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March 5, 2012

1940’s Window Treatments for Unusual Windows – 11 Ideas with Illustrations

By RetroRuth

I am excited to bring you guys today’s post, because today we have more solutions for window treatments in your 1940’s home from Popular Home Decorations by Mary Davis Gillies.  Interesting or different window treatments always fascinate me, so I must say that I was very excited to see this section in the book dealing with unusual or problem windows.

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A sofa, a pair of tables, a pair of chairs, a coffee table, and dinette group completely furnish this bride’s apartment. The denim-covered Lawson sofa now parades a cretanne slip cover, but it will respond just as effectively to other materials. The mirror was made by a handy man, of an ordinary white framed mirror, some composition board and glass rosettes from the “Five-and-Ten.”

See the lovely bay window in the picture? The book offers several different ideas for window treatments for bay windows, all of them cute.

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And an idea for corner windows!

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And those problem windows that are too close to doors? Well, the book has ideas for those, too!

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Wow! Has anyone ever seen this done?  I have to admit that I don’t recall ever running across this idea before.

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An informally balanced drapery treatment in an apartment. The walls are painted white with a twelve-inch painted band of blue framing in the window. Yellow curtains cover the wall on one side and a pit-it-up lamp and plant bracket balance it.

I love this one! A GREAT way to deal with apartment windows!

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Paul Bry, New York designer, used this treatment in his own apartment. Mirrors balance a corner window, a couch fits the angle of the wall below, and a single valance and draperies frame both.

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A pair of windows may be curtained individually.  A desk, table, or interesting wall composition between them will enhance the windows.

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A simple method of giving importance to a window is to curtain the entire wall. Mount a cornice at the ceiling line, a Venetian blind will cover the wall to the top of the window, and the draperies will just reach the window.


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A pair of windows divided by several fee of wall may be treated as one unit. Mirror glass or bookcases between the windows are attractive.

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Wall and windows in these two sketches are exactly the same. The difference in the apparent size of the two areas is due entirely to the method of curtaining. In one the window is curtained, in the other the wall is curtained.

I hope this has helped you solve your pesky window treatment issues, or at least given you a few ideas! How bout it, guys? Feel free to bounce window treatment ideas off us and we will brainstorm in the comments section.

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5 Responses to 1940’s Window Treatments for Unusual Windows – 11 Ideas with Illustrations

  1. Jason Reply

    March 5, 2012 at 11:16 am

    I love finding examples of window treatments, especially from the time period our homes were built. I have a corner window in the living room as in the example above, but it’s more pesky because it’s 2 windows on 1 wall and only 1 window on the other, so it isn’t balanced. I’ve decided I’m going to do 1 way traverse rods on each wall. Should have done the pinch pleats on traverse to start with. Currently I have sheers with curtains over top on another rod, so sort of the same look without the function.

    I also like seeing examples of sill length sheers with floor length drapes which I have noticed watching old tv shows. My grandmother always had floor length sheers and drapes, but the sheers were on a plain rod. I may do double traverse with pinch pleat sheers so that I can open them easily as well, even though I don’t like pinch pleat sheers as much as just plain rodpocket sheers, but function is important.

    • Jason Reply

      March 5, 2012 at 11:17 am

      I should mention that my grandmother does not have them in her new house, but now I want them – it’s very funny!

    • RetroRuth Reply

      March 6, 2012 at 11:43 am

      Sounds awesome, Jason! Would LOVE to see pics!

      And I agree, I think that function is very important, especially for window coverings!

  2. Beverly Reply

    March 5, 2012 at 12:15 pm

    Which one are you using?

    • RetroRuth Reply

      March 6, 2012 at 11:45 am

      Hello, hello! We have the entire curtained wall suggestion going on right now in our living room. It makes it look like we have a huge bank of windows in the back when in reality there are really only three big ones and then lots of wall. 🙂

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