7 summer window treatment ideas that designers say are worth the investment

Re-dress your windows for the warmer weather with these 7 expert-approved summer window treatment ideas

summer window treatments
(Image credit: Vaughan Design & Development / Photography Chris Snook / Studio Duggan / Tori Murphy)

The days are only getting lighter and longer outside, so I thought it was high time I started replicating that feeling indoors, too. Eager to refresh my home for the warmer months ahead, I sought out the experts to tap into their ideas for the most transformative updates. The answer? Summer window treatments.

It makes perfect sense that summer-ready curtains, blinds, or shutters can effortlessly enhance both the aesthetics and mood of a room. Allowing more daylight to filter in and providing a better connection to the outdoors, according to interior designers the best window treatment ideas for summer evoke a breezy, relaxed ambiance. And I couldn't agree more.

So, whether you're drawn to the simplicity of shutters or the elegance of sheer window treatments, you're sure to find something to inspire with these expert-approved ideas.

Summer window treatment ideas from the experts

'Window treatments are a summer staple for many reasons,' says Nastassja Bowman of Kristen Elizabeth Design. 'In these hot summer months having layers between us and the sun is a huge help when keeping the house cool, thus keeping energy bills lower, keeping harsh sun rays out for our skin, and the longevity of our furnishings and even certain types of floors.'

'They also create the perfect framing for that picturesque view to the outdoors in your front and backyards,' she adds.

Here, we share the seven best summer window treatment ideas that the experts advise.

1. Ruched and relaxed Roman blinds

neutral batroom with striped floor tiles and a yellow bath tub

(Image credit: Studio Duggan)

Unlike traditional Roman blinds that maintain a more structured appearance, I'm drawn to a 'relaxed Roman' because they offer a much less formal, more inviting look that complements the laid-back vibe of the warmer months.

Sometimes referred to as 'London' blinds, the gathered fabric creates a soft silhouette that can easily blend with both modern and traditional decor, making them an excellent choice for those looking to update their window treatments without committing to a complete overhaul of their existing decor.

'Although they're a classic, we have been loving Roman Shades lately – specifically the style that creates a tousled, gathered look,' says Kristina Khersonsky, founder of STUDIO KEETA. 'When paired with a creamy linen or subtle stripe fabric – you get a laid-back, effortless look that reminds us of summer breezes.'

2. Linen and breathable materials

linen relaxed roman blind with a linen cafe curtain layered below

(Image credit: Tori Murphy)

As temperatures climb, selecting the right materials for window treatments becomes essential in maintaining a comfortable environment. For me, leaning into linen and other breathable materials feels like a natural step.

Tori Murphy, award-winning curtain and blind maker suggests: 'Lightweight and natural fabrics that help keep the heat out but allow the light through and if they waft in the breeze too then that's perfection. You can have fun layering sheers to play with different levels of privacy, a relaxed blind for example over a café style curtain [as seen above], both in sheer give a really striking and elegant look.'

Their natural, airy qualities not only keep rooms cool but also create a relaxed aesthetic that's perfect for summer. 'Look for fabrics that have an informal feel about them – linen or muslin for example; antique sheets adapted as curtains are delightful too,' suggests interior designer Benji Lewis. 'Do away with lining of any sort so that daylight floods in but be prepared for early starts to your day!'

3. Don't overlook shutters

modern bathroom with terracotta floors and window shutters over a freestanding bath

(Image credit: Ca' Pietra)

Shutters might not be the first option that comes to mind, but they offer a unique blend of style, functionality, and durability that makes them an excellent choice for the summer. Often associated with classic and coastal decor, shutters provide excellent light control, ventilation, and privacy, making them a versatile addition to any home decor.

'Window shutters are a stylish and effective window solution that is ideal not only for the summer months but all year round,' suggests Sam Tamlyn, managing director at California Shutters. 'With the increased light and heat during the summer, unlike curtains and blinds, shutters offer total flexibility to suit your needs throughout the day.'

'Tier-on-tier shutter designs in particular are perfect as the top and bottom half of the window can operate separately, allowing you more choice over how much light or shade you’d like. In addition, thanks to their made-to-measure fit, shutters are also great at helping you to control the temperature in the room by keeping the cool air in and the warm air out.'

I had window shutters in my last house and loved them in summer. While they aren't the best blackout option for sleeping, I chose to layer them with lightweight drapes that worked well in both summer and winter months to block out more light, and further dress the window.

4. Take a layered approach

neutral bedroom with doors out to the backyard and layered sheer curtains

(Image credit: Studio Atkinson)

Speaking of layering, a secret trick beloved by designers is to use a mix of summer-appropriate and heavier drapes so that you're always prepared no matter the season ahead.

'Using sheer fabrics is a wonderful way to introduce delicate details such as embroidery or linen texture to your scheme,' suggests Caroline Milns, head of interior design at Zulufish. 'For a more versatile approach, these fabrics can be layered with heavier drapery to insulate the room during the colder months and then be removed for the summer weather. This layered approach provides a flexible solution to seasonal temperature changes and adds a softer summer feel to your windows.'

'Having multiple layers of window treatments allows you to determine how much light is let into the home at any time of day,' adds Nastassja Bowman. 'With drapes and shades, you can get a lighter shade of thin linen lining that lets passive light through when closed, and pair with a heavier more vibrant, or bolder color or pattern as the perfect accent for the summer season and year-round! Always consider blackout linings in bedrooms and specialty lining if you have vinyl or hardwood flooring as it can warp and alter in color in the sun without proper protection.'

5. Woven blinds

sun room with vintage floral furniture and decor accessories and natural bamboo blinds

(Image credit: Alexandra Kaehler)

Woven blinds, made from natural materials such as bamboo or rattan are a fantastic choice for summer window treatments. Their unique textures and organic nature make them blinds a stylish and eco-friendly option for living rooms, kitchens, and even bathrooms.

'Sheer curtains are great if you want a bit of light-filtering without totally blocking the view but if your space feels too bright in the summer for sheers, we like natural woven shades,' suggests Heather of Heather Peterson Design. 'They still feel lovely and organic, or you could try solar shades, which are minimal and effective at blocking the light.'

Personally, I'm searching for some traditional 'Chik blinds' for the sunroom at the back of my home. Chik blinds are made from woven grass or reeds, offering a unique texture and a natural cooling effect making them particularly effective in hot climates. I just love the way they filter light into a space without overwhelming it.

6. Try mixing up patterns and prints

gingham curtains in a blue living room kitchen space with terracotta floor and a mustard sofa

(Image credit: Vaughan Design & Development)

Don't be afraid to experiment with patterns and prints. Summer is the perfect time to introduce fresh, lively designs that bring joy and excitement into your home.

From floral motifs to checks and geometric shapes, there are endless possibilities when it comes to selecting prints for your window treatments. Combining with different patterns in the same space can create a layered look, while pattern drenching with matching a print to your wallpaper or upholstery remains on trend for 2024.

'Gingham, to us, feels instantly nostalgic of British summertime,' says Holly Vaughan of Vaughan Design & Development who designed the vibrant space above. 'If you don’t fancy a fabric that will remind you of sunnier days during the cooler ones, we would suggest choosing a more versatile gingham with a classic and neutral color palette.'

7. Sheer drapes

light and bright dining room with round table and white and blue drapes

(Image credit: Dina Bandman / Photography Christopher Stark)

'One of the easiest ways to give a room a summery look is with sheer white window treatments,' says designer Dina of Dina Bandman Interiors who designed the dining space seen above.

'They go well with almost any style of decor and softly blur the lines between indoors and outdoors. For this breakfast room, we wanted it to feel like summer all year round, so we chose a lightweight linen fabric that wouldn’t overwhelm the room,' she explains. 'The trim along the edges adds structure and a fresh design element. It also prevents the all-white drapery from ‘disappearing’. It’s noticeable but still soft and breezy.'

Sheer drapes are a quintessential summer window treatment that brings a light, airy feel to any room without sacrificing on privacy. Their delicate, translucent fabric allows natural light to filter through, creating a soft and inviting ambiance. Perfect for those warm months when you want to maximize sunlight.

Well, that's certainly given me much food for thought. As you too consider these expert summer window treatment ideas, remember that the best option is the one that reflects your personal style and meets your practical needs. Whether you aim for a minimalist, modern look or a more eclectic vibe, there are plenty of summer window treatment ideas here to help you achieve your vision.

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