Design Q&A: Jim Ryan

Shedding light on window treatments

  • Shades are a good option for windows in rooms where filtered light is desired.
Shades are a good option for windows in rooms where filtered… (Christopher Oquendo, MCT )
September 13, 2012

I am faced with a new problem. Sunlight pours in through the windows of my new condo, and the heat makes the air conditioner run all day. Do you have any suggestions that won't cause me to lose the view?

A great view and natural light is certainly a winning combination. However, I do understand about the heat as well as possible fading. My suggestion would be getting something that allows you to control the light. Screen shades come to mind as a perfect option. Hunter Douglas has several types, and they come in different openness options, allowing you to control the amount of light that comes through. Also, they open completely, giving you the option to let in the light and enjoy the view.

My dining room lacks excitement. I have painted it a neutral color and the furniture is fine, but it needs something more.

Perhaps a fabric window treatment is the answer. Depending on the size of the window, perhaps you just need a valance or swag. Maybe full-length panels are the answer. They would frame the window and you wouldn't lose the view. I suggest a floral or geometric pattern to add interest as well as color.

An unique option might be to do combination panels: one fabric, solid or print, is used for the top third of the panels and a coordinating fabric is then used for the bottom two-thirds of each panel. Add some beautiful decorative hardware, and you will have a look that adds both color and excitement to any room.

Jim Ryan is an ASID-certified interior designer and communications director for the Maryland chapter. You can reach him at Simply Grande Interiors, 215 Jarrettsville Road, Forest Hill, by calling 410-420-9116 or emailing Do you have an interior design question for our experts? Email us at

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