If you've been in your home for many years, you may feel like it's time to freshen things up a bit. If your home is beginning to show its age, there are a few ways to revive it. One common path many homeowners take is to repaint the exterior of their homes. Replacing windows is another way to instantly bring new life to an older home. But one way of livening up your home that homeowners often overlook is replacing old, worn-out window treatments. Much like a fresh coat of paint, crisp new blinds and other window treatments can transform your home and make it look like new.
Picking The Right Window Treatments for Your Room
Many homeowners make a rookie mistake. They find one type of window treatment they like and then install it throughout their house. But that will inevitably lead to blinds, shades, and curtains that don't match their rooms. Just like you wouldn't paint every room of your house the same color or use the same furniture in every room, you can't use identical blinds in every room. Instead, you should select blinds and other window treatments to fit each room.
It may be tempting to start by looking at the variety of colors, styles, and designs of window treatments. There are so many to pick from, and it can be exciting to imagine your room with a new look. But before you get to that, you need to start by determining the function of the window treatments in each room. There are a few functions your window treatments can serve:
- Natural Lighting
- Sound Dampening
- Design Feature
The window treatments in each room may serve one or more of these functions. Knowing what you want your blinds to do in each room will help you narrow your search for the perfect window covering.
Blinds for Privacy
If you want privacy in a room, you have a few choices. One option is to install blinds. Blinds could be horizontal or vertical, and when closed, they form a solid barrier that completely blocks the view into and out of your window. Blinds come in a variety of materials and styles. Some blinds are made of fabric, usually stiffened with plastic or some other material. Other blinds may be made of wood or metal slats that provide a thick, opaque barrier. Bamboo is a relatively new material that is environmentally friendly. Unlike wood from trees, bamboo is technically a grass, and after it is cut down, it grows back extremely quickly. Bamboo also has a unique look that works well in many different settings.
If you don't want blinds, another option for privacy is lined shades or curtains. Unlined shades can easily sway and let some light in. But lined shades are thicker and move less freely. They can also block out almost all light and any view in or out.
If you want privacy but still want some light, you should consider honeycomb blinds made of paper or another thin material. They can create an opaque window covering that still lets in a lot of sunlight. The honeycomb structure also traps air to provide superior insulation.
Sometimes, you want a window treatment that still allows natural light to fill your room. In that case, you need something thinner or shearer than a privacy window treatment. The most common window covering for natural lighting is a sheer drape or curtain. Sheer cloth creates some privacy while allowing natural light to stream through and brighten any room.
While solid material blinds may not seem like the obvious choice for natural light, they can often serve that purpose as well. Vertical blinds can be tilted to allow in some light while still preserving significant privacy. Shutters and horizontal blinds can also be rotated to allow light to shine either upward or downward while still protecting privacy.
Honeycomb shades are a popular form of natural light window treatment. They can be made with sheer materials like paper that allow natural light to shine through while still blocking the view from the outside.
While some rooms call for natural light, others call for shade. Bedrooms, in particular, can benefit from window treatments that block out light, allowing you to sleep in a dark room even when the sun is shining. If you have a window that faces the sun during part of the day, it may let in too much light or heat. For example, a south-facing living room window or sliding door may cause a room to heat up during the day. Adding window treatments that create shade can help cool a room and keep it at a steady, comfortable temperature.
The most important consideration when choosing window covers to provide shade is how opaque the material is. Wood, metal, and plastic shades are an obvious choice since, when closed, they can completely block out light. However, if you like the look of fabric drapes, you can get a similar shade from lined drapes. Lined drapes include a lining made of a thick, opaque material to block out light. In some cases, lined drapes could function almost as blackout shades.
Shades that pull-down from the top of the window are another popular option for blocking out the sun. Classic blackout shades are usually made of vinyl and pull down to cover the window completely. For more decorative styles, roman shades can pull down to provide similar coverage or stack up to open the window when the shade is no longer necessary.
Sometimes a shade is less about what you see and more about what you hear. If you have a busy road outside your window or some other source of noise, you may want to black that out. The right kind of shade can dampen outdoor noise, providing a quiet retreat in your home. Sound dampening window covers are most common in bedrooms, though they can also seal off a living room or dining room from the busy outdoors.
One of the best ways to block out noise is with thick-lined shades. The fabric material absorbs sound without transmitting it. Hard materials, such as wood, plastic, and metal, do a less effective job of dampening noise. Because they are rigid materials, they can transmit vibrations. In some cases, like if a large truck drives by, they may even rattle. Softer materials work best to reduce noise from outside.
In almost every case, you want to make sure that your window treatments are more than functional—they should also be a design feature. When selecting your window coverings, consider the overall decor and style of the room. In a space that is rustic or traditional, consider wood blinds or drapes in a traditional fabric. If a room is more modern, consider a window shade or honeycomb blinds that give a cleaner, sleeker look.
Also, consider the colors in your room. Window coverings can either match a room's general color palette or serve as a pop of color. In a room with mostly one or two colors, a window treatment in a contrasting or complementary color can be an exciting design feature. If a room has a broader color palette, you may want to avoid adding yet another color. Instead, find blinds or drapes that go with the colors of the room.
Selecting the right blinds or window coverings for a room can seem overwhelming. That's why a little professional input can help put you on the right track. Of course, with any window treatment, the proper installation makes a big difference. You don't want your window coverings to look sloppy or uneven. While some homeowners may think window coverings are a DIY project, you will find that you can benefit significantly from the expertise of a TrustDALE certified blinds specialist.