Window Coverings - What's New

With all the different window treatments and options available today, how do you choose which one will best suit your home, your family and your pocketbook?

There's certainly no shortage of selection - blinds, shutters, sheers, shades and much, much more. Whether you've just purchased a home and want to cover those naked windows or just what to give the windows of your existing home a little facelift, it pays to consider all the options first.

Keep in mind that windows serve as a home's visual link to the outside world and that they are the primary source of natural light in a home. Begin by deciding how you want your windows to function and how they must fit your lifestyle and the room decor. Do you want to let in air and light into the home? How important is privacy? What kind of a view do you want to present from the outside?

For a fresh, clean look
Windows that reveal a pleasant view usually call for minimal covers that can be easily adjusted to allow for privacy. When you need light, but have only the neighbour's brick wall next door to look at, consider hanging a number of plants or pieces of ornamental stained glass in front of the window. You will be adding a big dose of warmth and depth at very little cost.

The advantage of shutters
Shutters, whether wood or vinyl, can be a decorator's dream. They can be painted or stained to match any decor. Not only can they help keep a room cool in summer and warm in winter, but they can block about 90 percent of light. Fingertip control gives you the freedom to easily adjust the amount of light and privacy in a room. Shutters are easy to care for, extremely durable and competitively priced. This may explain their growing popularity.

Blinds and shades
Blinds can be either vertical or venetian (horizontal), come in a wide variety of styles and materials, are great for larger windows and sliding doors and very affordable compared to some other window coverings.

The slats on vertical blinds open and close on a track system, providing an excellent way to control light and privacy. Because they come in a multitude of colours and textures, they are easy to co-ordinate with a room's decor or colour scheme.

Often the preferred choice of many homeowners today because of their reasonable cost and versatility are the horizontal or venetian blinds. These come in a variety of colours and materials, such as plastic, aluminum and wood. They work well in any room and on any window. The slats, whether they are micro (half an inch), mini (one inch) or macro (two inches), can be tilted to control the amount of light, even in a down position. Most are controlled by hand, but some remote control systems are available on the market - great for hard-to-reach windows!

Also popular these days are roller shades. New technology has made shades stylish and easy to manage. Some now include a chain mechanism with a built-in lock that you operate with a chain, eliminating the need for a spring in the roller. That means no more yanking and snapping. Rollershades also come in new materials that allow light to come in while filtering out ultraviolet rays.

With styles available in energy-efficient, permanently-pleated fabrics, and a wide selection of colours and textures, shades and blinds have definitely made a comeback in homes.

Draperies, sheers and valances
Soft-flowing sheers are delicate, romantic and as popular as ever. Today many come in 100 percent polyester, making them washable and easy to care for. Sheers look great with valances or toppers made out of practically any fabric or style. They are great for dining rooms and classic, traditional areas. Drapes remain bold and beautiful. You can drape an entire wall to hid all the imperfections, or just a window in a wide variety of ways. Popular today are wrought iron and wood accessories, tie-backs, tassels and trimmings, which can turn a simple drape into a work of art.

The trend today leans to serene, relaxing colours in window coverings with a dash of brighter splashes. Many homeowners are creating bold, new looks with balloon curtains, pleated and bamboo shades, shutters and drapes. The clean look of blinds is increasingly popular, as are styles that offer privacy and let in a lot of natural light.




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