Window Treatment Buying Guide

Window Treatment Buying Guide

Replacing or adding window treatments is one of the easiest — and most cost-effective — ways to spruce up a room. Whether you’re browsing for a new pattern or planning a complete window makeover, here are some tips to help you choose the best window treatment for you.
  • Measuring for curtains and drapes
    Measure windows for curtains

    When you’re looking for window treatments, you’ll have to decide between soft treatments (like curtains and draperies) or hard treatments (blinds and shades). If you opt for curtains or drapes, there are a few things to keep in mind when it’s time to measure.

    How to measure

    Measuring for curtain panels is simple. You’ll need to measure the width of the entire frame, starting and finishing at its outermost edges. Then decide how much of the frame you want the panels to cover. Simply measure the desired width and height of the area you want covered. Using these measurements, you can hang your outside mounts and begin the decorating fun.

    The look

    Since curtain panels are not confined to the width of the window, decide ahead of time what look you want to achieve. Going for sleek and understated? Keep the top bracket close to the window’s width. If you want more dramatic flair, position the brackets a little wider.

    Keep in mind

    Once you’ve measured the width of the window frame and are ready to choose your fabric, be sure to purchase twice as much as the width of the frame. This will allow you to create a gathered effect that adds more dimension to your room. Create even more drama by allowing the panels to drape below the sill and even pool onto the floor.

    Shop Curtains >

    Learn More:

  • Measuring for blinds and shades
    Measuring windows for curtains

    Blinds and shades are typically housed entirely within the frame of the window using inside mounting brackets. Measuring your windows for these treatments is slightly different than measuring for curtains and drapes, but just as easy.

    How to measure

    When measuring for blinds and shades, it’s essential to find the exact window width. Measure at the top, middle and bottom of the inside frame (as some frames aren’t uniform from top to bottom) and use the smallest measurement when you go to place your order. Then, measure the height of the window from the inside top frame to the sill and you have your final measurements. Simply install the mounting brackets and hang your blinds or shades.

    The look

    Be sure to shop around to find the style that best fits your household decor and privacy and energy efficiency needs. Cellular shades provide year-round insulation; faux wood resists moisture and is easy to clean; vinyl blinds and shades provide optimal light blocking and come in a wide assortment of colors.

    Keep in mind

    Different blinds and shades provide different benefits, so carefully read the item description of styles you like to make sure they meet your needs. Also, note that brackets will take up a portion of your total length, so be sure to factor them in when measuring.

    Shop Blinds & Shades >

    Learn More:

  • Top construction for curtains and drapes
    Top Construction for Curtains and Drapes

    The way the top of your curtain or drape is configured is called the top construction. There are four categories of top construction, each offering a unique effect.


    These curtains consist of loops of fabric sewn to the top edge of a fabric panel. They’re threaded and hung from a wooden or metal rod. Tab-top construction enhances any casual decor.

    Back tab

    This construction conceals the tabs on the back of the curtain to allow a softly pleated effect that fits well in modern and elegant environments. This treatment typically doesn’t require special hooks or clips, offering a more affordable option for many buyers.

    Rod pocket

    Rod pocket curtains or draperies contain a sewn pocket spanning the entire width of the fabric that will house the rod. Rod pocket construction allows for a variety of custom widths, lengths and lining options, but is not the best choice if you plan to open and close your drapes frequently.


    Grommet-top curtains utilize a thin wooden pole or metal rod that is threaded through evenly-spaced grommets. This style fits nicely with many of today’s design trends and is ideal for frequent opening and closing.

    Shop Curtains >

    Learn More:

  • Choosing a panel length
    Curtains & Drapes

    Window treatments come in a variety of widths and lengths, but how do you know what’s right for your windows? It all depends on the setting, where the window is positioned on the wall, and how you plan to use them.

    Prior to shopping, you’ll need to take a few measurements. First, measure from the top of the curtain rod to where you’d like your panels to fall. Consider these length options:

    Sill length

    Ideal for windows that get a workout, this length falls just to the windowsill.

    Below-sill length

    Perfect for bathrooms and kitchens, these fall several inches below the bottom of the windowsill. Also called apron-length.

    Floor length

    Ideal for making windows look longer and for pulling together a room, floor length panels should be less than an inch from the floor.

    Extra-long length

    For an elegant look that works well in formal settings, allow several inches of the panels to pool on the floor.

    Next, you’ll want to measure the width of the window. Window treatments should be 1½ to 3 times the width of the space you are covering. If your window measures 36 inches, you’ll want window treatments to be between 54 inches and 108 inches in total width.

    Window panels come in all widths and sizes, so be sure to check packaging for the proper size. Note that the package will list the width of the panels first, then the height.

    Shop Curtains >

    Learn More:

  • Selecting the right curtain hardware
    Curtain Hardware

    When constructing your window treatments, the hardware you select (rods, poles, finials, etc.) can help to visually tie your overall look together.


    The rods you choose can be a vital element of your update. Rods are available in a variety of sizes, styles, designs and finishes to fit your exact design goals and curtain weight. You can also achieve a nice layered look with double rods.


    Finials are the decorative ends on curtain rods. These allow you to customize your rod design to complement the curtain or drapery, and come in a variety of styles, materials and motifs — from kid-friendly soccer balls to metallic masterpieces.


    In curtain hardware, hooks attach to the rod at the top of your curtain treatment to move your drapes. These are not to be confused with tie-back hooks, which hold the curtain open for light. You can install hooks that are either hidden or in full view to accentuate your design elements.

    Brackets and Screws

    When installing a decorative bracket (the metal fixture attached to the wall which holds the curtain rod) or spacer, be sure the screws you use match in color and finish. Many decorative brackets are available to match your decor or the finials you use, helping to make your new window treatments look even more polished.

    Shop Curtain Hardware >

    Learn More:

  • Scarves and valances
    Scarves & Valances

    Once your window treatments are in place and look professionally installed, you might wish they were just a little more decorative. Make them pop with scarves and valances.


    Scarves are draped across window treatments for added visual appeal, and look best above sheer to semi-sheer panels. Scarves should be about three times the length of your window for sufficient drape. Here are popular draping techniques:

    • Symmetrical: Both ends of the scarf will be level on either side of your window, with the center swag draping down from the middle.
    • Asymmetrical: One end of your scarf will be significantly shorter than the other, with the long end touching the floor. Best for sets of windows, with the long ends being on opposite sides of the windows for balance.
    • Multiple scarves: Consider complementary or monochromatic colors for more appeal.


    Add a touch of elegance to your room with a valance. While some valances might look like scarves, they are pre-draped, which means less work and upkeep for you. Valances come in a wide variety of shape and sizes, and, for families with pets or children, are a good alternative to looser scarves. Valances work well with any kind of window treatment, from sheers to dark blinds. Just make sure the valance fabric complements your window treatment fabric.

    Shop Scarves & Valances >

    Learn More:

  • Energy efficiency, privacy and light control
    Energy-Efficient & Room-Darkening Curtains

    Curtains and shades can provide several benefits beyond their good looks. Energy efficiency, privacy and light control are features you may be looking for. Use this guide to find the solution that best meets your needs.

    Energy efficiency

    Looking to cut down on energy costs? Consider treatments that deliver energy-efficiency benefits. Energy-efficiency options deliver a broad range of light-blocking and light-filtering benefits. Thermal curtains act as insulation to help lock in heat during the winter and limit the sun’s rays on hot days.


    If privacy is what you seek, blinds are your best bet. What makes them a great choice is that they’re versatile and easy to adjust. You can alternate from having them completely open for optimal natural light to fully shut for privacy. Heavy curtains and dark shades are also good choices if privacy is a priority.

    Light control

    All window treatments provide a form of light control, none better than shades. Light fabric shades and curtains allow more light in, whereas heavy fabric allows very little (and blackout shades even less). Consider your environment. Many people prefer dark shades for the bedroom and lighter shades for living spaces.

    Shop Energy-Efficient & Room-Darkening Curtains >

    Learn More:

  • Ideas for kids and teens
    Kids and teens window treatments

    Window treatments in kids' and teens' bedrooms allow a level of self-expression and creativity. Here’s how to ensure that both you and your child will love their new decor.

    Keep it safe

    Avoiding safety hazards is of critical importance. Look for Firefend™ Kids brand at Walmart which combine flame-retardant fabrics with vibrant colors and designs.

    Another safety tip is to keep draperies, and any accompanying cords and scarves, to a reasonable length. Longer, floor-length panels attract curious little hands capable of pulling them down.

    Keep it stylish

    Vibrant colors and bold patterns are popular choices that will satisfy even the most expressive kids and teens. Think of it as a simple, inexpensive way to add flair to their rooms.

    Does your child have a favorite Disney or movie character? Browse Walmart’s fun assortment of styles featuring popular characters that will delight fans of all ages.

    Keep it clean

    Look for Walmart's selection of long-wearing, washable fabrics that can easily be pulled down and washed and dried in a regular load of laundry.

    Shop Kids' Window Treatments >
    Shop Firefend Curtain Panels >
Back to Top


Used with permission. © Copyright Walmart. All Rights Reserved.

Important Walmart Disclaimer: All content, including but not limited to, recipe and health information provided in In Stores Now, is for educational purposes only. Neither the author nor assumes any responsibility for errors, omissions or contrary interpretation of the subject matter herein. Product information is provided by the supplier or manufacturer of the product and should not be construed as advice. Walmart does not sponsor, recommend or endorse any third party, product, service or information provided on this site.

The site includes Flash technology. To avoid interruption of software designed to aid visually-impaired people, please turn off your Flash player.