Saturday, March 5, 2011

Affordable Shades for Rental Houses

Q: Because of the economy, I'm having to put one of our properties up for rent. Since I'm renting it unfurnished, I'm taking most of the window treatments with me, but I need to put up something for privacy for prospective tenants. Any suggestions? I'm trying to keep costs down.

A: Mini blinds and micro blinds have always been favorites of landlords and apartments. They're usually durable, come in a wide range of colors, and are sometimes even scratch and dust resistant. These blinds have always been popular with homeowners working on a budget and come in slat widths from ½ inch to 1 inch.

They're easy to install, too, which makes them an even better choice if you're trying to keep costs low. And, since mini blinds and micro blinds are sleek and low-profile, it's easy for tenants to decorate around them and incorporate them into any new or existing décor. And, because they're affordable, they're also easy to replace.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Shades for Arches

Q: My mother-in-law has pretty window arches above her windows but is having a difficult time finding shades that coordinate with the rest of her room. She'd like everything to match, but she's picky about color, too. Any suggestions?

A: Cellular shades come in styles specifically designed for arched windows and come in the same colors as their traditional honeycomb shades. This means your mother-in-law can find gorgeous cellular shades for the windows in her room and then simply choose the coordinating arched shade.

Like most arched shades, these cellular shades are fixed and immobile. But, since cellular shades come in a variety of light diffusing and light filtering styles, she can find ones that block direct sunlight but still allow for natural light to enter her home. This means she can find coordinating styles, eliminate sun glare, and create a beautiful room all at the same time.

And a lot of cellular brands are available for other odd-shaped windows as well. Including skylights!

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Benefits of Faux Wood Blinds

Q: A girlfriend of mine recently installed faux wood blinds in her home as opposed to real wood. I know they're usually less expensive than real wood, but are there any other benefits to faux wood versus real wood blinds?

A: Actually there are quite a few. Like your friend said, faux wood blinds often cost less than real wood and can be a better alternative for those on a budget looking for “real wood” look without the price tag. But there are other benefits as well. For example, since faux wood blinds are made from pvc or composite blends of fibers, they're more resistant to humidity, moisture, and water, making them easier to clean and less likely to warp. This, of course, makes them perfect for kitchens and bathrooms where warping can be a problem.

Furthermore, you can get faux wood blinds with the same versatile options as real wood alternatives. This means you can get faux wood in a variety of realistic stains as well as bright colors and they come with the same options in routless and cloth tapes that reduce spotty glare from the string holes in the slats. This also means that faux wood blinds can be dyed, stained, and customized to meet the unique style needs of you and your home.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Solar Shades Explained

Q: You mentioned solar shades in a recent blog post. Could you please explain more about them? How do they work? What options are there?

A: Solar shades are designed to reduce direct sun and glare but still preserve views outside the window. Much like movable car shades used to shade the backseat of vehicles, solar shades are flat pieces of material with openings to allow limited light through . While this light certainly helps illuminate the room, it also gives you access to the views (much like how car shades still give you access to your blind spot).

The type and size of these openings is known as an “Openness Factor” and relates to how much of the actual surface area is comprised of small open sections. Smaller openness factors are better at reducing direct sun and provide a more diffused light into the room. The views with these shades, however, are limited due to the opacity of the shade. Greater openness factors, on the other hand, allow more light to come in and give more access to views.

The best thing about solar shades is that they come in a wide range of colors to suit both your needs and your style. You can also combine them with traditional drapes for versatile lighting solutions. Keep in mind though, while solar shades are ideal for light control, they are not ideal for privacy.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Versatile Light Control

Q: I just bought a home with gorgeous views out the south and east sides. My problem is that, while I like the sunrise and light, I really don't like the glare early on in the day (and on the south side in the winter months). Are there any shades that could block the glare but not the view or the light?

A: There are two suggestions, actually. One would be solar shades and the other top down/bottom up cellular shades. Solar shades are like regular roller shades but, instead of blocking the window completely, they allow some light to filter though while still decreasing the glare. The best part about these shades is that they preserve the view even through the shade.

The second alternative would be to install cellular shades with the top down/bottom up feature. In addition to trapping air in pockets against the window and creating a small insulating barrier, top down/bottom up cellular shades give you versatile options for adjusting the shade on your window. You can use them like a normal shade that always drops from the top rail OR you can actually lower the top of the shade to block only the middle or bottom portion of the window.

Top down/bottom up cellular shades are perfect for individuals who want to block low direct sunlight without blocking the whole window.

Monday, December 27, 2010

Insulating Shades for Winter

Q: I've heard that there are some shades that can act as a barrier between the window and your home to help prevent heat loss. Is this true? Can you tell me more about them?

A: Cellular shades are unique in their structure and function since they trap air between the window and the rooms in your home. Each air pocket, or cell, runs horizontally across the width of the window and opens to trap air when the shade is pulled down. And when the shades are pulled up, they resemble standard horizontal blinds, making them easy to install and coordinate with existing window treatments.

The air pockets, or cells, of cellular blinds come in a variety of sizes and often appear in different cell widths. Smaller size cells have less thickness but are usually layered to provide greater insulation against your window. Larger cells are usually left in single layers, making them better suited to larger windows where thicker slats or folds balance out the width and height of the glass.

Both small and large air pockets provide additional insulation against heat loss in winter and excess heat gain in summer. And cellular shades are gorgeous, too!!

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Endless Variety with Roman Shades

Q: A friend suggested I look at Roman Shades as an alternative to my current blinds, but I need to know if I can find ones that fit my “earthy” décor. Basically, are their roman shades that fit my natural decorative style as well as the ones that flatter more contemporary homes?

A: Absolutely! Roman shades are available in a huge selection of fabrics, weaves, colors, and textures. And they also come in a wide variety of light filtering and room darkening styles, too. Some of these shades, most notably the light filtering ones, come in beautiful neutral colors that can soften both the look and the light in a room, really complimenting more earthy styles.

Since roman shades come in such a wide variety of styles, it's easy to find ones that fit the style of your home. These unique shades combine the soft look and feel of drapes with the ease and convenience of shades and blinds.

And, in addition to different colors, textures, and light filtering qualities, you can also choose from a variety of folds. Standard uniform folds are always popular in roman shades, but you can also order shades that lay flat when pulled down or ones that emphasize a looser, more relaxed gather of fabric at the bottom of the shade. Considering your interest in more natural colors and styles, the latter might work best for your home.