Give Your Windows the Royal Treatment.
Improving your windows is one of the most effective ways to improve the look of your home.
These decorative touches, such as window shutters, window blinds or window curtains, greatly impact how a window is viewed.
Window coverings are an important part of interior design for a couple of reasons. First, windows tend to be large areas of wall square footage, therefore what you put on them will have a large impact. Second, window coverings affect light and drafts and heat retention. Choosing window coverings requires consideration of these elements as well as careful measuring of the windows.
Custom window coverings will not only help keep the sun out, they will also make your home look elegant and pulled together. If you have always thought that a room in your house looked as if it was missing something, window shades or curtains may be just what it needs. Custom window coverings can really enhance the look of a room and take it from blasé to beautiful. Custom made window coverings will always cost more, but the end result will be worth it. These special types of draperies really make a room look like a million dollars.
Window Covering ABC’s
A window covering is material used to cover a window to reduce sunlight, to provide additional weatherproofing, or to ensure privacy. They are devices that shield us and add a measure of security.
After all, when we can be seen, we feel vulnerable. Curtains, whether draperies to block out the world, or shower curtains to bathe ourselves in private, allow us to feel confident that we are, by and large, alone in our surroundings.
Window coverings are usually on the interior side of windows, but can be on the exterior in some situations.
Types of coverings include:
Window blinds, including:
Various types of boarding, nailed or screwed to the window casing, can be used as a temporary window covering.
Types of Window Coverings
Window coverings are one of the first purchases when buying a new home as no one likes to live in a fishbowl.
Window coverings add the finishing touch to the home. They are always looked at, whether they obscure the view from the outside, or whether you have them open so you can see out the window, the covering is always visible. Your window shades help you feel comfortable and let people know who you are. Choosing the right window coverings for your home can make a world of difference in how you feel about your living area.
There are many types of window covering. Shades, blinds, shutters and curtains are all options. Additionally, it is possible to get many varieties of each. Shades can be roll shades or Roman. Blinds come in vertical, mini and Venetian. Shutters can be plantation style or plain. Curtains come in a wide variety. Also, accessories, like an impressive curtain pole, add to the over all look of your living space.
Drapes are an elegant addition to any home. They also insulate well.
Choose fabrics that complement your home décor. If you have a theme in one room, make sure that the fabric you choose goes well with the theme. If you are choosing curtains for a child’s room, let the child pick fabric. This can be a fun project a child can watch unfold before his or her eyes. You should keep in mind the overall look you want in your home, as well as any dust allergies people might have—draperies are harder to keep clean than plastic blinds. You can buy heavy, custom made curtains with linings that cover the whole window. These will provide privacy, light protection, and keep out cold and hot air. You can also buy lighter weight fabric that will let in the sun but provide a little privacy. Or you can buy fabric panels to drape around your windows but not cover them. The configurations are infinite.
Swags can spice up your décor and will provide that “finishing touch” your room has been missing. A double swag curtain needs to be hung with a swag rod and other curtain hardware. You can choose to hang it yourself or you can let a professional do it. Depending on where you buy your window coverings, most offer an installation service that costs an additional fee.
Venetian blinds were introduced in the late 18th century in Venice, Italy. They consist of horizontal, overlapping slats made of metal, plastic, vinyl, or wood (although the wooden slats are sometimes referred to as bamboo blinds or wooden blinds). The slats are usually linked together with string so that they all face the same direction: flat, parallel to the window-sill, or any tilted angle in between. There is usually a rotating metal or plastic piece at the upper-corner of the blinds, which allows for the turning of the slats. A string also hangs from the upper-corner of the blinds. A pull on the string controls how far the blinds are to be raised.
Internal Venetian Blinds
Internal Venetian blinds are very versatile and convenient. You can filter out or completely block the light out with a simple pull of string. They are also easy to pull up for maximum sunlight.
Internal Venetian blinds can also be quite aesthetically pleasing. They are ideal for creating a simple, contemporary and uncluttered look. Venetian blinds come in a wide range of colors, designs, and textures.
Using blinds with the appropriate slat width can further contribute to the desired décor effects. As is the case with external Venetian blinds, internal Venetian blinds come in many different slat widths, ranging from 15 mm to 120 mm. With their streamlined look, they fit well in either a traditional or contemporary home. One major drawback is that they offer little if any insulation, so if you live in a cold climate, you may opt for thicker, more opaque draperies instead.
External Venetian Blinds
External Venetian blinds are placed on the outside of the windows. The slats for external Venetian blinds are significantly thicker than the internal ones. There are many advantages to using external Venetian blinds. They trim down the need for internal lighting, as the slats are adjustable. Moreover, tilting the blinds to a certain angle allows outward vision while maintaining internal privacy.
Vertical blinds come in a number of different styles. There are embossed and smooth PVC blinds (vinyl), those made of fabric – some with PVC backing – and those made of wood. There are even those with a mirrored surface, which can fool the eye by creating the visual of a larger space. Different price tags are associated with each style, and the total cost will depend on the size of coverage needed, the material used, and whether the window is a standard size or the blinds must be custom fitted.
The simple window shade; to many, the thought of a window shade conjures up a thin, parchment like sheet of material on a spring loaded roller, which you would pull down and lock in place to block out the light streaming in a window. That is certainly one type of window shade, but there are many, many other types as well, some offering the ultimate in luxuries color and texture, some offering the best in high tech insulation, and still others that allow the ultimate in convenience with remote control access.
Roman blinds are another type of shade. These resemble pull-down fabric shades, only they fold up instead of being rolled.
The pull-down roller shade is made of vinyl or fabric. Today you can buy them with cartoon characters on them for a child’s room, or in a coordinating color for another room. As long as they fit well at the sides these provide near total light blockage, so they’re great for rooms that get early morning sun.
You do not have to spend a lot of money to get quality shades either. So, shop around until you find a store that offers them to you at a great price. Do not just buy from the first store you enter, even if you find shades or coverings that you really like. Chances are that you can find the same shades for a better price elsewhere. It pays to be a smart shopper, so do some comparisons before purchasing anything. Also, when you have decided on the ones you want to buy, ask if you can get a refund if you change your mind. This is because you might get home and decide that the color of the shades just is not working like you thought it would. You will find that most stores will offer a return policy on window treatments within a certain amount of time.
Some of the more interesting aspects of the shade choices available will allow a homeowner to achieve many different objectives. Using cellular shades, for example, can provide a boost not only in privacy but in energy savings as well. These shades are constructed not of a single sheet of material but rather many connected chambers, or cells, in a honeycomb pattern, which is a great insulating pattern. They can be purchased in light filtering varieties or light blocking, where no light is allowed into the room. Also they can be mounted to be lowered from the top rather than raised from the bottom, which gives the owner the unique ability to lower them slightly and be able to see out the top of the window, but still provide a good deal of privacy.
Shades can also be mounted at an angle, for slanted roof windows and other oddly placed spots. Shades are also available for wall to ceiling or double story windows. A remote control allows the owner to raise and lower shades with the touch of a button.
There are many shades and technologies that can provide a great deal of flexibility to your privacy and energy needs, without sacrificing style.
Curtain rods hold the curtain up over the window. Other pieces of hardware include drape hooks and eyelets, as well as the items necessary to open and close the curtains. Most hardware and home improvement stores carry drapery hardware. Additionally, some fabric shops carry it as well, as part of helping you with the entire project.
Decorative curtain rods can also reflect our creativity and complement the over all look of our homes. All it takes is a little thought and some shopping around to find curtain rods that enhance the feel of your home.
Many hardware and home improvement stores sell magnetic curtain rods. Additionally, it is possible to get hanging hardware for drapes at many department stores. Second hand stores and discount warehouses also sell rods. There are many varieties, including rods with brass or chrome finishes. Also, it is possible to find customized rods that are designed and finished specifically for you. For those who can spend a little more, it is even possible to find gold and silver plated fixtures.
The finishing touches on any curtain rod are the finials. Finials are the objects that are placed on either end of the rod. These can be in many shapes and finishes. Most stores that carry the rods also carry finials. Attractive and distinctive finials can add to the look of the window coverings and complete the look of the room.
Measuring Your Window
First, decide where you want your window coverings. Blinds are usually contained within the window frame, not outside of it. Curtains may be inside the window frame, a little bit outside, or a lot outside. Will the curtain go to the floor (which gives the appearance of a taller window) or cover half the window like a cafe curtain? Make these decisions now.
You’ll need to measure the inside of your window frame if that’s where you want your covering to be. Also measure the vertical height of your window.
Many window coverings come in pre-measured dimensions. If your window is oddly sized, you will have to shell out the cash for custom coverings. Keep in mind this is an investment in your home like any other, so spend wisely. A little bit more spent now could save you the money of redoing it if the cheaper materials only last a year.
Window Covering Safety Tips
Move all cribs, beds, furniture and toys away from windows and window cords, preferably to another wall.
Keep all window cords out of the reach of children. Make sure that tasseled pull cords are short, and that continuous-loop cords are permanently anchored to the floor or wall.
Lock cords into position when lowering horizontal coverings or shades to prevent inner-cord hazards.
Repair window coverings, corded shades and draperies manufactured before 2001 with retrofit cord-repair devices, or replace them with today’s safer products.
Consider installing cordless window coverings in children’s bedrooms and play areas.
This paper is intended for informational purposes only. Nothing contained herein constitutes legal, financial or other professional advice. Transmission of these materials is not intended to create, and receipt does not constitute, any relationship of any kind between the provider and the recipient. Some of these points may not apply in your area. Different term and conditions may vary from state to state and province to province. All articles, text and photographic material presented here is for the use and pleasure of the recipient only.Download PDF