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 d├ęcor. 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.