I'm Looking Through You, Making the Most of Your Windows!

By Alexa Keating

You guessed it; it's time to address those windows! There are many easy and affordable ideas to treat the space where light reigns supreme in a manner that will compliment your design plan.
Some window styles reflect the style of the home. For instance, a home with arched windows may be somewhat of a challenge when creating a Primitive Design. Likewise, the older more typical square windows challenge the Contemporary, Spanish and Southwestern designs.
Once you have selected your style, paint colors and floor treatment, the windows complete your canvas of the dream room you envisioned. The picture will be complete when the room is finished!
Tips to begin:
a) Wash the windows!
b) Clean the woodwork and paint if necessary.
c) Assess the challenge! Do the size and style of the windows work as they are, or do you need to change the perception to create your style?
d) Get creative; packaged window treatments are made for the 'house of commons,' not your palace! When creating your own design, you become the leader, not the follower.
e) Measure the actual windows both vertical and horizontal; then measure from the top of the wall to the floor.
f) Take a moment and caulk your windows. Heat and air conditioning is lost through windows and doors, increasing your energy bills and making it harder to heat or cool your home. Caulking also prevents ants and other undesirables from entering your home.
g) If you live in a manufactured house, tear down those 'made for a trailer' window treatments! Nothing says I'm perched on wheels like the little valances and kitchen curtains hanging all over the house. You will be amazed at how your home can look!
Now we're ready to begin! Let's look at materials, and what is possible.
If you are working with Southwestern, Spanish or Primitive designs, regardless of whether you have square, arched or small windows; try picking up full length wood bi-fold doors and painting them or grab a can of Min Wax spray stain and put the finish of your choice on the doors. They fold out just like shutters and can be used on sliders as well as windows. For very little money you have custom window treatments!
Cottage designs work great with the plantation shutter styles. You can hang these higher and wider that the actual window if you need to visually increase the size of the window to make a bigger statement.
Give some thought to using hand railing for stairs as curtain rods over wide expansive windows or to create that illusion! These come in nearly every style, some with intricate design in addition to the more typical styles. They are also readily available in reclaimed stores. Mediterranean and Spanish styles can use wrought iron pieces to create interesting rods.
All of these items can be picked up at the same thrift stores, consignment stores, Craiglist and any other source you know would be worth looking at in your area.
We're creating a masterpiece here and can hardly be bothered to simply pick up a simple rod and hang it up. Window design starts from the rods. Don't ignore branches from your trees for a Primitive look, or bamboo stalks for a natural look.
If your home has small, older windows try hanging your drapes from the top of the wall and extend them out past the actual window. Visually the wall and the windows appear larger; and the room feels more substantial.
Drop in at the remnant section of the fabric store. Look for large bolts that are offered at $1.00 a yard. You're looking for texture that will compliment your personal style. If you're not handy with a sewing machine, never fear; just purchase Stitch Witchery and head for your ironing board to create rod pockets at the top and finished hems at the bottom.
Curtains that pool onto the floor are much more appealing and do not look like pre-packaged curtains. Look at sheets if you do not want to spend time at the fabric store. They are long, offered in a wide range of colors and already have top and bottom hems. Just slit the sides of the bottom and slid the rod through. Sheets are available in unbleached muslin and a large variety of fabrics. Natural cotton is beautiful as drapes for Cottage styles. Just slit the sides of the top hem and insert the rod after using your stitch witchery magic or hand needle and thread to complete the newly cut seam. Natural hemp ropes work perfectly as tiebacks for Cottage (especially Seaside Cottage designs) Country and Primitive. Look for natural rope and other different ideas to tie them in a balloon style 29" from the floor and let them pool on the floor. Beautiful!
Sheets work great as shower curtains on spring rods; insert a liner behind it and decorate away!
If you plan to tie your curtains back look at wide cloth ribbon and other trims that are not so fussy and do not appear prepackaged.
If you are working with a Victorian, Classic or Traditional design look at the long table cloths that also offer special designs particular to your style. Try adding long strings of pearls that are found in craft stores and Christmas decorations. They make fabulous trims! Look for natural fabrics like unbleached muslin to bring a true country or Primitive feeling into any space.
If you have typical windows and are looking for a whole new look with an unconditional fix; define your style and consider adding plantation shutters that are 18" shy of the top of the window.
Next, look for leaded glass or, or Plexiglas that mimics lead glass sections; place this section above the shutter to cover the rest of the window and add a trim board. Suddenly your 'same old windows' now feature leaded glass and thick, rich wood shutters. Stain or paint the shutters to match your design plan.
You no longer have average or typical windows. It's a brand new view!
Avoid those 'found in every home' mini blinds if possible. They feel like a cheap fix, and are unbecoming to a palace and your plan. Dare to be different.
The 'fan' treatment for the top of arched windows needs to be kicked to the curb too. The arches grace the top of the window; leave them bare and let the sun shine in! If you simply must cover them, look for window films that are elegant and will add a punch of your décor quietly. They peel right off when you are ready for a change.
Make a real effort to think outside the traditional prepackaged window treatments available almost everywhere. Search for great deals on things that can be repurposed into your plan.
Your goal is to make your home different and spectacular; affordably! This is the mark of a master designer.
'I'm Looking Through You' is an excerpt from 'How To Make It Mine.' Please join me at to preview this and other design idea books available.
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Window Coverings: Chic, Stylish, Economical?

by Marc Dickinson

Window treatments always spruce up a room's interior design. They add a little style and décor to an otherwise drab area of the home. Windows aren't typically exciting and they only provide one clear function: to let the light in. Not only does this look boring (unless you live in a very scenic area), it isn't very energy efficient either. So no matter how much you like the view, it's always important to invest in some kind of window covering.

Layered Savings
Window coverings add elegance and privacy to a home, but they also create big energy savings. Just like bundling up the kids for school, your home wears its own layers: siding, insulation, drywall, etc. But since glass isn't the best insulator and any opening can become drafty, windows are particularly vulnerable. Therefore, they need their own kind of layering: window treatments. During the winter, these decorative items also add an extra barrier of insulation to protect your home's thermostat. And they can also help cut out the harsh summer sun, which prevents furniture fading and rising temperatures.

From the Inside Out
Like layering your clothes in winter, while selecting your window coverings it's best to start from the inside out. Begin with the layer closest to the glass and work outward:

Get Vertical: Your first line of defense from the outdoor elements is shades. Whether it is a vinyl pull-down or a thermal solar screen, these items can easily be customized to fit any size or style of window (porch door, skylight, arched cornice, etc.). But it's important to put this closest to the glass so as to block any residual light from passing through Tip: This means that as you install, the brackets will be screwed on the inside of the frame).
Drapes or Curtains
Go Horizontal: But you don't always want to completely block the natural light, so the next layer provides options. Blinds are the best of both worlds because of their adjustable slats. Aluminum mini-blinds, or Venetian blinds, are popular because of their inexpensive price tag and horizontal design, but they can also get bent, sun damaged, and dealing with the string can become a hassle. Therefore, you may want to consider other materials on the market, such as wooden or bamboo shutters.

The Dressing: Draperies and curtains create exterior drama. Plus, they clean up a space by hiding the more practical layers you've just installed. Though they're usually made from fabrics, which can run the gamut in terms of price, you may want to think about sliding panels, sheer vertical blinds, or pleated shades. These combine the function of previous layers with the style of chic drapes, while avoiding all the extra expense.

The Outside: If you really want to get secure, you could even add exterior shutters, grills, or louver vents. These dampers can add a stylish accent to the outside of your home, while protecting your windows from rain and moisture. Though they're often placed on commercial buildings, they can still work on any residential door or window.

Professional Advice
Though window coverings can easily be bought and installed on your own, it doesn't hurt to hire a professional interior designer for some advice. Since there are an infinite number of décor options out there, it can sometimes feel like the blind leading the blind (no pun intended). But these interior experts are better able to identify your décor needs and can help lead you through the design maze. They have the ability to assess a space in terms of its size, style, and necessity. Plus, they can open your eyes to the newest products on the market (such as motorized and remote control shades), allowing you complete access to all the available options.

Marc Dickinson has worked in both the general contracting and landscaping trades and is currently a home improvement freelance writer with over 300 articles published.

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Quality Blinds, Shutters, & Shades
Proudly Serving Southern California since 1994
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(951) 924-9435

Bamboo Blinds Are Beautiful, Earth Friendly Window Treatments

by Matt Goering

It's hard to find an industry these days where bamboo hasn't made an inroad. Be it building timbers or cutting boards, the hardwood qualities and attractive appearance of bamboo is turning heads. Window blinds are no exception. That warm, natural, tropical feel of bamboo is especially well suited to use as a window treatment. And even better, you'll know your new bamboo blinds are as easy on the environment as they are on your eyes when you kick back and enjoy your new shades.

Several Styles to Choose From
While you will find varying styles of blinds to choose from once you start shopping around, the variations have more to do with the width of the bamboo slats and the method in which the shade is raised and lowered than anything else. Here's some opening day notes from bamboo blinds 101:

Roman shades. Most bamboo shades come in this style, referring to the way the shade is raised and lowered. Roman shades fold up into several inch sections as they are retracted.
Roll up shades. This is the other style of popular bamboo shade, in which the material actually rolls up from the bottom as the shade is raised.
Matchstick blinds. Matchstick refers to the width and overlap of the bamboo slats being used. Matchstick bamboo blinds are made of thin, round "sticks" rather than flat slats, and let in more light than slat style blinds.
Slat blinds. Slat blinds are blinds made of flat, thin slats woven closely together. Slat designs offer more privacy and block more sun than matchstick varieties.

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Proudly Serving Southern California since 1994
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(951) 924-9435

Blinds for Sliding Glass Doors

Glass sliding doors are commonly seen in all homes today. Installing blinds on sliding doors is essential as it helps in maintaining privacy, and also helps in adding elegance and flair to the entryway. It can be really confusing when it comes to choosing the right window blinds for sliding doors, as you find a variety of types, colors and patterns of blinds in the market. There are many things you need to take into consideration before buying blinds for sliding glass doors. Let us take a look at it in detail.

Vertical Blinds

Vertical blinds are mostly used in order to give a sophisticated look to the door and the entire room. Sheer vertical blinds are specifically used to give that classy and modern look to your home. One of the major advantages of vertical blinds is that it can be completely stacked to one side to bring sunlight into the room. As they are made of different material, you have a lot of choice to choose from. For e.g., vertical blinds are made of vinyl, fabric, faux wood, aluminum, etc. Blinds with vinyl slats are more commonly used as they are available in myriad colors. Vinyl blinds with slats of split draw, one way draw or center stack are also available in the market. Usually, these blinds are budget friendly. But, those made of wood, add an element of luxury to the room, and are expensive as compared to other vertical blinds. The price of vertical blinds range from $50 onwards; and rises much higher for sheer and wooden ones.

Horizontal Blinds

Horizontal blinds are not commonly used for doors as there are certain difficulties related to it. Firstly, when these blinds roll up horizontally, they can stack at the top of the door and come in the pathway. However, this is not a problem if the doors are high enough. Secondly, cords of the horizontal blinds are longer in length and can stack in the doorway. Both these features can be bothersome. Apart from it, there are hardly any other disadvantages of using these blinds. When used for bringing light or sunlight into the room, horizontal blinds are more convenient than the vertical ones. If you wish to have horizontal blinds, then you can also consider going for Roman shades. Horizontal blinds are available from $10 and above; with those made of faux wood priced at $100 onwards.

Curtains or Drapes

Curtains or drapes on the rod, though traditional, are more useful and helpful in all aspects. They serve all the functions of other types of blinds. There are a variety of options available in case of material, colors as well as patterns. Curtains can be used in traditional, classical styled homes or also for the more modern ones. Another advantage of drapes and curtains is that you can sew and install them yourself at home. They are budget friendly as well as user-friendly in all aspects. Curtains and drapes are available in a wide price range, from $20 onwards for faux silk ones; $75 onwards for cotton ones; and $150 onwards for silk, taffeta and velvet curtains.

The biggest advantage of vertical blinds and curtains is that they can be easily removed and replaced whenever necessary. If you change the color of the room, or want to renovate the room completely, you can easily replace these blinds without much trouble. Among the vertical blinds, vinyl blinds especially are more convenient to use and clean. Therefore, it can rightly be said that vertical blinds are best ones for sliding doors.

Lastly, based on this information, you can research in the market or on the Internet to find the best blinds for sliding glass doors. Due to availability of myriad of options, you will surely find the thing that you desire. Good luck!

By Madhura Pandit
Read more at Buzzle:

Window Treatments for Bay Windows

Bay windows enhance the decor of your house, by giving it a more open and spacious look. There are many window treatments for bay windows to make them more attractive. Some of the bay window treatment ideas are compiled for you in this article.

Read more at Buzzle:

A bay window is a window space, projecting out from the wall of a building, thus forming a bay in the room. A bay window is normally square, polygonal, arc-shaped or rectangular in shape. Bay windows have been popular since the nineteenth century. The main purpose of building a bay window is to give a fresh feel to the room with the help of natural light, and provide a gorgeous view of the surrounding outside. Most of the buildings and structures in San Francisco, California and many old architectural buildings in Europe were made with bay windows.

Now, let us know how bay windows are constructed. We first need to install bay windows as a box. This box is projected out of the building wall and forms a space to keep plants. Bay windows are made in such a way that they occupy the space between the floor and ceiling. With such a large space, the room receives a large amount of sunlight. Excess light could cause disturbance, therefore to reduce that you can beautify your windows with gorgeous window treatments. Window treatments do not mean only to cover the windows and protect your home and the interiors from direct sunlight, it gives a nice look and feel to the room as well. A bit of creativity can make a lot of difference and make your bay window attractive! You can come up with your own ideas on window treatments for bay windows, or you can look at some of the houses in your vicinity to see how they have decorated their bay windows. There are two types of bay windows, one with a window seat and the other is without one. So the bay window treatments basically depend on what type of bay window it is. Let us look at some of the bay window treatments.

You need to be a little picky about the curtains since they'd be enhancing the visual appeal of bay windows. Curtains that complement the room decor would be a good option, if you wish to create a casual and cozy environment in the room. These days, the semi-transparent curtains are very popular for bay windows. Curtains can be fixed with the help of two rods fixed at the top and bottom of the window, or you can just have one rod fixed at the top. Both the styles will enable you to slide the curtain and enjoy the view outside. Using drapes and valances as a custom bay window treatment will definitely add aesthetic appeal to your room, especially if your bay window extends to the floor and it's a formal room.

Valances go well with both types of bay windows, and so are the best suited for any bay window type. Valances, either simple, floral or clean can be designed to suit a countryside look, modern look or a formal sophisticated look. You can also use them in tandem with blinds. However, they don't give you privacy, so can be used as concealers for a drapery rod or can be installed for decorating purposes.

These can give a rich and sophisticated look to your bay window. Mini vinyl window blinds or the horizontal ones are cheap and can be very convenient for making a customized individual window. Many people prefer vertical blinds in fabric, as they provide privacy as well as a stylish look to bay windows.

Free-standing Screens
Free-standing screens are a good option for people who are concerned about their privacy. For this, you just need to install a free-standing screen in the bay window. There are many free-standing screens available. You can avail a range of standing screens from the Chinese style painted wooden screens to open frames that can hold curtains.

Cozy Reading Corner
The bay window can be an extremely comfortable area for reading books. You can create a cozy corner near the bay window by installing a bench or built-in window seats. You can opt for cushions that match your sofa or the curtain fabric. You can also install a beautiful cornice board straight across the wall from the two side corners of the bay window. Moreover, cushions placed in coordination with the color shade of the room and other furniture can make it look more beautiful. This can also turn out to be a playing zone for your children!

Roman Shades
Roman shades serve as the perfect choice to dress the windows in an attractive way. Roman shades give an impression of unified windows, although they are hung separately on each window.

Natural Look
If you wish to admire the spectacular view outside your bay window, or if you wish to have maximum amount of light in your house, you need not cover the window with anything at all. Let nature itself enhance the beauty of your window!

Other Decoration Techniques
Once you are done with the basic things, it's time to add some beautiful pieces to this area. Placing plants on each side or an antique sculpture can enhance the appearance of the bay window. Installing a chandelier in the upper frame of the bay window would also add to the beauty of the place.

These were some tips on window treatments for bay windows. You can be a lot creative in this regard. Discuss your bay window treatment ideas and decorating tips with your family members and you will be able to come up with a great and unique idea!

By Ujwal Deshmukh
Read more at Buzzle:

Blinds 4 Less
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Proudly Serving Southern California since 1994
Free In-Home Shopping
(951) 924-9435