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Choosing the Right Blinds: Everything You Wanted to Know Were Afraid to Ask

August 8, 2018

Arlene's Interiors - Blinds

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? 

Cascade Roman ShadesGenerally 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?

Your personal taste will be the guide here, and our decorators can come to you to do an in-home consultation to help you make an informed choice.

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
  • Shutters
  • 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!

Celebrate Our 35th Anniversary with our New Online Furniture Store — And 10% Off Your Purchase

July 17, 2018

Your go-to home decorating destination has just launched a new online furniture store to offer you more! Thanks to customers like you, Arlene’s Interiors is now celebrating 35 years as Metro Vancouver and the Fraser Valley’s first choice for blinds and draperies.

Elegant Office Seating

We wanted to make our anniversary memorable, so with our customers in mind, we’ve gone all out. Our new, just-launched website now features hundreds of new furniture items — and expanded delivery to Vancouver Island and the Okanagan.

Modern Dining Sets

In place of a slice of cake, we’ve got something even better for you: ten percent off any furniture purchase on our newly expanded website.

The Big News

Since 1983, Arlene’s has offered the very best in Hunter Douglas blinds, window shades, tailored drapes, bedding and upholstery.

Locally owned and operated, we’ve always been the better choice over big-box retailers. Our business was built providing home and professional decorators with the perfect fit and functionality of custom Hunter Douglas window coverings—from Roman blinds to interior shutters to motorized shades— superior in so many ways to “off the shelf” products.


Deluxe Bedding

Now we’re building on that legacy of style and quality by offering contemporary furniture that will make you love where you live.

They’re all available at our revamped website.

And don’t worry: our Burnaby and Langley showrooms are still here and better than ever. At both locations, you’ll find a wide selection of window coverings and bedding that includes honeycomb blinds, custom blackout shades, made-to-measure curtains, duvet covers and more.

What You’ll See on Our New Site

You want your home to reflect a timeless design that’s uniquely your own. From stylish floor lamps to beautiful poufs, from coffee tables to king-sized beds, we have the top brands and styles you’re looking for.

Decorative Vases

Hand-selected by interior designers with an eye for the contemporary and the classic, some of our other new items include:

  • Dwell chairs and Tofino stools
  • Dining tables in wood, glass or Carrara marble
  • Our Lulu, Locum and Lido table lamps (among many others!)
  • Two-drawer to six-drawer dressers
  • Wall hangings and canvas prints
  • Danish-inspired buffets

And lots, lots more— accent tables, headboards, console tables, patio furniture— more than we can talk about here!

It’s a world of smart, functional and beautiful design at your fingertips, available 24/7 for direct order.

Coordinate Your Home with Ease

Our just-launched website makes decorating your home a joy. You can filter products according to what you’re looking for, sorting by colour, material, price and brand.

Whether you’re doing the decorating yourself or working with a design consultant, this new functionality will ensure that your furniture complements the room the same way your new window coverings do.

While our new furniture offerings are sold exclusively online, it’s easy to compare your options. Every product has a detail photo to show texture, depth, and proportion.

In-Home Consultations with Great Designers

Not working with a designer but want some expert advice, or another set of eyes to help you with those big decisions? Book with one of our decorators and we’ll come to you, anywhere in Metro Vancouver.

Our decorators can tell you about all your options in Hunter Douglas window coverings, designer fabrics and furniture and accessory styles. They know the ins, outs and alternatives that will make your home everything you want it to be.

We’ll bring fabric samples and even blinds to your living room. For blinds, drapery, shades we’ll have your windows measured, and oversee the fabrication of every item you order. Then your treatments will be professionally installed.

How it Works— And How to Get Your 10% Off

Just point and click! We’ll deliver your items promptly, in most cases within five business days.

We want you to love your purchase, but if you don’t, eligible items in their original packaging can be returned within 10 days of delivery.

You can read more about how returns work here.

To get 10% off your purchase, all you need to do is use the coupon code “anniversary” when checking out and you will receive 10% off your entire order.

Hurry, this offer expires September 1, 2018.

Our New Additional Service Areas

  • Kelowna
  • West Kelowna
  • Vernon
  • Lake Country
  • Peachland
  • Summerland
  • Naramata
Vancouver Island
  • Victoria
  • Oak Bay
  • Saanich