Many of you who visit the shop come and chat with me about your decorating dilemmas, and I love to help. One of the questions I was recently asked is, what do you do when you’ve got windows on walls that you need to put furniture in front of – should you, or can you? So today I wanted to talk about what to do with all those beautiful but sometimes pesky windows!
When planning a room, often we don’t have enough walls to place things against without interrupting the flow of the room. A sofa might be perfect in a particular room, but what if there’s a big window behind it? Well, as an interior designer, I will confess there has been many a time that I’ve had to put a piece of furniture in front of a window. Gasp! Now the trick to doing this, is by really considering the view and the window, incorporating them into your room and making it look like you did it intentionally.
I had a project where our customer had a breakfast room that just didn’t work. They had a round table which technically fit the room, but the back door was always hitting it and when people were over no one could get around the table or around the room. This room presented a challenge because all of the walls had pretty much floor-to-ceiling windows.
So I designed a beautiful eat-in banquette area built around a gorgeous antique style solid wood trestle table. Now the only snafu was that the banquette would cover up a portion of the floor-to-ceiling windows. In this case we knew this would be the best use of the space so we decided to embrace blocking the windows. We designed a pretty window treatment to go along with the banquette, something that would frame the top of the window and draw the eye up. We pulled up all the blinds, to open up the view, and the openness of the windows just framed the eat-in area beautifully, creating a light, bright, inviting room.
I had another customer come in last week with two window walls in an area where she was hoping to squeeze in a gate leg table or tilt top table for additional holiday seating. We found a gorgeous gate leg table much like this one, but painted:
Available at Village Antiques, $1,250
Ms. M had an entire wall of windows that we decided we’d center the table in front of. My first preference is to find a wall without windows, but again, this room didn’t allow for that. So instead we worked with the lightness and openness of the gate leg table, decided to add floor length window panels on each end, and use the table as a little desert buffet or tea service station. Once we created a whole design incorporating the window, it felt right in the room.
I love how this cleverly placed commode creates a pretty focal point in front of a window. This homeowner took advantage of a window molding to add some artwork and height and really make it work well. You’ll often want to put your side chairs next to a window to take advantage of a gorgeous view, so it’s okay to put a side table or commode next to a window.
Remember, window height is very important. If your window is floor-to-ceiling and the back of your piece of furniture is unfinished or ugly it will show on the other side – which you may not want if it’s the front of your house. In this case, I would opt for a side table which is finished all the way around, or in the case of this photo, place items where the back would not be visible outside due to the height of the bottom of the window.
Here is a photo of a pretty side table in front of a window.
This is another common area where you’ll find windows behind or next to a bed.
I would do exactly what you see in the photo above and bring the window treatments down to the floor even if the window is only half high. It adds length and height to your room and the window treatments match the scale of your bed. In my own house I have two rooms where the bed is placed in front of the window. The windows start about 48″ above the ground, they are not floor-to-ceiling windows but I plan to use floor-to-ceiling drapery panels on either side to frame the window and add a rich layer of beautiful fabrics! I haven’t done this yet, we’re still working on all the renovation downstairs so I’ll be sure to share a photo as soon as I get it done!
This question comes up all the time and my main bits of advice are:
1. If you can find a wall without a window to place your furniture, start there first.
2. I’m always hesitant to place a sofa or bed in front of a window, but if it’s the only option, try to center the sofa and design some drapery treatments around the space to make it look like you designed it to look fabulous!
3. If you’re buying something to put in front of a window, consider that you’ll be able to see the back of it from outside.
As always, do email me with any questions, or ask the gals at the shop – we love to help! If you enjoyed this article, please be sure to share it, like it or leave a comment on our Facebook page.
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