Mid Century style is playing a huge role in today’s design world. The Mad Men craze brought this era of home decorating to the attention of the nation, but years later the sleek furniture and retro palette are still on trend.
Whether you’re restoring a mid-century home as a full blown time capsule, or just want to add some mod flair to your home decor, mid century modern window treatments can make a big impact.
Huge thanks to Retro Renovation for many of the archival photos featured in this post. If you’re looking to bring truly authentic mid century style to your home, their articles are the ultimate resource, and you can find many like-minded folks in their active forums. We’ve been known to spend hours time warping in their kitschy archives!
Mid Century Window Treatments
Here are the window coverings that were sweeping the scene in 40s, 50s, or 60s era homes.
2″ Horizontal Blinds – in Aluminum
Called ‘venetian blinds’ in their time, these wide aluminum numbers were nearly always seen with wide cloth tapes in contrasting colors. The tapes add the nostalgic feel that traditional mini blinds just won’t give you. Plus, they block light that can shine in through holes in the slats. Get a load of the cherry red beauties above with white tapes!
Sage green and brown coordinate with this kitchen’s accent colors, playing into the matchy-matchy look of the time. Get the look with Bali 2″ Heritage Aluminum Blinds with cloth tapes – available in a range of vintage pastel hues.
Pinch Pleat Drapes
The most iconic look for windows in Mid Century home decorating was wall-to-wall, floor-to-ceiling pinch pleat drapes. These long and lean panels could be closed for privacy or left open to flank large windows with color. Pinch pleat curtains were often paired with aluminum blinds on large windows as in the first image.
For versatility in light control, heavier panels were often layered on top of sheers to let in light without losing privacy. Get the look with Blinds.com Easy Classic Pleat Panels and Blinds.com French Pleat Draperies.
If you want to get the ‘authentic’ mid century decorating look for less, roller shades are a good alternative to horizontal blinds. These sleek shades were offered in loud kitschy patterns. Most homeowners used roller shades for functional light blockage and layered drapes or a valance on top for softness and style.
Accessories are what really makes these shades nostalgic. Add decorative tassels to pulls and line edges with a contrasting ball or fringe trim.
Get the look with Bali Light Filtering Roller Shades with optional scalloped hem and decorative trim.
Stained wood blinds are another mid century window covering standby. These give more of a rustic feel that was seen with 60s era homes. The peach and rust chevron drapes pictured below are very on trend, why not bring back this look for your windows?
Play up the wood paneled look seen in many homes with Bali 2″ Northern Heights Wood Blinds in Rustic Lodge, also available with nostalgic cloth tapes.
Woven Wood Shades
During the 50s and 60s, Polynesian pop swept the nation in the form of tiki bars, bamboo furniture and knotty pine accents. Woven wood shades were the obvious choice to bring the island feel home.
Bamboo Roller Shades give the look of classic bamboo roll-up shades with easier operation.
Styles To Leave In Yesteryear
We came across these ridiculous curtains while sifting through vintage catalogs, and they were too funny not to share.
Toast anyone? One enterprising homeowner made these cafe curtains from patterned dish towels and stitched up a coordinating toaster cover to complete the look.
Top Down Bottom Up before it’s time! It’s true that letting in light from the top of the window is a more efficient use of natural light, but we’re not sure that double-decker cafe curtains is the way to do it.
What’s your favorite retro window style?
Let us know what look you’re taking inspiration from for your home design. How can these styles be adapted for modern use? If you remember a laughable window covering from your childhood home, we want to hear about it! Join the conversation on Facebook and Twitter @BlindsDotCom, or leave us a comment below.
Thanks again to Retro Renovation for the resources included in this post. If you liked this post, you’ll adore their site! Here are a few of our favorite retro window covering articles: