Inspiration & Information

Window Coverings for Tall Windows

What the heck do I do with my tall windows?! As a window covering specialist, I get asked this question all the time. Tall windows need window coverings, or at least decoration, but they also need more thought than your average window.

Creating a plan for window coverings on tall windows starts with a series of questions. What are you trying to accomplish? Heat control? Privacy? Just decoration? The questions lead to other questions until all the facts are known, then the fun begins and a beautiful design plan emerges!

White bedroom with white draperies and roman shades with a woman smoothing the drapes into place.
Tall white draperies designed by Linda Woodard of Linda’s Decors in Marlborough. MA. A good friend and brilliant window fashion designer.

Why Do Tall Windows Need Decoration?

Even if your windows have no need for privacy or sun control, they almost always need some sort of decoration. Simple side panel draperies go a long way towards “framing” a window. It’s the same concept as framing a painting, it’s about enhancing the focal point and drawing your eye towards it. Drapery panels can also help connect the windows to the rest of the room. Most furniture in a room will be no more than 36-48″ tall and soaring windows can often appear disconnected.  Adding some sort of treatment around them will create a connection between the other elements in the room.

What about Privacy?

Tall windows can be challenging when they need to be covered at night for privacy but open during the day for light.  Most window treatments need some sort of mechanism to operate the window covering and this gets more challenging the taller the window.  Options can include motorization for both drapes and shades. We can usually accomplish this without involving an electrician.

What if I Need Sun Control but  My View?

This is a common problem, but there are great solutions for getting sun control without losing the view. Sometimes it’s as simple as a quality window film (available without the weird green or blue tint!) Sometimes it’s a layer of sheer for day since it will block the UV but allow view through. There are many solutions and it’s part of the planning and design.

Aren’t Draperies too Traditional for a Contemporary Home?

No matter your style there is a window covering for you. As a window fashion designer for more than two decades I have dreamed up tons of very contemporary drapery treatments. The hardware options, the fabric, the style of the peat and the way we install them makes sure you love them no matter your style.

Arched window in dining room with ripplefold draperies on a contemporary drapery rod
This tall dining room window needed privacy and sun control. The contemporary style of the room required sleek pleat styling and hardware.

Case Study

I worked on a tall window solution for a family in Escondido not long ago. The client had a bay window with 18 foot tall arched windows. They had a beautiful view and didn’t want an inch of it covered when they were using the room. However, it was a very sunny window and UV and heat control in the afternoons were important. Because it was a bay window without much space to stack the draperies back on the far left or right, I decided I would need four separate panels, but figure out a design that would allow them all to operate at the same time and stack into the very small spaces between the windows.

Bay windows with arched tops 18 feet high with a drapery installer and tall ladder, just about to begin an installation.
Tall windows with a beautiful view at the beginning of installation day.

The challenge was how to operate them easily. When windows are that tall they need a pulley system or motorization. In this case we didn’t have enough room to install pulley systems for each window and motors would have taken up space we needed to stack back the draperies off each window.

I work with a very talented installer as well as a brilliant drapery hardware company. Both of them are always up for a challenge. I knew what I wanted and with a little creative thinking was sure we could find a way to make my design vision happen.  We finally settled on a single rod mitered to fit the corners of the bay. The pulley cord ran through all three pieces of the hardware, so with a little (actually A LOT!) of customization at the corners, we were able to get all four panels to open and close at the same time from a single pulley cord on the left.

The Final Result

The installation day was long and a little scary, since I had to climb up one of the ladders a couple of times to hold the corners together while my installer anchored the support brackets on either side. It’s an interesting feeling to be perched that high up with just a piece of glass between me and the concrete 18 feet below! It truly makes me appreciate my installer, as that is what he faces on a regular basis.

An installer standing on a tall ladder installing the hardware for long drapery panels to cover the high, arched windows.
Careful planning is required to safely anchor each bracket and make sure everything is perfectly straight.

In the end everything came together perfectly. Our client was very happy and that is my only goal at the end of the day! Several other companies had been called out before the family met me. The other window covering companies said it could be done but I always say, “I’ve never met a window I couldn’t treat well” 🙂

A tall bay window with an installer putting the finishing touches on the new draperies he's just installed.
Adding the finishing touches and adjustments for this set of tall arched windows, before we start steaming the panels and dressing-in the pleats.

Your Project

Here’s the deal, no matter what your window size, shape or height, if it needs a window treatment, it needs good design and planning. That’s where we come in, we do all the heavy lifting, and you get the joy of functional, beautiful window treatments. A discovery call is free.  Send an email or schedule a phone call from our contact page, so we can talk about your project!

Myrna Everett is the founder of Home Vogue Interiors where we specialize in custom window fashions and other soft home goods. If you have enjoyed this blog post, please share it with others. If you are ready to start a conversation about your next project click on the “Your Project” button above and tell us what you’re working on and we’ll reach out to you and help you get started.







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Meet Myrna

Myrna Everett is the founder and lead designer of San Diego-based Home Vogue Interiors, a provider of custom window fashions and designer soft goods. She is known for her fresh yet timeless design perspective and her commitment to opening her clients’ eyes to the endless possibilities available for window fashions and other finishing touches in their homes.

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