What are Transom Window Treatments?
In order to understand transom window treatments, we should explain what transom windows are, and explain the concept of window treatments as well.
Read on to find out all you need to know about transom window treatments and why they’re a great option for any home.
The Transom and Its History
Basically, a transom window is a window above the door. The beam between the door and this window is called the transom, and it’s where this type of window gets its name.
Transom windows actually originated in the vertically oriented architecture of gothic churches. In unglazed windows (windows without glass) like those in the bell tower, there were no metal bars to strengthen the frame and mullions, so a transom bar filled in to provide the required support.
Over time, the transom became more than a structural feature and started being used in combination with doors and windows facilitating the presence of an additional opening above that allowed additional light and air into the building.
Transom windows are now used all over the world, from Japan to England, in almost every architectural style. Whether your home is a Spanish colonial or a California craftsman, chances are that transom windows are already part of your home.
Like the sound of the name, a window treatment is basically an aesthetic treatment of a window, achieved by placing some elements of design on or around it, such as blinds, shades, curtains, molding, or shutters. Treatment can also be applied directly to the glass itself, creating stained, frosted, or smart glass.
Peanut Butter and Jelly
Put transom windows and window treatments together, and you have a combination as tasteful and classic as grapes and peanuts turned into sandwich materials: transom window treatments.
Before we take a look at some transom window treatment ideas and how they will enhance your home’s interior look, let’s address some basic questions you might have about why transom window treatments could be necessary in the first place.
If you have French doors with a transom window on top, or a large arrangement of windows crowned by smaller glass panes above, having curtains or blinds that cover the glass below while leaving the glass above exposed will still allow sunlight and heat into the room, even when the shades are drawn or the blinds are down.
Getting treatment for your transom windows will make sure that your efforts to provide opportunities for a shaded interior protected from the elements are not in vain.
Transom windows can put designers in a tricky situation, because treating primary windows with curtains, blinds, or shutters, while leaving the transom windows exposed, creates a discontinuity that can look strange.
Carrying window treatments up into the transom area, on the other hand, can create a pleasing effect that will enhance the overall aesthetic appeal of your home’s interior.
Transom windows are usually too high up for people to see into habitable space of your home, but you never know if peering through the transom windows could offer a glimpse of a nice lighting fixture or the doors along an upstairs balcony. A unified treatment of windows along the façade, both primary and transom, sends a more serious and solidified message about keeping your home private.
Now that we’ve mentioned three benefits of treating the transom windows, let’s explore some different options for treatment.
The Curtain Quagmire and Elegant Drapery Solutions
Placing a curtain rod at a height between the transom windows and the primary windows can look very awkward. When the curtains are drawn, the transom is covered, making it seem like the transom and primary windows are one large unit, partially covered by the curtains.
When the curtains are open, it looks like you just don’t care enough about the look of your home to get on a ladder and hang the curtains higher up where they should be.
One solution to this problem is to buy longer curtains and place the curtain rod above the transom. Another solution would be to buy a special type of curtain called a valance, which will cover the transom windows.
Although a drawback of the valance curtain is that it’s not really operable, so it will permanently cover the transom until you take it off. Another option would be to get an operable curtain that can be raised or lowered over the transom (as opposed to the main curtains which move side to side).
If you do choose to use multiple curtains and drapes for the primary windows and the glass panes of the transom, you can work with contrasting colors and textures that will really enhance the look of your interior space, such as patterned curtains for the windows, and a solid colored valance over the transom. The effect will be especially pleasing if it matches the color of the walls or other decorative items in the room.
Don’t be Blind to This Great Solution
Blinds can provide a great window treatment solution if you’re searching for a cleaner, more modern, streamlined look. Blinds generally fit inside the window frame, and come in a variety of shapes and styles, including vertical blinds, Venetian blinds, and pleated shades.
The variety of materials, sizes, and shapes that are available when it comes to blinds can give you a number of choices to facilitate selecting a window treatment that enhances the appeal of your living room within your price range.
Blinds are also a great transom window treatment solution when the shape of the ceiling makes it impossible to drape a curtain rod across the top of the windows, such as a sloping or gabled ceiling. There are even specialty blinds that can fit into unique transom shapes such as a half circle.
Treatments of the Glass
Along with the window treatments, you can treat the glass of your transom windows as well. We’ll discuss the different options below.
Frosting the glass is another option when it comes to treating your transom windows. Frosted glass can keep out unwanted sunlight and heat while maintaining privacy, especially if the curtain or blind solution does not appeal to you.
The frosting on the glass can be worked into a pleasing design with aesthetic and even practical appeal, such as a street address or a family name above a front door.
Stained glass is another unique option that is particularly pleasing when done in conjunction with a few particular styles, such as the California craftsman or Victorian home. Even if your home is on the more modern side, stained glass patterns of geometric shapes can really give the window ensemble a unique look.
Stained glass transom windows can also bring an incredible colored lighting quality into the room, as the design is backlit by natural sunlight.
An emerging product on the market is smart glass, which appears like a regular glass pane, but at the touch of a button can frost over to provide shade and privacy.
A final option that we’ll touch upon is molding, which is essentially an ornamental, carved wood frame around the transom window. This look is especially appealing in homes with a classical or colonial vibe, and the craftsmanship of the molding can even extend inward into the pane itself through the use of decorative mullions.
Molding is also a great option for your transom windows if you already have molding running around the top of the wall, creating a decorative bridge between the ceiling and the wall space—the molding of the transom can merge into this crown molding, creating a unified floor to wall unit that is especially pleasing as a door frame between rooms.
Get Great Window Installation with Feldco
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