A History of Window Treatments

Window coverings have been around just about as long as mankind has been making homes (with windows, of course).  Some excavations, for example, have found evidence of long curtain rods used in arches of early architecture; dating back, perhaps, to the 5th century.  The first curtains used, though, were probably made out of draped animal skins and not cloth.  As humans developed textile production fabrics became more common, as did dyeing processes and weaving techniques.


The very first textiles would have been spun by the Egyptians. These cloths would have been similar to linen, flax, and wool that we use today.  A little later in the timeline, cotton and silk were introduced.  Curtains of this time would have been, of course, rudimentary: simple, practical pieces of cloth intended to keep light out.


During the Early and Middle Ages, storeurbain.ca curtains grew to become associated more with the affluent. You would find them in castles, intended to actually keep out the cold.  Indeed, these curtains were made of long and large and thick fabrics draped over windows and around the wide open chambers.  Shutters were also common during this time, placed on windows to keep out the damp and the cold. Tapestries were used, too, for keeping out light, but prevented fireplace smoke from escaping.

The 13th century saw the development of glass.  This posed yet more possibility to evolve curtains as the glass could help to keep out the weather, and curtains could become more of an addition to the window and not just a functional aspect.


Around the 1840s textile production was hitting full speed and household textiles—like fabrics—became far more readily available to the middle class as well as the upper class.  And with that, what would have been previously regarded as a luxury item—like curtains—started to grow in popularity. And this led to more and more designers and decorators looking to capitalize on the trend.  This trend, of course, somewhat mirrored the elaborate clothing fashions at the time, complete with ornate layers, lush fabrics, and intricate designs.


These days, window treatments are almost a basic part of living.  Form curtains to shades to shutters to blinds, there are so many ways to obscure light, retain heat, or improve privacy.  But they can also be used to increase your aesthetic sensibilities, too, adding character, color, and style to any room.

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