These are the dated window treatments interior designers are encouraging you to avoid in 2024

It's your home, so anything goes. But here's what the experts would prefer you to avoid...

dated window treatments to avoid
(Image credit: Tori Murphy / Davey Lighting / Nathan Turner Design)

If you've been living in your home for a little while, you might start to realize that there are certain design decisions you made years ago that are now starting to look a little naff compared to more modern iterations. And it may just be that your window treatments could be making your home look dated in 2024...

Seemingly a small decor item, window treatment ideas (curtains, window blinds, and shutters) can actually make or break a room's, mood, ambiance, and style kudos if they're left looking a little dated.

So, on a mission to steer you in the right direction with your window dressings, we've asked the experts for their take on the most dated window treatments that they're urging you to avoid. Here's what they had to say.

Dated Window Treatment Ideas to avoid in 2024

traditional living space with an ornate vintage bird cage and draped curtains

(Image credit: Studio Atkinson)

Window treatments do a lot of heavy lifting. They help filter and determine how much light comes into a space, they can solidify a design scheme (like a cherry on top), and can even serve as an unexpected statement that lifts a rather plain room. So it's important to make sure they are updated and consistent with your current aesthetic.

Of course, you shouldn't just succumb to all new interior design trends, it is your home so whatever you prefer is absolutely the best option here. But if you're intrigued by the window treatments that interior designers are steering clear of this year, here are the dated window treatments to avoid in 2024 – according to the experts.

1. Valances and pelmets

corner of room with green striped armchair and footstool, green and white patterned curtains and wallpaper

(Image credit: Nathan Turner)

'Valances that are visually prominent and are made of the same textile as the rest of the drapery can feel dated,' suggests Kristina Khersonsky, designer and founder of STUDIO KEETA. And we have to agree – in certain schemes.

If you're wondering what is a valance vs a pelmet, you're not alone. Valances, pelmets, and cornices are additional accessories that tend to be paired with long drapes and can be either a fabric-covered box that sits at the top of the window, or a smaller frilly curtain that also sits at the top. Not dissimilar to a cafe curtain, but on top. It's a very traditional and formal look and should be approached with caution in 2024.

'With many new products on the market for window treatments, you can have a more discreet and hidden valence or eliminate it completely,' she suggests. 'But in some cases, an accentuated valance that is made in a different pattern, shape, or material can elevate and add more interest to the window. They can be a great opportunity to add a patterned, contrasting fabric or add a material detail with trim or edging.'

2. Swags and tails

Austrian blind over desk all in green

(Image credit: Kyle Knodell)

If you're wondering what's making a home look date in 2024, swags are definitely up there. Made from soft pleats of fabric that hang from the top of the window and drape to a low point in the center, swags are quite an old-fashioned look that interior designer Benji Lewis is keen to see the back of.

'I would say swags and tails have had it and won’t ever come back,' says Benji. 'But then you go to a lovely country house like Greys Court where you can see all manner of fantastic elaborate window dressings that fly in the face of what’s fashionable!'

'So, I think it’s more about the fabrics that you choose to use to dress your windows,' he advises. 'I have this thing about bad blue and yellow fabric in some type of dreadful fleur de lys design used in a swags and tails style that gives me the shivers.'

Instead, if you're still looking for that soft, lightly ruched look but want to update it to feel more contemporary, a 'relaxed Roman' blind could be just the summer window treatment idea you're after.

3. Too heavy drapery

striped pink and white headphones in a hallway with a vintage rug

(Image credit: Tori Murphy)

'In general, overly heavy drapery tends to be a dated look,' suggests renowned designer Kathy Kuo. Think of the curtains that you used to play hide-and-seek behind at your grandparents' home decades ago, they were so heavy and thick that no one ever found you!

These days, we want to open up our homes to light, air, and warmth that is making its way into our rooms rather than shield from it. It is likely in part thanks to double glazing, but either way, heavier curtains and blinds are now a thing of the past.

'Window treatments that feel physically heavy, and even more so if they're rendered in a darker color, can add a sense of heaviness to the room and don't let in much natural light,' advises Kathy. 'If you need to be able to block out light from the window completely, there are plenty of sleek and subtle options for black-out shades that aren't going to also add a dated sensibility to the room.'

4. Shutters

vintage bathroom design with a claw foot tub and shutters at the window

(Image credit: Davey Lighting)

Are window shutters out of style, asks curtain and fabric expert Tori Murphy. With the rise in popularity of softer fabric window coverings, it can be easy to see why shutter ideas might start to feel a little outdated in 2024. But they do bring a sense of nostalgic style, clean lines, and a lot of privacy that can be hard to achieve with blinds and curtains.

'Have the shutters come down on certain kinds of shutters?' says Tori. 'I would say that there is still a place for them in certain settings, but what I have noticed and am feeling is that there is now a desire to opt for softer more tactile window treatments, that add character and practical personality to a window setting, rather than uniformity of shutters.'

Alternatively, embrace the half-height cafe curtain trend or look to Venetian blinds that can be rolled right up and away rather than static shutters.

While this is a list of "don'ts" from interior designers, hopefully you feel inspired enough to know what to avoid and where to look instead when choosing window treatments in 2024. And remember, just because we or an interior designer deem something dated, if you love it then by all means keep it! It's your home, the only rule is that it should make you happy.

Charlotte Olby
Style & Trends Editor

Charlotte is style and trends editor at Homes and Gardens, and has been with the team since Christmas 2023. Following a 5 year career in Fashion, she has worked at many women's glossy magazines including Grazia, Stylist, and Hello and most recently worked as Interiors Editor for British heritage department store Liberty. Her role at H&G fuses her love of style with her passion for interior design, and she is currently undergoing her second home renovation in Surrey - you can follow her journey over on @olbyhome