In 15th and 16th century, bed curtains and curtains over doors (room divider) were more common than window curtains. Damask was a favorite material of the period. Although traditionally made of silk or linen, damask can be woven in wool or a mix of fibers. Window curtains did not exist in England until late 16th century.
Shutters are more common than curtains in 17th century. Paired curtains started to be in use and it became fashionable to decorate beds and curtains in dark, rich and contrasting colors. This sort of luxury was, however, confined to the wealthiest homes. In France the Louis XIII and XIV styles produced highly decorative curtains for beds and windows. Trimmings started to be used in interior decoration in Louis XIV time. One of the major innovations was pull-up curtains.
The French Rococo
In this period, European luxury is combined with oriental taste to develop into this unique Rococo style. Fabrics included silk, linen and cotton, with motifs such as garlands of flowers, knots of ribbons, fronds of leaves and some Asian patterns. Different from heavy colors in Baroque, Rococo style used more delicate colors such as pink, white, yellow, azure blue, emerald green and ivory mixed with cream and gold. Trimmings were more common and sophisticated.
Regency and Empire Styles
Underlying the Empire styles was an appreciation of Classicism in a purer, simpler form, with less emphasis on frivolous decoration. Instead of being confined to the aristocracy, window treatments reached a much wider audience as trade and industry were booming in France. Vivid and daring colors were often used. Empire green, Empire ruby, azure blue, clear lemon yellow, amethyst and pearl grey were all mixed with gold and white. The layered look – outer curtains, under curtains, muslin curtains and deep valances – was one of great elegance and appeal.
By mid-century, curtaining was more lavish than ever. Curtains were used on windows, doors and beds. Swags and tails were a popular window treatment style. Floral prints and Jacquard textile were widely used in Victorian homes.
Art Deco and Modernism
Window treatments were fairly plain and simple in modern times. Emphasis was on functionality and window treatments were made less expensive and became a necessity. Textile industry was so developed in 20th century that the costs of fabrics were lowered significantly.
Now with the globalization and more affluent households, there is a new trend of classic designs in modern living. The interior design shifts from a standardized single style to a combination of styles across the time and space.