The best window coverings

Chantal Dauray

Tips on how to use lighting without sacrificing your privacy.
Choosing the right window covering
Your budget, tastes, needs and decorating style, together with the amount of brightness you wish to achieve in the room, will guide your decisions as you consider numerous possibilities. Here are some guidelines.
1 The kitchen. Wood blinds and faux-wood blinds are easier to maintain than pleated blinds or curtains. The more rigid the blinds, the easier they are to clean.
2 The bedroom. For a more restful sleep, an opaque blind is a good choice. It can be concealed behind a valance or dressed up with attractive curtains. Other options are rigid horizontal blinds or fabric blinds combined with some curtains for greater opacity.
3 The living room. If you’re intent on keeping prying eyes out, horizontal
blinds or louvered shutters are your best option, as louveres can be inclined based on your preference for shade or light without the interior being any more visible to passersby. If privacy is not an issue, anything goes! If you
choose drapes, err on the side of simplicity, keeping them in a shade similar
to that of the wall.
4 The bathroom. Horizontal blinds are a sound choice here. However, select a waterproof material (faux wood, for example), particularly if the space is poorly ventilated or the blind is close to the shower stall.
5 French doors. Solar blinds (or perforated blinds) are perfectly suitable, as they reduce the glare and heat from the sun and protect furniture from UV rays. Also popular are light-filtering sunscreens (with Sheerweave) with their Japanese style and the lovely luminosity they confer on large windows.Fabric blinds are a good choice as well.
Windows above electric baseboard heaters
Rather than hemming your curtains so that they hang just above the heater, simply move them away from the heat source with a mounting bracket (available at most hardware stores), which attaches to the baseboard heater. The effect is more elegant. As for blinds, allow a clearance of at least 30 centimetres from the baseboard heater, and if possible, avoid vinyl or plastic-based materials.

How to Pick Blinds for a Child's Bedroom

Hunter Douglas
There are lots of reasons to pick made to measure blinds over curtains when you're furnishing your house. They are often much better at blacking out all the light from a room, and they're also pretty good thermally, as well as giving you a bit of added privacy.
What you might not consider though, is that window dressings, like so many things around the house, can become a hazard to small children. Even the most mundane of objects can become a potential death trap and made to measure blinds aren't excluded from that.
Even though you might want to have blackout made to measure blinds in your nursery, it might not be the best solution unless you think carefully about how the blinds will operate and whether they'll be safe for your little ones.
How can blinds cause injury?
The pull cord which you use to open and close your blinds is one of the main, and most obvious hazards. There are more risks than just that though. If you opt for something like a venetian blind they have cords which hold them together. Because these are much shorter loops than the pull cord itself, it is surprisingly easy for little ones to become entangled in the mechanism. If this happens to be around their neck it just doesn't bare thinking about.
With all those possible hazards, you're going to want to think carefully about the sort of blinds which you choose so that your little ones are nice and safe as well as in a dark room at bedtime.
Safety first
Just because made to measure blinds can be a hazard doesn't mean that they will be, and if you follow our simple steps, it'll be easy to achieve.
We've already identified what some of the main risks are, next you just need to know how to minimise those risks, to make sure that there's almost no way you're little one can end up hurting themselves. You'll sleep much better at night knowing that every area of your house has been thoroughly child proofed, and the chance of an accident in the home has been reduced to almost nothing.
Firstly, make sure your child's bed or baby's cot isn't placed right under the made to measure blinds where possible. Overly long cords which are too close to your child's sleeping place can create an opportunity of entanglement occurring. At night time you're less likely to be checking on them all the time, assuming that they can't get into too much trouble whilst asleep. By the time you check on them the damage could be done.
Instead, make sure you invest in cord cleats for every single adjustment cord around your house, even if it's a room your child isn't meant to go in (they have a bit of a habit of getting in these places as well. You can also shorten the cord itself so it's well out of the reach of little hands.
There are safety devices which you can buy and install into the cord itself which act as a breaker. If too much (more than a little tug) of pressure is applied, these will split, causing the cord to dangle harmlessly in two sections rather than a single problematic loop.
So simple, so easy, and it means you can make sure your little ones are safe and sound at all times.

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Choosing the Right Window Coverings

Expert Author Alexa L Campbell
Okay, so you want to put something around your windows, but you aren't entirely sure what. There are a lot of options for you to choose from, and today, I'm going to help you get through it.
Finding The Light
Windows have two major purposes in any given home: providing light and providing air. It's very important to keep these things in mind when you're selecting your window coverings, because what you choose will have a big impact on your ability to enjoy the room. You also need to consider the layout of your furniture, the function of the room, and the direction the windows are facing.
Some windows provide little or no light to a room, regardless of the time of day. These are often good places to install sturdy blinds or shutters that can block out most of the little light that is coming in - in essence, they're serving as decoration. The reduction in ambient lighting can help improve the colors of electronics displays, making rooms with these window coverings ideal for your entertainment center. To get the very best results for electronics, consider using a blackout shade and placing some sort of art on it.
For the main rooms of your house, especially if they have a lot of natural lighting, you'll need to be a little more careful. If privacy is a concern for your family, choose something you can open and close at will - blinds and curtain drapes are both very popular options. Keep in mind that the function is more important than the form - you need to choose what you want your coverings to do for you before you start deciding on how you want it to look.

Decorating Your Windows
A bare window frame is rarely attractive, and that's where decorations come in. The most classic look involves long drapes going around the edges to hide corners and provide a more natural look, and this is an excellent choice for the main rooms of your house. It is not, however, the only one.
If the space in your room permits, consider surrounding your window with some kind of furniture - bookcases are good options in bedrooms, as are desks and other locations where people are likely to visit on a regular basis. This can offer natural light for reading and help avoid straining the eyes, instant access to fresh air, and a variety of other benefits. If you decorate the room this way, be sure to add a small drape on the very top to add a little color and flair.
Avoiding It All
In a few cases, it is better to avoid adding decorations to your windows. This is especially true if your home was built using a particular style; deep, high windows are often meant to be left as they are, and simply making sure that they're painted all the way to the edges is all that's necessary for a nice look. Regardless of what type of decorations you're using, less is usually more when it comes to windows - decorative rods and finials for the drapes are as complicated as it needs to get.
The Three-Step Solution
If you're still having trouble deciding on how to decorate, just follow this simple process.
First, decide on the function and determine how much light and air you want the window to provide.
Second, choose a color that complements the rest of your decor - window coverings are affordable and can be changed easier than most of your other decorations.
Third, find or make something that meets the first two requirements. With that, you're done!
Alexa Campbell is on her way to completing her certification in interior design from UC Berkeley and loves expressing her ideas about home design through her blogs and online writing. Her inspirations include Kristina Wolf of Kristina Wolf Design, Inc., an interior designer in the San Francisco Bay Area.

Tips To Consider When Choosing The Best Window Blinds For Your Home

Window blinds can make a comfortable addition to any typical window. They aren't just functional but economical and stylish as well. The blinds provide homeowners with sufficient privacy and defense from harmful sunrays, while also providing a decent opportunity for users to accent their windows with custom color and textures. There's a wide range of these appliances available on the market which can be a little bit confusing when one wants to pick the best ones. Here are some few things to keep in mind when looking for new window shades.
1. Determine your own budget range on how much you're willing to spend on these appliances. Choosing a good budget would help you get the best and most affordable blinds in the market. For instance, vinyl or mini-blinds tend to be relatively inexpensive whilst wood blinds are typically pricier and may necessarily not be the best option for your budget.
2. Decide on what major functions the blinds would play. They could be a source of decoration, or privacy to stop neighbors from peeping in, or alternatively to keep the sunlight out. Putting blinds within a room with TV may keep glare away from the screen, while also limiting the amount of entering the place. Blinds are also available in blackout shades which don't let in too much light, light-filtering blinds that allow light specs in, and glare-control elements that minimize glare.
3. Choose blinds that coordinate well with the general feel and scheme of your room. For instance, the wooden blinds work well in rooms with a cozy decor including wood floors which perfectly match the said blinds. Vinyl may be appropriate for rooms that are less formal like a recreation space. On the other hand, fabric blinds like roman shades which have one constant line of fabric, may coordinate well in a typical living room.
4. Consider heavy-duty blinds or cordless frame treatments, particularly if you have children or pets who regularly play inside them, it's because they may cause quite some major entanglement. Also choose the blinds that have capacity to withstand rough usage, such as the mini or vinyl types.
5. Think about the importance of having energy-efficient window treatments. Some work more efficiently than others in locking out excess heat and can potentially help you save quite a lot of money on heating or cooling costs. Moreover, cellular shades which use pleated fabrics mutually interlaced instead of distinct slats may do a good job in preventing excess heat from entering the room.
Tips and Warnings
Always ensure that you have correct size blinds when making an order as it could be a real hassle to finally return them after use, or to slice down the blinds. As for outside-mounted versions, add 4-5 inches on either of the 4 sides for decent vertical blinds, or alternatively add 1-1-1/2 inches on the sides of horizontal blinds. Always account for every space used by your mounting brackets, which could be 1-3 inches tall. As for the inside-mounted blinds, take exact window measurements to the nearest 1/8 of an inch. Also avoid placing wooden blinds in high-moisture areas like the bathroom since wood can potentially warp.

Top Five Window Treatment Trends For 2014

If your windows are still sporting blinds from last century or they look as if they are, it is probably safe to say that it is time to upgrade.
Installing new window coverings and treatments can really make your home shine and act as a source of inspiration for any other redesign plans floating around in your head!
With the new year finally here, you may also want to consider jumping on the style bandwagon. There are a lot of trending ideas going on right now with window treatments, many of which are wholly unique and budget-friendly. Here are just a few popular ideas to help you get started.
How to Dress up Your Windows the Right Way
  • Streamline with silk - There is no easier way to create a soft, soothing effect than by installing silk draperies or curtains. This fabric is well known for its smooth tones and elegant style. Ivory looks magnificent when set against dark wood furniture and also goes really well with earth-tone colors. Though one of the more expensive window treatments, silk is guaranteed to make an impression.

  • Soften your shades - Every one enjoys the convenience of technology. It makes our lives easier, especially around the house. Though remote-controlled window blinds and custom indoor shutters are hip, too much modernity can be a bad thing. To counter the dull effect of all those electronics and gadgets and to make your master more cozy and inviting, add layered or textured organic fabrics to your windows.

  • Go green - If you are looking to maximize your home's efficiency, reduce your energy footprint and improve the air quality in your living space, adding eco-friendly window treatments is a must. Honeycomb shades are designed specifically to keep hot and cold air out; they feature spun woven polyester in the shape of honeycombs that are incredibly effective at blocking outside air.

  • Expand your color palette - Solid-color materials look great in the right space, but more homeowners are deciding to incorporate multiple shades of their key color or add a contrasting hue. Blue with gray or white with black can make a bold color statement.

  • Bring the outside in - Metal is being trumped by organic materials such as bamboo this year. We are bound to see an increase in the popularity of natural textures.
This list is certainly not exhaustive, but should be useful in your journey to decorate those faux wood shutters. The best way to decide on a style and figure out what products to choose is by speaking to a design consultant. They can give you a list of options and recommendations on how best to create a personalized theme in 2014.
Shannon Hodges is Director of Marketing at Eclipse Shutters. Eclipse Shutters is an Atlanta-based custom shutter provider with a network of licensed fabricators around the country. Their company has grown to become the number one shutter selling company in North America and largest manufacturer of tailor-made plantation shutters. Eclipse Shutters was established in 1992 and offers customers fast delivery and a 25-year warranty. Learn more about plantation window shutters at