We have not advanced much in the production of window shades that will let in light and air, shut out the gaze of strangers, hold no shadows, match interior and exterior, fit properly, work with ease, cost little, and last forever. The ordinary opaque roller shade still has no serious rival, and usually the best we can do is to see to it that we get a good quality which is not always reliable, rather than a poor quality, which never is.
The good old lace curtains that were the pride of the housekeeper's heart and the jest of the masculine members of the household seem to have had their day. It has been a long one, and any article that holds sway for so lengthy a period must have had some merit. But the soft chintz, linen, madras, or muslin is now the vogue, and there is much good sense in the innovation. No lace curtain ever made could be both artistic and serviceable; some persons go so far as to say that they never were either, but we have too much reverence for tradition to be so iconoclastic. However, they certainly were expensive if they were good enough to have, were difficult to wash, and usually caused a dead line to be drawn about the very choicest part of the room. Linen curtains, costing from 50 cents to $1.25 a yard, may be had in a set or conventional design or plain applique. Chintz and muslin cost less, and some remarkably pretty effects in madras are obtainable. Curtains now sensibly stop at the bottom of the window instead of dragging upon the floor.
Besides shades and curtains the window question involves not only light, ventilation, and artistic relations, but such details as screens and storm windows. These latter matters come under the jurisdiction of the architect and should not be carelessly settled upon. Each room has its uses, to which the window must conform as nearly as may be, and then the outward appearance of the house must not be forgotten. It is often made or marred by the character and placing of the windows.