Choosing Kid-Friendly Windows

Think about safety and light control when adding a playful window treatment to your child's bedroom.
Lavender Playroom With Checked Roman Shades

Lavender Playroom With Checked Roman Shades

Design by Jennifer Duneier

By: Amanda Lecky

The windows in your child's room play important roles in making it a space that's both comfortable and attractive. If you're replacing windows or skylights, it's wise to choose energy-efficient models, which will not only cut your energy costs but will help regulate the temperature inside the room. You can identify these products by looking for the Environmental Protection Agency's Energy Star label as you shop. Standards differ depending on where you live, but these are all products designed to limit heat gain or heat loss.

Do you plan on keeping your existing windows? Then your main focus will likely be dressing them up. First and foremost, consider safety. The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) has identified window coverings with cords as one of the top five hidden hazards in the home, as children can get entangled in the cords and strangle. Your smartest move is to avoid using any product with a cord in your child’s room.

Whimsical Window Treatments

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Trim It Yourself

Custom-made curtains can be expensive and time-consuming, if you make them yourself. But it's easy to dress up bargain white panels with bold craft-store trim. You can glue it on, or machine-stitch if you're handy with a sewing machine. Photo courtesy of Project Nursery

Mad Plaid

This built-in window seat is a charming spot to read and opens up for extra storage. A striped Roman shade adds a layer of masculinity in this boy's bedroom. Designer Lina Khatib

Custom and Cost-Effective

Budget-friendly roller shades get a quick and easy update with pretty polka dots. Paint them on, or use peel-and-stick wall decals. The striped and gathered valance softens the window and will look appropriate after the polka-dot motif has been outgrown. Design by Barbara Tabak of Decorating Den Interiors

Scalloped Detail

An angled awning is an elegant, unexpected touch in this sophisticated girl's room. Its scalloped edge is a feminine counterpoint to the tailored plantation shutters, and its structure offers a cozy sense of shelter above the window seat. Design by Nancy Barrett of Decorating Den Interiors; Photography by Anne Matheis

Pretty in Pink

Wide windows flood a room with sunshine and make it look larger, but can be difficult and pricey to fit with curtains or shades. The designer used a three-layer approach: cellular shades provide privacy and light control; fixed curtains offer softness at each side; and a decorative drape along the top accentuates the room’s architecture and reinforces the girly theme of the decor. Design by Yelena Gurts of Decorating Den Interiors

Mix and Match

The curved wall of windows creates the perfect backdrop for elegant window treatments. A mixture of plaid Roman shades in white, lavender and lime green, with lavender crystal trim and polka-dot sheer panels, make it a true princess room. Design by Jennifer Duneier

Think about light control. "You may want a blackout shade, or a blackout lining in your curtain to keep the room dark at night — and in the late morning in a teen’s room," says designer Barbara Tabak, CID, of Decorating Den. "Another option is to choose a heavy fabric, like velvet," says Susana Salk, designer and author of Room for Children. "When velvet drapes are closed, they really block out all of the light."

Window treatments are a great way to inject a bit of risk-free fun into the space. "You can change them fairly easily, so it's a natural spot to get a bit whimsical," says Atlanta designer Terry Ervin. "I did a garden-themed room once: We used painted wooden flowers to hold up the tops of the draperies, and we tied them back with big dragonflies. I’ve also seen a lot of fun curtain rods: baseball bats (the tiebacks were baseballs), hockey sticks, branches."

Use windows as a way to express your child's own artistic ability. "I’ve created a valance from a child’s artwork clipped to a curtain rod," says designer Nancy Barrett of Decorating Den Interiors. Another idea is to have fabric made from your child's own design at sites such as Spoon Flower.

Ready-made curtain panels are probably the most cost-effective window treatment, starting under $20. Without sewing, you can hem them to the perfect length using iron-on fusible web, available at craft stores. Add custom details with trim: Hot-glue a ribbon stripe down the inner edge or along the hem; sew on some pom-pom edging; or use stencils, stamps or fabric dye.

Think creatively about your materials. Decorative sheets, lace tablecloths or plain canvas drop cloths can work as inexpensive window treatments to dress up a space.

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