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Minimalism 101: How to Choose Simple Window Treatments

Somewhere between the IKEA boom and the Marie Kondo effect, minimalism started taking a major hold on the design world. It’s not that people want less, per se. It’s that we want more from less. Just like the smartphones we carry in our pockets, we expect our 21st-century homes to be – and, more importantly, feel – efficient. This requires that every knick-knack, nook and cranny in your home get pared down with great deliberation. 

Sound overwhelming? It’s not, especially when you focus on your home’s foundational features, first. I’ll walk you through the basics of minimalism, and then we’ll dive into how to choose simple window treatments that match this beloved design style. 

Everhem Woven Woods hang half-way down over windows in minimalistic Goop NYC office meeting room
Simple window treatments can be a beautiful complement to textured floors in a minimalistic interior. Designer: @arielokin Photo credit: @graydonherriott and @nikoleherriott 

The Definition of Interior Design Minimalism 

“Minimalism” can be used to describe any number of things: architecture, fashion, art or even music. While simplicity is the common thread, there’s more to the definition than that. Specifically, when it comes to interior design, minimalism is all about function. Every chair, every picture frame and every coffee-table book serves a purpose. There’s no extra fluff – not one extraneous pillow. 

What you will see in high volume is loads of natural light, which helps highlight unique architectural features. Minimalist design also has a soothing visual balance that’s created by thoughtful proportions throughout the space. 

Characteristics of a Minimalist Interior Design 

  • Layout: Open floor plans and clear sight lines 
  • Color palette: Soothing neutrals, such as white and gray
  • Flooring: Textured wood or natural stone
  • Furnishings: Simple forms and low profiles (thank you, IKEA) 
  • Lighting: Geometric shapes with sleek metal finishes 
  • Accessories: Minimal but purposeful 
  • Window treatments: Lightweight drapes and structured shades 

The Role of Window Treatments in Minimalist Design 

I mentioned before that window treatments are one of the foundational elements of a minimalistic decor scheme. Really, they’re a key piece in any design style. But here’s exactly what window treatments bring to a minimalist interior: 

They can kickstart your design – Because simple window treatments are so bare-boned, you can treat them like a blank canvas. Let them be the base from which you build something spectacular in your home’s interior. 

They are complementary – When you choose muted, monochromatic colors for your window treatments, you allow other elements in your home to take center stage. Instead of gazes going toward a lively pattern on your drapes, they’ll be directed to an artful light fixture or grainy hardwood floors. 

They create calmness – With a 24-7 news cycle and a steady stream of Instagram Stories, our brains are constantly turned on. Coming home to a space that is clean and simple can actually soothe your nervous system and induce a sense of calm. Dress that big bay window in the right drapery, and you’ll have the most idyllic comfort zone you can dream up. 

They are timeless – Talk about efficiency. If you redecorated every time the trends shifted, you’d have to take out a third mortgage. With minimalist window treatments, you can save yourself a lot of time, money and hassle. Their clean, classic designs have staying power. So, regardless of the current climate, your home will always look like it belongs. 

How to Choose Simple Window Treatments for Your 21st Century Space 

Now that you’re excited to create a harmonious, hygge-filled home, it’s time to choose the right window treatments based on your style. It’s not a difficult process, but you’ll want to be sure you consider all the following factors: 

Color

Neutral colors are the obvious choice for a minimalist’s window treatments. White, gray and shades of blue are the most popular, because they’re closely associated with divine serenity. Imagine a clear sky with puffy white clouds and you get the picture. 

At Everhem, we have a variety of neutral-toned fabrics for the picking. In fact, we have 26 fabric colors, ranging from dark to light and white to green. For simpler window treatments, however, you’ll want to stay on the lighter side. This will keep you aligned with the neutral color palettes of minimalist interiors. 

You also could go with woven woods, which have a natural earthy tone. Everhem’s Chestnut, Khaki or Seashell woven wood shades would be the best option for minimalism. These lighter tones fade into the backdrop, so you can place the emphasis elsewhere. 

See how the Goop’s East Coast office uses simple window treatments to offset their rose-petal wall color.

Everhem’s simple window treatments hang in Goop office with multi-light pendant & modern furniture
Everhem’s Chestnut Woven Wood Shades blend with the textured area rug, so the modern furnishings can shine. Designer: @arielokin Photo credit: @graydonherriott and @nikoleherriott 

Fullness

Fullness refers to how much fabric is used to create a panel of drapery. Let’s say your drapes have a fullness of 3x. This means the width of the drapery panel will be three times as wide as the window width. Fullness directly relates to how the drapes hang over your windows. 

You might think less fullness is more appropriate in a minimalist design, but that’s actually not the case. A 1x fullness, for example, means the fabric is exactly the width of the window. As a result, you get a drape that hangs like a flat bed sheet. Doesn’t sound pretty, does it? It’s not. 

That’s why, at Everhem, we use a 2x fullness for all our custom drapery. It’s the perfect option, because it’s not too flat or too full. In interior design, minimalism should look elegant. And that’s exactly what you get with the beautiful folds of a 2x drapery panel. 

Pleat style

From a swagged fan pleat to a necktie heading, pleat styles can be very complex. In minimalism, those ornate folds would be a complete distraction, though. Instead, you want a pleat style that features straight lines – and not too many of them. 

Everhem drapery comes in only three different pleat styles to keep it easy: boxed, tailored and pinched. Though they’re all viable options for a minimal design, the box pleat offers the absolute simplest look. Of course, if you have room for a little texture, don’t shy away from the extra folds in the tailored pleat. 

Hardware style

With woven woods and Roman shades, there is no visible hardware to consider. But if you’re looking at drapes and curtains, you’ll have to pick a rod that makes sense for minimalism. French returns are a beautiful accent at the top of your windows, because the curtain rod returns back into the wall. It’s a direct route – no S-curves or kitschy finials to clutter the look. Everhem offers right angle return and curved return, which are both sleek designs and add a touch of character. 

That said, you can get away with a modest, geometric finial in minimalistic interiors. This would include a basic square or ball on either end of the rod. Everhem’s drapery hardware is a great example of a minimalist-approved finial. 

Hardware finish

You’ll notice that in Swedish-inspired minimalism, the finishes are matte black or bronze. In a room that’s so light and bright, these contrasting colors bring a sense of grounding. On the other hand, a lot of new construction features brass hardware, which can also be a nice pop of shine against simple window treatments and a neutral color palette. Brass is exceptionally warming, which many minimalistic interiors need to avoid feeling too stark. The oil-rubbed bronze is also quite comforting, especially when paired with a light-colored linen drape. 

At Everhem, we offer all three of the classic minimalistic hardware finishes: antique brass, matte black and oil-rubbed bronze. 

Woven woods drawn shut to block dining room from sun, while white linen drapes hang in the next room
Matte black drapery hardware connects the dots to the dining room table’s bowl pendant light. 

Type of covering

A minimalist interior may feature all different types of window treatments, with variations from room-to-room. Some of the more common types of window coverings, however, include ceiling-to-floor drapes, flat Roman shades and woven woods. These are all sophisticated window coverings that have the kind of structure you want in a minimalist interior. 

To guarantee that you get exactly what you’re looking for, choose custom-made window treatments. Everhem has a great selection of quality drapes and shades that will help jumpstart your move toward minimalism. Of course, if you need help choosing drapes, shades or hardware, don’t hesitate to reach out by emailing me at welcome@everhem.com. I know it’s not that simple to simplify – but it’s always worth it!