Window Design Digital and Physical

Window Design Digital and Physical

Computer windows teach us about window treatment design

Graphical user interfaces, such as Microsoft Windows, copied design concepts (and brand name) from building windows. There is more then just a brand name connection between computer design and window architecture.
From stained glass mosaics to lattice windows, inspiration and ideas were transferred to the world of computing.



From the dawn of the personal computer designer attempted to entice users with familiar design concepts.While Macintosh focused more on design, Microsoft looked at usability and functionality.
This could be compared with light and unobstructed view verses extensive architecture and colorful window cornices.


Susceptible to similar rise and falls of good design practices and trends

See some recent bad design trends in Linux, and in Windows. Macintosh is designed nicely however, often lacks the convenient functionality that others system have.



It seems ideas in graphical computer interfaces and real building windows are about to converge. Smart window or holograms are becoming more common to consumers.

Future of Windows
Compare 3D desktop to Smart Windows
Window treatments could help control indoor climate and conserve energy.

Window treatments could help control indoor climate and conserve energy.

Using blinds and shades properly can dramatically reduce summer cooling and winter heating costs. Depending on the season different window treatment types are ideal. In this post we explain how to design the most comfortable and Eco friendly window treatment for your home.

Normal Blinds with horizontal slats

Blinds are best used in the summer. They are able to reflect out the sun light to reduce heat gain by 45%. If you do need the natural sunlight but still want to save on heat you can adjust the blinds to reflect on to a lightly-colored ceiling. A lightly-colored ceiling can diffuse the light without adding much heat or glare. Another advantage of window blinds is being able to adjust it to allow in a breeze from an open window while at the same time deflecting the heat from the sun.


Here is great place to learn about the different blind and window shutter options available.

Draperies and shades

Drapes and simular kinds of window treatments are ideal for the winter season. Although curtains are overall less efficient at reducing heat in the summer you could still save up to 33%. The most optimal summer shade would be a medium colored curtain with a white plastic backing.

A shade’s ability to reduce heat loss in the winter depends on several factors including fabric style, thickness and color. Obviously a closed weave fabric will be better at controlling room temperature than hole weave pattern like this. It’s best if you let the drapes fall over on to the floor or windowsill and also overlap in the middle. Velcro could be used to tightly attach the drapes at the sides and bottom. If they don’t touch the ceiling a cornice should be installed over the top. Two sets of shades hung over each other could also help. If all done properly it’s possible to reduce heat loss by up to 25%. Most standard window shades reduce heat loss from a room up to around 10% by default.

Cornices or Pelmets?

When you look at a hard top window treatments you might initially have trouble determining if they are cornices or pelmets. Cornices and Pelmets are often used interchangeably. They are both hard window treatments that decorate the top edge of the window; however, they are technically slightly different. A cornice means a ledge and refers to a horizontal decorative molding that crowns a building, piece of furniture or window . The function of a building cornice is to throw rainwater off the building, and in that regard it is similar to the eves or roof edge. The difference between the eves and cornice is that the cornice has decorative molding attached.  The combination of the decorative molding and the eves gives the cornice is characteristic projecting crown, plus one of myriad types of decoration.

The decorations added to the cornice can appear in many different forms. While true cornices (as opposed to pelmets) all have a projecting crown at the top, they differ in the shape of the sub layers of decoration. There may be a middle layer of carved wood, for example, sitting between smaller jutting cornice crown like projections, each subsequent projection smaller than the one above it. The possibilities are endless when we consider ;that the size of each projection, its shape and its height; and the number of projections and their size, height, and curvature can vary extensively.

The pelmet is a palm leaf like decoration that generally conceals curtain fixtures. In fact, etymologically, the word derive from the  old English word palmette or palm leaf like decorative covering. The pelmet in comparison to the cornice is missing a crown and various layers of decorative molding found in cornices. The pelmet, in fact, frequently consists of a flat layer of decorative fabric covering a wood frame that sits at the top of the window treatment (drape, shade or blind), and covers it.  Pelmets are often cloth covered, whereas cornices are more likely to be made of wood, plaster, or faux wood.  Another essential difference between cornices and pelmets is that the cornices are related to the crown molding of a room as it interacts with the window, whereas the pelmet relates to covering the top of the window or other structure and not forming part of the room molding in any way.


Enhancing Window Treatments With Cornices, Valences, and Swags

Cornices, valences, and swags are window treatments that often enhance existing window coverings such as drapes, shades or blinds. All three window additions sit on top and or to the side of existing coverings and add color, texture, and depth to the arrangement. These three window additions embellish drapes, blinds and shades much as drapes blind and shades add interest to a bare window.

Cornices stand out from valences and swags by their solid framed structure, which comes out from the wall like a shallow rectangular box and sits over the top of the window and or window treatment The underlying cover, be they drapes shades, or blinds dramatically drop down from behind the cornice. Cornices may be made of wood or metal and may be covered by fabric. The possibilities for matching cornice color to existing window dressings and or the room décor is nearly endless and makes for interesting design challenges.

Window valences are cloth material that drapes over the top of the existing curtain, shade or blind. They can be chosen to blend with the underlying covering, or to contrast in a harmonious.

and interesting way. They can be created to mesh harmoniously with the room décor. Like cornices, valences can hide ugly curtain rails, thereby softening the upper border of the window. Custom valences can be cut to any dimension, with virtually unlimited selection of fabric, color, pattern, trim choices, large or small pleats, if any, and style (swag, jabots, trumpets, etc.) Valences may sit straight across the window or appear in varied shapes in the both the upper and lower border. Possibilities include a or swag like, diagonal, They might be of one uniform color or multiple patterned as for example, one pattern for the valance, and an alternate color for the pleats. Balloon valences are so full that they create round “poufs” that are pushed into the room by the walls or window. Banner valences are formed of triangularly shaped fabric segments that overlap. A bell is a section of a valence that stands out as a triangular cone. When a valance consists of multiple fabrics, the face fabric is the one that stands out the most and predominates. A grommet is a punched out hole surrounding by a supporting ring, as are seen in shower curtains. They are found at the top of some valences, which hand down from the curtain rod rather than cover it. A jabot is the side tail of a valence that hangs down on either side of the window. Jabots may also drop down from the center part of the curtain usually between swags.

Swags, valences and cornices both shape and crown windows and window treatments adding beauty and distinction to the existing decorations and the room decor. Their presence takes the window covering out of the category of the utilitarian and mundane and transports it to the realm of the beautiful and artistic. They increase the treatment’s depth by using layering, texture, and contrast, adding whole additional realms of possibilities to window decoration planning.

Resource: To create and install high quality cornices, valances, and swags in the greater New York area contact Royal Window Treatments; 180 Lexington Ave, 2nd Fl New York, New York 10016; (212) 473-1111;