What are Motorized Blinds?
July 21, 2020
Sure, there were many different fabrics made with various designs and colours, but there were curtains. Today, window coverings have come a long way and the style choices available are impressive – you can choose from curtains, shades, and blinds, but even within each of these categories there are myriad options to consider. Among the most advanced window coverings are motorized blinds. But, what are motorized blinds?
Let’s start with a simple definition – motorized window blinds are blinds that can be raised and lowered mechanically. The blinds are controlled with a motor which can likewise be controlled through a remote control or other device. Motorized blinds are sophisticated and convenient, so it should come as no surprise that these window coverings are the go-to choice for smart homes. Indeed, even the way we control motorized blinds has changed drastically over the last couple decades.
That’s right, motorized blinds have been available for at least 20 years; but these window coverings traditionally were controlled by a simple “up/down” switch. Recent advances in technology allow for motorized blinds to be controlled even when you’re not at home. For example, motorized blinds can be set on a timer so they can be raised and lowered at specific times of the day – even when you are at work or away on vacation. In fact, motorized window coverings have become so advanced that you can even control them with an app.
There are many benefits to installing motorized blinds – convenience, security, functionality, and style. As already suggested, motorized window coverings are exceptionally convenient. Controlling their movement with the push of a button or even through modern apps makes these window coverings the ideal choice for your home. Additionally, the convenience of motorized window blinds makes them perfect for office spaces or any building with multiple rooms and windows. Even hard-to-reach windows can be adorned with motorized blinds so that you can easily control light and privacy.
Another great benefit of motorized blinds is additional security. Because you can program them to open and close at different times of the day or even have complete control through apps and other devices when you’re not home, you can give the illusion that somebody is always home even when you’re away.
Motorized blinds are also functional in homes, offices, and other workspaces from salons to retail outlets. Consider the time and energy you can save by programming your blinds to open and adjust throughout the day depending on the amount of light or privacy required. Many motorized blinds feature multiple programs so you can have absolute control with minimal effort.
Finally, motorized window blinds are unique and stylish. They come in a variety of designs and fabrics so you can find the perfect fit for any space.
Motorized Window Coverings
January 21, 2020
Whether you are looking for privacy, light control, or simply enhancing your home’s décor, you are on the market for new window coverings. Today, there are many options to choose from including blinds (vertical or horizontal), shades, and curtains and drapes. An increasingly common choice for homeowners, motorized window coverings are a convenient option that provides the privacy and light control you need in a variety of attractive designs. Indeed, motorized window coverings give you unparalleled control and adjustability without compromising style.
Many homeowners cite ease of use as the main reason they choose motorized window coverings. Using a remote control, motorized blinds, shades, and curtains can be raised, tilted, and closed without ever leaving the comfort of your chair. Plus, for hard to reach windows, motorized window treatments provide a safe and effective alternative to climbing stools, steps, or ladders to make minor adjustments at skylights or floor-to-vaulted ceiling windows.
Likewise, for south facing windows or for homes in climates with long summer days, motorized window coverings allow you to adjust your blinds for perfect lighting. With motorized treatments, gone are the days when you suffer through glare on screens or sunny early mornings that interrupt your sleep. Most motorized treatments allow you a wide range of adjustment options so you can set your blinds and window coverings to the exact position for any situation.
The technology of motorized window treatments is also advancing. In the past, you may only have the option to open, close, or tilt blinds and other coverings; but now with smart homes and mobile apps, you can schedule your window coverings to open and close at convenient times and even control them from the road. Your smart phone or tablet essentially gives you access to adjust your window coverings from anywhere in the world. For many homeowners, this means added security because you never need to worry about whether you closed your blinds, but also you can give the appearance of being home when you’re actually miles away…even hundreds or thousands of miles away.
When you make the switch to motorized window coverings, you will wonder what took you so long. Motorized window treatments give you ultimate control and convenience as you adjust your windows treatments from anywhere in your home and indeed anywhere in the world. So, if you’re looking for new, attractive, and convenient ways to manage window treatments, you should consider motorized options. These are certainly the future of window coverings and they allow you to control privacy and light even in the most difficult to reach locations. Plus, motorized window treatments are sophisticated, luxurious, and attractive. There are so many great reasons to invest in motorized window coverings – what are you waiting for?
Three interior design mistakes to avoid when buying window treatments
December 2, 2018
The way you treat your windows makes a big difference in how you enjoy your home. Done right, window treatments will serve you in a variety of ways:
- Reduce or enhance the light coming into your rooms throughout different hours of the day
- Provide privacy
- Help with temperature control, keeping spaces warm in winter and cool in summer
- Reflect your unique style and taste, and the look you want in each room
Blinds, shades and curtains can even subtly improve the dimensional limitations of your space, making windows appear larger and ceilings higher.
When poorly matched or fitted, however, they work against all the things that you want in your home: comfort, privacy, atmosphere and style. Our professional consultants have seen it all when it comes to window treatments, and we can help you navigate the possibilities and the pitfalls.
For starters, here are three mistakes to avoid when choosing your blinds, drapes and shades.
Forgetting to consider location and materials
Different rooms ask different things of your window coverings. Kitchens and entryway mudrooms need window treatments that can be easily cleaned, for example. You most likely don’t want to put honeycomb blinds behind your kitchen sink, or near a stove. Bathrooms, along with utility or laundry rooms need materials that won’t warp due to moisture.
Alternative woods like Everwood – guaranteed not to yellow, warp, or bow – can be just the right thing for these spaces.
You can almost always find the right material for the job without sacrificing your sense of style. Just make sure that you get some advice on your options, learning how each one will interact over the long-term with the way the room gets used.
Mounting too low – and cutting draperies too short
Many people assume that their window treatments should be hung very close to the top of the window. This tends to compress the size of the window, and also brings the eye down, which makes your space look smaller. Instead, a good guideline is to go up much closer to the ceiling or molding— within an inch or two.
In short, hang your hardware high. Doing so makes the most of the space between the window and ceiling, which otherwise tends to be overlooked and underutilized. Aiming up will elongate your windows and give a sense of spaciousness to the room by making the ceiling appear higher.
If you are incorporating curtains, a related principle is to make sure that they’re not cut too high. The ideal is that curtains extend to just barely above the floor, clearing it by a quarter-inch or just slightly more.
You can achieve a romantic, Old World effect in certain rooms with curtains that “puddle” on the floor; however for reasons of safety, cleanliness, and unnecessary wear or damage, be sure that these are spaces that are never occupied by pets or children.
Neglecting the view from outside
As noted, different rooms may need different treatments depending on your taste and on what the rooms themselves require. One thing to watch out for – and that it’s easy to forget until it’s too late – is how your home appears from the outside.
For each face of your home, and really for any vantage point that can be had on it from outside, you want to have a consistent look. You don’t want to be looking back at your home from the backyard or the street and see five mismatched types of window treatments. Eclectic can be a great style on the interior, but you don’t want a “patchwork” appearance to cause your home to lose curb appeal.
This is not an issue if you’re able to go with the same style of blinds, shades or curtains throughout your home. But if you have different styles or types in some of your rooms, be sure to work with a professional consultant to help you achieve as cohesive a look as possible when seen from the outside. There are solutions to be had, such as drapery backings, louvered blinds, or shades that all share the same colour.
There are many other pitfalls that professional consultants who know window treatments can help you avoid. They’ll help you define and choose ideal proportions and measurements, sort quality materials from inferior ones, and help you see through sketchy warranties with holes in them.
At Arlene’s we offer a wide range of draperies, fabrics and window treatments, with a special focus on the excellent options produced by Hunter Douglas, a world leader in blind and shade technology. Hunter Douglas has thousands of fabrics and colours that add livability and beauty to your home, along with solid warranties and long-term functionality like antimicrobial fabric protection.
Can Blackout Drapes Help Your Kids Thrive?
August 29, 2018
Blackout drapery can help children who are having difficulty getting the sleep they need. When kids don’t get enough nighttime rest— whether they can’t fall asleep, wake often during the night, or get up too early—it can affect their moods, health and development.
“Sleep is food for the brain,” says the National Sleep Foundation. So how much sleep is enough? School-aged children need between nine and 12 hours of sleep at night.
Ensuring good sleep patterns will lay a foundation that will last for the rest of their lives. According to the University of Michigan Children’s Hospital, you can tell your kids are getting enough sleep if they:
- Fall asleep within 15 to 30 minutes of going to bed
- Wake up easily at the time they need to get up and don’t need you to keep prodding them to get up
- Are awake and alert all day, and don’t need a nap during the day
Unfortunately, many kids begin trending toward greater and greater sleep deprivation as they get older. One survey of kindergarten through fourth-grade kids found that 10% of them were falling asleep in school.
Another study found that only 15% of teenagers reported getting more than eight and a half hours of sleep on school nights.
For young people, some of the effects of sleep deprivation are:
- Reduced concentration
- Lessened immunity to sickness
- Impaired ability to perform in sports and other activities
Lack of sleep can also lead to increased use of unhealthy foods containing sugar and caffeine as kids try to perk themselves up.
More significantly, a lack of sleep leads to dangerous accidents. More than 100,000 car accidents happen annually due to drowsiness and people falling asleep at the wheel, according to the National Sleep Foundation.
Seeing the Light, And the Darkness
So how do we help ensure our kids get the rest they need? As you might imagine, light is a key factor in sleep.
“Light is a powerful guide for your body,” says the National Sleep Foundation, in their guide to getting a good night’s rest.
“In part through the connections between the eyes and the brain’s biological timekeeper, light rays influence chemistry and behaviour and keep us in sync with the ebb and flow of the day.”
Humans evolved before the advent of artificial lighting and electricity, and our rhythms of waking and sleeping are oriented to work with the light of the sun. Morning sunlight activates our bodies and minds, waking us up and bringing alertness and energy.
Darkness, on the other hand, triggers the body to release sleep hormones— melatonin—that prepare us for sleep. Our muscles relax, our body temperature gets lower and we start to feel drowsy. Melatonin levels tend to peak in our bodies in the wee hours of the night, around 3 a.m.
However, working with our body’s natural rhythms, and allowing for the real darkness that sends sleep signals to our brain, is difficult when we live in homes that can be perpetually bright 24 hours a day. It’s also made more challenging by our outside environments, which can be illuminated throughout the night by streetlights, signs and other lights.
At night, the stimulation and alertness that light creates in us works against us, posing a problem for healthy, refreshing sleep.
Sleep Solutions for Kids, And Everyone Else
There are many ways to help your children get the sleep they need. Consistent bedtime routines can help, as well as limiting their exposure to bright screens (phones, tablets, computers, television) in the hours before they go to bed.
Blackout draperies are also critical for ensuring kids—and the rest of us— get good sleep.
“Have blinds, curtains or drapes that can cocoon you in darkness by night,” says the National Sleep Foundation, “but that you can easily pull back to bathe the room in sunlight when you wake.”
Blackout window treatments create the ideal sleeping environment by blocking virtually 100% of incoming light. They’re perfect for kids’ rooms, and for all of us who are sensitive to light coming into our rooms from outside.
They’re also great for shift workers who must sleep during the day, for light sleepers and of course for home theatres.
Blackout lining is made of poly-cotton cloth, which is then coated with an acrylic foam and made opaque. Fine hotels use this same material in their blackout drapery.
Some Things to Remember When Choosing Blackout Drapes
Blackout draperies provide excellent privacy, keeping out unwanted light and reducing noise from exterior sources like traffic.
They can also help insulate your home, keeping it cooler in summer and warmer in winter. In most homes, 10-25% of thermal energy loss is from windows. The right window treatments will reduce your energy bill, keeping rooms where they’re installed cooler in summer and warmer in winter.
Blackout window coverings can also improve your entertainment experience. They’re perfect for home theatres with projector televisions, providing a dramatic difference in picture quality.
Best of all, you won’t have to give up style to get these benefits. Seen from inside, our drapes and roman shades made with blackout linings look like any other window covering.
Some things to remember when choosing blackout window treatments:
- Medium to heavy fabrics—which are able to take the liner’s extra weight — are your best choice when using a blackout lining.
- The backing can cause light-coloured or neutral fabrics to take on a grayish hue, so try to choose a fabric with a deep enough colour to hide the blackout liner.
- To block the maximum amount of incoming light, and create the perfect indoor environment, be sure to take good measurements and fit them correctly to the window.
Arlene’s Has Your Sleep Solutions
At Arlene’s, we have a wide range of blackout-friendly fabrics to choose from, and our knowledgeable staff will help you make the best choice for each room.
If you want to block out light at night, reduce noise, and increase energy efficiency, we’ve got the solutions you need— and we’ll get them for you with quality and style.
Give us a call, visit one of our Lower Mainland showrooms, or click here for a complimentary consultation. We’re here to help!