Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Contemporary Vertical Alternatives

Q: I've heard that there are alternatives available to typical vertical shades and I'd like to know more about them. I'm hoping to find something other than conventional vertical blinds since my home is more contemporary. Can you help?

A: Of course! The most popular vertical blind alternatives are composed of cellular shades. Vertical cellular shades are comprised of pleated sheets rather than traditional vanes and provide a more contemporary and modern look to large windows and sliding glass doors. And vertical cellular shades come in a variety of colors and opacities which gives you even more control over the light in your home.

Much like traditional cellular shades (or honeycomb shades as they're sometimes called), vertical cellulars are made of rows of air pockets that expand as you pull the shade closed. These unique pockets, or cells, create an insulating layer between your home and the window, providing an energy efficient yet contemporary look to your windows.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Options for Light Filtering

Q: I have wonderful windows in the front of my house that really let in a lot of light. I love the light, but my windows face the street and I'm hoping to improve my privacy with some window treatments. Do you have any suggestions for shades that let me keep the light but also shield me from the street?

A: You're in luck! There are lots of options for light filtering shades! Roman shades, roller shades, and cellular shades (probably the most popular) all come with light filtering options. If you love the look of drapes but like the convenience of shades, you may want to consider Roman shades. If your style is more contemporary or you want a low-profile window treatment, you might like roller shades (Forget the vinyl, modern roller shades come in all sorts of soft fabrics and colors).

Cellular shades, also known as honeycomb shades, are probably one of the most popular choices for light filtering shades. These unique shades have pockets of air that help insulate your window in addition to diffusing sunlight. Like roller shades and roman shades, cellular shades also come in room darkening colors and textures.

Light filtering means that you keep the soft natural sunlight but gain privacy at the same time. Keep in mind, though, that some of these shades will show your shadows at night so you may want to either consider a 2-in-one shade with room darkening benefits, or combine your light filtering shade with a drape or window treatment you can close at night.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Mini Blinds with Two Colors

Q: I want to buy new mini blinds for my daughter's apartment at college but her neighborhood requires all street-facing blinds to be white. Do I have any options besides getting her plain white mini blinds?

A: Thankfully, Hunter Douglas and Levolor make blinds that are colored on the inside and white on the outside. Like most other mini blinds, both of these blinds are made with aluminum slats that are great for creating quality shade and light control on a budget.

The Hunter Douglas lines of two-tone blinds are called Duotone and Lightlines. The Duotone blinds are standard 1” aluminum blinds with color on one side of the slat and white on the other. Lightlines are identical to Duotones except they give even more light control by eliminating the route holes in the slats. This can be especially useful for preventing unwanted glare on computer screens during late night study sessions.

Much like Lightlines, Levolor's Tiltone uses routleess slats that prevent unwanted light from entering the room. And, like their alternatives, Tiltone gives you a choice in colors for the inside of the room while still conforming to neighborhood regulations on the outside.

With Hunter Douglas and Levolor you can follow the rules and still have style!

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

A Different Kind of Cellular Blind

Q: I like the energy saving function of cellular blinds, but I'm not all that excited about the appearance. I have a more traditional décor and I'd like to find something that insulates like cellular but looks more conventional. Any suggestions?

A: Comfortex makes a blind that looks like a traditional blind but expands to work like cellular shades. The Odysee has soft blades that function much like a conventional blinds, but, instead of tilting, they expand to help block light. The blades (or slats) lay flat when not in use, but as soon as you want to increase your shade, light control, or privacy, simply use the appropriate controls to expand the blades to create a single-layer cellular shade.

Normal cellular shades are made from layers of fabric that create air pockets, or cells, when you expand the blind. The Odysee, however, has isolated each cell and collapsed them into slats for a more conventional appearance. Instead of tilting the slats, the Comfortex Odysee allows you to expand the cells, interlocking them to create an insulating layer between your room and the window. This way you get the look of a traditional blind and still reap the rewards of cellular shades!

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Ideal Blinds for Kitchen and Bath

Q: I'm remodelling my kitchen and guest bathroom and want to coordinate the blinds in both. Any ideas for something that looks great but also resists moisture?

A: You might want to consider faux wood blinds. These blinds look and function like normal wood blinds but are made from synthetic materials that are easy to clean and resist humidity and water. Unlike older styles of faux wood blinds, manufacturers now make blinds that look and feel so close to real wood it's difficult to tell the difference!

You also have the ability to choose the stain and style of your faux wood blinds which makes them an ideal choice for coordinating with existing cabinets and fixtures. This means that you have more flexibility with choosing blinds that either match or compliment the wood in your kitchen or bath.

They're easy to clean, too. Simply dust or wipe down with a wet rag and your blinds are clean! With faux wood blinds you won't have to worry about food stains, water damage, or grease. They're easy to clean and continue to resist water for the lifetime of the blinds.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Eco-Friendly Blinds and Shades

Q: Are there any shades or blinds that are environmentally friendly or sustainable?

A: Absolutely! Blinds and shades can be made from all sorts of sustainable and renewable materials like bamboo, grasses, and reeds. Even some woven wood shades fall into this category.

There are lots of styles and options, too, ranging from more rugged woven fiber blinds to softer, more traditional shades. Bamboo, for example, can be made to look a lot like reed shades for an earthy look or stripped and woven into fabric to resemble more conventional styles.

Reeds, grasses, and woven wood blinds tend to look more like their fibers. These are great for rooms where you want to accent a natural floor or offset contemporary furniture with a natural woven shade.

These sustainable shades also come in a variety of colors and shading options. While most come in warm earth tones, there are also options for darker hues and, of course, natural unbleached colors. They range from room darkening to light diffusing and almost sheer. The huge variety in natural shades gives you all kinds of opportunities to accent your home with beautiful eco-friendly materials.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Top Down Bottom Up on Cellular

Q: I read your last post “What is 'Top Down/Bottom Up” and wanted to know more about the options for cellular blinds. Thanks.

A: Cellular shades, a popular option for those looking for light and energy efficiency, come in regular top down/bottom up designs as well as two-in-one options. The conventional top down/bottom up feature gives you the option of raising your shade from the window sill or opening it from the top (top down).

There's also a two-in-one option that works very similarly to the traditional top down/bottom up method. The two-in-one cellular shades give you the benefit of both an opaque room darkening cellular shade as well as a sheer, light filtering one. These shades literally have two shades on top of one another to give you the benefits of both worlds. Where the opaque cellular shade stops, the sheer one begins.

These are convenient and easy to use since they work the same as regular top down/bottom up shades. You can fill your window with an opaque shade and, when you want more light, simply pull down the top rail to expose the sheer shade. This is a great alternative for those who like both privacy and soft light.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

What is "Top Down/Bottom Up?"

Q: I keep seeing the term “top down bottom up”. What does that mean? Thanks

A: Top Down/Bottom Up refers to a control option on some window shades and blinds that allows the user to either lower the top portion of the blind or raise the bottom. Many times both the bottom and top can be raised and lowered simultaneously, giving you even greater control over the natural light in your room.

Top down/bottom up shades do not require any special mounting or tools, and look and function much like ordinary shades and blinds. Simply leave the top of the blind flush against the top mount to give the appearance of a regular shade. This allows you to manipulate the shade from the window sill (pulling it from the “top down”).

You can also leave the bottom flush against the sill and manipulate the top (expanding the shade from the “bottom up”). This is perfect for when you still want sunlight but not glaring sun at sunrise or sunset.

Many cellular shades come with the top down/bottom up option as do some Roman shades.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Energy Saving Shades for Big Windows

Q: Hi, I just finished building my house and have tried to make it a little bit “greener” by finding ways to conserve energy. We're using tankless water heaters, have put energy-efficient insulation in the walls and attic, and have designed the house to maximize solar energy in the winter. On that note, I'd like to find shades for some of my large windows that are beautiful but still save energy. Any suggestions?

A: Cellular shades are designed to be both beautiful as well as energy efficient. When drawn closed, small pockets of air expand to provide elegant but effective insulation on any window and even come in multiple layers of “cells” depending on how much insulation you need.

Cellular shades are versatile, too. Not only do they help retain warmth in the winter and keep out solar heat in the summer, they also buffer noise and light. Cellular shades (also known as honeycomb shades) come in a wide range of colors to match any décor and also come in light-diffusing and room-darkening options.

For those large windows, you may also want to consider opting for a motorized or remote-controlled cellular shade. Just push a button and raise or lower the shade whenever you want. Convenience and energy-efficiency all in one!

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Vane Styles for Vertical Shades

Q: I'm looking to get vertical blinds for my big bay window and want to know what my options are. Can you tell me the different vane styles available for vertical blinds? Thanks

A: Most vertical blinds are available as PVC, fabric, and some combination of the two. PVC vanes, much like their vinyl cousins, are rigid, block the light, and often cause a little noise when jostled. They're easy to maintain, however, and come in all sorts of colors.

Weighted fabric vanes also come in a wide variety of colors and textures and are a very quiet alternative to straight PVC. Based on your choice in fabric, you can get a room-darkening vertical blind or a light-filtering set. The best feature of fabric vanes is that they're very soft on both the eyes and the ears.

While straight PVC vanes are rigid and can resemble traditional vinyl vanes, you can certainly mix a rigid center with a textured fabric outer layer to get the best in privacy, light control, and style. These vertical shades combine the best of both features!

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Hiding the Roller Shade Roll

Q: Is there a way to hide the roll on roller shades? I like the look of roller shades but am not too crazy about the exposed rolling system. Any ideas?

A: Yes! There are roller cassettes designed just for this purpose. Most people looking to install roller shades like the low-profile design and want to maintain that look throughout their window decorations. Roller shade cassettes are simple and give a sleek contemporary way to hide the roll at the top of your window. They also come in all kinds of colors that allows you to match either your trim or the roller shade itself. Both Hunter Douglas and YourBlinds carry low-profile roller shade cassettes.

If you want something less modern, you might also want to consider a conventional valence. Roller shades work great with existing drapes just by hiding the roll under a matching valence. You won't even know it's there!

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Inexpensive Blinds for College

Q: My daughter's off to college next month and I want to make sure she is safe with adequate privacy. What blinds would you recommend for college kids (in dorms or off campus) that's cheap but still functional.

A: Most dorms come equipped with miniblinds which also happen to be a great alternative to more expensive shades and blinds for college. As we all know, college environments can cause excessive wear and tear on blinds and you'll want something that's functional yet still inexpensive and easy to replace. Mini blinds also easy to install and come in lots of fun colors to match any style.

Roller shades can also provide great privacy while still saving you money. Durable yet fashionable, roller shades come in all sorts of colors and many come with light diffusing properties as well. Like minblinds, roller shades are easy to clean, easy to install, and cheap to replace. Since they come in a wide variety of colors and textures, it'll be easy to find one that matches her taste.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Low Profile Shades for Drapes

Q: I'm not really looking to change the look of my living room, but I do need a little more control over sunlight. I currently have drapes and don't want to take them down. Is there anything I can use that would work with my existing window treatments?

A: Yes! In fact, cellular shades and roller shades work great with drapes. Both of these shade types are low-profile and, when installed alone, add elegant simplicity to any room. The unique linear design also makes them an ideal choice for pairing with existing window treatments. Their basic look and versatile function make them easy to hide behind valences, but also easy to coordinate with your décor.

When choosing between cellular and roller shades, you may want to consider function. Both come in light filtering and room darkening styles to maximize your control over incoming natural light, but cellular shades offer the benefit of insulation. By trapping cells of air between the window and your room, cellular shades help you save energy by preventing unnecessary heat loss. Roller shades, on the other hand, are very thin and take up minimal space when rolled up.

Both come in lots of colors and textures – perfect for pairing with any decorations!

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Matching Cabinets – Stains for Wood Blinds

Q: My new home has beautiful cabinets installed in the kitchen and I'm hoping to get blinds to match. They're not a traditional color or stain and I'd love to keep everything consistent. Do manufactures have a wide range of stains I can look at and match?

A: Wood blinds come in a HUGE range of stain colors and can be painted to order depending on what slat size you want. For example, the Hunter Douglas Classic line of wood blinds has 35 stain options ranging from black, pale white, and blue to traditional chestnut, pecan, or maple. You can even order swatches of the blinds before you purchase in order to correctly match your existing cabinets.

In addition to a custom stain color, you might also want to consider adding a cloth tape to further personalize your blinds. These tapes run vertically down your blinds, hiding the route holes and reducing glare. They come in a wide range of colors and patterns that you can use to match the rest of your décor!

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Drape-Like Shades

Q: Are there any shades or blinds that have the same soft richness as drapes? I love my drapes and the look of lose fabric, but I was hoping for a convenient solution. Any ideas?

A: Check out Roman Shades! Roman shades are unique to the shade and blind world and combine the soft appeal of fabric drapes with the simplicity and function of shades. There are a few different styles, too. While most people think of lose folds of fabric, roman shades actually come in a variety of styles that range from casual and lose to streamlined and modern. If you're looking for a very lose fabric look, try out hobbled or relaxed roman shades. If you want something more sleek and tailored, look for a classic flat style.

The best thing about roman shades is that they're available in a huge range of fabrics, textures, and patterns. You can even get them in light diffusing fabrics or have them lined to have shades that really darken your room. Either way you'll end up with a soft window treatment that appeals to both aesthetics and function.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Shades and Blinds for French Doors

Q: Are there any blinds made for French Doors? I currently have French doors in my bedroom but can't seem to find anything except fitted drapes for them. I'd rather have something more contemporary and stylish rather than old and traditional. Any ideas?

A: Yes! There are all sorts of custom blinds and shades made specifically for French doors. In fact, a lot of the same manufacturers who make shades and blinds for the rest of your home, also make those same styles for French doors. For example, Hunter Douglas, one of the leaders in window blinds, makes cellular shades for French doors that come in the same colors and light filtering properties as their other lines. This means you can get a contemporary shade for your French Door and coordinate them with other windows as well!

Cellular blinds aren't the only door shades available, however. Slim, tailored door shades and blinds also come in wood blinds, faux wood blinds, natural and bamboo shades that lay flat and filter light, and roman shades. Some of these offer options for top down/bottom up controls and others are available to cover either the entire door or just the glass.

There's a lot of options out there and you can certainly find ones that fit any modern style. What a way to bring those beautiful French doors into the 21st century!

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Control Options for Roller Shades

Q: I'm looking to install roller shades in my bedroom. Can you tell me the different types of control options available on these types of shades?

A: Absolutely. Roller shades come in cordless and spring lift systems, cordloop controls, and motorized or electronic control systems. Cordless, or spring lift systems use a retractable feature that eliminates all cords from the system. It's easy to use, too. Just pull down the shade with your hand (and you can even get a decorative pull to make it even more unique!) and it stays in place. Gently pull again and the roller shade rolls back onto the roll.

Cordloop controls, on the other hand, allow you to raise and lower your shades using a continuous loop of cord. The constant length of cord is great for control and safety since there are no long strings or cords for small hands, or small pets, to play with.

Better yet, go motorized! Roller shades, like lots of other window shades and blinds, come with a remote control option. This way you can raise and lower your shades from the comfort of your bed. What better way to control your bedroom light than to relax and press a button!

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Modern/Simple Style

Q: I'm looking for shades that match a modern style but without the trendy contemporary flair. I'm pretty picky about color, too. Any suggestions?

A: Cellular Shades come in all kinds of colors and have a great low-profile design that matches just about every style. The nice clean lines of cellular shades go great with modern rooms, and they come in all kinds of light diffusing and room darkening options, too. Not only do these shades look great, but they also help insulate your windows to save you energy! Cellular shades also hold up well over time and come with all kinds of control options and different shapes to help you coordinate your windows.

Cellular shades are some of the most popular shades on the market today and compliment virtually every style. There are lots of different brands that manufacture cellular shades and you'll probably want to compare your options before you buy.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Horizontal Alternatives

Q: I love the look and insulation of cellular blinds but I also really enjoy the look and feel of traditional horizontal shades. I don't want the rigid slats and wanted to know if there are any horizontal blind alternatives?

A: Yes! Comfortex recently released a new kind of horizontal blind called Odysee that combines the insulation and room darkening properties of cellular shades with the look and function of horizontal blinds. The best thing about these blinds is that they really do function as either a cellular shade or horizontal blinds whenever you want.

The Odysee blinds feature flattened single cells that function as the soft slats when the blind is being used as a horizontal blind. This feature is perfect because it allows you to maximize your view and control your light. One simple adjustment, however, and the cells expand. With open cells, the blinds darken the room while simultaneously insulating your window like a traditional cellular blind. You get the best of both worlds!

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Styles of Motorized Shades

Q: I recently bought a house with huge windows in the family room and dining areas and I've been looking at getting blinds with remote controls. What shade and blind styles come with a motorized option?

A: Cellular shades are probably the most popular style of motorized shades, but remote control options are also available in wood blinds, sheer shades, roller shades, and faux wood blinds. Cellular shades are great because they provide a sleek, low-profile design with insulating qualities. They also come in a wide range of colors, cell sizes, and cell counts that match any décor.

Other contemporary alternatives include sheer shades and roller shades. Sheer shades create a soft look and a perfect for windows that get a lot of direct sunlight. The sheer qualities help diffuse direct sun while the opaque slats can block harsh rays. Roller shades can also give you some flexibility on lighting and their simple, flat nature makes them blend into any room.

If you're looking for something more traditional, however, consider wood or faux wood shades. Both of these window shades come in motorized forms so you get the look of shutters without the hassle of cords.

Congratulations on the house!

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Cordless Shades

Q: I'm trying to redecorate in a kid-friendly way since my grandkids are still very young (and I have more on the way!). Do you have any recommendations for shades or blinds that are cordless?

A: Yes, in fact, cellular shades, wood blinds, and roller and solar shades all come with cordless options. Not only does cordless help minimize safety hazards, it also streamlines your windows and adds to an overall elegant look!

Cellular shades, also known as honeycomb shades or blinds, are made of layers of fabric that trap air to help insulate your windows. They come in all shades and colors, with multiple cell counts and also come with room darkening or light filtering qualities

Standard wood blinds also come with cordless options. That way you get the same traditional appeal of wood but without long dangerous cords! Roller shades and solar shades are also great options because they can come with spring-lift systems that eliminate the need for cords altogether! All of these options are perfect if you want beautiful shades without any cords.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Vertical Shade Alternatives

Q: I need vertical shades for a large front window in my home and wanted to know if there were any other types of vertical blinds besides traditional slats.

A: Yes, in recent years, blind manufacturers have come up with incredibly fashionable alternatives to conventional vertical blinds. Sheer verticals, cellular, and sheerweave are the most common among them.

Sheer vertical blinds have been around for years and mimic the same soft appeal of sheer horizontal shades. These unique blinds provide both privacy and light filtering capabilities and give you soft aesthetics, too.

Cellular shades, those unique shades that trap air when in use, are now available as vertical shades! They're best known for their sleek design and energy-saving capabilities, helping you insulate your room against excess cold or heat while giving you a simple yet functional shade.

There are also sheerweave and solar shades that are available as vertical shades. These shades give you all the view while still blocking harsh sunlight. They're another great alternatives to traditional verticals if you're looking for a more contemporary or low-profile design.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Sheer Vertical Shades – Another Alternative to Vinyl

Q: I saw your blog on alternatives to traditional vinyl vertical blinds and was wondering if there were any other options along the same line. I'm hoping to find something with vertical slats but not weighted fabric.

A: You might want to try Sheer Vertical Shades. These shades are just like sheer horizontal shades but work like vertical blinds. The wonderful thing about sheer verticals is that you can have diffused light and total privacy all with one blind! The opaque fabric vanes hang between sheer sheets of fabric so if you tilt the vanes open you get light diffused through the sheer fabric. Close the vanes and you get additional light control and improved privacy.

Sheer vertical blinds come in a wide range of colors, too, so it's easy to find something that matches your rooms. You can even order options that let you either pull all the vanes to one side or split them down the middle. These are a great, soft, versatile alternative to traditional vinyl.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Vertical Blinds: Alternatives to Vinyl

Q: I like the look of slats with traditional vinyl vertical blinds but really don't like vinyl. What other options are available?

A: Vinyl blinds used to be the norm, but now fabric and combination vertical blinds are far more popular than their predecessor. If you go with fabric vertical blinds then you have the option of having light filtering blinds that can really give an elegant accent to any room. They're soft, too, which means that they move much like drapes but still have the form and function of vertical blinds. They're less noisy, too!

If you still want the room-darkening traits of vinyl but with a more stylish look, go with fabric verticals with pvc inserts. They'll be rigid and give you more light control but still cut down on noise. You can get these (and regular fabric verticals) in lots of different styles, colors and textures, giving you even greater versatility when it comes to decorating your home!

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Control Options of Roman Shades

Q: I really like the look of roman shades but wanted to know what control options are available. Thanks.

A: Roman shades make a great functional alternative to drapes and come with either continuous cord loop controls or with the popular top down/bottom up feature. Most people are familiar with cord loop controls since they've been featured on blinds and shades for years. These cords are looped through the top rail and all you need to do is pull on one side of the loop to raise the shade and the other side to lower them. They're pretty safe, too since they maintain a constant length no matter how high or low the shade.

The top down/bottom up feature in roman shades is not as well known but it's just as convenient. In fact, it's one of the best secrets in the industry! This feature allows you to not only raise and lower the bottom edge of the shade, but the top half, too. This way you can get light through just the top edge of your window (which means it's perfect for when the sun is really low). You can use these shades like normal roman shades or conveniently lower the top rail to let natural light in at the top! It's such a great idea!

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Soft Blind Alternatives

Q: I'm hoping to find something that functions like a blind but isn't rough or rigid like traditional wood or aluminum. Basically, I want the versatility without the slats. Can you help?

A: Of course! There are a few “blind alternatives” available. The most common are sheer horizontal blinds but there are other popular options like cellular and pleated shades. If you really want the slat “look” but with softer tones or light filtering, then you'll want to go with sheer horizontal shades. These shades have strips of opaque fabric suspended between sheer panels so that you have the best possible light control. You can leave the “slats” open to let in soft, diffused light, or you can tilt them shut for better privacy or to darken the room. Of course you can also raise these and let in full sunlight, too.

Cellular and pleated shades look a lot like traditional blinds but are solid pieces of fabric rather than slatted. These are great options for more contemporary looks but are still soft to the touch. In fact, cellular blinds have the added benefit of insulating your window against energy loss and noise.

My personal favorites are the sheer horizontal blinds because you have so many options for light control. But honestly, any way you go, all of these are great, soft alternatives to your traditional slatted blinds!

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Shades with Top Down/Bottom Up

Q: I really like the top down/bottom up feature of some cellular shades and wanted to know if that same control feature is available on other shade/blind styles.

A: Yes, the top down/bottom up control option is available on cellular, roman shades, and pleated shades. For those of you that may be unfamiliar with the term “top down/bottom up” it refers to the option to raise and lower both the top and bottom rails. This wonderful feature allows you to block a portion of your window at either the top or the bottom, giving you a lot more flexibility in blocking direct sunlight. The top down/bottom up feature works just like a regular shade, except you can also lower the top rail, too. I adore these shades and think they're the perfect solution to most privacy and light problems.

As mentioned above, this feature is very popular for cellular shades but is also available with roman and pleated shades. Roman shades give a nice soft fabric feel while pleated shades are a cost effective solution for those who like cellular blinds but don't necessarily need the insulating qualities. The top down/bottom up feature is fantastic and really makes for a very versatile blind!

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Light Filtering Shades and Blinds

Q: I need shades that will filter light instead of blocking it but I only know of a few styles. Could you give me some of the most popular (and maybe some not-as-well-known) styles that come in light-filtering styles?

A: Yes! The most common shades styles with light filtering options are cellular shades, roller shades, solar shades, roman shades, and sheer horizontal and vertical shades. Yes, believe it or not, roller shades and roman shades both come in styles that let diffused light into the room. In fact, all of the above styles come in lots of different colors and textures for light filtering. Darker colors, of course, will block a little more light while lighter colors will certainly brighten up a room.

Sheer horizontal and sheer vertical shades also look great! In fact, these provide extreme versatility in light filtering options. These shades combine very sheer and light-diffusing fabrics to give you multiple options in how much light you want to let in. Lots of colors make these a great option, too!

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Opacity of Roman Shades

Q: I love the look of roman shades but really want soft light, too. I'm so used to seeing roman shades in really thick fabrics that darken rooms and wanted to know if they come in more light-filtering styles. Can you tell me what kind of varieties there are in roman shades? Thanks

A: You can get roman shades in all sorts of colors, fabrics, and thicknesses, even light-filtering. Most people associate these drape-like shades with dark rooms and lush fabrics but they can also appeal to lighter rooms, too! In fact, light-filtering or sheer roman shades are great for bedrooms and dens where you might want to keep the soft look of drapes but still have the convenience of shades.

The amount of light filtered will depend on the make and style of the shade you choose and can also be affected by the color and style of fabric as well. For example, light-colored sheer roman shades won't block much light but they'll certainly cut down on glare and still give you the roman shade look. The light-filtering roman shades will block a little more light but are great when you want natural light without the bright sunshine. There's a lot of variety in fabrics and weaves and the combination of colors, makes, and textures gives you huge range of lighting options!

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Very Durable Shades and Blinds

Q: I have a house full of young boys and who have managed to destroy a few shades on their voyage into adolescence. Although the older ones are growing out of the rowdy stage, I still have two more to go. I need “unbreakable” shades that still look decent but won't cost me a fortune. Can you help me?

A: Of Course!! In fact, faux wood blinds not only look fantastic, they're also made to be durable under a huge range of conditions. There are two types of faux wood blinds: wood composite and PVC. Both are extremely durable, and very easy to maintain. Since they're not real wood, they're easier to clean and can withstand the bumps and jars of everyday life. They're also more dense which makes them heavier than wood blinds and you can get them in all kinds of colors (including ones that look like real wood!)

You might also want to consider roller shades. They are simple, flat and can withstand lots of traffic. They come in a wide range of colors, textures and styles that give you a lot of flexibility on looks, too. Different materials need different maintenance, though, and you might want to look into vinyl shades. A lot of people are turned off by the word “vinyl”, but these shades are very different than the ones from decades ago. You can even dress them up with trims and hem styles.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Trims and Edges for Roller Shades

Q: I'm planning on putting roller shades in my condo but wanted to dress them up a bit. Can you tell me a little more about trim options?

A: Of course! While you can dress up roller shades by choosing different fabric options, you can also choose different trims and shapes for the bottom edge. Most roller shades come standard with a flat (horizon) hem but Hunter Douglas lets you spruce up your roller shades by offering seven other hem styles: Horizon with trim, half moon, scallops and shells, breakers, wave, broken scallop and seagull. Each of these hem styles also comes with trim options that resemble the decorative trims on expensive curtains or pillows.

If you want a more modern design, I'd recommend the more contemporary decorative tape trims. These follow the same horizontal style as traditional roller shades but have nice clean lines that fit a more modern style. They look great on big windows and work really well in almost any space. Hunter Douglas does a great job of giving you lots of options for colors, fabrics, and light filtering, too!

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Shades with Cordlesss Controls

Q: I have three young children and just redecorated their bedrooms. I was hoping to get some sort of shade or blind with cordless controls for safety. What styles are available with this option?

A: That's a great idea to put cordless shades in your kids' rooms since they're designed for easy control and safety. Cellular blinds, wood blinds, and roller shades all have cordless options available. Cellular blinds (also known as honeycomb shades) are soft to the eye and soft to the touch and come in all kinds of light filtering and room darkening options. Their pockets of air also make them great for insulation.

The cordless function of cellular blinds is the same on wood blinds. All you have to do is push up or pull down on the bottom rail to lift or lower the blinds. Not only is this very safe and functional, it also gives the windows a clean cord-free look!

I'm personally a big fan of roller shades for kids' rooms, though. Not only are roller shades flat and soft, most are incredibly durable. You can also dress them up with decorative trim! The cordless controls on these are composed of a spring lift system. It's easy to control and still very safe.