment to ensure privacy and complement her Oriental furnishings.
Printed opaque draperies draw at night. Sheer cafe curtains in same print admit daylight but blur offending view. Roll-up bamboo blind and a valence made of straw table mats complete Far East mood.
How you decorate your home depends upon your point of view, and often that point of view finds its best expression, figuratively as well as literally, at your window.
Whether you favor traditional or modern, your window treatments can help state your preference and your personality – in addition to providing and regulating light, controlling ventilation, and assuring privacy.
Window treatments can work for you architecturally, too — as dividers, visual wall-size changers, or outdoor-indoor integrators.
And what mood-makers they are! Are there moonlit woods beyond your sill? What lovelier way to see them than through the filmy expanse of sheer draw curtains.
Is there nothing but the cold masonry of your neighbor’s garage? What easier way to forget it and create privacy indoors than with cozy shutters or glamorous vertical blinds!
Shutters & organdy criss-cross curtains
To block out masonry wall of next house, shutters are effective and spectacular when illuminated by backlighting (left). Organdy crisscross curtains, dust ruffle, and eyebrow canopy set a traditional mood in attic.
Casement curtains & ruffled shades
Textured shade and matching casement curtains, hung cafe-style with clips (left), accent horizontal line and “widen” a wall. Sunfast fabric (right) is rigged to raise and lower as shades do; ruffles above sill shorten window.
Parallel ceiling tracks support sheer draw draperies and sliding panels of opaque fabric that move left or right to keep out annoying sun and moonbeams when you sleep.
Tier curtains and gold draperies
Awkwardly placed windows (too high, low, narrow, or short) benefit from tier curtains that ignore confining measurements and give illusion of more window (left). From dining room or terrace, gold draperies, double-faced and hung on brass rings, look equally well.
Box-pleated panel draperies
An effect of Oriental panels is achieved by this economical and unusual treatment for two end windows: Draperies are box-pleated (requires less fabric) and hung from brass poles.
Wooden shutters with curtains as an overlay
Semi-sheer patterned drapes
Vintage white window treatment with the centers cinched with a bow
Patterned half-height curtains give this living room some flair
Semi-sheer blue draperies with a blue shutter surround
Vintage two-tier window coverings can be opened from the center
Three shades of pink curtains blend harmoniously to create this vintage window treatment
Love the house — love its windows! (1959)
Unfortunately, it doesn’t always happen that way.
Some of us choose a Cape Cod for its cozy charm, then discover its small windows cramp our decorating style. Some of us buy a modern house with dramatic glass walls, only to despair when we try placing our furniture.
Yes, we may buy a house because we love it and thrill to the thought of how our furniture and carpets will look in it, but we rarely get around to dressing the windows until after we move in. Then comes the moment of truth for many of us — we have a problem window on our hands!
Wisdom for window treatments
How we want to treat a window is a personal thing — based on our personal feelings about privacy, about a view, about decor, about durability, about maintenance.
When these feelings come into conflict with the shape, size, or location of our windows, disenchantment pours out of all our doors and into the ears of decorating departments in stores all over the country.