Why Your Home Should Have Made to Measure Blinds


Hunter Douglas

Although widely adopted, and essentially unavoidable, windows come with a set of advantages and disadvantages. You wouldn't want to give up your view to the world, to deny yourself the mental and health benefits of natural sunlight, light from the moon or fresh air. However, it is impossible to ignore the potential downsides that are inherent to windows. Heat is easily transferred through windows, making your home difficult to heat in the winter and cool in the summer. The lower insulation offered by windows also translates to reduced noise dampening, meaning that you may experience higher interior volumes than you would wish when it comes to noise from outdoors. A great way to address many of these problems comes in the form of made to measure blinds.
These blinds come in a number of different styles and, because they are made to measure blinds, they can easily be chosen to perfectly match each room in your house. One of the most common types of made to measure blinds is Roman shades. When open, these shades are visually appealing due to the fact that the slats in Roman shades stack in an even manner. They make a smooth, not ribbed, presentation that stacks from the top down, allowing a greater amount of light to enter the window than traditional bottom-stacking variants. The clean lines and smooth finish that these types of blinds bring to a room make them a very popular choice when trying to add a certain touch of class to a space.
Light control and the ability to make your room more private are the two main considerations when choosing to install made to measure blinds. In addition to the classic style of Roman shades, there is also the option of looped Roman shades. Both add a certain depth to the installation space and while the classic type uses pleats, the looped type makes use of cascading folds. Another type of made to measure blinds altogether are what is called seamless shades, which have an entirely smooth facade.
The horizontal slats of made to measure blinds can come in many different materials. Some of the most common materials are wood and a variety of fabrics, such as wool, cotton, polyester and silk. In some cases, people make use of hybrid fabrics, employing a silk and cotton combo, for example. One of the perks of silk is the ability to vary the texture with different stitching. A little variation here and there can drastically alter the way your window finishing, and ultimately your entire room looks. In order to install made to measure blinds in your home you will have to either measure your windows yourself, or have a professional do it for you. Either way, make sure that you are accurate to the eighth of an inch before ordering. Particularly if you have non-standard windows, professional measuring and installing might be the best choice for you - it will certainly be the easiest!
Tami works for Norwich Sunblinds. The company offer a wide range of blinds and Awnings. When Tami is relaxing, she likes to write articles on aspects to consider before purchasing a blind or awning.

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Choosing Window Treatments: The Pros of Plantation Shutters, Horizontal Blinds, and More!

Whether you're redecorating or designing the interior for your new construction home, the finishing touch is almost always window treatments. Providing benefits like light control and privacy in addition to purely aesthetic considerations, it's important to choose the window coverings that match your particular functional and appearance needs. Not sure what all the options available to you are? Then keep reading for a quick overview of window shades and blinds to get you started on your search!
Horizontal Blinds

The most traditional type of window blinds, horizontal blinds include a full range of options from aluminum mini blinds to natural wood blinds. These are very versatile window coverings, offering variable light control, easy operation, and simple, attractive looks. Real wood horizontal blinds may offer some insulating qualities; however, most people do not consider horizontal window blinds to be an energy-efficient window treatment. Horizontal blinds are available in aluminum, wood, and wood composite construction.
Plantation Shutters

Similar to horizontal blinds, plantation shutters also feature rows of slats that are adjustable for different levels of light control. However, while horizontal window blinds are supported/operated by a series of cords, the slats on interior shutters are installed in a frame that fits into your window. Because of this more substantial, more permanent appearance, plantation shutters are often referred to as the "fine furnishings" of window coverings. In fact, installing plantation shutters will earn you the greatest return on investment of any window treatment when the time comes to sell your home. Interior window shutters are available in vinyl, wood, and durable wood composite materials.
Vertical Blinds

Instead of featuring horizontal slats, as their name suggests vertical blinds are composed of vertical slats or panels. Once looked down on as dated or unattractive, today's vertical window blinds offer a variety of different materials and styles that are both beautiful and modern. Ideal for covering large windows or patio doors, vertical blinds can come in insulating designs for improved home energy efficiency. From sliding panel verticals to fabric vertical blinds, there are a number of different types on the market today, so make sure you evaluate all of your style options before you pick one vertical blind or another.
Window Shades

Window shades encompass a spectrum of different window covering options from roll-up shades to cellular shades. These window treatments typically cover the entire window when down, potentially limiting their versatility in terms of light management. On the other hand, many window shade styles also provide energy efficiency, black-out options, and elegant style.
Of course, these are just the most common general types of window shades and blinds that are on the market today. All of these options can be customized in terms of size, color, and often even texture/pattern to complement your decor. Now that you know the basics of the different window treatment styles, you can get started on selecting the exact blind or shade you want installed in your home. For more information, visit your area window covering showroom to speak with a professional!
Maria Allen is a home improvement and design enthusiast. He is also an Internet marketer for Prospect Genius, providing SEO to help local businesses connect with customers online.

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Christmas decorating and entertaining ideas

From decorating to entertaining ideas, we're your one-stop online holiday resource. Get into the spirit now!


Need ideas for decorating and entertaining this holiday season? Look no further than this collection of seasonal articles, covering everything from decorating to gift-wrapping to entertaining.

• A Christmas tree guide
Learn how to choose and care for the perfect tree.

• 10 steps to a meaningful Christmas
Design diva Kimberley Seldon shares the two lists she has made for the holidays -- one from the heart and one for the home.

• Decorating: A cosy, country Christmas
Add rustic charm to your holiday setting.

• Inspirational holiday decorating
Get a stylist's advice for making your festive creations and decorations beautiful.

• Festive flowers
Follow our guide to holiday decorating with amaryllis and paperwhites.

• 10 tips for seasonal style on a budget
Stylist, decorator and TV personality Stephen Fermoyle shares his tips on getting the look for less.

• Holiday decorating: Beauty on a budget
With a spark of imagination, holiday decorating can be inspired yet inexpensive.

• Design lesson: Decorating the fireplace
Tips for styling your holiday mantel.

• Simple inspirations
Deck your halls with these easy and elegant decorating ideas.

• 20 festive fix-ups
Make your home its holiday best with simple but sensational holiday hints.

• Design lesson: A festive entrance
Inspired ideas that will leave your foyer brimming with holiday cheer.

• Design lesson: A festive entrance
Inspired ideas that will leave your foyer brimming with holiday cheer.

Shopping and gift giving
• Project: Peppermint candy stick
This easy craft adds a beautiful touch to gift-wrapped packages.

• 8 Christmas gifts for under $50
Keep your holiday budget under control with these 8 chic gifts for under $50.

• 10 great gifts from Canadian artisans
Give the gift of originality this Christmas with these 10 great gifts made by Canadian artisans.

• 10 gifts for food lovers
Treat the foodies on your list to fabulous gifts they're sure to love this Christmas season.

• Wine & spirits: Gifts for the host
Show your hosts how much you appreciate them with one of these thoughtful gifts.
• Organizing 101: Countdown to Christmas
Make your holiday preparations as pleasurable as possible with our helpful checklist.

• Organizing 101: Holiday hot spots
Get your home (and yourself) ready for Christmas in no time at all with this efficient approach.

• Organizing 101: 30 holiday clutter busters
Get organized for the holidays (and throughout the year) with our clutter-busting, time-saving, space-maximizing tips.

• Surviving the holidays
Get through the holidays without losing your cool.

• How do you handle being a holiday hostess?
Real Canadian women share their tips for hosting a holiday soiree with elegance and ease.

• Nice and easy -- and nonalcoholic
A great holiday drink can be both appealing and alcohol-free.

• Winning wines
The authors of Have a Glass debunk some wine myths and help simplify your selection at the liquor store.

• How to welcome guests in styleThe author of A Gracious Welcome shares some ideas for making houseguests feel right at home.

Tradition and Function: The Plantation Shutter

by Matt Goering

If you're looking for a classic combination of traditional interior design and effective, functional window coverings, look no further. The plantation shutter is one of the most proven window coverings you're ever going to find. It provides privacy, protection, great looks, and convenient use, all rolled up into one. For rock solid performance and reliability, you can't beat the shutter that inspired them all: the plantation shutter.
What Is a Plantation Shutter? 

Conjure up visions of interior window shutters, and in all likelihood, that's a plantation shutter you're looking at. Their standard makeup consists of multiple rows of horizontal wood slats with a single vertical bar running down the center. The center bar is attached to the slats so that moving it up or down allows you to open or close the shutters for privacy, and adjust the amount of light you let into the room.
Benefits of the Plantation Shutter

Most homeowners choose to install these interior shutters because of their classic, traditional appearance. Plantation shutters offer a number of other benefits, however, that are often overlooked by homeowners shopping for quality window coverings.

Interior Design— Contrary to window shades, blinds, and other window coverings, window shutters can be painted to perfectly match, or contrast, your interior design scheme. Few other window coverings offer that versatility when it comes to enhancing the interior aesthetics of your home.

Insulation— There's a reason Victorian homes incorporated both window shutters and curtains when it came to window coverings. While curtains set the tone for the room, window shutters provided an extra layer of insulation against what were often leaky and inefficient panes of glass. While today's windows are much more energy efficient and leak free, a plantation shutter still provides an extra layer of insulation. That's a big plus in a time when energy efficiency is a top homeowner concern.

Light Control— Besides design considerations and insulation, a plantation window shutter also provides a level of light control that few window coverings offer. By adjusting your slats to the proper position, you can let in as much, or as little, light as you want. When you add to that the attractive, traditional looks of plantation style window shutters, there's really no better alternative than these timeless window coverings.

Treat your windows right

Heather Camlot

Beautiful window treatments can make all the difference 
to any room.
Window treatments are essential for blocking out light, maintaining privacy and, for interior decorator Candice Olson, hiding her pregnancy. “Thank God for blinds,” says the host of Divine Design on W. “It's my way of protecting my neighbours from me!”

Window treatments come in a variety of styles, colours and materials to help you achieve the look you want and the coverage you need. But with so many options, narrowing them down can get a little tricky.

Selecting window treatments 
Function should be your first consideration, says Kimberley Seldon, host of Design for Living on HGTV Canada and STYLE AT HOME decorating editor. That includes the desired amount of sunlight and privacy, as well framing or distracting attention from a view. “Look at the room architecturally,” adds Candice. “If it's a beautiful window, sheers are the answer. If it's a problem window, drapery can hide a lot of flaws.”
Next, think about the look you want. “Any style of treatment can be used in any type of room – it's the decor that dictates the style,” says Kimberley. “An elaborately pleated drapery and valance look perfectly fine in a formal, traditional room, but absolutely out of place in a modern interior.” Still, some rooms have issues that need to be addressed. In a kitchen, for example, Candice prefers to keep things simple, taking into account airborne grease and food particles. For the bathroom, a soft sheer and simple valance work to soften hard surfaces. And don't forget about the humidity. “Anything with body will just sag, so it needs to be on the simpler side,” she says. Bedrooms are tricky with both softness and light-blocking priorities. “Typically, we'd do multiple layers, like a decorative side panel, a sheer behind that and then a blackout roller blind,” says Candice.

Budget is always an important factor. “It's amazing how much drapery fabric costs,” says Candice. “And wood shutters are a nice, clean, simple treatment, but they're super-expensive.”

And finally there are the trends. Trim is all the rage for fall, with traditional flat braids, cords, gimp and ribbons taking on a new life in tone-on-tone modern window coverings, says Kimberley. “It's like adding a beautiful necklace to a simple dress – it makes all the difference.” Going natural is also turning heads. “Anything that has a natural texture just takes the edge off of modern interiors,” says Candice. “It's a way to balance everything else that's so sleek and streamlined.”
Weighing the pros and cons
Window treatments fall into three major categories.

Blinds are screens typically on a roller or have vanes or slats and come in an enormous variety of materials, from fabric to wood. Keep in mind that many also come with poles and cords, which could be hazardous if you have children.

  • Venetians offer flexible light control and can be inexpensive.
  • Cellular shades are coveted for their honeycomb shape: two layers of pleated fabric connected to produce air pockets, which increase insulation.
  • Verticals, usually made of PVC or fabric, also offer high light control and extra insulation.
  • Roman blinds, which fold together when up and lie flat when down are well-suited to modern interiors and offer a tailored look.
  • Motorized blinds are a boon to loft living and two-storey windows, but are very pricey.
  • Shadings, another expensive alternative, have fabric vanes held together by sheer fabric on either side. Light always penetrates to a certain degree, but vanes allow for privacy.

Curtains are fabric that hangs from a rod or valance and can be tied back. Curtains refer to treatments that don't reach the floor – those that do are drapes. While curtains add elegance, natural materials such as silk fade in sunlight, while sheers allow sun to penetrate and fade your upholstery and carpeting. Therefore it's best to add a blackout liner placed between two layers of fabric or behind single curtains in your choice of material and colour. For natural materials, Candice suggests opting for a synthetic mix – polyester and linen, for example – to help the coverings last a little longer. If you have children, be wary of any hazardous trim or accents.

Shutters are often wooden hinged or solid panels that cover a window for privacy and light control. Popular right now are plantation shutters, which have thick, wide slats. Wood offers great insulation and a clean look, but shouldn't be used in high-humidity areas like kitchens and bathrooms. In some instances, shutters can also come across as stark, says Candice. “If windows are small in scale relative to the overall wall they're on, or if there aren't numerous shutters to create a rhythm of repetition throughout the space, shutters can sometimes look quite cold or bare on their own."

How to Clean Blinds

Make quick and easy work of it with these 9 tips.

No matter what kind of blinds you have—wooden, fabric and vertical are the three basic types—these tips will make their cleaning and maintenance easy:

1. Vacuum blinds often with the brush attachment. Vacuum across the slats, not up and down.
2. Use a lamb's-wool duster, again working across the slats and starting at the top. Do not use plastic dusters.

3. When dusting or vacuuming vertical blinds, brush downward only, as the slats often become unhooked if you brush upward.

4. Use a rubber sponge, also known as a dry sponge (found at hardware and paint stores), to remove dust and residue from both fabric and vinyl blinds. Simply wipe the dry sponge firmly across the blinds.
5. For spot cleaning, spray an all-purpose cleaner onto a clean dry cloth and wipe the soiled area of the blind. Never spray the cleaner directly onto the blind.

6. You can wet wooden blinds when cleaning, but don't soak them. Clean them in place instead of removing them as you would for other types of blinds.

7. If fabric blinds become very dirty, take them to a dry cleaner.

8. Do not try cleaning blinds by spraying them with a car-wash hose, dunking them in the tub or one slat at a time.

9. To clean metal and vinyl blinds, follow this method: Take the blinds outside to your patio or driveway and lay them on a small rug or piece of carpet. Put a few drops of dishwashing soap in a bucket of water. Wet a car-washing brush and brush the blinds from side to side, and then turn them over and brush the other side. Rinse the blinds gently with a garden hose while tilting them so that the water runs off. To prevent water spots from forming, quickly run your finger down the slats a couple of times to remove excess water. When done, drape the blinds over a fence or a couch to dry.

10 Questions to Think About When Considering Plantation Shutters

Plantation Shutters are an investment in your home and fine furniture for your windows. Here are 10 questions to consider when deciding on shutters.

  1. Wood or Composite - Both products have pros and cons. Composite may help keep shutters within a budget. Wood is lighter weight allowing you in some cases to have fewer panels and gives the option of broader paint choices, stains and in some case custom paints or stains.

  2. Paints or Stains - I'm personally a great fan of paints and matching baseboards. Paint will work in any room and really POPS off the wall with a contrast color behind it. It is also a safe choice in the event you sell your home. The stains allow you to see the different grains as well as bring warmth in the room.

  3. Inside Mount or Out Side mount install - This choice could be made for you if you have little sill space which will not accommodate an inside mount frame. These days it's difficult to find windows that are square. Manufactures will usually list anything ¼" outside of square should move to OM frame. I will do windows outside of this tolerance on a case by case basis. If you're windows are extremely unsquare then the OM frame is the logical choice. There are some dealers that prefer to do OM frame when the customer has bull nose windows. It is a little more difficult to install, but it is definitely possible to stay with the IM frames.

  4. Frame Style - While you may see shutters on the east coast without frames because the windows already have casing, this is a rarity on the West Coast or at least here in Arizona. The L frame was a standard years ago and usually an Outside mount application. The L frame gives you about a 1" of frame. I rarely use L-Frames now with the exception of Doors/French Doors. Deco Frames are frames that give outside mount customers a more ornate looking frame and usually run from 2" to 3" wide. The most popular frame choice is the Z frame. The Z frame is an inside mount frame and is called a Z frame because it looks a Z. Part of the frame goes into the sill and part covers the outside wall like a picture frame. They are usually from 1" to 3" wide. You must be careful when choosing a 1" Z frame when you have bull nose windows. After taking proper deductions to fit the shutter in the window the 1" Z frame will fall around the bull nose part of the window. This gives an un-clean look and can also increase light gaps.

  5. Louver Size - Most Manufactures will give you a choice of a 2 1/2, 3 ½ and 4 ½ louver. We rarely do 2 ½ louvers. One of the benefits to shutters is having the bigger louvers which mean better vision and light. In some of the ranch style homes where the window height are around 24" the 2 ½ louver works. Usually you'll want the heights to be around 72" or so for the 4 ½ louver to work. The 4 ½ louver can overwhelm small windows. Just like the 3 Bears, the 3 ½ louver is as a whole the perfect size louver. It is great for vision and light and looks good in almost all windows.

  6. Divider Rails - Divider rails give you the option to keep the lower portion of the panel louvers closed while giving you privacy and allowing you to open the top portion to allow light. In some instances a divider rail will be necessary to give larger panel strength. One con of the divider rail is it essentially replaces a louver and you'll not be able to see through it.

  7. Split Tilt Bar - For those that want the divider rail option without the divider rail can go with a split tilt rod. The tilt bar will be cut and give you the ability to control the bottom and top panel louvers separately.

  8. Tilt Bar/Hidden Tilt - The standard option on shutters will have a ½" or so tilt bar going down the panel which connects the louvers allowing you privacy and light control. If you want a clearer vision though the louvers and tad bit easier way to clean the louvers you can go with a hidden tilt system at a surcharge. Some manufactures also offer an offset tilt bar. This option puts the tilt bar on the left or right side of the panel instead of the middle and it is also offered at a surcharge.

  9. Hinges - You have choices of paint color hinges and metal color hinges like bright brass, antique brass, oiled rubbed, nickel plated and stainless steel. Some manufacturers also offer an invisible hinge option as a surcharge.

  10. Panel Configurations - Composite panels are usually up to 30" wide while wood panels can go up to 36" wide. There are a handful of manufactures that do build composite panels up to 36". Fewer panels will have fewer rails, more window view and allow more light. Window size will decide how many panels you'll have. You can then decide which way it's hinged to open. On some of the bigger windows up wards of 72", you'll have a choice of adding T-Post which also helps with the frame integrity.
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Benefits of Wood Blinds

Wood blinds offer a range of aesthetic and practical benefits. Window coverings are an important design element of any room, but they are also functional. Depending on the style of a particular room, blinds are just one of the many alternatives available for window coverings. Often popular because they are versatile, affordable, and easy to maintain, window blinds have become increasingly common over the past couple of decades. Today, wood blinds are a popular choice as they create an atmosphere of warmth in a room of any style while also offering significant practical advantages.

First and foremost, wooden blinds are an attractive addition to any room that add texture and beauty to your windows. In addition, wood blinds have a distinctly natural feel which gives them an especially graceful charm. Plus, as is the case with all blinds, wooden varieties feature clean lines and help to promote a sense of space even in smaller rooms. Moreover, because wood window blinds are made from many different types of wood including bamboo, pine, chestnut, oak, mahogany, maple, and beech to name a few, they can easily fit into any motif.

As mentioned, wood blinds are made from many types of wood - even faux wood. This means they're not just versatile stylistically but functionally. For example, in rooms like the kitchen or bathroom, faux blinds are durable enough to withstand humidity while looking and feeling like real wood.
Similarly, these types of window coverings are available in different shapes, stains, colours, and shades. As such, homeowners can rest easy knowing their blinds will stand up to any use. Wood blinds are easy to clean, durable, and cost effective. Indeed, even though wood alternatives often cost more than plastic blinds, they typically last longer too. Wood blinds will last several years with only minimal maintenance.

Furthermore, one of the main benefits of wood blinds is the privacy they provide. Plastic blinds are sometimes at least partially translucent, and often shadows or outlines are visible through the blinds. On the contrary, wood blinds are completely opaque, and since they can be opened and closed, you have total control over your privacy.

As a homeowner you can also customize your wooden blinds. You can choose the slat size, you can choose between vertical and horizontal varieties, and you can select your favourite wood type. In addition, these window coverings also have optional features like fabric tapes, motorized functioning, UV blocking, and more. When it comes to wooden blinds, you can see them as an investment. They last much longer than other types of blinds, and they can even be stained or painted over time so that you have the flexibility to update the style of your room without spending a lot on new window coverings.

Visit Arlene's Interiors in Vancouver, Burnaby, or Langley for a wide selection of wood blinds.
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The Many Benefits of Window Shutters

Most people ignore the importance and roles of shutters decorating a room. No matter how well you arrange and decorate a room, it will always be incomplete without the right window shutters, both exterior and interior. They do not only complement a room's beauty; they also offer privacy when needed and protection. They come in many sizes and colours, giving you a wide range of options to choose from. What are the benefits of window shutters?

Window shutters are not only for the exterior part of the window as commonly believed; they also have great benefits when fitted in the interior. Their greatest benefit is the way they easily complement the furniture and d├ęcor of a room. There are many types, sizes, and colours of ready-made window shutters that can match very well with many house settings. If for some reasons you cannot seem to find the right kind of window shutter for a room, you can order for a customized design specifically for you. In simple terms, there is no reason your you should be lacking interior window shutters in your house.

Apart from beauty, interior shutters provide privacy in a room when needed. You can keep them semi-closed and be assured not to get the attention of passer-byes as you go on with your activities. They further protect against heat and sunrays in summer by simply shutting them and from cold in winter as they play a big role in holding the warmth in a room. You can also adjust the amount of light flowing into a room to go with your mood if your shutters have louvers.

Unlike curtains, they are easily maintained, only being wiped, or dusted off to keep them clean and being painted once in a quite long period of time to change with your tastes and preferences and to get them looking new again, hence making them much more economical.

Every constructor will tell you that exterior window shutters are of extreme importance and should not be left out during construction. Why? First, windows complement the exterior of your house well and provide uniformity. They can be painted in any colour to match with the house's colour. They are also useful during summer and winter as they have the ability to maintain a room's temperature as needed when they are closed. They also provide privacy. However, the most important role of exterior window shutters is the provision of security. For starters, they offer an additional obstacle to intruders who might be trying to gain access to your house wrongly, popularly known as buglers. Secondly, they are very useful in hurricane prone areas. They can offer a strong resistance against strong winds and the particles they might be carrying, protecting the house's interiors and occupants from harm.

They also require minimum maintenance, only being wiped from time to time to keep them clean, and painted once in a while to make them look new again or change with your taste.

For fantastic window shutters visit
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Window Treatments - When to Not Use Curtains

Expert Author Pamela Sandall

It's fairly standard practice for an interior designer to install custom curtains (aka drapery) in a client home. I happen to love curtains. They add softness, texture and sound-softening into almost any room. Being tasked with writing an article on NOT using window treatments has got me thinking outside the box.
When would I opt to not use large swaths of fabric to bring color, texture and style to a room? When should you not use draperies to bring color, texture and style to a room? The answer is when the room doesn't want it or need it. If you're on the fence and looking for an excuse to get out of hanging curtains, read below for some great drapery alternatives.

First, a little background to help categorize your decision making. There are two basic types of window coverings:
Privacy Window Coverings vs. Decorative Window Coverings
Privacy window coverings have the goal of providing privacy, but also assisting with light control, temperature control and sometimes sound absorption.
Decorative window coverings are included to bring additional style and flair to your space.
Good room design benefits from both, but decorative does not need to be curtains only. Many privacy treatments look pretty wonderful! When your privacy window covering adds style, it will serve dual duty as both a privacy treatment and decoration.

A few examples:
Most people are familiar with the metal mini-blinds of long ago. Wood, or faux wood blinds are an upgrade to that builder-basic item. There are so many options out there to now consider.
There is a vast array of woven woods that add texture and pattern to your decor. The new styles look nothing like those you might remember from the 1970's. The new textures have great colors, sleek or nubby textures and looks to cover you from country to contemporary style.
Roman shades are a window shade made from fabric and a wonderful option that brings color and fabric softness to the window without hanging curtains.
Roller shades are no longer basic white and now can feature splashy patterns and unique finishes.
Shutters are a truly upscale choice that add not only privacy but VALUE to your home!
Sometimes it's the characteristics of your home or style choice that is better served by leaving the windows clear of curtains.

Contemporary Styled decor is usually perceived as a very clean lined way of decorating and sometimes even classified as stark. Occasionally a contemporary design will incorporate drapery, but more often than not, the windows are left simple and un-adorned. Even when needed for privacy, the blinds tend will be quite streamlined.

A Great View: If a stunning view is the focal point of the room, you may not want to distract from it with draperies. Whether it's a breathtaking oceanfront or an arresting cityscape, you may have no need of window coverings at all. If privacy is not an issue, but light control is, you can use simple roller shades or even UV window film.

Architecture: Sometimes the architecture of the room will prevent curtains from being an option. One of the most remarkable examples I've seen is a room that has floor to ceiling bookcases flanking both sides of the windows. Another home depicted floor to ceiling, wall to wall windows and stone walls on either side.
Bathrooms, most especially kid bathrooms, might actually be adversely affected by curtains due to the excessive moisture.

Finally, life circumstance might prevent you from wanting to hang drapery. Dogs and cats love to nest inside a warm cozy space. Your drapery could end up becoming your pet's newest, favorite hiding spot! Small children think they make great hiding spots as well. If you have little ones, either furry kids or human, think clearly about how their well-being (and your cleaning bills!) before hanging drapery.
Whatever you decide, window coverings should blend with your home, your personal style and your life style.

Happy Decorating!

Pamela Sandall is an interior designer that helps homeowners create a warm & welcoming home. She wants her clients home filled with the treasures and decorating style that complement those that live there. She offers many affordable design solutions from an online diy design training to online to decorating to full service design. Visit her online @ Be sure to take advantage of her free, seven day mini-course, available on the homepage.
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Tips for Energy-Saving Window Coverings

Planning your home design and the products you choose for the interior while keeping energy savings in mind, not only saves you money but it is more environmentally responsible. If you are building your home, consider installing energy efficient windows with the ENERGY STAR ® label. Also, consider the exposure to sunlight in the design of your home as well as placement of your landscaping; a shade tree can help reduce the sunlight that enters your home. A very common way to reduce your home's energy use is through the use of window coverings, either exterior or interior. One such energy saving window treatment is the use of plantation shutters.

Exterior Window Coverings
The outside of your home is a great place to start reducing your energy usage. Placing awnings above windows that receive direct sunlight provides shade and deflects the sun's rays, which keeps the interior temperatures cooler. Awnings can reduce the solar heat gain by up to 65% on south-facing windows and 77% for east facing windows. Mesh window screens also help to reduce solar radiation and work particularly well on east and west-facing windows. If building a home, also consider the orientation of your roof overhangs, particularly on south facing windows. This is not a viable solution for older homes because it can be very costly to make changes to your home's roof design.

Interior Window Coverings
Interior window coverings not only decrease your energy costs but they also help protect your furnishings, wall coverings, and carpets from fading due to direct sunlight. They also add another layer of protection from the sun's powerful rays. A wonderful solution that is energy-efficient, attractive, and can add value to your home would be plantation shutters. The Smart Energy Alliance rates plantation shutters as having an R-value of 2.77 to 3.17. The R-value measures thermal resistance. There are many styles of draperies that can offer energy-savings due to the thickness and types of materials used. By using a combination of interior shutters with insulating drapes, you can receive even more energy-savings. You may also decide to use reflective window film on your windows which can be particularly effective on window's that receive direct sunlight.

Your energy-savings can quickly add up if you use a combination of these suggestions. Protecting your valuable furnishings, artwork and flooring alone can be well worth the effort. Keep in mind that West-facing windows require the most coverage as they receive the highest levels of solar radiation. Your south-facing windows are a great source for natural sunlight and only need minimal protection. When choosing your interior and exterior window coverings, consider your home's orientation, your climate, latitude, luminance levels, and window size and type. Obviously, you will need to hire professionals to install a few of these options, but you can install your own draperies and even plantation shutters unless you require them to be customized due to odd window size. Your plantation shutter manufacturer can advise you as to the best course of action.

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
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A California House in Soft Shades by Designer Mary McDonald

In a Los Angeles house, designer Mary McDonald made a color statement in a more modern way by showcasing a palette of creams and grays, where even the palest color will stand out. Read on for her neutral decor ideas. 

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Redecorating Your Little Girl's Room for a Teen or Tween

Expert Author Anne McCormick

When girls are little, lots of parents and caregivers like to decorate their rooms with pastel colors, like pink, lavender, pale yellow, and white. Many of the quilt and comforter sets offered for this age group feature these types of colors. Little girls love princesses, fairies, flowers, hearts, horses, and the like; and parents often love them too for their little girls' rooms. Kind of a soft stepping-up from the baby years, with all that soft-color decor and pastel colors.

But as girls get older, their tastes change. Girls entering the tween and teen years might want something brighter and trendier. The easiest way to upgrade the room is probably to get a new comforter or quilt set; and there are lots to choose from.

Patterns for this age group tend towards more intense or darker colors rather than pastels, with bright or bold usually being the rule. Hearts and flowers are still popular, but this time they're hot pink or neon orange instead of pastel pink or lavender. And let's add peace signs, geometric patterns, and contrasting colors that pop. It's sort of like retro 1960's and 70's with a cool modern twist.

If you decide to update the room to reflect your girl's age, you might have to repaint the walls. Whether or not this is necessary depends on the color of the new bedding and the condition of the old paint job. If your new bed set has colors in the same family as the wall color, you probably don't have to repaint, unless the walls are really beat up. For example, if the walls are pastel pink and you pick a bright pink and purple comforter, that will match. Or if you have pale yellow walls and your new comforter set is lime green, that will also work. Of course, white walls go with almost everything. It's really up to you, and how much work you want to put into it.

You can get matching curtains, maybe some new posters, a few trendy accessories, and you're good. She'll be off and running.

Of course, this time your daughter will want to have a say as to what her new room will look like. When she was younger, you probably picked it, or at least gave her a few choices, all of which you were OK with. Now it may be time to back off and let her express herself; in fact, to encourage it. That's what being a teen is all about. Her room should be a refuge for her, a place she loves to hang out in, where she can get away from the pressure of being a teen. So give her some choices and see what she'll come up with. It'll probably be great.

Redecorating is also a way to ritualize a new stage for both of you and celebrate her growing up. After all, it's going to happen anyway; might as well go with the flow and have fun. So go for it, and enjoy your more grown-up girl!

A great place to start redecorating your girls' room is with a bright new bedding set. We carry lots of cute, colorful girls' and teen girls' comforter and quilt sets. Brighten up her room.

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Blinds 4 Less
Quality Blinds, Shutters, & Shades
Proudly Serving Southern California since 1994
Free In-Home Shopping
(951) 924-9435