Top 10 Iconic Window Treatments from Pop Culture

by Katie LairdJanuary 10, 2017

Pop culture seeps into our collective consciousness to inspire actions in our real lives, so it’s no surprise that we latch on to specific imagery from movies, TV shows and even video games that we love. From clothing, to cars, to even home décor, our favorite pop culture guilty pleasures can stick in our minds and even influence our choices.

Providing texture and background in the homes of our favorite characters, window treatments — curtains, shades, shutters, and blinds — are in some cases as recognizable as the protagonists themselves. Window treatments help to make a house a home, but they can also be a dramatic element for a “big reveal” like the rich, draping tapestries on a stage. When we attend a show, be it on Broadway or at our local cinema, as soon as those red velvet drapes are in sight, the excitement of entertainment grips us. So, are you ready to raise the curtain on our top-ten countdown? From significant shades to dramatic drapery, here are some of the most recognizable window treatments pop culture has to offer.

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The texture in Game of Thrones

While there’s no one specific window treatment that plays a pivotal role in this series, the recurrence of long, draping curtains that decorate the interior sets create a distinct mood. With this influence, luxury is brought to otherwise cold stone halls, proving that a little window covering goes a long way.

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The title screen of The Last of Us

The title screen of a video game, like a DVD, plays an important role. It’s the player’s first tactile impression of the game itself. Here an atmosphere is established and the player—if the title screen is well designed—will be eager to jump into game play.

Given this important role, it’s notable that the title screen for The Last of Us (a riveting survival horror game and one of the most awarded games of all time) is an ambient depiction of sunlight streaming through pale, gauzy curtains. While the player prepares to enter a world unknown, the familiar imagery—normally a cheerful sight, but here, tinged with a gloomy decay — waits with them.

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Mechanical shades from The Purge

When all illegal activity is legalized for one night of the year, characters in this 2013 dystopian film do what they must to protect their homes and families. In real life, shades offer a sense of protection through privacy, but in this film window treatments quite literally become the barrier between safety, home, comfort and the outside world, when automatic metal hurricane shutters shield houses’ windows with the push of a button.

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The shower curtain in Psycho

At a pivotal moment in this 1960 film, the leading lady heads to the shower to wash up after a nerve-wracking trip and an unsettling encounter with the owner of the motel at which she is staying. The scene builds while she bathes, eyes closed, behind a clear plastic curtain. Audience members can see the bathroom door open through the curtain as a shadowy figure approaches. The curtain itself—a symbolic barrier—is torn aside by a murderer whose knife is raised high.

For theater-goers of the era, intense Alfred Hitchcock movies such as this were nothing that had been seen before, and the shower scene is now one of the most recognizable pieces of American film history.

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The window treatments (or lack thereof!) in Rear Window

People watching, made possible by the lack of shades on neighborhood windows, is one of the major themes in the 1954 film Rear Window. When the protagonist, a photographer named Jefferies, breaks his leg and has to stay home to heal, he begins watching his neighbors for entertainment. Soon he’s caught up in a murder scandal doing much of the investigation himself through the window of his own little crow’s nest. Clearly understanding the importance of window treatments, Jeff himself has bamboo shades installed at his apartment!

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The hiding place hangings in Dial M for Murder

In a suspenseful sequence from this 1954 film, we watch a hit man slink behind soft green curtains to await his victim. But his plan is soiled when the woman he attempts to strangle stabs him in self-defense. After the encounter, she exits her home through French doors to a patio to collect herself, pushing aside the very curtain that hid the intended murderer. For the rest of the scene they remain open, swaying ominously in the night’s breeze and remain as a teasing backdrop — an accomplice to this mystery — throughout the rest of the film, as characters scramble to make sense of what happened.

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Dramatic drapes at the Black Lodge in Twin Peaks

Viewers know instantly when they set eyes on the Black Lodge, with its black and white chevron floor and blood-red velvet curtains, that some critical plot development will happen there. Although it only ran for two seasons, this cult classic 1990s TV show is considered one of the greatest television dramas ever made, and the theatrical red drapes in its Black Lodge are part of one of Twin Peaks’ most recognizable sets.<

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The olive damask drapery from The Sound of Music

When Fräulein Maria sees the strict conditions under which the von Trapp children (the seven kids she’ll look after, ranging almost from toddler to teen) have been raised, she is eager to make a change. But after inquiring about play clothes for the kids to romp around in, she’s told that “the von Trapp children don’t play, they march.”

Since nothing will stop this fun-loving, imaginative governess, she takes matters into her own hands by fashioning attire for each child from the curtains in her bedroom. In the next scene, the children come — clad in curtains — parading through the gates of their estate for an outing, delighting audiences everywhere. By reworking these iconic window treatments, Maria brings color and adventure back to the family.

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The emerald curtain from The Wizard of Oz

“The Great Oz has spoken! Pay no attention to that man behind the curtain,” a booming voice echoes through the marble halls of the Emerald City’s fortress. But when Toto pulls back the satiny shroud surrounding Oz’s command center, the “wizard” is exposed to Dorothy and her friends as a regular man.

At this moment in the 1939 film, the extravagant shroud becomes a symbol of illusion; a façade. This legendary moment in cinematic history unveils a truth about human nature while coining a phrase that, to this day, is used to describe a grand God-like show orchestrated by average individuals.

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The portiere dress from Gone with the Wind

One of the most identifiable costumes from the Golden Age of the silver screen, Scarlett O’Hara’s moss-green velvet gown demands admiration. She proudly debuts the garment, made hastily from her mother’s drapes, in an effort to stun Rhett Butler into giving her money to save her family’s plantation after the Civil War has demolished its worth. “I’m going to Atlanta for that three hundred dollars” Scarlett declares while envisioning the drapes as a dress, “and I’ve got to go looking like a queen.”

After release of the film in 1939, the curtain dress became a cultural icon. It graced everything from Barbie dolls to collector’s plates and made an appearance in a Gone with the Wind parody on The Carol Burnett Show in 1976 — complete with a gleaming golden curtain rod spanning across Burnett’s shoulders. Even this spin-off ensemble gained fame, and it now adorns the halls of the Smithsonian Institution.

When the curtain falls on your home-buying adventure, we hope you’re able to find the perfect pop-culture inspired window treatments to suit your tastes and provide privacy and practicality. To explore more styles of window treatments, peek at the blinds.com website!


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About The Author
Katie Laird
Katie Laird is the Director of Social Marketing for Blinds.com and a frequent public speaker on Social Media Marketing, Social Customer Care and profitable company culture. An active blogger and early social technology adopter, you can find her online as ‘happykatie’ sharing home décor, yoga, parenting and vegetarian cooking tips.

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