Every year with the return of our wonderful spring weather in the Okanagan, we find many home owners begin to remember the coming heat and intense sun of summer. For interior designers, spring can often become ‘window covering season.’
Today there are more window covering options on the market than ever before and many people find it difficult, and sometimes even overwhelming, to be confident that they are selecting the right solution for their home. With a daunting array of options including wood & metal blinds, roller & roman shades, cellular & pleated shades, shutters, woven woods, panel tracks, operational draperies & decorative valances, most people welcome and require a little guidance.
Often, before even contacting us, clients have already spent time thinking about what style and what color they should pick. When in fact the key to a successful window covering choice is to first identify your needs . This exercise will help define the necessary requirements and therefore the best solution for each space.
Most home owners require windows to be covered to create a variety of levels of privacy throughout the home. For example, a home with a street level living room may want window coverings to create a soft screening from passersby, while a home with a master bedroom facing directly into a neighbor’s, will want to create an opaque shield for complete privacy. Security should also be considered under the umbrella of privacy. For instance, a home owner who travels may also want to protect the contents of their home from view from the exterior.
We need to control the amount of light entering through our windows for a variety of reasons, whether it is to reduce the amount of heat entering the home through the windows or to create darkness for better sleeping conditions. Most Okanagan homes also need to help protect the furniture, flooring & paint from the harsh effects of the sun, as well as controlling the amount of light and glare in a room for watching television or working at a computer. Controlling light and heat can also make a home more energy efficient as well as reducing air conditioning costs.
Assessing your needs is the first and most important step to finding the best choice for window treatments for your space. No matter how lovely a window treatment may be, if it does not serve your needs, you will ultimately be unhappy with the choice.
The final and often most exciting step is to select the style or feeling you would like to create in that space. For example do you want the room to feel casual, formal, romantic, tropical or modern? The answer to this question will help guide you in choosing the type of product or even the combination of treatments that you will work best for your windows.
For instance, in a dining room, a screen weave blind to control light and preserve the daytime view combined with the softening and framing effects of a fabric valance, may be the ideal balance of needs and style. Or in a master bedroom, the versatility of a wood blind combined with full length draperies for room darkening, could address the needs of the home owner while still creating the romantic feel they were looking for. Whether you require a single product or combination of treatments, both the function and feel of your window treatments need to be considered.
One other design element to consider is your home appearance from the exterior. Every window need not necessarily be the identical treatment, but wherever possible avoid having multiple colors and shapes visible simultaneously from the exterior.
Some other important factors to consider in the selection of window coverings are:
- the placement of controls for ease of use and length of controls on higher windows,
- if cords cleats are required for the safety of children and pets in the home,
- selecting a treatment that works within the home owners budget,
- choosing a treatment that is consistent with the style and quality of the rest of the home,
- the mounting depth required for blinds and the stacking space needed for draperies,
- product specifications and limits in relation to the size of the windows.
Thankfully, there are knowledgeable and helpful suppliers and designers available to help you assess your needs and create the style you want for the window covering solutions in your home.