Summer Shades for Your Home
June 22, 2022
Summer Shades for Your Home
With summer just around the corner, you may find yourself thinking about how you can best protect yourself from the heat, and keep your home cool and livable without racking up a huge air conditioning bill. Window shades are an essential tool for keeping heat out of your home; by partially or completely blocking the summer sun’s rays from entering your living spaces, you dramatically reduce the amount of heat that gets transferred into your home. While basically any window shade or covering will provide at least some protection from heat, a few types of covering can do this job most efficiently.
Blackout shades or curtains will fully and completely block the sun’s rays from entering your home, and can be very cost effective. You can maximize the cooling and insulating capacity of these coverings by choosing shades that are light-coloured or white on the side that faces out to the window; this will reflect away more light and further reduce the amount of heat transferred into your home.
If you dislike the thought of blocking out the summer sun entirely, or disrupting a pleasant view, solar shades might be a good option for you. Made of perforated or open-weave material, solar shades significantly reduce heat gain, glare, and UV ray penetration into a room, while still allowing in light and permitting you to see outside. You may want to combine solar shades with another window treatment like drapes for more privacy at night.
If you are comfortable with a more permanent light-reducing option and solar shades are not in your budget, you may want to consider tinting your windows. By adding a thin film of tinted laminate to the inside of the window, you can block out a great deal of the sun’s heat and reduce the amount of light and glare inside your home. Window tinting can be a great add-on option if you have window treatments you like, but you need to reduce solar heat transfer.
Shutters, both interior and exterior, can not only block light as effectively as blackout shades and curtains, but also act as a window-insulating system. Exterior shutters can provide additional benefits in storm-prone areas, by protecting your expensive windows in high winds, and can add a pleasing visual element to the building’s façade.
Finally, it’s very likely that your home already has some basic horizontal blinds, and these are actually quite effective at keeping your home cool in the summer. While the slat construction allows air to circulate around the blinds, so they aren’t excellent insulators, they do block sunlight very effectively and are easy to adjust to your preferred light levels.
As you can see, your window treatments can have a big impact on how warm or cool your home is in the summer. It’s worth considering how to maximize the sun-blocking value of your shades and curtains, and thus minimize your energy bills.
Selecting Window Coverings
May 30, 2022
Selecting Window Coverings
These days, window coverings come in a dazzling array of options. While in the past, curtains and drapes have been the classic (and classy) option for window coverings, the variety of options in blinds and shades has expanded dramatically, with everything from cheap, durable aluminum Venetian blinds to dramatic, dual-direction pleated linen shades. With the array of options to choose from, how does one go about selecting window coverings? Let’s look at some of the factors you may want to consider when selecting window coverings.
What do you like?
Have you spent much time reviewing interior design websites and magazines for inspiration? If not, this is a great place to start. Pay attention to what types of window coverings appeal to you, and what they have in common – is there a certain look or material you are drawn to? Do you prefer fabric or wood, vertical or horizontal? Do you like dual-dressing windows, with a combination of a blind or shade with a curtain or drape? Once you have a sense of your aesthetic preference, you can start to zero in on what window coverings will make you happy.
What do you need?
Assess the windows you need to select coverings for. Some questions you might ask yourself are:
- What is the space used for? If it’s a bedroom, it might be important that light be fully blocked. If it’s a sitting room that looks out over a lovely view, what window coverings might “frame” that view?
- What are the environmental considerations? If the room faces onto a busy street, you may want to select insulated blinds or heavy drapes that can help reduce noise pollution. If a family member has dust or pet allergies, blinds are easier to clean regularly than fabric curtains.
What is your budget?
The type of window covering you can select will depend a great deal on what you are willing and able to spend, and on how durable you want the coverings to be. For example, a fancy motorized blind or “top-down-bottom-up” shade is going to set you back a lot more than simple premade curtains or aluminum or plastic Venetian or slatted blinds. These days, you can get shades and blinds made in every manner of material, from fabrics like linen, to painted or enameled metal, to insulated or brightly coloured plastics, to wood and bamboo. Each option comes with its own pros and cons, and its own price point. Balancing your dreams with your budget is often the trickiest part of the process. It can help to get assistance from an interior designer or knowledgeable sales person who can recommend alternatives with a similar look or functionality if your top choice is out of your price range.
Try to have fun!
As you can see, there are many things to consider when selecting window coverings, and ultimately you want to balance the functionality of the covering with your design ambitions AND your budget. However, with the range of choices available, it’s very unlikely you will come up empty handed. Window coverings are part of the overall design and impact of your space, so try to approach this an opportunity to improve your space, rather than a chore!
Pairing Curtains and Blinds
April 21, 2022
Pairing Curtains and Blinds
How you dress your windows has a huge impact both on the style of your room, and on how much light and privacy you have in that room. Each type of window dressing comes with its pros and cons, and people often find themselves trying to decide between curtains, with their aesthetic value and flexibility, or blinds, with their greater control over privacy and light levels. Why not get the best of both worlds by pairing curtains and blinds? This may seem like a larger expense up front, but at the end of the day, you will have a stylish and well-finished room while also being able to easily manage light levels and privacy in your home.
If you are open to pairing curtains with blinds, the opportunities to customize your décor are almost endless. If you want to have both privacy and natural light in your bedroom, you might want sheer curtains, but pairing those curtains with blackout blinds or roller blinds can help you manage light levels and sleep better. Conversely, if you live in a cold climate, you might want heavy curtains for insulation, and pairing these with a slatted or Venetian blind can allow you privacy even if you want the curtains open for more natural light.
Tips and Tricks for Pairing Curtains and Blinds
- Consider your needs and environment
What is the room used for, and how can window dressings help improve it? If the window faces onto a busy street, you may want to prioritize privacy when choosing your window treatments. If the room is a bedroom, consider how much control over light levels you want. In a very warm or very cold climate, consider how curtains and blinds can help insulate a room and keep the heat in – or out!
- Look at each room individually
Different rooms may have different purposes and also different decorative touches. Choose window treatments that complement the aesthetic of each room, rather than bulk-buying the same dressing for every window in the house and trying to make them fit.
- Choose blinds first, then curtains
Decide which blind best suits the room and then pair a curtain with it – both in fabric/construction and in aesthetic. Make sure patterns and colours complement each other.
- Hang with care
Make sure the height and size of the curtains and blinds in every window in a room are hung consistently. Also, hanging your curtains “high and wide” – with the curtain rod near the ceiling and the curtain hanging close to or touching the floor – creates the illusion of a more expansive space.
Pairing curtains and blinds allows you to maximize your decorative impact while also fulfilling the practical needs of the space. The possibilities are almost endless!
How to Choose Bedroom Blinds
March 17, 2022
How to Choose Bedroom Blinds
Choosing blinds for your home requires careful consideration of the style and function of blinds. Many home owners lack experience with selecting window treatments, but design specialists can tell you that different blinds will offer different attributes. So, when it comes to how to choose bedroom blinds, it helps to consider factors such as privacy, light control, sound control, and aesthetic before you make a purchase. This guide to how to choose bedroom blinds can walk you through some of the most important questions to ask before making an investment in bedroom blinds.
Privacy and Light Control
Blinds offer many different options when it comes to privacy. For example, blackout blinds (as the name suggests) offer complete privacy and totally block light. This means there won’t be any prying eyes, but you also won’t get much natural light entering the room when the blinds are closed. Venetian blinds can also offer great privacy, but there are usually small holes in the slats that allow for the draw cord to control how open or closed the blinds may be. Roman blinds are also a great choice for privacy because they are constructed from thick materials and are lined to block out light and eyes.
A quiet and peaceful bedroom environment is optimal for sleep and relaxation. Fortunately, some bedroom blinds offer enhanced sound control. So, if you live on a busy street or in a busy neighbourhood, investing in blinds that improve sound control can make a huge difference when it comes to comfort. Honeycomb cell blinds and insulated blinds can help to reduce noise significantly and can also help with energy conservation too.
Finally, the aesthetic of your bedroom blinds is also a very important consideration. Ultimately, your personal style is the key factor to keep in mind, but you also want to think of your home as a whole rather than in its parts. What does that mean? Well, you can consider the overall décor of your home and even its architecture when you are thinking about how to choose bedroom blinds. Some blinds will offer a contemporary aesthetic that doesn’t necessarily fit in a home with a rustic appeal.
Additionally, choosing colours and patterns for bedroom blinds that not only match the room but the overall design features of your home is a great approach. You don’t need to have the same kinds of blinds in every room, but you do want to consider consistency when choosing bedroom blinds.
When choosing bedroom blinds, don’t be shy – speak to experts about their recommendations and be prepared to share pictures of your home and its design features so that you can find the prefect blinds for your bedroom.
What are Residential Window Films?
February 22, 2022
What are Residential Window Films?
Residential window films are home window tinting materials that can enhance the privacy and energy efficiency of any home. If you live in a climate where the summers are hot and the winters are cold, residential window films are the perfect retrofit option for your windows. By applying residential window films to your current windows, you can improve energy efficiency and privacy while creating a sophisticated aesthetic for your windows.
Modern residential window films are made from materials that are specifically designed for tinting residential windows and for specific purposes. For example, some films will block 70% or more of the sun’s energy which can make a significant impact on your energy bills in the summer. Additionally, tints can also help to reduce heat transference and improve insulation during the winter months.
Residential window films are also available in a wide range of tints ranging from nearly opaque to transparent. While some window tints are purely designed to make an aesthetic impact, there are several varieties that can promote privacy and home security. Window films are also great installations in home offices or entertainment rooms to reduce glare of computer screens and televisions.
There are many benefits to installing residential window films. Some homeowners will find them easy to install as a DIY project while others will prefer to hire professionals for installation. Whichever the case, residential window films can improve energy efficiency and make living spaces more private and comfortable. They help to protect furniture, carpet, and window and wall coverings from damaging UV rays. And if residential window films protect your belongings from UVA and UVB rays, you know they will protect your skin too!
- Energy savings
- Comfort and privacy
- Protection from UVA and UVB rays
- Reduced glare on screens
- Improved safety
- Home aesthetic
- Affordable – window tinting materials cost between $2 and $10 per square foot
Ultimately, there are many benefits to installing residential window films and few drawbacks. With that in mind, homeowners should be mindful of their windows warranties. Additionally, while installation is straightforward, certain types of windows or those with unique features (e.g. curved windows or windows with latches) can present challenges to effective application of residential window films. Working with professionals to install your window tint can ensure that the tint is applied properly without cracks or bubbles.
Finally, residential window films demonstrate excellent durability. Many window films will last upwards of 20 years with proper maintenance. If you’re considering applying residential window films to any of the windows in your home, connect with your window coverings professional for suggestions on how to get the right residential window film depending on the type of window, your privacy and energy efficiency goals, and your desired aesthetic.
What are the Benefits of Custom Drapery?
January 20, 2022
What are the Benefits of Custom Drapery?
Window treatments are subtle but they can have a significant impact on the aesthetic of your home. Choosing the right window treatment also helps you to achieve better privacy, light control, and even sound control. Custom drapery is one option for covering your windows, but what are the benefits of custom drapery? Let’s have a closer look at some of the reasons homeowners choose to invest in custom drapery.
Whether you have custom windows or unique window sizes, custom drapes fit those windows perfectly. Ready-made window treatments and drapes are available in limited sizes, so you might find that they don’t provide the precision fit that you want. Plus, with custom drapery, you’ll also be able to find the right colour and/or design for your space. When you purchase custom window treatments, they are made to fit the measurements of your window perfectly and you’ll also be able to choose from the materials that match your style. Ultimately, custom drapes give you the freedom to size your window treatments precisely.
Another benefit of custom drapery is the variety of styles. Choosing custom drapery allows you to select the material that best fits your aesthetic while also adapting your window treatments for your functional needs. For example, though the terms drapes and curtains are often used interchangeably, they’re not the same. Drapes are made from heavier materials and offer exceptional privacy and light control. Drapes also bring a textural component to a room that is often suited to formal spaces. Curtains are lighter and contribute to a sense of space. Nevertheless, curtains can be backed with a liner or heavier materials to enhance privacy. No matter how you choose to treat your windows, custom drapery allows you to match materials to your style and function. You can also decide on the length of your drapes which allows for variety in aesthetic as well. With custom drapery, there are few limits to the variety of styles you can achieve.
Custom drapery also represents the essence of high-quality widow treatments. Professionally constructed from the best materials, custom drapery is easy to spot. You choose the fabrics, textures, colours that will enhance your interiors and then benefit from quality craftsmanship in the construction of your window treatments. Custom drapery looks and feels beautiful and it is made to last too!
Finally, custom drapery is also a great functional choice. By investing in custom window treatments, you decide the perfect materials for your functional needs whether that be privacy, light control, sound control, or even energy efficiency. Indeed, custom drapes provide improved energy efficiency simply because they fit your windows better. When you choose the right fabrics, you can enhance this quality as custom drapes can help to manage heating and cooling costs.
Remember, custom drapery can require more time, effort, and money than ready-made alternatives, but often times the many benefits of custom window treatments justify these considerations.
Everything you need to Know about Roman Shade Blinds
December 22, 2021
Everything you need to Know about Roman Shade Blinds
The varieties of window coverings available today can be mind boggling. When you narrow it down to the number of different types of blinds available, the options are still impressive. What’s more surprising still is the variety of roman shade blinds that can be installed on your windows. If you’re shopping for new window treatments, you may be asking yourself ‘what are roman shade blinds?’ And you may also want to know more about the different types of roman shades from which to choose. Let’s start with the basics and then dig a little deeper.
What are Roman Shades Blinds?
In basic terms, roman shades are window coverings constructed from soft fabrics. Roman shades hang such that they create a flat window treatment when they are in the extended position but fold neatly into horizontal segments when they are retracted. Roman shades are easy to operate and create a simple, sophisticated, and contemporary covering for your windows. Horizontal folds of roman shades are even and uniform and therefore represent a very clean and crisp aesthetic.
Interestingly, roman shades essentially date back to the Roman era. Outdoor arenas such as the Coliseum and even private homes utilized fabric coverings to block the glare of the sun. These coverings were not the same as modern roman shades, but they utilized string and pulley systems to extend and retract the covering very much like today’s roman shades. As such, contemporary roman shades borrowed their name from these early “window” treatments.
What are the Main Types of Roman Shades?
There are essentially two types of roman shades: flat and teardrop roman shades.
Made from a single, continuous length of fabric, flat roman shades hang flat when they are extended. Each horizontal section is supported by bars that add rigidity to the shade. Sturdy in design, flat roman shades provide a tailored appeal, but since they are made from soft fabrics they can be luxurious and elegant as well. Flat roman shades have a slim profile making them a great addition to French doors or windows with a narrow ledge.
Teardrop roman shades are also known as soft fold, hobbled, or looped roman shades. These shades appear to have loose folds as if they are rippling along your window. Somewhat less structured than flat roman shades, teardrop roman shades bring depth to the design of a room. Additionally, these roman shades have permanent folds that are maintained whether the shade is extended or retracted. These shades are a great match for more formal spaces, but can easily be adapted to the aesthetic of any room.
Now that you know a little more about roman shades, you can start looking for the perfect fit for your home. Remember, like many window coverings, roman shades are available in a wide variety of colours, patterns, and materials. Let your imagination run wild!
What Do Blinds Cost in Vancouver?
November 22, 2021
What Do Blinds Cost in Vancouver?
If you’re on the market for new window coverings, you may be wondering, “what do blinds cost in Vancouver?” To make a long story short, very short – the cost of blinds in Vancouver will vary significantly depending on the type of blinds you are purchasing. In fact, you’ll probably be interested in gathering more information about the cost of blinds, shades, shutters, and other window coverings as you probably want to find a good fit between your design preference and your budget. Let’s take a closer look so you’ll be better prepared to understand how much blinds cost in Vancouver.
Blinds, Shades, and Shutters
Collectively, blinds, shades, and shutters are window treatments that are often referred to as “blinds” by the layperson. In reality, each of these window coverings is significantly different. Blinds may be constructed from firm or soft materials and are constructed from vertical or horizontal slats that can be angled to allow varying degrees of light control. They are constructed from a wide range of materials in a variety of style and colours. Blinds tend to be among the most cost-effective window treatments on the market.
Shades tend to be solid window coverings that can be raised or lowered – they offer great energy efficiency and privacy but less flexibility for light control than blinds or shutters. However, like blinds, shades are constructed from a variety of materials and you’ll find lots of options for patterns and colours.
Shutters are more customized window coverings that are fitted to a specific window. They offer similar light control features as blinds but because they are usually custom, they tend to be more expensive. Shutters are often constructed from natural woods or synthetic materials such as PVC.
Now that you have a sense of some of the more common window coverings, we can start to talk about how much blinds cost in Vancouver. Standard blinds constructed from vinyl, aluminum, or faux wood are usually the most affordable. These blinds range from $50-500 per window depending on materials and the size of the window.
There are many different kinds of window shades including roller shades, cellular shades, and sheer shades. Depending on functional goals such as light control, energy efficiency, and budget, shades will range anywhere from $60 per window to $1000 or more.
Finally, shutters tend to be the most expensive window coverings. Constructed from durable materials and customized or fitted to standardized window dimensions, the cost of shutters can vary from $150 per window for PVC materials to more than $1500 for natural materials in a custom window size.
As you can see, how much blinds cost in Vancouver will depend on a number of factors from the type of blinds, shades, or shutters to the size of windows and even materials used. Consult your local window specialists for more information on choosing the best blinds for your home and your budget.
Tailored Valance Curtains, What are They?
September 23, 2021
Tailored Valance Curtains, What are They?
When it comes to window coverings, there seem to be endless options for homeowners to express their own personal style and to meet their unique functional needs. From blinds and shades to curtains and drapes, the possibilities are staggering. Tailored valance curtains are a style of window treatment that meets the specific dimensions of your window. With that in mind, tailored valance curtains aren’t necessarily customized even though they offer the appearance of a custom-fit.
There are many types of valances. Gathered valances can be adjusted to fit various window widths, but they are not considered tailored. Shaped valances, on the other hand, can be adjusted to fit windows of various widths but will give the appearance of a custom valance – ultimately, the valance looks tailored because of how it is installed on the window. Tailored valance curtains essentially fit snug to a window and offer a straight and/or flat appearance. In other words, if the valance fabric is a straight, horizontal line, it is a tailored valance curtain. Likewise, if the valance offers a flat appearance, it is also considered tailored. For example, ring top valances may have pleats or slight dips in the horizontal plane of the valance, but the fabric still hangs flat.
Ultimately, tailored valance curtains refer to a particular style of valance rather than the size or customizability of the valance. Sometimes, these valances are slightly wider than a window’s width, and they are stilled described as a tailored valance. However, if the fabric is excessively wide or needs to be bunched or gathered to fit the window, we wouldn’t describe them as tailored valance curtains.
Indeed, there is actually quite a lot of variability in tailored valance curtains. Ring top valances, rod pocket valances, and board mounted valances are all available as tailored valance curtains. They are available with a wide range of curtain fabrics, patterns, and colours so they make a great choice for any design motif. These valances provide a clean and contemporary element to your home’s décor, but they also match well with decadent or traditional designs. There really is very little limit to what you can do with tailored valance curtains.
Choosing the right window covering for the rooms in your home often comes down to personal choice. There are a lot of options for mixing and matching window coverings – valances go well with blinds and curtains, so once again you can see that your personal preference is often the guiding factor in selecting the right window covering. If you want more information or require assistance in choosing the right window covering for your home, your style, and your budget, it is always helpful to work with professional designers or window covering experts.
Vertical Shades for your Sliding Glass Doors
August 25, 2021
Vertical Shades for your Sliding Glass Doors
Window treatments are not only functional, but they make a design statement too. Depending on your décor, your choice of window treatments may vary. However, when it comes to window coverings for sliding glass doors, certain functional requirements will also influence your choice. Vertical shades for your sliding glass doors combine functionality without compromising aesthetic, so let’s take a closer look.
Types of Vertical Shades
There are two main types of vertical shades for your sliding glass doors: cellular shades and vertical blinds. Vertical cellular shades are known to offer exceptional energy efficiency making them the top choice for exterior access doors. In other words, when looking for the perfect vertical shades for your patio doors, for example; cellular shades are a great choice because they effectively trap air and provide extra insulation. Plus, cellular shades are available in a wide range of sizes or they can be custom made to fit any window. You’ll even get to choose from materials that represent a variety of colours, patterns, and textures so you can find the right shades no matter your décor.
Alternatively, vertical blinds are the most popular window treatment for sliding glass doors. With that in mind, you may think that vertical blinds are less attractive than more unique window coverings; but that is simply not the case. In fact, because of their popularity, vertical blinds are incredibly versatile as they are constructed from many different materials including vinyl, fabric, and aluminum. Plus, they are available in a range of colours, textures, and styles. Perhaps the main reason that vertical blinds are popular for sliding glass doors is aesthetic – they offer clean, contemporary lines that suit many design preferences.
Other Treatments for Sliding Doors
If you prefer to steer away from the more common styles of vertical blinds or vertical shades for sliding doors, there are alternative window treatments that are attractive and functional. For example, wood woven shades are made from natural woods and provide a stunning design element for your windows. Plus, these shades can be constructed from reclaimed woods making them an environmentally friendly choice that also offer exceptional durability.
Privacy sheers are another increasingly popular alternative to vertical shades for your sliding glass doors. Privacy sheers blend the benefits of drapes and vertical blinds as they are made from fabric strips on sheer fabric. These window coverings allow you to adjust for light control without compromising privacy – and they look great too!
If you’re looking for vertical shades for your sliding doors, or if you want to try something more unique, you’re sure to find a plethora of attractive options that fit any budget. Just remember to let your style shine!
July 21, 2021
When you think of window treatments for the bathroom, you can probably already imagine a couple of functional characteristics that are very important. First, you want your bathroom blinds to offer adequate privacy without compromising ventilation; and second, you need a durable window treatment that stands up well in moist environments. Beyond that, bathroom window coverings should help to create a calm and relaxing vibe – especially if you’re the type of person who enjoys long and peaceful baths. Let’s have a closer look at the main factors you want to consider when choosing bathroom blinds.
Steam from a hot shower or bath contributes to moisture and humidity in your bathroom. No matter the size of a bathroom or the ventilation available, moisture is a given so you want to choose blinds constructed from materials that are waterproof and resistant to mold and mildew. Additionally, consider maintenance of blinds and choose an option that is easy to clean or requires little maintenance. Some examples of moisture-resistant materials include faux wood, vinyl, and aluminum.
Obviously, privacy is of critical importance in the bathroom. You don’t want strangers looking in from outside while you’re in the bathroom. Roller shades are a great option because they can completely block a window, but even horizontal blinds offer adequate privacy. Cellular shades are usually not recommended, however for second floor bathrooms where sightlines are in your favour, these can be an attractive bathroom option that allow you to look out while maintaining privacy.
Natural light in the bathroom is very appealing – it adds a distinctly uplifting brightness that cannot be achieved with artificial lighting systems. Additionally, natural light improves vision which is a great advantage for applying makeup or getting a close shave. Consider light filtering bathroom blinds that block prying eyes while still allowing natural light to come through.
Obviously, if you’re purchasing new bathroom blinds, you’re probably considering style. Faux wood is an attractive option for bathrooms that also offers exceptional durability and privacy. Alternatively, you could invest in some simple mini blinds and add drapes or a valance to up their aesthetic appeal. If you’re looking for a more contemporary appeal, roller blinds and cellular shades have simple lines and can make a bold bathroom statement.
Ultimately, the bathroom blinds you choose are going to integrate the features that are most important to you with your own personal style. Consider working closely with a window treatment expert to find the perfect bathroom blinds that incorporate your preference for material and style with your privacy and lighting needs. There are so many varieties of bathroom window treatments available today that you’re sure to find the perfect fit for your home and your budget.
Difference between Curtains and Blinds
June 21, 2021
Difference between Curtains and Blinds
Alright, you’re probably thinking, “I can easily spot the difference between curtains and blinds” and I have no doubt that’s true. Nevertheless from a more technical standpoint, knowing about the different features of curtains and blinds can help you make the right choice for your style and your budget. Light control, insulation, and privacy features can vary, so let’s take a moment to learn more about the difference between curtains and blinds.
We’re going to start simple. Curtains and blinds both offer light control, privacy control, and even temperature control. While blinds are designed with moving slats and curtains are designed with lengths of fabric, each come with their own set of pros and cons. So, with that in mind, we’ll compare the difference between curtains and blinds in some key areas: cost, light and privacy control, maintenance, durability, sound and temperature control, and décor.
While this isn’t always the case, on average blinds will cost less. Depending on the type of material they are made from, blinds can cost significantly less. However, if you are looking for blinds that are made from natural materials or custom sizes, they can be more costly. Still, blinds are quick to install and usually cost less than $100 per window.
Light and Privacy Control
Curtains offer two options – open and closed. On the other hand, whether vertical or horizontal, blinds can be opened to varying degrees and can even be lifted or opened so windows are completely unobstructed. Of course, even when they are closed, blinds are not great at blocking light entirely, so for full privacy and light blocking, curtains are preferred.
Though it may seem cumbersome to clean blinds, their regular maintenance is usually easier. Most blinds can be dusted regularly to keep them clean, whereas curtains need to be removed from windows and washed. Some curtain fabrics will have very specific cleaning requirements making them a bit more challenging to maintain.
Synthetic materials such as plastic, vinyl, and aluminum are commonly used in the construction of blinds. These materials are highly durable, resistant to discolouration, and when well-maintained can last up to 20 years. As curtains are made from fabric, they can more easily be damaged. Rips, stains, and even mould or mildew growth make curtains less durable.
Insulation and Soundproofing
Whether you prefer curtains or blinds, both will offer some temperature and sound control; but, we usually see that curtains are superior in this realm. Heat and cold can move through the slats of blinds which is why curtains offer better protection. There are even thermal curtains which offer optimal temperature control.
Usually, curtains are more flexible from a design perspective. Various materials, colours, and patterns of curtains can be found to match almost any décor. Nevertheless, blinds are much more sophisticated and offer good variety for any décor. Many designers consider combining blinds and curtains for better design and functionality.
Now that you know more about the difference between curtains and blinds, you’ll be better positioned to choose the best window treatments for your home.
How to Choose Office Window Coverings
May 18, 2021
The right window coverings can have a huge impact on the aesthetic and function of your office space. You’re probably aware of the design influence of window coverings, but they can also improve qualities such as energy efficiency and sound and light control. As window coverings have such a significant environmental impact, it should be little surprise that they can also affect productivity and morale. So, how do you choose the right office window coverings?
There are several factors you need to consider when choosing window coverings for your business. Light control, energy efficiency, sound control, privacy, and style are just a few things to think about. Let’s take a look at some of the major features and functions of window coverings to help you choose the best window treatments for your office.
Whether you are thinking about light, privacy, or sound, window coverings can make a big difference. Obviously, the main functions of window treatments relate to light control and privacy. Protecting your staff from sunlight is actually important – glare from screens can be damaging to the eyes and makes working on computers very difficult. Window coverings that allow you to take advantage of natural light are always advisable, but they need to be easily adjustable so that employees can achieve optimal lighting conditions. On the other hand, in some instances, lower light may be beneficial; for example, if you are displaying a presentation through a projector, less light makes the presentation more visible.
With respect to privacy, you may want adaptable control. If your office is on the 10th floor of a high rise, this may be less of an issue. However, if you’re on the ground floor and passersby can look in your windows, privacy probably matters more. Fortunately, window coverings that allow for lighting control will also provide better privacy control.
Along the same lines as privacy, sound control may also be important to you. Some window coverings block sound effectively, so consider privacy and confidentiality when choosing window coverings and consider options that are known to provide a sound barrier.
Style and Function
Next, when considering window coverings you want to get the perfect blend of style and function. For example, depending on the treatment, you’ll find different window coverings offer different features. Finding energy efficient, durable, and sustainable window treatments may be a high priority for you, or you may be prioritizing design. Evaluate your priorities so you can select your office window coverings accordingly.
Ultimately, there are a wide range of suitable window coverings for any office setting. Finding the right window coverings requires consideration of a variety of factors so you may find consulting with a professional helps you find the perfect fit from your office window coverings.
How to Clean your Window Blinds
April 22, 2021
Cleaning window blinds is probably not your favourite job. Depending on the type of blinds, you probably consider the task finicky and time consuming. That being said, professional cleaners have some tips and tricks to make the job a little less daunting. Let’s take a closer look at some of these ideas for how to clean your window blinds.
Tips for All Blinds
Routine cleaning is the key to keeping your blinds looking great. Consider dusting or vacuuming your blinds whenever you are dusting or vacuuming your home. You should schedule more thorough cleaning of your blinds seasonally or more frequently if you live in a dusty environment, have pets or children, or smoke indoors.
Tips for Aluminum or Vinyl Blinds and Shutters
Close the blinds and shutters and wipe them with a soft cloth, feather duster, or microfiber cloth. Always start from the top of the blinds and work to the bottom. Next, use a soft sock or cloth over your hand and run them between each of the slats. Using a vacuum with a brush attachment instead can make the dusting go quicker.
If blinds are very dirty and they need to be washed, place them in the bathtub with just enough water to submerge them. Add approximately 2 cups of white vinegar and a small amount of dishwashing soap and allow the blinds to soak for at least 10 minutes. Wipe the slats with a sponge or cloth. You may also want to use a toothbrush to clean more difficult spots on your blinds. Finally, rinse your blinds with cold water and dry the blinds with a chamois or hang or lay them flat.
Tips for Wood Blinds and Shutters
You should not use soap and water to clean real wood blinds. Instead furniture polish or oil will not only clean your blinds but help to maintain their finish. Simply apply furniture polish or oi to a cloth and clean the closed blinds from top to bottom remembering to clean both sides of the blinds.
Tips for Vertical Blinds
Long vertical blinds can be especially challenging to clean which is why it is even more important to regularly dusting or vacuuming these blinds to delay the need for deeper cleaning. Nevertheless, you’ll likely need to clean these blinds more thoroughly at least once a year. Dust or vacuum both sides of each slat working from the top down. Inspect each slat for stains that can be spot cleaned with a spray cleaner or soapy water. If you’re cleaning vinyl or aluminum blinds, consider laying towels or plastic under the blinds to prevent soap and water from dripping on your floors. Be sure to also rinse and dry each of your slats when you’re done cleaning.
Horizontal versus Vertical Blinds
March 23, 2021
Horizontal versus Vertical Blinds
As far as window coverings go, the versatility of blinds is difficult to parallel – pun intended! And though there are myriad options including cellular blinds and roller blinds, there are two types of blinds that rule the market: horizontal and vertical blinds. Horizontal and vertical window blinds are popular for many reasons – they are functional and stylish in any room of the house. Still, despite their similarities, there are significant differences between horizontal and vertical window blinds even in the realms of their similarities. Let’s take a closer look.
Certainly, horizontal and vertical window blinds primary function is to cover windows – this provides increased privacy, light control, and in some cases even energy savings. Nevertheless, while many windows may be suitable for either style of window blind, that may not always be the case. For example, when it comes to sliding doors, and large or wide windows, vertical blinds are more suitable. As they open and close vertically, these vertical window blinds are especially well-suited to sliding doors. If you’re looking to highlight a set of French doors or windows, vertical blinds likewise make the ideal treatment.
Alternatively, for small or narrow windows, horizontal blinds may be the better choice. Often featuring narrower slats, horizontal blinds are great for bedrooms, living rooms, and even kitchens and bathrooms – almost anywhere you want to allow for more air circulation
On the other hand, if energy savings are your main concern, you may want to compare the differences between horizontal and vertical blinds more closely. The thinner slats featured in horizontal blind construction may not be as effective for blocking heat transfer or even for improving noise control. Some horizontal and vertical blinds are constructed from material specifically designed for energy efficiency, but still, the vertical blinds may prove the most efficient.
When considering light control, horizontal and vertical blinds likewise offer specific benefits. For example, vertical blinds are adjusted such that you can block sun as it moves from the east to the west. As such, they should be installed over east and west facing windows. For better light control on north and south facing windows, horizontal blinds make a better choice as they can be adjusted according to the angle of the sun at a particular time of year. Another consideration is that the wider slats on vertical blinds are better for light control because they will effectively block more light. However, even horizontal blinds can be constructed with winder slats. Plus, horizontal blinds are a great choice because they tend to be more stable (i.e. less likely to blow open) than vertical blinds.
It’s always good to talk to your vancouver blinds specialist to get more information about functionality, optimal light control, and other factors before purchasing your blinds.
What are Roman Shades?
February 22, 2021
What are Roman Shades?
Window treatments come in all shapes and sizes; from curtains and drapes to blinds and shades, there are so many window treatments to choose from to perfectly accent any room. Choosing the right window covering for your home or business depends on a number of factors – not only is style a major consideration, but different materials and window treatments will be better suited for different functions. Nevertheless, when it comes to durable, attractive, and versatile window treatments, Roman shades are among the most popular options for home and business interiors. So then, what are roman shades and what do you need to know about them? Let’s take a closer look.
Simple, stylish, and functional – Roman shades are a modern choice for window coverings. You can recognize Roman shades by their design. These window coverings lay flat against a window and when lifted stack discretely at the top of your window. Because Roman shades are sleek and can be made from a wide range of materials, they fit the décor of almost any room seamlessly. Additionally, Roman shades contribute to energy efficiency by mitigating heat transference so rooms stay cooler in the summer and warmer in the winter. Roman shades are even great for light control making them the perfect choice when you want to completely block out light or to allow for filtered light while maintaining privacy.
There are myriad benefits to investing in Roman shades. For example, they are designed to operate smoothly and easily, and they even come in motorized varieties so you can control your shades at the push of a button. When buying Roman shades, you’ll find a wide range of pre-fabricated styles and sizes that will fit most standard windows. However, you can also choose customized Roman shades and pick the colour, fabric, and design that suits you best.
Another benefit of Roman shades is that they can be mounted inside or outside your window frame. Inside mounted Roman shades will fall flush with the window frame so that you can combine them with other window treatments depending on your design or functional needs. On the other hand, outside mounted Roman shades can be installed so that they cover the entire surface of the window frame allowing for optimal privacy and light control.
Roman shades also feature different types of folds. Flat fold shades are simple and allow for the shade to rest flat to the window when lowered. European folds create a straight edge at the bottom because they have a rod sewn into the edge of the shade. Soft folds drape elegantly over each other and bring more texture to your window. And finally, plain folds are visible even when the shade is lowered somewhat mirroring the traditional appearance of window blinds.
Roman shades are beautiful and adaptable window coverings that match well with contemporary or traditional designs.
What are Honeycomb Blinds?
January 18, 2021
Window coverings range from drapes and curtains to a variety of styles of blinds. Depending on your style preferences, budget, and functional needs, there are many different window treatments that may be suitable for your windows. When it comes to blinds, you are probably familiar with traditional styles such as vertical and horizontal blinds; but, there are other variations of these popular window treatments as well. For example, honeycomb blinds are an increasingly popular window treatment that fit well in many rooms and decors. So then, what are honeycomb blinds and what are their advantages?
Sometimes called cellular shades, honeycomb blinds are named as such because of the way they are made. Their structure looks something like a honeycomb when you are looking at them from the side. Multiple cells are combined, either in single or double layers, to ensure exceptional privacy and insulation for your home’s windows. Also, because honeycomb blinds are available in a wide range of colours and textures, they are versatile enough to meet your unique privacy and style needs.
Advantages of Honeycomb Blinds
Some of the main benefits of honeycomb blinds relate to functional properties including insulation, privacy, and noise control. Additionally, honeycomb blinds offer these advantages while maintaining a low profile – they are lightweight and not bulky so they make for a sleek and attractive window treatment.
- Insulation – Honeycomb blinds help to improve temperature control in both hot and cold weather. The added energy efficiency of honeycomb blinds make them a great choice for folks who are environmentally and budget conscious. Indeed, because honeycomb blinds are constructed of multiple layers of cells, they better prevent heat loss in the winter while conserving cooler air in the summer. As such, they can have a significant impact on your energy bills as well.
- Privacy – In addition to their energy saving properties, honeycomb blinds are a preferred choice when privacy is your priority. Depending on the material they are made from, honeycomb blinds can provide complete blackout properties; but even if you want some light transfer, you’ll still get great privacy as there is no space between the layers of honeycomb blinds. However, when you want to open up your windows, you can simply draw your blinds open like vertical, horizontal, and other traditional styles of blinds.
- Noise control – Once again, because of the cellular shape of each layer of blinds, honeycomb blinds are excellent for noise control. They can block out street and traffic noise so you maintain a more peaceful interior environment.
- Profile – Finally, despite offering all these functional advantages, honeycomb blinds are slim and light-weight so they will fit easily in any window frame. And, because they are not heavy, they are easy to raise and lower.
What are Vertical Blinds?
December 23, 2020
What are Vertical Blinds?
As the name implies, vertical blinds are window coverings that feature strips of fabric or other material that run vertically, side-by-side. Generally speaking, these lengths of material (also known as slats) are attached to a track along the top of your window and are opened and closed with a plastic rod and or chain. The slats are usually weighted at the bottom which ensures they remain parallel whether the blinds are open or closed. Additionally, extra stability is created as the slats are connected with a chain that runs along the bottom of the blinds.
The design of vertical blinds is newer than horizontal blinds, but they offer many of the same features. Because the slats can be rotated, vertical blinds allow for exceptional light control. Additionally, much like curtains or drapes, vertical blinds can be drawn open or closed to allow for more or less privacy. Unlike alternative window coverings such as horizontal blinds or roller blinds, vertical blinds are well-suited for large windows, patio doors, and tall windows without compromising light or privacy control.
For sloped or pitched windows, vertical blinds also work well because the lengths of the slats can be tailored to accommodate various angles. They make an attractive window covering for these kinds of windows that also highlight the style of the window. Plus, vertical blinds provide a contemporary style that matches well with clean and sophisticated design choices. The simple design of vertical blinds is such that they enhance the features of a window and likewise the style of a room without distracting the eye.
Fortunately, vertical blinds are also easy to maintain. For most vertical blinds, a quick wipe with a damp cloth once very few weeks is enough regular maintenance to keep them looking great and functioning well. On the other hand, the construction of horizontal blinds makes them a little more challenging to clean as they can trap dust more easily. Even when vertical blinds require a deeper clean, they can usually easily be removed to allow the track and the slats to be more thoroughly cleaned.
Finally, another benefit of vertical blinds is that they are available in a wide range of materials and to suit many functions. For example, blackout vertical blinds are made from materials that provide total privacy and light blockage. These are excellent for bedrooms or other spaces where privacy and light control are of paramount importance. Additionally, vertical blinds are made from a range of fabrics and other materials so you can find a wide variety of colours and patterns to suit your personal style preferences. When it comes to versatile window coverings, there are few options that compare with vertical window blinds.
Pictures of Drapes and Shades from past projects
December 15, 2020
Roman Shade Styles
November 24, 2020
Roman shades are roman shades, aren’t they? In fact, these soft fabric window coverings are versatile with respect to both aesthetic and function. Roman shades are an increasingly popular window treatment because they match well with any décor – contemporary, traditional, elegant, or sleek. When you really want to make a design statement, roman shades are an excellent choice; but they’re more than just a pretty accent for your windows – roman shades offer a range of functional benefits making them a great fit for any room.
The streamlined appearance of roman shades combined with the classic feel of fabric on windows belies the functional range of these blinds. Designed from a solid piece of fabric that folds into even stacks when raised or lowered, roman shades are also available in rolling varieties. Rolling roman shades do not feature internal cords while the stacking alternative eliminates exposed cords – both offer excellent safety features for homes with young children. These functional features also lend to the clean aesthetic of roman shades.
In addition to rolling or folding, the main styles of roman shades are flat roman shades and soft fold roman shades. Flat roman shades are named as such because they hang flat to the window. Typically, they fold neatly along the top when lifted. Flat roman shades are slim and fit well with sliding doors and French doors. Soft fold roman shades essentially fold loosely and create a looped appearance when raised.
Roman shades are also available in a wide range of fabrics to bring rich colours, beautiful textures, and unique details to style your windows. Likewise, the variety of fabrics lends functional features as well. Polyester roman shades, for example, are easy to clean and stand up well to the rigours of family life. Moreover, different materials mean you have more options for light control. From sheer to black out, roman shades provide the privacy control you want or need.
Roman shades also feature many technological advances in window coverings. I’m sure you never considered the “technology” of blinds or shades, but roman shades are among the most advanced. Roman shade designs have been integrated with cellular shade designs to provide exceptional energy efficiency properties. This means less heat loss in the winter and cooler indoor temperatures in the summer as well as reduced energy costs. Once again, all roman shades are available in a number of woven and non-woven fabrics with various choices for colour, texture, pattern, and privacy.
So whatever your design preference, functional need, or budget, you’re sure to find beautiful roman shades that suit your unique purpose. Kitchens, bathroom, living rooms, and bedrooms can all be fitted with roman shades that are suited perfectly to their environment.
Another Project by Arlene’s – Custom Drapes and Blinds
November 12, 2020
Everything turned out as I had hoped. Richard did a great job on the installation!
How to Pick Blinds for your Home
October 21, 2020
Choosing the right blinds for your home requires careful consideration of the characteristics of blinds. From light control and insulation to aesthetics, window shape, and cost – knowing how to pick blinds for your home will help you find the perfect match for your home. By identifying and prioritizing your preferences for window coverings, you can more easily navigate the wide variety of window blinds available today and choose the blinds that work best for any room or style.
When it comes to light control, you have many options including light filtering blinds, blackout blinds, and blinds with slats. Light filtering window treatments are essentially translucent and allow a moderate amount of light to pass through. These types of blinds are often found in kitchens and dining areas. On the other hand, blackout blinds are exactly as they sound – they completely block the passage of light making them a great option for bedrooms and even living rooms. Blinds may also feature slats that can be adjusted to control the amount of light entering a room. On the other hand, shades do not feature slats which makes them great for privacy but provide less control over lighting.
Some blinds are designed to improve energy efficiency. If you live in a climate with extreme temperatures (hot or cold), insulated window treatments can save you up to 25% on your annual heating and cooling costs. Cellular shades, which are also known as honeycomb or cell shades, are the most common style of window blinds for improved insulation.
Of course, when you are investing in window treatments, you are also probably considering the aesthetic impact of your new blinds. Consider the colour, style, patterns, and even materials used in the fabrication of your window blinds to find the ideal treatment to complement the style and design of your home.
Blinds can be made to fit almost any shape of window including oversized windows, arch windows, doors, skylights, and uniquely shaped windows. In many cases, you’ll have to choose custom blinds to accommodate irregular window shapes; whereas rectangular windows can often be fitted with pre-fabricated blinds in standard sizing.
The final consideration in choosing the right window blinds is cost. In general, custom blinds will cost more so it’s important to consider whether your home’s windows will require custom blinds. Once again, unique window shapes or sizes will often require custom blinds and you should expect this to impact your budget for window treatments. Also, certain materials (particularly natural fibers and real wood blinds) tend to cost more. Nevertheless, no matter your style or budget, you are sure to find the right window treatments for your home as long as you take the time to carefully review the many options available to you and choose the treatment that fits your home and your budget.
Another Project by Arlene’s – Custom Drapes and Blinds
September 24, 2020
Custom vs Store Bought Blinds
September 21, 2020
Custom vs Store Bought Blinds
Updating your window coverings can have a huge impact on the appearance of any room. Whether you are looking to adapt your style or your old window coverings have seen better days, upgrading your window treatments requires careful consideration of the many options available to you. Curtains and window blinds are among the most common options for window treatments; but even when you decide to go with window blinds, there are still many options from which to choose. One of the most important considerations is whether to go with custom or store bought blinds. Because custom blinds tend to be more expensive, many home owners seek store bought alternatives. That being said, there are many benefits to choosing custom versus store bought blinds. Fit, style, and function can be perfectly matched to your home and needs when you choose custom window blinds.
Fits like a Glove
No matter the shape or size of your window, custom window blinds make the perfect fit every time. Store bought blinds tend to be available only in standard window sizes and homeowners often have to compromise the fit of width, length, or both when choosing store bought blinds over custom blinds. Unfortunately, without the perfect fit, you also compromise light and privacy control, not to mention the impact on design. Custom blinds are made to the exact dimensions of your windows so make a better choice especially for oddly sized or shaped windows.
Your Home, Your Style
Another benefit of custom window blinds is the variety of style options available. You can choose between different types of blinds and different materials so that you achieve the ideal aesthetic for your home. Many basic, store bought blinds are available in limited colours and materials whereas the only limits on custom blinds are the limits of your imagination.
It’s a Match!
When homeowners choose to replace all the blinds in their home, custom blinds are often the preferred choice for consistency. Not only will you struggle to find matching blinds when your windows are not standard sizes, you may not always be able to get matching store bought blinds for all your windows – it really depends on the variety of sizes offered by the manufacturer. Custom blinds are built for your home and your windows, so making sure they match is easy. You’ll get the right size, the right materials, and the right finish for a polished, consistent home style.
Finally, customer window blinds are certainly more expensive than store bought alternatives, but they are often made from high quality, durable materials. They are designed to last for years while also providing bonus features such as energy conservation and sound control in addition to light and privacy control.
So, while you may find that you need a bigger budget for custom blinds, the benefits of these window treatments over store bought blinds make them a great investment in the long run.
August 24, 2020
Honeycomb blinds, also known as honeycomb shades, are among the newest and most advanced styles of blinds available as window coverings today. Featuring optimal energy efficiency, these cellular shades were designed to provide improved temperature control regardless of the season or climate. As such, honeycomb blinds are a great choice for window coverings for both residential and commercial properties and for all types of windows including skylights and uniquely-shaped windows. Let’s take a closer look at some of the key features of honeycomb blinds.
Did you know that windows are responsible for up to 30% of energy loss from you home? While energy efficient windows can make a significant impact on your annual energy bills, they are also an expensive renovation for your home. As an affordable alternative, honeycomb blinds can also reduce your energy bills as they are designed to improve insulation around your window. Indeed, honeycomb blinds are some of the most advanced designs when it comes to reducing heating and cooling costs in your home.
The design of honeycomb blinds makes them an attractive addition to your home or office, but they are also available in a wide range of materials and colours meaning they are an especially versatile option that can match the décor of any space. Rich textures, colours, and patterns make honeycomb blinds a beautiful accompaniment to your windows.
Additionally, because of their construction, honeycomb blinds are exceptional window covering choices for sound control. You can not only improve the acoustics in a room, you can block outside noise better. This means that honeycomb blinds can contribute to a much more peaceful and relaxing living or working environment.
In addition to sound control, these window coverings are great for improved light control. Depending on the fabric and colour you choose, honeycomb blinds can absorb and deflect incoming light so many home owners choose honeycomb blinds specifically for bedrooms or other areas where privacy and light control are key.
High quality honeycomb blinds made from quality fabrics are not only sturdy but resistant to fading. When you want a crisp and clean look that lasts, honeycomb blinds are the ideal window covering.
In today’s design world, there are many attractive window coverings available that can make an impressive impact on the style of any room. While honeycomb blinds are just one of the many choices for home and business owners to elevate the look of their space. Choosing the right blinds can certainly be a complicated process, so whether you are looking for honeycomb blinds or other window coverings contact a design specialist. Ultimately, getting the right blinds can help you create the perfect environment for your home or office.
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.
Residential Window Films
June 23, 2020
You may think that window tint is an attractive way to improve privacy for your home, but did you know that aftermarket residential window films are a great way to save energy while improving your home’s aesthetics? For the most part, residential window films can be applied easily and offer many benefits, but they may or may not be right for your home. Let’s take a closer look at residential window films to determine if they are a good investment for you.
First of all, we’ve alluded to the fact that window films can enhance aesthetics, privacy, and energy efficiency, but it’s important to note that not all films are the same. Indeed, there are many types of residential window films, but the three primary varieties are solar, security, and decorative.
- Solar window films are designed to improve energy efficiency. These films feature medium-thickness and are designed to absorb or reflect sunlight so that indoor temperatures are more stable. Additional benefits of these films are that they reduce glare and prevent fading of indoor furniture and decorations. Solar residential window films are available in a variety of tones from silver to copper.
- Security residential window films are the thickest window films available. While they are not designed to moderate temperatures, they provide extra strength to windows so they are less likely to break during storms or from intruders.
- Decorative window films tend to be the thinnest and offer some of the benefits of solar window films as they minimally reflect or absorb heat. However, the primary function of decorative films is to improve privacy and curb appeal. You can find these residential window films in a wide range of tones and patterns included stained-glass designs, frosted designs, and even completely opaque tones.
If you what type of window film you want, you’re on the right track. The next thing to consider is whether the residential window film is compatible with your window. Solar window films are often not suitable for certain types of window glass as they may cause cracking. Clear annealed glass windows thicker than 3/8 inch or with heat absorption rats greater than 50%, tinted annealed glass thicker than ¼ inch, and insulated glass installed over 10 years ago are likely not suitable for solar window films. Always review manufacturer’s recommendations before purchasing or installing residential window films.
Finally, while residential window films can usually be installed easily by the homeowner, you should check your window warranty first. Many warranties are voided when you install residential window films – regardless of whether the films have been installed by a professional or not. Most aftermarket window modifications void window warranties, so be sure to carefully review your warranty before making any modifications.
May 21, 2020
Not only do blinds come in a variety of sizes, materials, and colours, there are also different blind styles to dress windows. Whether you are looking for blinds for a particular window type, you are contemplating privacy or light control, or you have a particular room style that you want to accent, blind styles can have a significant impact on the ambiance of a room. In this guide, we’ll provide a brief review of the main blind styles to help you pick the right blinds for your home. Let’s get started!
Among the newer designs for blinds, hive blinds are typically made from fabric material and feature a cellular, pleated structure that provides exceptional temperature and sound control. Hive blinds are the ideal choice for more modern room styles as they offer a sleek and contemporary look. These blinds are perhaps the most advanced when it comes to technology – they have anti-static properties that repel dust in addition to the sound and temperature control properties already mentioned. Hive blinds are usually available in a variety of fabrics including blackout and luxury fabrics.
When you are looking for optimal light control, mirage blinds are excellent. Mirage blinds can be opened or closed completely, but also you’ll find they offer the flexibility to adjust light control anywhere in between. Plus, mirage blinds are available in a wide range of fabrics including those with textures or patterns as well as many different colours. Mirage blinds make a beautiful addition to any room.
Also known as cellular blinds, pleated blinds are a modern take on the classic design. With both standard and blackout options, as well as an impressive selection of colours and fabrics, pleated blinds are always at the forefront of design trends.
Affordable, modern, and versatile – roller blinds are a great fit for any room of the house. With an exceptional variety of technical features including moisture and mildew resistance, easy maintenance, and diverse fabrics, roller blinds are an increasingly popular choice for kitchens and bathrooms. But don’t be fooled, these beautifully designed blinds are also and affordable fit for bedrooms and living rooms.
Classic roman blinds bring an air of elegance to any room. If you really want to make a statement with your window coverings, roman blinds are the choice for you. Roman blinds never go out of style and they are ideal for living rooms and bedrooms.
When you’re looking for a no-nonsense window covering that is affordable and easily maintained without compromising style, consider Venetian blinds. These blinds are constructed from a wide range of finishes and materials so you can always find the right colour for any space.
Finally, vertical blinds are nothing new when it comes to window coverings. With a simple look and diverse textures, patterns, and colours available, vertical blinds represent the quintessential window covering. Optimal light control, various performance features, and a variety of designs, vertical blinds work well in any room of your home.
March 26, 2020
Blinds are probably the most common window treatment in homes today. Regardless of your lighting or privacy requirements, blinds can accommodate you needs in any room of the house – kitchens, bathrooms, living rooms, and bedrooms.
At Arlene’s Interiors, we can help you choose the right window treatments for any space, and our team of professional designers is highly knowledgeable about window blinds including the variety of styles and materials that make up these common, contemporary window treatments.
Choosing the right blinds for your home can be a difficult task. You not only need to consider functional implications of the blinds you choose, but also your personal style. Are you looking for a traditional window treatment or are you more contemporary in your design choices? Perhaps you land somewhere in the middle of the design spectrum – but no matter your personal preferences, there are certainly blinds that can beautifully and practically provide you with the right fit for your home or room.
Our team at Arlene’s Interiors has been serving the Metro Vancouver region for more than three decades. We work closely with some of the most respected professional decorators in the area and provide a wide range of custom window blinds that serve the unique needs of our clients. Our blinds are available in almost any style or material you can imagine, and we pride ourselves on offering an incredible selection of custom window treatments because it means we can help our customers find the right fit and the right function for their window treatments.
So, what do you need to know about window blinds? First, it’s important to understand that blinds come in a variety of styles. At Arlene’s Interiors, we offer blind styles such as honeycomb, shades, sheers, and shutters as well as vertical and horizontal blind designs. Depending on your lighting or privacy needs, you’ll find that different styles of blinds offer different benefits. Indeed, even within categories of blind styles, you’ll find a range of attractive options that meet your unique needs.
Additionally, blinds can be constructed from many different materials and built to accommodate any window type. Even for custom windows with unique shapes, we’re sure to help you find the right blinds at Arlene’s Interiors. So whether you are looking for a particular material such as fabric, wood, or vinyl, or you want window treatments for a particular window type such as arched windows, bay windows, or French doors, Arlene’s interiors is dedicated to delivering on your unique window treatment goals.
Blinds from Arlene’s Interiors are constructed to provide optimal quality and aesthetic appeal. We know that the perfect blinds can elevate the design of any room while also giving you optimal control over lighting and privacy. Contact us today to learn more about how window blinds can transform your home.
How to Choose Blinds for your Home
February 26, 2020
It probably comes as no surprise that there are many different types of window blinds available on the market today. Vertical and horizontal blinds are available in a myriad of materials, sizes, and colours so choosing the right blinds for your home can be tricky. Still, as an alternative to curtains and drapes, blinds can be an attractive, functional, and affordable window treatment that gives you more control over lighting while bringing sophistication and elegance to any room.
Since we’re comparing blinds and shades, let’s have a closer look at the different types of each and reasons you may choose them for your home.
Wood blinds, faux wood blinds, vertical blinds, aluminum blinds, and insulating blinds are some of the most popular available today. Wood and faux wood blinds are stylish and fit well into contemporary or traditional designs as they are simple but bring a sense of warmth to a room. Faux wood blinds tend to be more durable and make a great choice for bathrooms, kitchens, or rooms with a lot of moisture. Vertical blinds are also very durable, but also affordable. Additionally, vertical blinds are a great choice if you want better light control or for large windows or sliding doors. Aluminum blinds are durable, sleek, and stylish and make a great choice for living rooms and bedrooms. Finally, as the name implies, insulating blinds provide insulation for energy savings while also providing exceptional light control.
There are also many kinds of window shades that make a great option for different rooms in the house. Roman shades are very stylish, easy to operate, and can be ordered with blackout fabrics. Cellular shades are simple and attractive, and provide great privacy and light filtering. Roller shades are great if you like soft light but also privacy. Finally, solar shades provide great light control for south-facing rooms.
Ultimately, choosing between window shades or blinds for your home comes down to personal preference, but also function and budget. If you’re having difficulty making the right choice for your home, consider speaking to a designer or other professional to help you narrow your options to the most suitable designs and styles for your home.
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.
Are Window Coverings the Best Investment You Can Make in Your Home?
November 4, 2018
Whether it’s called “buy it once” or “buy it for life,” there’s a growing movement to buy quality, well-crafted products over disposable ones. Lasting, high-quality products ultimately save you money and create less waste. That’s a win-win for your budget and for the environment.
Of course, this only works if you can find products that you love enough to keep for many years!
Window treatments are an excellent “buy it once” option. At Arlene’s, we believe in doing it right the first time, and all our Hunter Douglas blinds and shades come with a lifetime guarantee.
But why should you pay particular attention to investing in quality window treatments? Here are five considerations when you’re selecting blinds, shades and draperies for your home.
Get “fit” by customizing
You don’t want your blinds scraping the casement in your kitchen, or your shades to hang short in your living room. And if you have young children, you definitely don’t want their blackout curtains to leak light and cause them to wake up too early – so they end up waking you too early!
Blinds, shades, sheers and other treatments are there to give you control over how light enters your space. They can filter light, block it, or allow it inside in all its glory. To do this, they need to fit.
Getting your window treatments professionally tailored – so that they fit your home’s precise specifications – ensures that they will do what they are designed to do. When exploring your interior design options for your windows, look for brands, outlets and showrooms that offer customized products.
Protecting your (other) investments
Furniture, carpets, fine rugs, antiques, and paintings all have something in common: they can all be damaged by the sun’s ultraviolet rays. Blinds and shades are a big help in preventing the discoloration and fading caused by glare and direct sun, and there’s another elegant solution: professionally installed window films. These are excellent for spaces where you want to have natural light filling the room most of the time.
Our window films come in a variety of shades. They not only reduce glare, but block more than 99% of all UV radiation entering your home using their patented UVShield® technology. These films protect all the valuables in your home that are vulnerable to ultraviolet rays.
They also have a safety aspect that offers additional peace of mind: if an accident or storm should break your window, window films can help protect you and your family by preventing the glass from shattering.
Invest in family-friendly safety
Are your window treatments family friendly? Hunter Douglas offers a wide range of child-friendly (and pet-friendly) window treatment systems that eliminate entanglement issues. Their options for cordless manual systems and retractable cords— and even motorized blinds and shades that can be operated by remote control— offer the highest standards for safety while providing a clean, uncluttered appearance wherever they’re installed.
Style that lasts
With so many styles of window treatments it can be hard to make decisions. Blinds vary in slat width, material and colour. Shades come in several different types, from roller shades to Roman shades to honeycomb (also known as cellular) shades. Many can be combined with draperies for looks that range from contemporary to classic.
All of these are high-quality options, but it takes time to figure out your best choice. None of us have unlimited time – so what do you do when you want to make a home decorating purchase that will last?
Professional design consultants like those at Arlene’s can give you a big head start. They’ll help you cross off some options and zero in on the styles that you love, as well as the types of window treatments that best suit the various rooms of your home.
Keeping cool – and warm
Blinds, shades and draperies filter or block the direct sunlight that can heat up your home in warmer months. By moderating bright light and heat they help keep your rooms at the right temperature. That’s a well-known summer benefit you can count on from your window treatments, but it’s less well-known that in the winter they have a more literal pay-off: they save you money by cutting down on your energy bill.
Blinds and honeycomb shades help insulate windows, providing a buffer that keeps cold air from chilling the rooms of your house. This means less heat that you have to pay for – a win for your comfort level and your cheque book.
At Arlene’s our job is to give you all the help you need in finding the the perfect solutions for your home. Come check out our Lower Mainland showrooms, or set up a complimentary consultation for solutions that will pay dividends for as long as you live in your house.
That’s a promise you can invest in!
Treat Your Windows Right: Five Tips for Your Interior Redesign
October 4, 2018
Redecorating your space? Ready to update the living room, or change the way your entire home looks and feels? When you’re making a fresh start, take the advice you’ll hear from any professional decorator: don’t neglect your window treatments.
Windows are the soul of your interior spaces. In every room, the treatments you choose for them – blinds, curtains, or shades – will enhance and transform your space, altering light, colour and mood.
Here are five window treatment tips to consider when redesigning or redecorating in your home.
Tip #1: Get Some Height
If you want to make your ceilings look higher, buy floor-to-ceiling curtains that are custom tailored to your room. They draw the eye up and down, and lend your space a feeling of tallness and height. Make sure that your curtains reach the floor or come very close, to within a half-inch to a quarter-inch.
Depending on your tastes, you may prefer that your curtains not only reach the floor but “break,” puddling with an overlap of one or two inches. This can be an elegant option, depending on how the room is used. If you have small children or pets that might trample on it, it’s best to keep the curtain just above the floor.
Tip #2: Blinds or shades?
First, what’s the difference? Blinds are made of hard vanes or slats that “stack” when pulled up to reveal the window. Shades are generally made of one piece of soft material. Roller shades (you guessed it) are drawn up onto a roll, while honeycomb shades – also known as cellular shades – are gathered up or down.
Blinds are an excellent choice in your newly decorated space if you want to be able to control the amount of light coming into a room. You can open the adjustable vanes in the morning to let in daylight, or close them in mid-day to block too much hot sun.
Wooden-slat blinds, especially those with wide slats offer a classic appearance that will go well with a summery, tropical aesthetic. If you’re going for a cooler, more modern look, try neutrally coloured blinds with thinner slats.
Shades can do something that blinds can’t: they can soften and alter the tone of the light coming into your room. Honeycomb shades, like those in the Hunter Douglas Alustra® collection, come in a curated variety of design-inspired textures and colors to suit your furnishings and interior palette – and by trapping air they also offer an insulating quality to mediate temperature.
Tip #3: Sliding doors
Laying out a new look in a room with sliding doors? Traditionally these are well-matched with vertical-slat blinds to match their orientation, but you can also consider a more contemporary look with gliding track window panels. Track panels are lightweight, and slide easily. The Skyline® series of gliding panels by Hunter Douglas comes in over 600 fabric styles and woven textures to match any aesthetic.
Tip #4: Having it all
When choosing shades to match your new interior you can opt for a neutral color, or go for a shade that matches the colour that is most dominant in the room. Hunter Douglas shades come in a wide variety of hues and colours, allowing you to achieve a great match. In an intimate bathroom space, you can match your shades to your coloured trim, and even your towels! Professional consultants like those at Arlene’s can help you navigate all the options.
Remember that you don’t have to choose between shades and curtains: you can have both. You can give your room a pop of colour with curtains while relying on neutral roller shades to mediate light.
Tip #5: Tricky windows
Windows come in all kinds of sizes and in so many locations—and some are trickier than others. Take arched windows, for example. They are beautiful and attractive, but sometimes they require shading, particularly if located in a bedroom. You can try pleating a sheer covering from the bottom center of the arch and fanning it out to soften the light— and on the lower, rectangular portion using another style of window treatment that complements it, like Roman shades.
Dormer windows and window seats can be made more attractive with the addition of Roman shades as well, or a combination of woven shades and curtains.
There are so many kinds of windows to work with: corner windows, bay windows, cathedral windows. Windows in your utility room, even in your shower. Our professional design consultants can assist you in finding solutions for them all, no matter how tricky.
Let us know how we can help make your new design everything you want it to be! You can give us a call, drop into one of our showrooms here in the Lower Mainland, or click here for a complimentary consultation.
Window Treatments: a Beginner’s Guide
September 13, 2018
Feeling a little overwhelmed with your choices of window blinds and shades?
Choosing a window treatment to suit your home and taste can be daunting at first— but don’t worry! We’re here to help.
First, let’s look at the purpose of window treatments and some of your options.
Blinds and shades serve several practical purposes. Among other things, they can:
- Soften or block sunlight entering your rooms
- Protect your rugs, carpets and upholstery from fading
- Provide varying levels of privacy, and reduce noise from outside
- Insulate your home and make it more energy efficient, keeping it cooler in summer and warmer in winter
These are all very important functions. But perhaps most important is how they work with light, and your own decor, to create the style and atmosphere you want in your home.
Shades and blinds can make rooms look more spacious, and turn direct sunlight into ambient tones. Depending on what you choose, they can make your rooms feel cozy or ethereal, modern or classic, cool or warm.
The most important thing to look for in your window treatments is that they suit your taste, and that they’re high quality. At Arlene’s our consultants can help you find the window treatments that are perfect for every room in your home.
Here are a few things to consider before choosing the ones that are right for you.
What’s Your Style?
When it comes to home decor and windows, your guide throughout is your own sense of style. Certain window treatments can give a room a classic look, such as plantation style wood blinds.
Roman blinds can be classic or contemporary, depending on the type— some look warm and luxurious, others natural and organic.
Sheers, roller shades and honeycomb blinds tend to lend a room a clean, contemporary look. They can be found in neutral shades that focus on function, or in colours that complement your furnishings, rugs, or art.
What’s your style? Classic or contemporary, country or eclectic?
Remember, you can vary your style in different rooms. Maybe you want sleek blackout shades in your media room to complement a modern feel, and woven wood shades in your dining room to a give warm, “heritage” impression that will complement that antique dining table. The choices are all yours, and we can help you find the window treatments that will match your vision for each room.
Whatever your style, be sure to seek out high-quality fabrics and window systems that will last— and that can be easily cleaned and maintained.
What Are Your Windows?
You don’t need to sacrifice function to get great style, but you do need to think about the size, type and placement of your windows.
In terms of size and type, not all windows are the same: they’re made to be used in different ways. Some windows don’t open at all, while others slide open, and others lift. Some are constructed in hinged casements that open with a crank.
Also, think about context—where your windows are, relative to the outdoors. Does that big window in the back of your house let in direct sunlight, or is it shaded by trees? Does it open onto your private backyard, or is there a public pathway or neighbour’s house directly across from it?
So many types of windows, and so many places they can be situated! The good news is that there are blind and shade solutions that suit all of them.
For large bay windows in your great room or living room that don’t have much light exposure— and don’t open onto public view— you may want to go with a drapery solution that stays open most of the time.
For large windows that do receive a lot of light throughout the day, or that open onto your neighbours’ homes or public spaces, explore your options for roller shades and honeycomb shades or another type of blind. For example, the Silhouette window shadings by Hunter Douglas feature soft adjustable fabric vanes, which appear to float between two sheer panels. They do a beautiful job of diffusing harsh sunlight and adjust easily.
Do you have single-hung or double-hung windows, in your kitchen or elsewhere? These are windows where the sash is in two parts, and either one (or both) of them can slide up and down to allow in a refreshing breeze. Cellular shades and sheer shades can work well with these, offering a clean and elegant look while raising fully out of the way to allow in fresh air.
Casement windows can be paired well with wood blinds or Roman shades, among many other styles of blinds, as they can be easily moved to operate the crank.
If you have sliding doors, the sometimes cluttered nature of their appearance—along with the amount of light they let in—can be reduced with vertical blinds. Here you have a choice of either slats or a more contemporary, urban look of sliding panels, like the Hunter Douglas Woven Textures series, which features elegant design-inspired fabrics, colors and textures.
Ask The Experts
Whether you’re feeling confused, overwhelmed or just excited by the possibilities, we’re here to help. You can start by clicking here for a complimentary consultation, or you can give us a call or visit one of our Lower Mainland showrooms.
We’ll be delighted to help you find the right solutions wherever you need them—for one room, or your entire home.
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!
Choosing the Right Blinds: Everything You Wanted to Know Were Afraid to Ask
August 8, 2018
Choosing window treatments is one of the most important design decisions you can make in your home. Blinds create the lighting and atmosphere you want in different seasons and at different times of day and are instrumental in regulating temperature—keeping rooms cool in summer and retaining heat in winter. They reflect your own taste and style as they filter light and prevent glare.
But which ones should you select for the various rooms in your house when there are so many options to choose from?
Our professional staff at Arlene’s will help walk you through your choices of Hunter Douglas blinds and window shades, letting you know the pros and cons of various types as well as the styles and colours on offer.
To get you started finding the best blinds, here are answers to some common questions about the differences between window covering types.
Blinds, Shades and Sheers— What’s the Difference?
Generally speaking, blinds are made of slatted, adjustable vanes that you can adjust to let in light. They can be oriented horizontally or vertically, and are made of hard materials like wood, aluminum or, as with the unique Hunter Douglas EverWood®, a synthetic polymer made to resist warping and fading.
Shades, on the other hand, are made of softer materials, in one continuous piece with no gaps. These can be made of fabrics of just about any colour or type—cotton, linen, or synthetics. They are usually raised up or down by winding on a top-mounted roller dowel, but, as with Roman shades, they can instead gather at the top of the window in large, attractive pleats.
Sheer blinds, like Hunter Douglas Luminette® or Silhouette® window treatments, incorporate specially crafted sheer fabrics. Window sheers transform harsh sunlight into a beautiful ambient light and can bring an ethereal quality to rooms that have large windows or sliding doors.
Should I Choose Blinds or Shades?
Blinds offer a range of adjustment levels— the slats can be shut tightly for privacy and blocking light, or tilted to let in as much light as you like. They can also be pulled up completely to the top of the window, fully opening up the view.
If you choose blinds, the slats tend to come in three sizes: 1/2-inch, 1-inch and 2-inch. The wider slats give a classic look, like plantation shutters. Thinner slats offer a more sleek, contemporary profile. The 1-inch slats that are in the middle split the difference, and are often your most affordable option.
Shades, because they are made of one piece of material, are either up or down— they have no adjustable slats. Depending on the fabric you choose, however, they can block almost all the light, or allow a softened light to shine through.
Hunter Douglas honeycomb cellular shades, like their Duette® style, are also engineered to provide energy efficiency in cold or warm climates. Also known as honeycomb blinds, they trap air in their pockets, insulating your window areas and helping lower energy bills.
What are the Pros and Cons of Horizontal Blinds versus Vertical Blinds?
There are some practical things to consider when choosing between vertical and horizontal blinds. Vertical blinds tend to work better with very large window areas, as with sliding doors. Sliding doors open from side to side, so vertical blinds that mimic that movement are a good choice.
Like horizontal blinds, vertical slats can be opened to let in light, or they can be moved all the way to the side to allow an unobstructed view. They are easy to keep clean and dust-free, and vertical blinds made of softer fabrics have the advantage of being noise-free when sliding doors are opened to allow in wind.
Another option for large window areas and sliding doors are panel track blinds, which give a sleek and contemporary look. The Hunter Douglas Skyline® gliding window panels are an excellent option that comes in over 600 roller and screen-style fabrics.
At Arlene’s, we offer a wide selection of Hunter Douglas blinds, shades and sheers that we will custom-tailor to suit your windows and sliding doors:
- Honeycomb shades
- Roman shades
- Woven wood shades
- Roller shades (screen and banded)
- Blackout shades
- Vertical blinds
- Horizontal blinds (wood and metal)
- Sheer blinds and shadings
- Pleated shades
What’s the Deal with Motorized Shades and Blinds?
Arlene’s can add motorization to virtually any window treatment. Motorization units offer remote controls to raise, lower, tilt or draw your window coverings. They are especially handy on tall or hard-to-reach windows in areas like stairwells or great rooms.
These systems bring a new level of customization: you can program them to remember where you like your blinds set— at halfway or two-thirds covering your window, for example— and return them to that setting with a click of a button.
Motorized systems can be installed via a wall switch, or via a wireless system. You can even choose a system that allows you to control them with an app on your smartphone. You’ll be able to raise or lower individual units, or you can select a group (or groups) of window coverings to move together— even in multiple rooms.
Motorized systems are surprisingly affordable, and can be created with no additional electrical wiring. Talk to us about which one is right for you.
One Last Question: What are Window Films?
Professionally installed window films greatly enhance the energy efficiency, look, and functionality of your windows.
Window films reduce glare by up to 87%, making it easier for you to watch television or work on a computer. They also protect you and your family by holding shards together in the case of an accident or storm shattering your window.
Window films also protect the rest of your home. Most fabrics, furnishings and artwork can be damaged simply by allowing daylight to pass through an untreated window. By blocking more than 99% of all UV rays, window films with UVShield™ technology are made specifically to protect your home, preserve the colour of your furnishings, fabrics and carpets, and help protect fine antiques, woods and works of art from discoloration and fading.
At Arlene’s our window films are available in a variety of light and subtle shades— so you’ll be able to enjoy your view without even knowing it’s there.
Come in to Arlene’s Today — and Visit our New Website for 10% off on Arlene’s New Furniture Offerings!
Visit our Burnaby and Langley showrooms to learn all about your best choices for window treatments. We’ve been here for 35 years and we are the experts in Metro Vancouver not only for window coverings but also for bedding, and now for furniture as well! Our just-launched website now features hundreds of new furniture items.
To celebrate our anniversary, we’re offering ten percent off any furniture purchase on our website—and we’ve expanded to delivery offer to Vancouver Island and the Okanagan.
We look forward to helping you make your home everything you want it to be!