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.