Skip to main content

Modern Window Treatments

Your Guide to Achieving a Modern Look

Motorized classic roman shades in a dining room.

Window treatments can shape the entire look of a room. Their prime position and their expansive size give them primary importance in the room’s décor. Pick the right fabric, color, and design for your window treatment and you can create the basis for whatever style you choose.

When looking for a modern home window treatment, careful selection of your blinds, shades, shutters, and drapery is essential. This guide will give you everything you need to know to pick the perfect window treatments for a modern design.

What is Modern?

Motorized zebra shades in a living room.

“Modern” as a design term refers to a movement in art, culture, and design in the early Twentieth Century. It’s a term that encompasses everything from brash industrial design to subtle Scandinavian design. For many people, modern is the pinnacle of simplicity and sophistication. You know modern design when you see it—something that’s clearly modern looks uncluttered, generally focuses on simple shapes, and has a subdued color scheme that helps to emphasize outlines and angles.

Criteria for Selecting Modern Window Treatments

When selecting modern and contemporary window treatments, there are three things you should consider: style, durability, and privacy and light control.

Style: Modern Color and Visual Elements

Modern design utilizes a neutral, monochromatic color palette. Often, a modern home will utilize just a few colors—some modern-design schemes focus on just one basic color for most of the room. Bright whites are used to contrast with these neutral color elements and give modern design its contrast. White walls combined with dark, minimalist furnishings is a classic look.

Repetition is an important part of modern design—for example, repeated patterns against a white wall or a few geometric shapes echoed throughout the room. Simplicity is key. Clutter is a surefire way to spoil a modern look.

Durability: Modern Window Treatments That Last

Bali window treatments are built for years of flawless performance. That’s why Bali offers a limited lifetime warranty—you can be confident that your modern shades, blinds, shutters, and drapery will stand the test of time.

Privacy & Light Control Are Important Considerations

Every type of window treatment protects against light and provides privacy to some extent. Sheer or light-filtering fabrics will always allow some light through—which is why many people select these fabrics. For example, sheer shades and layered shades will let some amount of light through even when completely closed. But those looking for complete privacy and a dark room when the window treatment is in a closed position should look to cellular, roller, or tailored Roman shades in room-darkening or blackout fabrics. It’s important to remember that all of these shade options are also available in sheer and light-filtering fabrics. There really is a huge range of light-control and privacy levels for you to choose from.

Now that we’ve covered these criteria, let’s look at the types of window treatments that work well in a modern room design.

Types of Modern Window Treatments

Custom Drapery

Custom curtains or drapery in a living room.

Fabric is a powerful tool for establishing a style. Bali Custom Drapery comes in hundreds of different fabrics, allowing you to pick precisely the right fabric for your design plan. A simple sheer curtain hung on a black-framed window has a lot of modern flair to it. Even an earth tone set against white walls can have a strong modern feel. Take advantage of all the colors, patterns, and textures of fabric to find exactly the right drapery for your room.

Cellular Shades

Cordless cellular shades in a living room.

Today’s most popular shade just happens to be the perfect solution for a room with a modern design scheme. Cellular shades work in almost any design scheme—there’s no shade that’s quite as simple and versatile. A white or off-white cellular shade is elegant and has a modern flavor—its simple beauty is perfect when paired with dark trim or black-framed windows.

Roman Shades

Cordless classic roman shades in a living room.

This age-old design is surprisingly fresh. Bali Classic Roman Shades have a sleekness and simplicity that make them excellent for modern design schemes. And Bali Tailored Roman Shades can be custom made with a huge variety of premium fabrics—giving you endless options.

Zebra Shades

Motorized zebra shades in a bathroom.

The broad stripes of zebra shades can be an excellent addition to a modern interior. Zebra shades consist of two layers of fabrics with alternating opaque and sheer bands. When aligned, the shade lets in light. When the opaque bands overlap the sheer bands, you have light control and privacy. The look is bold and can add a strong linear element to a modern design scheme.

Roller Shades and Solar Shades

motorized roller shades in a kitchen.

Roller shades and solar shades are two of the best window treatments for creating a modern look. Their simple design and the way that they roll up into a thin, inconspicuous shape makes them unobtrusive and minimalist. White roller shades paired with walls in a matching white can be the ideal canvas for creating a masterpiece of modern décor. Solar shades in a neutral color can provide a similar effect while also allowing some view to the outdoors.


Composite shutters in a living room.

The square shape and sturdy good looks of shutters makes them an excellent addition to a modern design plan. White shutters paired with a matching white wall sets the stage for everything from dark industrial fixtures to linear, Scandinavian, wood-grained elements. Bali offers both real wood shutters as well as composite shutters for high-humidity situations.

Natural Woven Shades

Cordless Natural Woven Shades in a living room.

One of Bali’s most interesting window-treatment options is the natural shade. These beautiful works of art are made with wood, bamboo, grasses, rattan, and jute and come in a variety of colors and shades. An earth tone natural shade in a room of white can be the foundation for a beautiful modern design plan. Or, a light-colored natural shade can fade into the background and present an excellent backdrop for other dark-colored modern elements.

Sheer Shades

Motorized sheer shades in a living room.

An interesting choice for a modern room would be a sheer shade. These “fabric blinds” work much like horizontal blinds except that they’re made entirely of fabric. A white sheer shade would provide an elegant touch to any modern room design.

Wood Blinds

Wood blinds in a kitchen.

With their horizontal lines and sophisticated good looks, horizontal wood blinds are a classic of modern design, particularly the Mid-Century modern style. Not only do these durable and attractive window treatments provide excellent privacy and light control, they also offer easy adjustability with their time-tested design. You can’t go wrong combining dark wood blinds and white walls or pairing white blinds with white walls.

Completing the Modern Look

Cordless solar shades in a kitchen.

Simplicity is key when creating a modern design scheme. Start by paring things down—less is more. Put in too many elements—too many pieces of furniture, too many fixtures, too many works of art—and the whole modern look falls apart.

Simplicity applies to color, too. Keep your color palette limited to just a few hues and make those colors neutral or earth tone. And signature pieces can help make a room look authentically modern. An elegant mid-century modern cabinet or a simple but charming Danish sofa can be the perfect elements to build around.

What’s the Difference Between Modern & Contemporary?

You’ll often hear people use the term “contemporary” when referring to modern décor. And that makes sense, because even after 100 years of modern design, the style looks fresh and up-to-date. Modern design truly never gets old. Technically, the term “contemporary” broadly refers to styles that are currently in vogue—which covers a lot of territory. Bali has window treatments that meet the needs of the full range of contemporary style preferences, from farmhouse to industrial to traditional to eclectic.

What’s the right style for you? Modern window coverings are often a great choice for a look that ages well—but what your room ultimately looks like is up to you. You’re the designer—you call the shots.

A Note on Layering Window Treatments

Drapery and soft roman shades layered in a living room.

While a modern look is built on simplicity, layering window treatments can add a subtle amount of complexity that can create visual interest and sophistication. Combining white cellular shades or roller shades with white drapery creates a backdrop for the repeated shapes and patterns that create a modern look. Dark drapery over dark wood blinds can also produce a modern look. And tailored Roman shades combined with drapery in a matching color—there are hundreds of fabrics to choose from—lets you dial in just the right effect for your design plan.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the most popular window treatment for modern room design?

The most popular window treatment for nearly every kind of design style is the cellular shade. These shades provide sleek good looks and outstanding insulation properties, giving you an attractive design element as well as a more comfortable room. Cellular shades are an excellent choice in a modern design scheme.

How do I update my window treatments to look more modern?

The first thing you should do is decide on a look. If you’re interested creating a modern style, any of the above window treatments will be quite effective. The next step is selecting a fabric—order free swatches here. Then you simply measure your windows and order your window treatments. Installing them is easy with Bali’s excellent information resources.

Are blinds, curtains, or shades more modern?

The answer is simple: all three of these options can help create a modern look if you follow the design principles of modern design: an uncluttered look that focuses on simple shapes and subdued colors while emphasizing outlines and angles. All three options can fit into this scheme—choose the one that is most pleasing to you. Blinds present a harder look. Curtains have a softer feel and can add some visual interest. And shades can create a minimalist feel. All these options work quite well in a modern room.