Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Control Options for Cellular Shades

Q: I'm about to order cellular shades but I wanted to know what control options were available. I have a few tall living room windows as well as some in bedrooms where my little niece often sleeps. Thanks for your help!

A: There are four main control types for cellular shades: Ultra glide, cordless, continuous cord loop, and remote controlled. If you're planning on installing cellular shades in a guest room or bedroom for small children, you may want to think about getting the cordless or ultraglide options. Cordless shades are just that: cordless. They let you lift and lower the shade by gently guiding the bottom bar. Ultraglide is the Hunter Douglas safety blind that keeps the control cords at very short lengths. Continuous cord loops are also good since they also maintain a consistent cord length.

As for your tall living room windows, go motorized! It can be really difficult to reach some of the controls if your windows are really high. Remote controlled blinds are great for this and also perfect for skylights if you have any. Simply sit back and push a button!

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Matching Specific Colors

Q: I'm pretty picky about my home and am having a hard time finding shades and blinds that match my color scheme. I'm open to different styles and types, I just want a certain color. Is there anywhere that can help me do this? Any help would be appreciated.

A: Great question! Color schemes are important and there's a really cool color finder here that can help match types of shades to your existing palette. While some people have an idea of the type of shade they want (ie roller, cellular, mini blinds, vertical, etc), others know the color or stain they'd like and are flexible with styles. If you know the general color you'd like, just pick the color and the color finder will help you find a shade or blind that matches that category.

Keep in mind that some of these shades come in both light filtering and room darkening styles. Once you choose the color and styles, you might also want to decide on the type of light control you'd like, too. There are lots of options, but the color finder is a good place to start if you're looking for a good match to your décor.

If you need an exact color, just ask for free samples. That way you're sure to get an exact match!

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Dressing Up Roller Shades

Q: I'd like to put some roller shades in my home, but I'm afraid they'd look a little plain. I like the straight edge, but don't necessarily like tassels or fancy trim. Is there any other way to dress them up?

A: Yes! Hunter Douglas actually gives you more contemporary straight-edged trim options that look fantastic. Roller shades are nice because you can dress them down and blend them in with your décor or give them flair with trim and fabric options to dress them up. Traditional roller shade trim options include scalloped or waved edges, decorative pulls, and fancy trims like lace and tassels. These are great, but if your looking for something more sleek or modern, you'll want to look at the options under Hunter Douglas.

Hunter Douglas has tape trims and even faux wood slat trims to give just a little hint of fashion to your roller shades. The designer tape trims are nice because they're low-profile and give just enough pizazz to your shades to accent your room. HD makes three styles of these: Herringbone, Casual Stripe, and Casual Solid. If you're looking for something with a little more weight, faux wood slats are great, too, but I personally love the look of the tapes.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Easy-to-Clean Shades

Q: I just transformed an extra bedroom into a playroom for the kids. Any suggestions on functional (and safe!) shades that are durable and easy to clean?

A: Both faux wood blinds and roller shades are incredibly durable and easy to clean. Faux wood blinds look great and are fantastic for almost any room and they hold up well under all kinds of conditions. They can take quite a beating and are very easy to clean. In fact, these shades are the perfect choice for homes that need durable window shades that can withstand lots of activity and still look fantastic!

Roller shades also make great additions to playrooms or gamerooms. Dress these shades up or down with different trims and fabric options, too. They have a great flat, low-profile design and have different kid-friendly control options, too. You can get them with continuous cord loops or spring-lift systems to improve safety.

Both of these shade choices are great and give you lots of options in colors, styles, and safety.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Styles of Roman Shades

Q: I just recently discovered that roman shades come in different styles. I'm so used to the traditional shades, I was wondering if you could explain what other styles are available.

A: Great question! Most people think associate flat traditional styles with roman shades, but they also come in teardrop/hobbled and relaxed styles. Just as their name implies, flat roman shades lay flat against the window when they're pulled closed. You'll still get the folded fabric effect at the end, but the part of the shade that's in use will lay flat and give you that wonderful traditional look.

A lot of people also like the teardrop/hobbled look. This style keeps the horizontal folds even when the shade is pulled shut (just like the picture I've added). This is a little more contemporary and is great if you're looking for a slightly more modern style.

The relaxed roman shades are not as well known but are just as soft and stylish as the rest. These shades lay flat against the window like the flat styles, but have a more relaxed appearance at the bottom. I like this style because it looks a lot like old movie theater curtains and has that same warm appeal.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Inexpensive Shades for Temporary Living

Q: I'm renting right now and need to buy some shades for the windows (it didn't come with any). Since I'm on a budget and may not be taking them with me down the road, I wondered if you could recommend some inexpensive (but attractive!) shades or blinds. Thanks.

A: Miniblinds have always been popular for apartments or rentals, but you can find very pretty faux wood, cellular, pleated and even some wood blinds at budget prices, too. Aluminum miniblinds are affordable and come in lots of fantastic colors, too, but if you're looking for something a little different, consider your alternatives.

For example, wood blinds look expensive and soften the look and feel of a room, but you can actually get generic wood blinds at very good prices. Faux wood blinds are also great (and they're perfect for high traffic or humid rooms) and come in a huge range of colors. They're amazingly affordable, too! If you need something a bit more contemporary, though, single-cell cellular shades or pleated blinds are perfect.

Before you run out and buy new blinds, you might want to think about whether or not you want to take them with you later. If you plan on leaving them, choose something fun but keep it simple.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Valences for Roller Shades

Q: I've decided to purchase roller shades for my windows (they're shallow) but I really want a more traditional look so I'm wondering if there are valence options for these kinds of shades.

A: Actually, Hunter Douglas has cassette roll covers that give roller shades a much more finished look. These cassette covers are designed to hide the hardware (the roll) at the top of the window and come in the same colors as their roller shades. They're curved and low-profile, meaning you can use them as valences if you're looking for a sleek design. To be perfectly honest, they're actually really attractive and perfect to give your shades a seamless look.

Of course, you can always combine the cassette roll cover with a traditional valence like the one in the photo. The cassette cover gives you a little more flexibility in choosing what kind of valence you want to install. By covering the roll with a low-profile cassette cover, you hide the hardware with something that blends with the shade. That way you can put up a short, translucent, or decorative valence without worrying about hiding the roll!

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Shades and Blinds for Modern Living

Q: I have a very contemporary/modern style to my home and am looking for shades that fit my style. Can you offer some suggestions?

A: Roller Shades, mini blinds, sheer horizontal shades, and especially cellular shades and pleated blinds are great for accenting modern décor. Roller shades come in all kinds of fabric and color styles and their sleek, simple look is fantastic to compliment modern styles. You can dress them up or down depending on the options you choose. Cellular shades are at the top of my list for this category because they have a very cool pleated style, awesome light filtering qualities, and use honeycombs to insulate your windows, too.

I'm suggesting sheer horizontal shades, too, because they give a lot of light flexibility but still maintain the clean lines associated with contemporary furniture. They can also add a slightly softer touch but still stay within the same style.

If you're on a tighter budget, mini blinds (those small horizontal blinds that you'll find in lots of homes and apartments) are also a great pick. They're simple, functional, and very affordable. Pleated shades are great, too because they combine the look of cellular blinds but for a much lower price.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Color Options for Cellular Shades - Two Sided

Q: Hi, I'm looking at buying cellular shades and saw that some have options for different colors on the room side versus the outside. What does that mean and what are my options?

A: Since cellular shades are created by fusing layers of fabric together to create pockets of air to insulate your window, it gives manufacturers the ability to use different color fabrics on the inside and outside of the shade. For example, you might want blue cellular shades to match your rug but white to match the trim on your front porch. With double-sided shades, you get to have both!

Cellular shades are one of the few window treatments that come with this option and I think it's a great way to get the look you want both on the inside and outside of your home. Most times people order standard cellular shades that have white towards the outside and a decorative color on the inside. The white also helps reflect sunlight and improves the insulation qualities of the blinds and creates a clean exterior look.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Light Filtering Vertical Blinds

Q: Hi, I wanted to know if there were vertical blinds available that also had light filtering qualities. I need to block light, too, but also wanted ones that would diffuse bright light on occasion. Any suggestions?

A: Great question! It sounds like you're looking for sheer verticals shades. You may have heard of sheer horizontal shades that have a combination of opaque and light filtering fabrics that both block and diffuse light depending on how you tilt the slats. Sheer vertical shades use the same principal: Suspended opaque vanes help block the light but, when you tilt them open, light is diffused through sheer fabric.

Personally, I love the versatility of these blinds. You can block light to darken the room, tilt the vanes open to bring soft light in, or open them completely to give you even more light. The fabric and color options also give a nice soft look to your room, which is especially important if you're hoping to use them for a bedroom or den.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Trim Options Available on Roller Shades

Q: I'm looking into getting roller shades for my apartment but I'm not really into the modern/contemporary styles. What kinds of options do I have to go with a more traditional style?

A: Not only do roller shades come in classic fabrics, they're also available with different trim styles, too! Since it sounds like you're looking for softer lines and trims, you might want to check out the different shapes and pull tag styles that come with roller shades.

Believe it or not, you have tons of options. Tassels, ropes, and embroidery help incorporate roller shades into a more traditional room and can soften the straight lines of these shades. You can even go one step further and request a different shape for the bottom of your blind. There's conventional scalloped edges, slightly more modern waves, or even combinations of different designs. Pair a neat edge or trim with a decorative tassel or trinket pull and you have a completely different look. Honestly, with all the options available, the possibilities are almost endless!

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Fabric Options Available on Roller Shades

Q: I wanted to know what fabric style options I have for roller shades. I like the minimalist style but don't like the traditional look of vinyl. What else is out there?

A: Roller shades have come a long way since their vinyl heritage and you can find them in all kinds of colors, patterns and textures. Hunter Douglas carries a lot of beautiful style and subtle prints that come in both light filtering and room darkening styles. These soft textures are great for bedrooms and living spaces and are perfect for picture windows and contemporary styles.

Roller shades really have a unique, low-profile design with a small footprint that maximizes window space. With all the different fabric options available, you're bound to find the perfect one!

Keep in mind, thought, that new vinyl shades aren't what they used to be. While vinyl roller shades are still durable and easy to clean, they're available in softer colors and textures that can accent any room. (And are perfect for high-traffic areas!)

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Faux Wood with Real Wood Look

Q: I really want wood blinds, but I'm installing them in my bathroom and know that faux wood holds up better under humidity. What options do I have for getting faux wood blinds that look like real wood?

A: Faux wood blinds come in all kinds of stains and textures ranging from natural and maple shades to darker chestnut or mahogany. Faux wood blinds have come a long way in recent years and they look so much like real wood, it's hard to tell the difference! You can order ones that resemble pine for a more country look or darker, richer stains that match both modern or traditional styles.

The great thing about faux wood is, not only do they look and feel like real wood, a lot of time they come with the same features as real wood blinds. Routless (no little holes in the slats for strings to go through) and cloth tapes are two of the most popular additions to faux wood blinds. And they really warm up bathrooms and kitchens. What a great idea!

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Wood Blinds with Color

Q: I love real wood blinds but, well, my room is a bit dark to begin with and I'm hesitant about the darker grains of wood. The room is small and I would really like to brighten it up a bit. Do they come in lighter or more colorful styles?

A: Yes they do! And you'll see that wood blinds (and faux wood blinds) come in all sorts of great colors and stains. You can choose lighter natural woods like maple or get one with a painted finish. Just because you have wood blinds, doesn't mean you need to keep the color of the wood!

You'd be amazed at the variety of colors you can get on wood blinds. There's everything from white to dark greens and blacks. This gives you a great opportunity to match anything in your room or, like you said, brighten things up a bit to make the room look bigger. There are a ton a gorgeous soft paint colors available. That way you get the real wood look with a lighter touch.

Of course, if you change you're mind, you can always order the darker stains or real cherry or oak. They're beautiful!

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Blocking Light with Wood and Faux Wood Blinds – Routless

Q: I'm planning on putting wood blinds in my living room but don't like the rout holes that the strings go through. Since I don't like the look of cloth tape, I wondered if you had any other suggestions.

A: Of Course! Both wood and faux wood blinds come in routless styles that completely eliminate the little holes in each slat. They look exactly the same as regular wood blinds, just without those little holes. These are great because you won't even notice the difference until you tilt the slats shut and, voila! No little rout holes!

If you're wondering how they work, there's actually a little groove on the side of each slat where the cord sits to control lift and tilt. You'll still have the same traditional ladders as regular wood and faux wood blinds, you just won't have the holes anymore. It's a great way to combine the look you want with better light control.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Blocking Light with Wood and Faux Wood Blinds – Cloth Tapes

Q: I really want wood blinds for my home office but noticed that a lot of them have those little holes in the slats where light peeks through. Is there any way to block those little rays of light?

A: Yes! In fact, both wood and faux wood blinds come in styles with cloth tapes that block rout holes (those little holes on each slat where the string/ladders run through it). Cloth tapes run down the full length of your blind and they're available on almost every brand and style of both wood and faux wood. They're attached directly to the blind so you don't have to worry about those little light holes any more.

The best part about these tapes is that they can be customized! You can get wood blinds with cloth tapes ranging from 3/4” to 1 1/2” thick and faux wood comes with either 1” or 2” cloth tapes. Usually, you want a narrow tape if you're looking for a narrower slat, but it's really up to you. They come in lots of colors, too so you can match not only the wood or faux wood to your home, but the cloth, too!

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Blocking Light with Wood and Faux Wood Blinds – Slat Shapes

Q: I want to put wood or faux wood blinds in my den but I've noticed that many styles still let a little light through between the slats. Are there any styles that minimize this problem?

A: Yes! You actually have a couple different options depending on what type of blind you want. Fortunately, faux wood blinds come with a unique slat option that has an “S” curve to the slats, making them fit snuggly against one another when they're tilted shut. The curve is so subtle, you hardly notice it, but it can really help block those bands of light when the slats are closed. I love this feature because it combines the look and feel real wood with greater light control and durability.

If you want real wood, however, take a look at the different slats from the manufacturers. While some have flat slats (that give you the appeal of shutters and traditional blinds), others have slightly curved or beveled slats that help reduce light when they're tilted shut. Real wood blinds are fantastic, but take a look at all your options before deciding on the perfect room-darkening blind for your home.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Other Types of Vertical Blinds

Q: I want vertical blinds for my patio door, but don't like traditional styles. What other options are there?

A: What a great question! Traditional vertical blinds certainly have their place, but a lot of manufacturers have come up with some stunning alternatives. Hunter Douglas has a cellular shade that works like a vertical blind but looks and functions like a cellular shade. It looks amazing!

YourBlinds also carries a vertical blind that works a lot like solar shades. It's a flat panel that slides across your window that blocks harsh sunlight, but still preserves your view. If your patio has a great view, this might be your best options.

Comfortex and Bali also have options in sheer and light filtering vertical shades. These work more like traditional vertical blinds but, instead of separate vanes, these are linked together with a sheer fabric. Close the vanes for more privacy or open them for filtered light. They come in lots of colors and look great!

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

The Benefits of Mini Blinds

Q: I just graduated college and need to outfit my new apartment with some budget-friendly shades. I'd love your opinion.

A: Although mini blinds seem to have a bad reputation, they're actually a great option for small budgets. I actually like the look of aluminum mini blinds, especially when they're incorporated into a more modern environment. They have clean lines, they're inexpensive and very easy to install and operate. Not to mention they come in lots of colors!

One of the best things about mini blinds is that they're very easy to maintain and are incredibly durable. Just wipe them clean and you're done! You don't have to be delicate with these blinds, which makes them a great choice if you plan on taking them with you when you move. They're cheap, versatile, and durable. You can't go wrong!

Thursday, October 23, 2008

The Benefits of Cellular Shades

Q: I've heard a lot about cellular shades recently. I love the look, but what other benefits do they have?

A: Cellular shades are great because they help insulate your windows against energy loss as well as sound. They act a lot like double-pane windows by trapping air between their layers, becoming an insulating barrier.

Cellular shades actually have small tunnels of air that expand as you close the shades. Each of these little tunnels helps keep warm air in during the winter time and blocks some of the sun's heat in the summer. They're especially nice for windows that get a lot of direct sunlight during the summer months and can even help muffle the sound of your neighbor's parties, too!

Keep in mind that cell counts and sizes have a lot to do with how well a cellular blind insulates your window. Take a look at my other post here to find out more about cell counts and click here to find out more about cell sizes.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Blocking AND Filtering Light

Q: My living room/media room faces the backyard and, although I love the light that comes in later in the day, I need something that will filter out the direct sun without totally blocking the light. The problem is, I also need a shade that will darken the same room during the day when we watch movies. Any suggestions?

A: Two-In-One Cellular Shades! I actually mentioned these in a previous blog post about top down/bottom up shades. Two-In-One shades, or Dual Shades, are a variation of the top down/bottom up design. These cellular shades have three rails: a bottom rail, a middle rail, and the headrail. While the headrail remains stable, the other two can move up and down and you can actually choose different types of shades to mount between them. Since they don't overlap, you actually get two different shades in a single mounted headrail! And each of them collapses so you can use them separately if you want, too.

For example, when you want to watch movies, simply lower the bottom rail to use the room darkening shade. When the movie's over and you want a little more light, move the middle rail down to expose the light-filtering shade. See, a perfect match!

Thursday, October 16, 2008

"Top Down/Bottom Up"

Q: I've heard the term “Top Down Bottom Up”, but what does it mean?

A: “Top Down/Bottom Up” refers to blinds and shades that can be raised and lowered from the top and the bottom. The term “Top Down” actually refers to the normal functions of blinds and shades that can be raised from the window sill. The second term, “Bottom Up” refers to features that allow the top of the shade to be lowered from the headrail.

These types of shades are great for windows where you want targeted light control. Just raise the bottom to let in light near the sill and lower the top rail to give more light towards the ceiling. The great thing about these blinds and shades is that, even with the “Top Down/Bottom Up” feature, you can still fully raise the blind. You can work them just like a normal blind, but also take advantage of that neat “Bottom Up” feature to let in more light. I love these blinds because they also come in two-in-one styles!

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Shade Safety Features for Homes with Children

Q: I have young children and am very concerned about their safety around blinds. What are some features I should be looking for when choosing good window treatments?

A: If you're looking for conventional blinds and shades, look for ones with cordless or motorized controls or styles that maintain short cord lengths. Lots of cellular shades, for instance, have manual control options that allow you to raise or lower the shades by manually lifting or lowering the bar. Since these are cordless, they're perfect around young children! (Not to mention cellular shades are soft on small hands, too) Roller shades also come with manual, spring lift controls that don't have cords, either.

Motorized shades are also kid-friendly. A lot of these come in cellular shade styles and are great for big windows where the controls are far above the floor (and out of reach!). I also like the look and function of short cords that are designed to maintain a continuous short length. Hunter Douglas makes one for cellular shades and roman and roller shades both come in styles with continuous cord loops. These are inexpensive, easy to use, and very safe!

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Vane Types for Vertical Blinds

Q: I really need vertical blinds for my sliding glass door but hate the look of vinyl. What other types of vanes/slats are available?

A: Thankfully, there are lots of options beyond traditional vinyl vertical blinds. Although vinyl is easy to clean, it's not always the most attractive option (not to mention they're noisy!). Lots of companies now offer different types of fabric vertical blinds, both rigid and soft. These fabrics are fantastic because they give you options for light filtering or room darkening vertical blinds.

Free-hanging fabric vanes are quiet, soft on the eye and ear, and, in my opinion, very elegant. They come in lots of different colors and fabric styles so you can choose ones that blend well with your room or style. Fabric vanes also come with optional PVC inserts that keep them rigid. These are nice because they offer the same fabric look, but with much better room darkening qualities. And they're quiet, too!

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Styles of Remote Controlled Shades

Q: I would really like to get remote controlled shades but don't know what kinds are available. Can you help?

A: Absolutely! There are lots of options for remote controlled or “motorized” shades, it just depends on what you're looking for. A lot of manufacturers understand the demand for the convenience and style of remote-controlled shades, so there are lots of options.

Cellular shades come with remote controlled options which makes them perfect for large picture windows and media rooms. I also highly recommend motorized light-filtering sheer horizontal shades because they're the only shades you can control the raise, lower, and tilt with your remote. If you're looking for something more traditional, however, you may want to look at motorized wood or faux wood blinds where the tilt is controlled via the remote.

Remote controlled shades are perfect for hard to reach windows like skylights or tall windows. But, honestly, they're great for any room where convenience and luxury are key!

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Skylight Shade Options

Q: I have a few skylights in my house and need some sort of shade that can help me control the sunlight. What are my options?

A: Your best bet is to use cellular skylight shades. In fact, if your skylight is really high on your ceiling, you might even want to consider getting ones that are remote controlled. Some brands have long poles you can use to raise and lower your skylight shades, but remote controls are a lot more convenient.

Cellular skylight shades are basically the same cellular shades made for other windows, except they run on tracks that keep them flat against your skylight. The best part about these shades is that they come in all sorts of light filtering or room darkening styles which means you have total control over the light. Cellular shades are also energy efficient which helps you save money, too. Not to mention that cellular shades look fantastic on ANY window!

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Shades and Blinds for Arches

Q: I just bought a new home and there are lots of arched and angled windows. I want to put some sort of shade on these, but I don't know my options. Can you help?

A: Of course! If you want a more traditional look, there are wooden arches that let you angle the slats to let in more light if you want. They also come in fixed forms, too, where the slats can't be moved. Otherwise, if you want a more contemporary look, lots of companies have put out shades that fit all sorts of window shapes and sizes.

Cellular shades are among the most popular choice and you can match them to your other window treatments, too. I like the arched shades by Hunter Douglas because they can be moved up and down, giving you even more control over incoming light. Hunter Douglas also makes stationary cellular arched blinds that cannot be moved, but will still filter light depending on your choice of color and style.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Let in Light AND the View

Q: I LOVE to cook, and just moved into a house with an amazing view out of the kitchen window. The only problem is that the sun streams in late in the day. I need to block the light, but don't want to interfere with the view. Have any ideas?

A: This is a REALLY common problem, especially with people who live in the country and love to watch the wildlife but don't like the bright sun. You might want to try solar shades. They work a lot like light diffusing shades but have a different sort of weave that allows you to see out the window, too. There are lots of different styles and colors and you can choose ones that block a little or a lot of the light.

I'd recommend solar shades for any room where you love the view but where privacy is not necessarily a priority. If your neighbors are close enough to see into your kitchen at night, you might want to consider combining solar shades with drapes to give you more privacy at night. While these shades are perfect for letting you see out, they also let others see IN.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Cellular Shades and Cell Sizes

Q: There are a lot of different cell sizes in cellular shades. Why? What are they for?

A: Different cell sizes give you lots of variety in looks AND insulation. Only small cells can be bunched into multiple layers, though, which is especially important if you have a window that gets a lot of sun.

Smaller sized cells make smaller pleats and bigger cells make bigger pleats. You'll want to remember this when you look at the size of your window since smaller pleats look much better on smaller windows than they do on large picture windows. (“Big” cells are usually 1/2” or larger and small cells can be as little as 3/8” across)

I found an exception to this with a cellular shade made by Hunter Douglas that bunches multiple smaller cells in what looks like a single-layer larger-cell cellular shade. It's a remarkable concept because it give you the insulation of multiple small cells but with bigger pleats. You know that big picture window that gets too much sun? Here's your answer!

Thursday, September 18, 2008

What are Cell Counts?

Q: Cellular blinds come in lots of different cell counts. What's the difference?

A: There are so many options with cellular shades, it's sometimes hard to tell them apart!

Most cellular shades come in single, double, or triple cell layers. Obviously, a single layer of cells is usually thinner than double or triple cell layers, but this isn't always the case. Since cellular shades come in lots of cell sizes (like I said, there are LOTS of options with cellular shades) a single layer of large cells can sometimes be as thick as a double layer of small cells!

Mostly, though, cell counts (referring to cell layers, of course) give cellular shades their trademark insulating qualities. Triple cell layers give you more insulation against heat and noise than double layers, and double give more than single. It's actually pretty easy, but you'll need to keep in mind the depth of your window, too. Triple layer cellular shades are great, but they can get pretty thick!

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

The Look of Cellular Without the Price

Q: I love the look of cellular blinds but I'm on a tight budget. Any suggestions?

A: You might want to try pleated shades since they look a lot like cellular blinds but are much more affordable.

With pleated shades you get the same look as cellular shades, but without the actual air cells that make cellular shades more expensive. If you need energy savings or noise reduction, however, you still might want to consider investing in good cellular shades. Otherwise, a pleated shade makes a great alternative.

Pleated shades are especially nice because they come in the same color selection as cellular shades. Light filtering pleated shades are gorgeous in bedrooms and living rooms and I love the way they look in the middle of the day! These even make great alternatives to other kinds of light filtering shades like roller shades or sheer horizontal shades because they have that modern, pleated look that makes cellular shades so popular.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Light Filtering Horizontal Blinds

Q: I love horizontal blinds, but I like the light filtering qualities of some thinner shades, too. Is there any way to get both?

A: Try sheer horizontal shades!

Sheer horizontal shades are great for filtering bright light but they're also perfect for privacy, too. If you like the slatted look of regular horizontal blinds, you'll love sheer horizontal shades. Although they don't have rigid slats (the “slats” of sheer horizontal blinds are actually slips of opaque fabric), these shades still look like traditional blinds.

The best part about sheer horizontal shades is the sheer fabric that holds them together. When you tilt the fabric vanes open, you get filtered light. Tilt the blinds shut and you can block more light and get a lot more privacy. I'd highly recommend sheer horizontal shades for rooms with really bright sunlight because you can filter the light or block it completely. They also come in a wide range of colors and have a beautiful soft look that's especially nice for bedrooms or living rooms.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

The Look of Wood Blinds Without the Fear of Warping

Q: I love the look of wood blinds but I live in a very humid climate. What options do I have for the look of wood blinds without the potential for warping?

A: Faux wood blinds!

Faux wood blinds are the perfect alternative to real hardwood blinds and capture the look and feel of wood without warping. While they look and feel like real wood, faux wood blinds are actually made from either a composite blend or PVC that's designed to resist humidity and warping. If you really want the look and feel of real wood, but need the durability of synthetics, faux wood blinds are the answer!

So what's the difference in composite or PVC versus real wood? Well, composite faux wood blinds are made of a blend of materials and generally weight up to 60% more than hardwood. Because of this blend, composite faux wood blinds are highly resistant to warping. PVC faux wood blinds, the same tough material that makes up those white plumbing pipes, can weigh as much as 100% more than real wood blinds. This industrial synthetic is not prone to warping at all! Both types are highly resistant to humidity and incredibly durable, and come in a wide range of colors and stains, making them the ideal choice for your kitchen or bathroom.

Remember that, although they are very durable, the slats on faux wood blinds are heavy and require more ladders (strings) to keep them in place. This additional weight means that you need more strength to raise faux wood blinds than you do with hardwood blinds. This is especially important if you're planning to install faux wood blinds on high, hard to reach windows or if your home has older residents who might have a difficult time raising the blinds.