Your Must Know Guide to Window Treatments

Window treatments play an important role in home decorating. Not only do you want them to look nice and add character, but they must serve a function as well; direct or block out light, provide privacy, protect furnishings from the sun, or keep out hot and cold air.

First Analyze Your Needs

Before deciding on a style or look for your window treatment, you must first analyze your needs. How important is privacy, blocking light, bedroom windows might be different than a dining room window? Ground level needs going to be different that of 2 story.

If you have a bay window t you need to know what your options are, or what can you do for a windowed door. More and more people want to know what types of treatments can be installed on their sliders or patio doors. In this article, I answer some of these questions and throw my two cents in and go over some window treatment options.

Cellular Shades Save You Money On Energy Cost

Lets start with “cellular shades”, also known as “honeycomb shades”. Cellular shades are very good insulators. A lot of the hot or cold air gets trapped in the cells as it passes through the glass. You will definitely feel a difference when you raise the shade in the morning. I also think this is one of the best shades to block out light. It lets the least amount of light through along the sides. Some of the options available are blackout, top down; bottom up, and cordless.

Blackout is a nice feature in a bedroom, I’ve installed them in the middle of a sunny day, only for it to look like midnight after they were up. Customers are very impressed with how much light they block out. Top down bottom up is another nice feature. With top down bottom up (a.k.a. TDBU) not only can you raise the bottom but you can lower the top.

Use this in a bedroom or front window facing a street, or anywhere you want to maintain your privacy and lower the top to let in light and see outside. One draw back is you have more cords since you will have one on each side of the shade.

Cordless Is Idea With Young Children

“Cordless cellular” have no cords hence the name. You raise or lower simply by lifting the bottom rail. This is ideal for a young child’s room or anywhere your concerned about getting tangled up in cords. Cats won’t like them; they prefer the type with cords. They think its a new toy to bat around. Cordless is also available with top down bottom up feature.

I think cordless TDBU is a good choice for a bay window. It’s a nice clean look, no cords hanging all over. You can still see out while having privacy. They butt together tight to minimize gaps between them.

Want More Control Over Light And Privacy

I like wood blinds or faux woods whenever I want more control over privacy and light. They work well in any room of the house, and they are especially good choices for ground level or basements. If you tilt the slats where they angle up, the you can see out, but anyone looking in can only see up at the ceiling. When you order blinds, think about where you want to place the controls.

Most are available so you can have lift right, tilt left, or lift left, tilt right, or both controls on the same side. This becomes critical when the blinds are installed over a corner kitchen sink with a window in each corner. Try reaching over the counter into the corner to grab a control, you will need a step stool every time or the assistance of a really tall person. If, for the left window you had both controls on the left and both on the right for the right window, then it will be easier to reach and operate.

Here’s A Vertical Blind Tip

Vertical blinds are indeed a good option for sliders or patio doors, and there are many other options. Before we discuss alternatives, there is one feature on a vertical I want to make you aware of; that is opposite stack.

For example, on your patio door, say you want to stack the vanes on the left when drawn open but because of a table, it’s difficult to get in to the left corner to operate them. In this case, you would want to get a stack left with reverse draw, meaning it stacks to the left with your controls on the right making life a little easier.

Good Option For Your Patio Door

Now for the alternatives. First, we have the sheer vertical, this is a vertical with sheer fabric mounted over the veins. It offers a softer look and diffuses the light. Next, you have the vertical cellular. Depending on the manufacturer is also known as “vertiglide”, “Diamond All”, or “Ovation”.

Except for a few features, they look the same. This is basically a cellular shade in a vertical position that slides open and shut on a headrail. All are available on a split draw or one way. They are also very good insulators and stack much tighter than a vertical blind. You can get them to coordinate with other cellular shades in the same room or throughout your home.

Panel Track Is One Of The Latest Trends

Finally, as an alternative to a vertical there is a panel track. These are relatively new, the first time I saw them was about 5 years ago. The were popular in Europe before being introduced to the US. A panel track consists of narrow (12 or more inches wide)sheets of fabric that hang from a wheeled aluminum track system.

When closed, the panels spread out like a sliding door to give privacy while blocking out light. When opened, the overlapping panels stack on one or both sides. They are available in a wide variety of colors, styles, and materials. One thing to be aware of when considering a panel track is the width of the panels.

Taking the time to look into this will ensure you will end up with the look you want. Panel widths will vary depending on the width or your window. For example, on a standard size patio door it might have three panels each 28 inches wide. When you draw the panels open and they are stacked to one side they will cover up 28 inches of your patio door taking away from your view.

In this case, you might consider making the treatment wider so the panels stack more on your wall and less on the glass. Check the panel width with the company before you buy. Adding a couple of inches to your width might change it to four narrower panels instead of three wider ones.

Save Yourself Some Aggravation With These Tips

I’ll touch on some other treatments before calling it quits. Woven woods are for a more natural look. Roman shades for a softer look, and sheer horizontal blinds, more commonly known as “silhouettes”, combine the softness of a sheer with the functionality of a blind. If you can imagine a blind with a sheer fabric on the front and back, that’s a silhouette.

It creates a soft, elegant look. Roller shades can be made with controls to raise or lower, and are very easy to operate. These are not like the old shades you tugged on and hoped they rolled up neatly and the spring didn’t break. Be aware there are large gaps on the sides with roller shades letting much light in.

Skylights and arch windows can also be covered. There are cellular shades with special track systems for skylights that can be operated by extension pole or remote control. Arch windows will need a template. Both cellular or woods can be used on arches. I recommend you use a professional installer to both measure and install both skylight and arch window treatments.

I hope this opens your eyes to the wide variety of window treatments available so that you can make a wise and educated purchase.

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