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
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
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