Asked on Jan 30, 2014

Curtain for windows with HVAC vents underneath

by Nic
I'm sort of at a stand still with decorating my living room. I have 2 decent sized windows which have vents directly under them. I'd like a clean look, so I'm tempted to just leave the drapes off, but it looks sort of drab. This is a 'new' home for us, so I don't know if I just need to finish decorating or I really do need drapes.
I dislike the look of short drapes and I think it is counterproductive to install long drapes just to cover the vents. Privacy isn't an issue out these windows. I'd like a transitional look and as you can see I like simple, uncluttered look. I'd love some suggestions or even just comments. I'm at a loss.
  19 answers
  • Bethany P Bethany P on Jan 30, 2014
    I had old cast iron radiators under some of the windows in my old house. I used draperies to the floor that flanked each side of the window, but were never closed because there were no privacy issues there, either. It framed the windows well and didn't cover the heat source. You could also do just valances or fabric cornice...
  • Nic, no real worry about covering the vents with the drapes. They make plastic covers that use magnets to change the direction of the air flow. They stick out about four inches and can be placed so the air will blow up or down so it has a way to get out from behind the obstruction. On an other note, the idea of covering the vents is not all that bad anyway. The theory is that the reason why the vents are placed on the outside wall is to create a wall of warm air or cold air in summer that washes over that area. Thus preventing the cold or warm depending upon season temps from reaching the room. By the curtains being placed over the drapes the air is forced over the wall warming it and preventing the cold air from the outside getting into the house. However in some cases this is not always desirable as the amount of heat to warm the rest of the room may be diminished. The key is to the thermostat placement. If the room has the thermostat located in it, then the room will always warm up to the setting you place it at. This may cause other rooms to overheat, but with some air balancing your home will remain comfortable year round. The last suggestion is to have a HVAC contractor install floor boots and disconnect the wall grills altogether. Then simply remove the grills, insulate the hole and sheetrock paint over.
  • A nice metal or wooden decorative rod over each window and use a light curtain or sheer with some texture and maybe pick up a color or two you are using in the room (the rug color?). If you leave them open I do not see them interfering with the vents. I have the same issue but mine are in the floor. I have light, satiny drapes which give texture and metal rods with the metal rings so the rod is above the window and curtains drape touching the floor. I do not like heavy drapes on my windows because I love sunlight and I figure if someone wants to see me in my pjs then go for it LOL check out JCP to get some ideas. Target even gets some nice ones. Your furniture shows me you are more of a modern and minimalist kind of gal who would not like heavy weighted curtains. Start looking online but going into JCP or any store where they have them up and you can touch is the best way. Good luck.
  • KathrynElizabeth Etier KathrynElizabeth Etier on Jan 30, 2014
    Plantation shutters stained to match your floors. We had them in our Baton Rouge house and loved them. I'm not a fan of drapes, and the shutters were made to fit the windows, providing a clean, simple line that seems to go well with most furniture styles.
  • Nic Nic on Jan 30, 2014
    I'm glad I asked! Some of these suggestion I never thought of. Thank you.
  • Sansyd Sansyd on Jan 30, 2014
    How about putting nice valence's?
  • Moxie Moxie on Jan 30, 2014
    I love the look in your room! I had a similar situation in a few of my rooms wanting to keep the clean look. I used the pleated pull down shades from JC Penney - when they are sale or with coupon codes they can be pretty cheap and look great...many colors so you can get one to blend right in with the wall, but they still add texture. The cool thing is, no strings or wands like blinds, easy to install (just a few clips) and sit in the window jamb. You can make them stay open, closed, or somewhere in between by just pushing up the bottom rail. You get window coverage, continue your look without issues of the vents/air. I think curtains or wall mounted treatments will make the room look smaller although could add pattern/color if that is what you want. Good luck with what ever you decide!
  • White Oak Studio Designs White Oak Studio Designs on Jan 31, 2014
    How about raffia/wood shades to start? They are very popular now. They pair them with longer curtains too, if you want both. I'm very much into shorter curtains these days - so much less work. I use either valances, shutters or shades 90% of the time. (The only place in my home with long drapes is the living/dining room and that is because of the heat and South facing sun the house came with lined drapes to keep out the heat.) Short window treatments are so much less work, cost and upkeep. In my family room, I actually have "Wallmart sale table" linen tablecloths $5.00 each used as valances. The house came with metal cream blinds and I added the linen tablecloth/valances. Total cost to me $15.00!!
    • Nic Nic on Jan 31, 2014
      @White Oak Studio Designs Would add some nice texture.
  • Jeanette S Jeanette S on Jan 31, 2014
    Oh dear! Do I feel for you! We have been in a house for 43 years that has the same problem. I have spent enough money on drapes/curtains/sheers/etc. for 22 windows over the years to pay for a trip round the world! HA! I finally decided, ENOUGH! Reaching retirement age I do not want anything with upkeep (painting) so we put up those 1" vinyl-looks-like-wood-trimmed-to-fit blinds only. I dust them and then take them down and put them in warm water in the bathtub about one a year or less, scrub them with dishwashing liquid and a little bleach (not enough to hurt strings) with a brush on a pole, let them drip almost dry, dry them off and put them back up. It takes a couple of hours for about 3 week ends. Were I so inclined, I might put curtains on about 12" on each side on some of those adorable rods they have now...that's all I would do! Actually, I would only do the formal rooms and maybe the den. Bedrooms? No. Leave them plain!
    • Nic Nic on Jan 31, 2014
      @Jeanette S LOL I think we've come to the same conclusion Jeanette. There are white 2" mini blinds in the rest of the house, which I am just fine with. I did just that, pulled them down and scrubbed them clean. When we went to sell my old house last spring, the realtor suggested I pull down the drapes and valances I had in my living room and kitchen. Made a huge difference in a feeling of space and lightness. As I write this, I'm wondering if I may have brought some of those drapes with me. Or perhaps I'll dig around and if I find them, I'll tack them up some how and see how they look.
  • Deborah J Deborah J on Jan 31, 2014
    I am in the process of building cornice boards for my 22 windows. I found information all over the internet and in fabric stores. One room is finished and it turned out great. I added shades that can be pulled down for privacy but hidden under the cornice when I want the view out the window
  • Funnygirl Funnygirl on Jan 31, 2014
    roman shades or rattan blinds first,them to soften the look add drapes to either sides and to really make it look fabulous a valance that matches the drapes.I would do it in stages,starting with the blinds/roman shades,you may find that look is just enough.your windows are lovely and you will still be able to enjoy their beauty when you raise up the shades!
  • DeMarie I DeMarie I on Jan 31, 2014
    Simple swags over a decorative rod would be simple and just give a finished look. Or you could make cornices and cover them in a material that went with your decor. They are simple to make - I made them for my former house's living room because I didn't want drapes hanging. They were easy. There are all kinds of directions on the internet.
  • Peg Peg on Feb 01, 2014
    Use draped long valances on each sides of windows....they have so many different soft colors too!
  • Kim Dagenais Kim Dagenais on Feb 01, 2014
    I see three different ways right now that I envision, and I would put up Roman Shades with valances. Or neural coloured roman shades with a light textured colourful fabric drapes on the sides, just for aesthetics. Someone mentioned shutters, and I think that would look nice as well. Shutters would not be as much work to clean. Hope you post pics after you do your window treatments.
  • Donna Maurino Flaherty Donna Maurino Flaherty on Feb 02, 2014
    I have roman shades on top & shutters on the bottom, I can pull the shades all the way up with the shutters closed or visa versa for different looks.
  • Nic Nic on Feb 02, 2014
    Thank you all!
  • Mary Davin Mary Davin on Feb 02, 2014
    Even if you use some sort of decorative shades, roman or slats, you could still dress up the windows with single panels of drape to the floor at both ends of the windows, with or without valences.
  • Donna Maurino Flaherty Donna Maurino Flaherty on Feb 03, 2014
    Yes, that is actually what I have on my windows. I thought it would sound fussy, but I think it looks great. I have silk roman shades, white shutters on the bottom and panels.
  • Karon Nelson Roberts Karon Nelson Roberts on Feb 16, 2014
    Go to Lowe's or Home Depot and get Vent flow covers. It sits on vent and directs air flow to the room and Away from the windows. Then you can put Floor Length drapes up. I like the rest of the room but really think drapes will tie everything together. Good Luck