Decorating & Design
January 14, 2009
Window Shades And Blinds
The simplest of all window coverings, a roller blind is a flat length of vinyl material that is wound around a wooden roller mounted to the top of the window frame. Roller blinds work well on their own or can be paired with a soft window covering to increase control of light and privacy. A great solution for unique window shapes and sizes, roller blinds can work in almost any room in the home. Moisture resistant and easy to clean, roller blinds are a practical choice for kitchens and bathrooms.
When fully raised, roller blinds are almost invisible, however they can block most natural light when lowered. An economical option, they are available in a variety of colours and edge details. Easy to install, roller blinds can be custom made, purchased off the shelf or available as do-it-yourself kits.
Named for their unique appearance, cellular shades resemble a group of horizontally stacked tubes. These tubes trap air, helping to keep rooms warm in the winter and cool in the summer. Cellular — or honeycomb — shades come in different opacity options and single, double or triple cell design for varying levels of insulation. These shades can be raised from the bottom, lowered from the top or opened side-to-side. Their particular construction also allows them to be custom-shaped into an arch or other shape for uniquely designed windows.
Known for their understated beauty, matchstick blinds are made from uneven natural bamboo strips. Though stylish in appearance, this type of blind is not particularly effective at blocking light or insulating against heat or cold. Although matchstick blinds can be lined to block light, they are best installed in rooms where light, privacy and insulation are not major factors.
Matchstick blinds give a space a casual and relaxed feeling, but can also work in more modern rooms. Also known as woven-wood or bamboo blinds, this style of blind typically comes in a rolled or pleated style.
Traditionally used in commercial settings, solar shades are becoming more popular in homes and condos. Resembling a mesh material, they are typically made from fiberglass or vinyl. Also known as sun shades, they offer the unique advantage of shielding out UV rays and heat while allowing light indoors and visibility outdoors, even when fully lowered. An increasing number of textures and colours are becoming available. The minimalist design of solar shades makes them appropriate for contemporary spaces.
Simple and versatile, pleated shades offer good light and privacy control. They can be installed to be lowered from the top of the window frame or raised from the bottom. Available in a variety of sizes, colours and finishes, this shade is appropriate in any style of interior. Light, regular dusting is required to keep clean.
No window covering evokes old-world charm like wooden shutters. Made of horizontal movable slats set into a frame, wooden shutters offer varying degrees of privacy and light control, with slats in a variety of sizes and colours. Wood shutters are excellent at insulating against the heat and cold. Use them to cover an entire window, just the top or bottom half, or saloon-style shutters can cover both with maximum light control.
The width of the slats on wooden shutters helps determine the type of look they create in a space: Small slats create a cottage look while wide slats can produce a tropical feel. Although wooden shutters are the priciest of all hard window coverings, they can last indefinitely and should be cared for with regular dusting.