Easy Do it Yourself Arched Window Treatments

While arched windows can enhance the beauty and architectural appeal of any home, they can also be something of a headache to cover up due to their unorthodox shape. For rooms where privacy is not an issue, consider leaving the windows free curtains or shades – doing this will not only provide a permanent window to the outside world, but also bathe the entire room in natural light.

In rooms where privacy is a concern, however, the arch windows should to be covered or shaded.

While it may seem challenging at first, finding the right kind of arch window treatment isn’t all that hard. Those handy with a measuring tape and a pair of scissors can even create their own custom made arch window shades. Here are for arch window treatment ideas for the DIYers among you:

1. Window Shades are the most common method of covering windows. Made-to-measure shades can be ordered online or from your neighborhood hardware stores. To create basic flat window shades for your arched window simply cut the fabric or canvas to the shape of the half circle to cover the window’s arch and use the appropriate matching length of the fabric for the bottom part of the window. Other ideas include a fan-shaped shade for covering the arch, or creating balloon-shades measured to the exact dimensions of the window.arch window treatment

Blinds and plantation shutters are a timeless window treatment, never going out of style. Custom-made fan-shaped plantation shutters are available from many manufacturers – you have to provide the window dimensions and ask the manufacturer to follow the curve of the arch when trimming the plantation shutter’s molding. This can be expensive, however, and not the ideal solution since plantation shutters and blinds can still allow sunlight to leak through their slats. If you do go with such a window treatments for your arched windows, be sure to turn up the slats upwards at night-time otherwise you run the risk of giving people outside a direct view inside your house.

Window curtains can be a cost effective way to cover arched windows. If you do not care about maintaining the shape of the arch, the simplest option would be to fix the curtain rod about ten inches above the arched window’s apex and hang the curtains from there. It is recommended to use pinch-pleated drapes for this, since they open and close very easily. For a more elaborate setup leave the window’s arch area uncovered, hang the curtains just below the arch and fix an elaborate valance on top to cover the arch. For extra flair add decorative finials or ornate doorknobs at both ends of the valance rod. A third alternative is to use curved rods to cover your arched window. Curved rods specially designed for arch window treatments are available in home improvement or interior decorating stores everywhere.

A pricier but extremely effective arch window treatment is to use leaded glass. Similar to ethereal and colorful church window glass, colored leaded glass for your arched windows can allow enough natural light without compromising privacy. Lead glass is expensive and difficult to replace if broken – something to take into consideration if you have kids or live in a neighborhood with a lot of kids running around. Contact films are a cheaper alternative that mimics the effect of leaded glass. Contact films come in a variety of colorful designs and are widely available in home improvement stores everywhere. While they are most commonly used to cover glass shower doors and bathroom windows, contact film can just as easily be used for arch window treatments. Contact films are easily installed, all that is required is to cut the film into size and apply directly onto wet glass using an old credit card or flat applicator to flatten out the film and remove air bubbles.

Three Popular Arch Window Treatments

If you live in a home with arched windows, you will be aware of the elegance and architectural flair these windows can add to a room. Coming in a range of sizes and shapes, arched windows can stretch all the way to the ceiling or be of standard window height.


Picking the right kind of window treatment for arched windows can be a challenge, since they not only have to provide privacy and control incoming light; they also have to highlight the curves and lines of the window’s arches. A well chosen arched window treatment will accentuate and play up an arched widow, turning it into the room’s focal point.


Here are a few popular arched window treatments available:
Cellular shades can be an affordable way to cover arched windows. Similar in function to pleated shades, cellular shades feature a unique honeycomb design that not only controls incoming light but also optimizes energy efficiency and insulates your home. Custom built cellular shades are available to cover the arched portion of the window while the bottom half is covered with a matching shade of the same type or a complementary shade of another type. Cellular shades are mounted inside the window, along its trim for seamless fit. The rule of thumb when installing cellular shades is to fit the top portion to the arch of the window after making the appropriate measurements.
Simple cloth drapery panels are a tried and tested method for covering arched windows. This type of window treatment can be used to cover the entire window in a single design element. Additional drapery rods can be installed to give the covered windows a sense of height. For more ornate styles a decorative metal rod with heavy metal rings and grommets can be utilized. While drapery panel treatments themselves do not focus on the arched window, if used properly it can nicely complement the window’s architectural design. For a final flourish, consider adding elegant tiebacks to the drapes.
Custom built valances, while not the cheapest option, are an increasingly popular choice for treating arched windows. Designed and installed by a professional, custom made valances can enhance and highlight your arched windows in ways standard store bought treatments cannot. Valances are installed inside the window frame to give a round effect at the arch; alternatively, valances can be installed outside the window frame to create a straight edge and eliminate the arch altogether. Using valances for arched windows allows the homeowner to choose fabrics that can match the existing decor in the room. Fabrics used in valance window treatments can also be embellished with things like fringe trims or other similar decorative touches to give it extra bit of flair.

types of arch window treatments

From rounded circle-top windows to shallow arch windows featuring a slight curve, arched windows come in a range of shapes and sizes. Some arched windows are elaborate two story behemoths from which the drapery length could exceed over 20 feet.

Finding the right kind of window treatment for these types of windows can a source of frustration for homemakers and professional interior designers alike. The biggest question when it comes to arch window treatments are whether the arched shape should be highlighted by the drapery, or ignored and draped like any another window.

Arch window treatments fall under two basic categories: inside the frame of the window, or outside the frame and on the wall. Inside the frame treatments are mounted on the window trim moldings or, if the windows lack a trim, the surrounding drywall. Wall mounted window treatments are your traditional curtain rods fixed directly on the wall.

Here are a few window-frame treatment and wall-mounted treatment ideas for your arched windows:
The sunburst window treatment gives your arched windows a stylish and modern look. The rod used in this treatment follows the curve of the window’s arch and the curtains attached to this bent rod. Suspended from the bent rod on top of the arch, the curtain fabric is allowed to fall over the windows and collects at the bottom center of the window where it can be trussed into attractive bundles. Striking a nice balance between privacy and style, the sunburst window treatment need only be removed for periodic cleaning.
The fan shade is another common arch window treatment. Due to its popularity, fan style treatment fabrics come in many different materials and designs. The fan shade works from a single pivot point in the center, much in the same way as an Oriental hand held fan. Split fan designs are slowly growing more popular as they allow for greater light adjustment. Fan style cellular shade treatments work in much the same way, requiring only a regular brushing or light vacuuming to keep clean.
Cellular shade treatments offer an easy way of raising and lowering shades inside the arch as they are mounted on the inner surface of the window’s trim molding. Cellular shades are the treatment of choice when adjustable shades are required. Similar non fabric window treatment choices include wood blinds, pleated shades and shutters, and silhouette styles. As with all ‘hard’ window treatments, cellular shades need light brushing or vacuuming to keep clean.
Diffusion window treatments are useful for diffusing bright sunlight and reducing glare. Diffusion treatments are in the form of spray on glass treatments that gives the illusion of frosted glass. This sort of treatment can be an economical option for rooms where the window glare can affect computer monitors or television viewing. Wet mount films are also available that offer a similar diffusion of outside light. These types of treatments mute bright lights outside your window, improve privacy and are considerably cheaper than other arch window treatments. Diffusion treatments rarely need cleaning, and when they have to be cleaned a basic wet rag and dry towel combo should do the trick.
Wall mounted window treatments are your traditional drapery rods mounted inside or outside the arch. Straight drapery rods are inexpensive and widely available. While not specifically made for arched windows, they can be mounted directly below the arch of the window and used as normal window drapery. While this can be a cheap way of covering arch windows, it detracts from the arched part of the window, suggesting it has secondary importance to the rest of the window. Standard drapes need to be professionally steam cleaned once or twice a year.
Arched drapery rods are a wall mounted treatment designed specifically to work with arched windows. Designed to highlight and enhance the window’s arch, curved rods are available in a variety of sizes and designs. Fabric swags or scarves can be used with arched drapery rods to bring out the window without obscuring it. Whatever type of arched drapery treatment you select, make sure you pay attention to things like its effect on outside views, window glare, height problems, lack of molding and other issues that can crop up. Fabric scarves may be home-washed and re-hung, while swags require yearly professional cleaning.

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