Great window treatments for your bathroom

Shannon Lee | Improvement Center Columnist | October 20, 2014

Your bathroom should be an oasis of calm and relaxation. But it all too often becomes an oasis for mold and mildew, and that means you spend many hours trying to clean it. The near-constant moisture in your bathroom makes for a difficult time in choosing window treatments. After all, you need something that stands up to the moisture, but still looks great and doesn't have to be trashed every few months when mold takes hold.

Fortunately, there are options for those who want to have beautiful window treatments in the bathroom -- without the worry that all that moisture can bring.

Keep things light and airy

One of the keys to great bathroom window treatments is keeping things light. Curtains made of layers of fabric might as well be a welcome mat for mold, so avoid them at all costs. It might look opulent and rich, but you will be cursing every last inch of it when you have to clean it for the millionth time. Thin, gauzy curtains over your window will let the sun shine through while providing the privacy you need, and they are easy to toss in the washer and clean every month or so.

Look for curtains with pockets or tabs so they can be slipped onto a cafe rod and easily placed wherever you want them. You can choose long curtains that cover the whole window, or choose shorter curtains and place the rod at the halfway point of the window. This placement allows for privacy right where you need it, but leaves a generous strip of the upper window open, thus allowing in plenty of natural light.

If your heart is set on a opulent, fixed window treatment for the bathroom, choose weather-resistant fabric that can be cleaned easily while the treatments are in place. There are numerous options on the market made of heavy canvas, such as those fabrics designed for outdoor furniture. These could look quite handsome in your bathroom.

Turn to blinds for more privacy

What if you have a bathroom window that faces a great deal of foot traffic, and you need to have much more privacy than a gauzy, light curtain? Blinds might be the answer. Those made of synthetic materials, such as PVC or aluminum, can withstand the moisture of the bathroom and look great for years. If the look of wood fits your bathroom decor, seek out faux wood styles that look very much like the real thing.

If you absolutely hate to dust, invest in vertical blinds rather than horizontal ones. Top down/bottom up blinds are a good option if you are diligent about cleaning them. Look for those that are made of a flat, easy-to-clean material, rather than the honeycomb styles. Remember that you might need to have blinds custom-made to fit into windows of odd or unusual shape; that adds a bit of a heavier price tag.

Forgo window treatments altogether

If no window treatment seems to work for your bathroom, get creative by not having window treatments at all. If you live in the wilderness and have utter privacy, you can get away with a bare window. But what if you live in an area where window coverings are a must, consider changing the window itself.

The best bathroom windows are low-maintenance and provide ample privacy. Frosted glass panels can do this job nicely, and so can window blocks. These glass blocks allow the sunlight to stream through but they also provide privacy without the use of window treatments or blinds. However, there are downsides: you are sacrificing the ability to open the bathroom window, and your view will be distorted.

If you want to get really fancy, consider replacing your current windows with stained glass. This works especially well for smaller windows that don't suit themselves to treatment, such as porthole windows or tiny hopper windows. If you aren't sure about doing anything so permanent, try out designer window films before you commit.

Need a compromise between curtains and brand-new windows? Try using a simple screen that sits on the windowsill. This works much like curtains on cafe rods, as it can let light in through the top while keeping things private. Best of all, the screen can be taken down and cleaned on a regular basis, then popped right back into place.

No matter your choice in treatments for your bathroom windows, remember to look at the long-term picture: Are you willing to clean the treatments on a regular basis? Will removing them for this be a hassle? Keep in mind your lifestyle and what kind of time you are willing to spend before you make the choice in bathroom window treatments.

Image credit to ThinkStock/robinimages

About the Author

Shannon Lee is a journalist and occasional novelist with a serious weakness for real estate. When she’s not writing, she and her husband are taking road trips to explore covered bridges, little wineries and quaint bed-and-breakfast inns in their beloved Pennsylvania.