What do you get when you take an interior designer to Germany?
A Dropbox FULL of shutters, shades, and sheers!
During my recent trip to Germany, I was struck by how visually and functionally intriguing some of their designs were. I was immediately drawn to the beautiful ways that they treated their windows. From distinct metal rolling shutters on the exterior to beautiful flowing drapery on the inside, the German window landscape was a welcome interest for me. So, I started snapping away at the gorgeous designs.
The windows are more than glass and design.
The windows in Germany are often used as a way to control the light, air circulation and temperature, and privacy in any season. Homes will often have a few throws like the ones in this Valentine Look Book on the foot of the bed, draped on a bench, or effortlessly thrown over the arm of a chair to help keep cozy. Each of the windows we saw were screenless which gives the occupants or owners a closer-to-nature feel when open. As much as they love the natural light and “luft” or air, they also like to control the amount of it as well as the privacy of their home or business.
While there are differences in the actual style and function of European windows, it was the distinct preferences that the Germans have for blocking out light and ensuring privacy that truly got me interested. From rolling metal shutters on the exterior to the flowing, embroidered sheers on the inside, here are the top treatments that caught my eye in Germany.
- Rolläden is the word for the rolling metal shutters that were prevalent throughout much of German design. These shutters look much like the interior 2” slat wood type that are popular in the US, however these metal versions are on the exterior of the window. They are operated by something resembling a light switch. When these were used, they were often the only treatments necessary for the window as they can block the light out completely and “shutter” off the world.
- Traditional wood shutters were among the most delightful and colorful things to see, not because they are a novelty, but because the Germans actually used them. Unlike the decorative kind that we see here in the US, these are purposed as functioning pieces of light control and privacy. Very often, those with wood shutters would also have interior drapery.
- White sheers were a prevalent choice. Whether embroidered, patterned, or plain, the light fabric of the sheer curtains allowed for movement, airiness, and an open feel. The delicacy and elegance in white sheers really played well with the open windows.
- White café curtains are light, typically unlined fabrics that cover the lower part of a window. The Germans use these to allow for natural light to come in while still giving a bit of privacy to those dining or sitting near the window.
- Cordon String Curtains were a magnificent drape to find used around Germany. They are made using machine crocheted yarns where the individual threads hang down loosely. These definitely give a bit more of a contemporary design element that can be used in both commercial and residential applications as window treatments, partition, or other design elements.
- White pleated shades are always a perfect choice for windows as they are modern, uniform, and easy to use. These were a popular choice for the interior of both commercial and residential spaces as they allow a bit of light in even when fully closed.
- White banded shades are great for creating dimension with light and adding visual impact which is exactly what I found in German windows. With the ability to overlap the solid bands of fabric, thus controlling the amount of light that comes in, these were not only a brilliant design choice but also an excellent option for getting just the right level of privacy and sunlight. There is even a PerfectSheer option that combines both the banded layer shade with a sheer-fabric vane shade for a sleek and modern look.
There were many beautiful window vignettes in the German window landscape that had me pause and click.
It also got me thinking about how important window treatments are to the overall aesthetic and function of a space. These things that are so often an afterthought of design are so vital to the way a room looks and feels.
If you need help with creative or inspiring window dressings, Ellie Ann’s is here to assist you in any way.
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