In Treatment

Now that we’ve finished painting our big living room it’s on to the next step – window coverings.  This room has three rather large windows, two of which face a street heavily trafficked by cars and pedestrians.  Previously, the windows were covered with vertical blinds (ick!) and have since been replaced with taped-up newspaper.  That’s right, passers-by now probably think we’re drug dealers.  Suh-weet.

Obviously, I want this to change, asap.  So, I’ve been spending any spare moment over the past few days obsessively searching for a solution to the window problem.  There are so many questions to ask.  Do we want curtains?  If so, what color, texture, length, pattern, etc.?  Do we want shades?  A combination of shades and curtains?

Window dressing inspiration from Young House Love.

And then there’s the price.  We’ve got a lot of windows to cover in our house, and I simply can’t justify spending $15.00 on one panel, that will only cover 1/2 of one window.  By the way, whose bright idea was it to start selling panels in singles?   Just when I think I’ve found a decent price, I look closer at the packaging and realize that it’s only for half a curtain.  Shouldn’t panels naturally come in pairs – like shoes, or gloves, or earrings?

Beautiful Aegean Blue curtain from Cost Plus. Sold by the panel.

Finally, in my search I keep coming across the term “window treatment.”  What does that even mean?  I conducted a quick google search to unearth the inventor of that term – with no luck.  Perhaps some designer out there can school me on the history.  In the mean time, I went to the root of the phrase and looked up “treatment” in the dictionary and found the following results:

From the Cambridge Dictionaries Online

treatment (noun)

  1. the way you deal with or behave towards someone or something
  2. the way something is considered and examined

We are also familiar with the term treatment as it relates to the health industry.  When we are sick, we seek treatment.  We treat things that are diseased, broken, or wrong.  Is that what we’re doing with our windows?  Are we “treating” their brokeness?  It certainly seems that way when I re-visit the start of this post.  I approach my windows listing all of the things that are wrong with them and the challenges they present.  No wonder this experience is proving to be so exhaustingly frustrating.

It reminds me of one of the messages I try to share with students enrolled in my Community Service course.  I try to encourage them to approach their service and the people they serve with a different perspective (taking a page from Asset Based Community Development).  I challenge my students to shift their focus from the needs, deficiencies, and brokeness of the people they serve, and instead look for and help them access their gifts, talents, assets, and capacities.  It’s a much more rewarding experience for everyone involved.

Should I be doing this with my windows?  Instead of trying to “treat” them, should I be focused on what they have to offer my home?  Will this new perspective help make my search for window decor more enjoyable?

Or will all of this simply make me in need of some treatment?