I don’t know by how many ways windows can be classified. For purposes of determining how they should be dressed, however, there are two classifications that are worth knowing. The first is how the window opens. Casement windows are hinged at the sides and pushed to open, picture windows are generally large panels of glass that offer a panoramic view of the outside, double-hung windows slide up or down, sliding windows are pushed to the side while awning windows are generally hinged at the top and pushed to open.
Windows can also be classified according to shape. The two windows in the left photo above are windows with separate arch tops. The window on the left is a single arch window. The left window in the left photo and the single arch window in the right photo are also picture windows. They do not open but merely allow natural light to come in as well as offer views of the outside. The right window in the left photo is also a casement window.
Naturally, what kind of dressing a window needs depends on its location, its purpose, how it opens and how it is shaped. It would be silly to cover a picture window, for instance, because that will defeat its purpose. Meanwhile, covering up an arched window entirely will hide the shape of the arch.
One thing I learned from Window Treatments Idea Book (Tauton’s Idea Book Series) is that a curtain rod need not always be on top of a window. In dressing a window with a separate arch top, the curtain rod can be positioned between the arch and the window itself so that the arch remains exposed even when the curtains are drawn.
Then, there is such a thing as outside and inside mount. With casement windows, for example, the curtain can be placed inside with window frame so that only the glass panels are covered while the frames, and the natural shape of the window, remain visible.
So many options, so many possibilities. We’re also considering the materials for the window dressings — bamboo blinds, wood blinds, traditional curtains or vertical blinds made with semi-transparent fabric? Ah, but that’s for another entry.