The Perfect Pair: How to Layer Window Treatments

The Perfect Pair: How to Layer Window Treatments

Technically, you can layer or combine almost any two window treatments by mounting the first treatment inside the window frame and mounting the second treatment outside the window frame. But as we all know, just because something can be done doesn’t mean it should be done. Not all window treatments work well—or look good—together.

Today we’re taking a look at our favorite no-fail window treatments to pair and layer.

Simple, sturdy blinds pair nicely with patterned drapes for a clean and elegant look.
Simple, sturdy blinds pair nicely with patterned drapes for a clean and elegant look.

The Basics of Layering: What are your goals for your space?

How you layer window treatments depends on your goal for the room in question. Are you looking to create visual harmony in the room or create an interesting contrast? Maybe your needs are purely functional and you’re looking to create privacy or darkness. Let’s explore a few options for each of these goals.

Creating Harmony: Looking at colors & materials

If you want to create visual harmony in a room, you might want to take a visually consistent approach: for example, pairing similar textures, colors, or both.

Classic flat Roman shades paired with patterned curtains

This first example uses classic flat Roman shades in a light blue, paired with a slightly darker blue drape. Both window treatments are fabric, and both belong to the same color family. Combined with the rest of the room’s blue and gray décor, this creates a tranquil and harmonious room using various shades of just two colors.

Monochromatic room with relaxed Roman shades and neutral drapes

In this second example, the whole room is monochromatic (different shades of a neutral brown, from dark tan to light cream.) The paired window treatments are relaxed Roman shades combined with simple neutral-colored drapes. Both window treatments use fabric finishes. However, unlike the first example which contains two main colors, this room is all versions of the same base color, creating a space that is at the same time elegant and cozy.


Light blue Roman shades
Linen colored relaxed Roman shades
Patterned blue drapes
Neutral colored custom draperies

Creating Contrast: Looking at texture & pattern

Sometimes you want to make a statement in your home. One of the best ways to do this is to incorporate some kind of eye-catching contrast in the room. This can be achieved by combining two different textures, colors, or patterns.

Fabric drapes create contrast with woven wood shades

Here, we see a nice contrast created between the rough texture of woven wood shades and smooth drapes. While there is contrast between the textures, this pairing is unified with the natural motifs in both window treatments: the flowers and vines on the drapes and the natural wooden shades are both in the same style family. You want something that is visually interesting and eye-catching, but not shocking or jarring.

Pairing classic shutters with floor-to-ceiling linen drapes

This design uses several types of contrast. Perhaps the most obvious is the texture: the soft, light-absorbing drapes are visually very different than the smooth, hardwood hutters. While in the same color family, the shutters create contrast as one of the darker accents in the room. Last, there is a visual contrast created between the heights of the window treatments: the drapes run floor-to-ceiling, while the custom plantation shutters cover just the windows.


Woven wood shades
Real & Faux Wood Shutters
Flower and vine drapes
Linen floor to ceiling drapes
Contrast between solid-color cellular shades and patterned curtains

Contrast can also be created through the use of solid colors and patterns. Here, we see a neutral-colored cellular shade that matches the room’s wall color paired with a bold-patterned drape. The background of the drape is a neutral white, allowing the blue pattern to stand out with nice contrast against the cellular shades and walls.

Tall statement windows with color contrast

The tall statement windows in this room show another good example of creating contrast with color. The light cream colored cellular shades are light colored, along with the walls and trim. The dark plum purple floor-to-ceiling drapes make a bold color statement, contrasting with the lighter surfaces around them.


Grey cellular shades
Cream cellular shades
Blue ikat pattern drapes
Solid plum purple drapes

Creating Privacy: Using day and night layers to shield your sanctuary

Shield your sanctuary with a combination of sheer and opaque curtains

Layered window treatments aren’t just for great design. You can also combine the strengths of two different treatments for more versatile functions at every window. Sheer curtains obscure the views into your home during the day while still allowing soft, glowing light to diffuse into your home. At night, though, sheer curtains aren’t great for privacy—if you have the lights on, people will be able to see right into your home. This is where layering drapes comes in: closing the opaque outer drapes at night allows for privacy in your home.


Sheer curtains
Custom drapes with leaf pattern

Create Darkness: Double up for day-and-night blackout

Blackout living room with roller shades and drapes
Use layered treatments for blackout in a home theater

The blackout approach is more about function than aesthetics, but that doesn’t mean it can’t look nice! If you’re looking for a blackout effect for a bedroom, living room, or home theater, the best way to achieve total darkness is to layer two window treatments. Popular combinations include:

  • Roller shades paired with drapes
  • Cellular shades paired with drapes
  • Roller shades beneath Roman shades

» You might also be interested in Darken the Room: Different styles for different settings


Grey roller shades
Cream roller shades
Grey cellular shades
Tan cellular shades
Black and tan drapes
Blackout drapes
Ready to create your perfect pair?

Schedule a SAFE & CONVENIENT Virtual Consultation with one of our Window Covering Experts. It’s free and you’ll be working directly with a dedicated designer via video chat. Plus, you still get to see samples—once you have a few favorite styles picked out, we’ll send swatches of shades, blinds, and drapery fabrics to your doorstep. Learn more or call us at 858-452-6100 to set up your Virtual Consultation!

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