Design Confidently, Live Comfortably
Choosing Shades & Blinds
A buyer's guide to selecting window treatments that meet your needs with simplicity and style
by Deborah Wiener
As an interior designer, I've seen window treatments come and go -- from miles of heavy drapes puddling on the floor like Niagara Falls to a minimalis's dream: nothing at all. In my opinion, today's trend toward simple, sophisticated design is the way to go.
|With shades and blinds, you can dress your windows in a clean, uncluttered way, enjoy unobstructed outdoor views, and better control the light that comes in from the outside. You can always add swags or valances later if you like them, but I think shades and blinds look great all by themselves, and there are so many to choose from.
Blinds are considered "hard" window treatments. They have slats, or vanes, that tilt or angle to control the amount of light entering a room. They can also be fully opened, or pulled up, for an unobstructed view. Today, most blinds come with a rod that twists to tilt the vanes and a pull cord that lifts them. (Note that pull cords are not recommended for use around children.) Blinds can have horizontal or vertical vanes (narrow ones are often called mini-blinds), and they can be made of vinyl, wood, and wood alternatives, or the old standby: aluminum.
Shades are "soft" window treatments that can be raised or lowered for privacy and light control without sacrificing the view outside. They may be opened from the bottom up or from the top down -- or both (see Bottoms Up!).
Keep in mind that "shade" is used to describe a wide variety of window coverings, including insulating cellular shades (made of fabric folded into distinctive honeycomb-shaped cells), fabric Roman shades (featuring flat horizontal folds and a pull-cord mechanism threaded through rings at the back), and "shadings" (hybrid window covers with movable fabric vanes suspended between two sheer fabric facings).
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PHOTO: COURTESY OF LEVOLOR