coastal window treatments

Coastal Style Window Treatment Ideas

Window treatments are the perfect opportunity you have to define the look and feel of your room. Today I’m sharing some of my favorite coastal style window treatment ideas.  Think of the textures and colors inspired by the sand and sea like sea grass, sand dunes, and other nautical textures like rope and metal. Natural woven shades add warmth and texture to your windows and stand out beautifully on light, neutral colored walls. Light cotton and linen are also classic choices for breezy coastal style window treatments. Relaxed Roman Shades in white linen lend a crisp yet casual feel to any space. Gauzy sheer curtains in natural materials add comfort and softness, especially in living rooms and bedrooms.

While my personal coastal palette consists of pale neutrals like white, sand, blush, and light gray,  window treatments are the ideal place to add a fun pop of color. Think beach balls, popsicles, seashells, kites, and coral as color inspirations. Choose a bright fabric for your shades or drapes, and pull in the same color with accents throughout the room like pillows, rugs, and art. Navy blue and white create a crisp, nautical feel and you can tie in rope and metal for accent pieces.

Today let’s look at three of my top coastal style window treatment ideas – (1) Woven materials (2) Roman Shades (3) Sheer Curtains.

Organic Materials

Natural woven shades let in diffused light and work in many different environments. Natural window shades are constructed from 100% organic materials, renewable materials, including bamboo, jute, and grasses. These woven shades provide fantastic texture and can be a little bit rustic and a little bit modern, so they’re a perfect fit for nearly any style or decorating preference. Pair them with white cotton curtains for a classic coastal look or use them on their own to highlight other features in your home. The simplicity of organic shades softens windows in rooms that are already accented by decorative elements.

coastal window treatments

Coastal Window Treatments

Roman Shades

Roman Shades provide a more streamlined & elegant finish to any room. And because they are available in a range of styles and custom materials – from classic to casual to elegant – they complement many spaces and interior decor styles.  In addition, Roman shades have a practical appeal. For example, if you have built-ins and banquettes against the wall, you can’t do full-length drapery panels. Roman shades provide window coverings without having the concerns of wall space.

coastal window coverings

Flat Fold Roman Shades


The choice of face fabric is the most critical decision when designing custom Roman shades.  Most importantly, the fabric affects the shade’s translucency, as well as how easily it will operate and stack when retracted.  When you’re selecting fabric for a shade, choose light- and medium-weight materials and avoid very heavily embellished fabrics or anything too rigid. You want the folds to lie nicely one on top of the other, and the thicker your fabric is, the harder that is to achieve. When selecting fabric fold it over a couple of times to get an idea as to how it reacts.   If the fabric won’t lie flat, it may not be the best candidate.

coastal window treatment ideas

Soft or Relaxed Fold Roman Shades

Relaxed Versus Constructed

Roman shades generally fall into one of two categories—relaxed or constructed. Relaxed shades do not have rigid supports and allow the fabric to sag gently under its own weight, which creates a curve at the bottom of the shades when they’re raised.  Constructed shades have sewn-in horizontal rods, dowels, or battens to create a more rigid appearance with a straight edge at the bottom. Rods may be added at the bottom of the shade or in each fold over the full height of the shade, depending on the desired look.  Both relaxed and constructed shades function equally well on most standard-size windows. However, on very wide windows, relaxed shades may become difficult to manage.

relaxed roman shades

Relaxed Roman Shades

coastal roman shades

Constructed Roman Shades


Not all shades need to be lined. For simple sheer Roman shades, the selected face fabric by itself creates a visually light appearance. But in other situations, using a lining—a secondary fabric sewn to the back of the face material—can give blinds a more finished, luxurious look.  Lining helps to hide the lift strings at the back of the shade when light filters through from behind as well as helps to reduce the amount of sun that enters the room.  The choice of lining material normally ranges from light translucent cotton sateen to blackout lining, which eliminates almost all sunlight coming through the shade.  Some fabrics also benefit from the addition of interlining, a slightly thicker material between the face fabric and lining that gives the shade a more substantial look. For instance, silk by itself can be very flat, so for silk to really shine, an interlining adds body.


One of the big questions when using Roman shades for a room is whether to mount them inside or outside the window frames. Sometimes there is simply not enough space within a window frame to hold a shade, which makes the decision easy.  If you have a modern home or if the window frames are not particularly attractive, you may want to mount the shades outside and all the way at the top of the walls to add a sense of height. On the other hand, if the frames are beautiful and the architecture classic, you may want to mount them inside the window so they don’t obscure the decorative moldings.


coastal window treatments

Mounted high creates a sense of height

Coastal Window Treatments

Mounted inside showcases the frame.

Roller Shades

An old favorite, roller shades are making a comeback. With fresh modern styling, new design options, and several lifting systems to choose from, the traditional roller shade is one of my “new” favorite window treatments.  Here’s a great tutorial on how to make your own roller shades.  Roller shades work really well in a bathroom where privacy is needed yet allows light to filter through.


coastal window coverings


Sheer Curtains

Sheer curtains are the quintessential window treatment for a coastal home.  They add a hazy, dreamy quality to any room and they are light weight, easy to hang and do not dominate your décor. They also create a continuous backdrop that anchors a room without completely hiding architectural features. Sheers also work very well in a room that has a lot of patterns, providing soft visual relief from a lot of prints. Layering sheers under a solid drape provide light filtering options as well as creates a polished look.

Sheers generally look their best when they’re long and casually elegant spilling beyond the bottom of a window.  If you’re unsure of length, always go long instead of short, even allowing the fabric to pool on the ground slightly.   Sheer curtains work really well in front of a wide window and are also an excellent choice for tying together mismatched windows.

Decorator’s Tip…

Hang Above the Frame

People have a tendency to place the curtain rod directly above the window casing. By mounting the curtain rod just below the base of the ceiling molding draws the eye upward, elongating the space and making it appear taller. If you are looking for a more casual, tailored look (versus puddling), when measuring for curtain length, be sure to account for the extra fabric necessary to have the curtains barely graze the floor with the hardware mounted just below the molding.

Hang Wider than the Frame

Rather than mounting the drapery hardware just outside the window casing, mount the drapery hardware 6-8″ beyond the frame on each side.  This allows for the window to feel like more of an architectural feature and fills more of the wall.  By framing the window with your drapery panels, you allow more light to flood the space making it appear brighter and roomier.

how to hang curtains

coastal window treatments

Linen diffuses light beautifully

coastal window treatments

Silk Ombre Curtains add an elegant coastal touch


Coastal Window Accessories

Think outside the box and get creative! You can add some nautical touches to your windows by using rope as a tieback or add a metal carabiner as a curtain tieback.  The touch of metal will be just the right amount of detail to not distract from the overall window treatment or blend into the curtain. Dock or boat cleats paired with a cord tieback complement a nautical theme.  Take a trip to your local marine supply store to find cleats in a variety of finishes, such as stainless or galvanized.   Before you purchase the cleats, determine if your wall or window trim will support the weight plus the weight of the tied, supported curtain panel.


nautical window accessories


For even more inspiration visit our post on creating a peaceful home and view our design gallery…