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General

Much Ado About Bamboo

By Gina G.

Bamboo shades are great options to add texture and a natural vibe to any room.  If you are considering a bamboo shade but unfamiliar with them, here’s a brief snapshot:

Bamboo or woven wood shades are typical comprised of natural woods, bamboo chutes, and grasses. Because of their wooden composition, they provide some insulation, although they are not the best insulation option. These materials are generally held together by color coordinated thin threads (to allow the bamboo to really shine). Most bamboo shades will be sheer due to their composition unless the chutes are layered partially atop each other which would then give privacy. And, they are also usually the same color on the front and back of the shade.

There are a plethora of styles and colors to choose from that range from white to black but the majority of bamboo shades are offered in solid wood colors (usually popular wood tones like oak, mahogany, etc) or multi colored (to coordinate with a variety of wood colors).  The features available for bamboo shades are plentiful too.  You can choose a more formal look by choosing a bamboo style that has folds and bubbles out like a roman shade.  Or, for a more relaxed look, you can choose a more modern flat style resembling a roller shade. Most often, because of the more relaxed nature of bamboo shades, they are presented with a flat panel stlye. 

Although the headrails, brackets, and depth required for bamboo shades are varied, most come with a matching valance that is usually pre-attached to the headrail. The valance covers any hardware and gives the shade a finished look. For the bottom of your bamboo shade, you can choose whether to have it fold up (like a roman shade) or just roll up (these will usually have visible cords at the front of the shade).

Liners are another, more functional, option for bamboo shades that don’t have overlapping sticks or tight weaves. Most woven wood shades are sheer products without a liner. If you’re placing the shade in a room where privacy is necessary, you will need to add a liner to it. Some bamboo shades are offered with a blackout liner option making them viable products for bedrooms.

Finally, some bamboo shades are offered with fabric edges on the sides of the shade. These have dual purpose when utilized: to add pops of color and print and to protect the edges of the shade from damage.

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General

Summer Décor Ideas

By Gina G.

          Summer is in full swing.  If you’re looking for ways to incorporate this favorite season into your space, consider some of the most popular summer décors.

Nautical–  A nautical décor is a traditional decorating option to bring the spirit of summer into a space.  Drawing upon the essence of being at sea, nautical décor includes anything relating to sailing.  Common elements to nautical décor are the presence of certain colors and decorative items alluding to boats or the sea.  White, navy and darker wooden colors can represent a nautical theme.  Decorative items such as bleached wooden furniture and wall décor, oars, rope, sails, and other boating items can also contribute to your nautical theme.  Wooden blinds or bamboo shades are great options for window treatments for spaces with this theme.

Tropical–  Nothing screams summer more than a tropically themed décor.  Tropical themed rooms allude to island living and therefore have beachy elements.    To achieve this décor, plants and greenery are essential.  Consider a bamboo plant, or other vine-like plants (hanging or potted) for your space.  Bright, cheerful colors such as aqua, turquoise, coral, tangerine, and canary yellow can add a lightness to a space and therefore represent a tropical theme room.  For your windows, consider solar shades or bamboo shades as they can aid in adding a natural element to the space.

Southwestern–  Southwestern design is a popular option for summer décor as it represents designing with the desert in mind.  Adding greenery such as cactus can be an easy option to decorate a southwestern themed space.  Geometric shapes and patterns representative of Native American culture are essential to this décor.  Rugs, pillows and blankets are typically utilized to incorporate this theme into a room.  Finally, rust, red, blues, oranges, and golds are great paint options for walls in a southwestern décor.

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General

Bringing Summer Inside

By Steven M.

While many people run inside to avoid the side effects that come with summer, decorating the inside of your home with summer in mind is a great idea. Freshening the look of your home based on the season is a great way to keep your decor from getting stale or boring, making every day bright and fun. Using bold colors to splashy prints, a few easy decor updates can make your home feel like a summer getaway. Plus, summer is the season for entertaining, bot inside and out.

Summer is the perfect time to try and incorporate floral prints into your decor. From rugs and shower curtains to  throw pillows and curtains, it’s easy to add a pop of nature to any room in your house, without having to worry about watering and maintaining it. However if you feel inclined and able to take care of plants, this would also be a great idea to add to your home. Fresh flowers allow not only color but also the feeling of nature within the walls of your house.

In addition to floral print, adding bold textures to your home can also give the feeling of summer. Burlap and linen are popular choices for this , giving a beachy feel to any room, who wouldnt wanna feel like they’re at the beach even while in their own living room. Anything utilizing natural fibers , such as wicker, is another way to incorporate texture into your space. All of these elements make for a relaxed and casual feel. These days a room without color or texture is simply unheard of , regardless of the season. 

No matter your decor style updating for the seasons is a great way to keep your decor in style.  Swapping our a few elements can be a fast and easy way to make your home feel new and in line with the seasons.  Summer is a great time to add different textures new colors or patterns. Any chance to add freshness and life such as plants are perfect for this time of year as well.

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General

The Lure of Allure

By Gina G.

Sliding glass doors and large windows are wonderful additions to any home.  They allow us beautiful natural light and outside scenery, and when weather appropriate, a nice breeze.  However, when we need privacy and light control, they can cause a dilemma on how to cover them.  Sure, you have your usual suspect in verticals.  Verticals are the classic solution to covering large windows and slider doors.  As they are the “go to” option, you have a choice between fabric or vinyl material accompanied by a host of other options such as style, valances, and opening types.  And although some may consider them dated, due the variety of style options, vertical blinds are still viable.  However, what if you want something different, something new?

There are some other options.  You could opt for panel tracks which are large panels of fabric that slide back and forth.  Unlike verticals that have a number of slats and can be challenging with pets and kids, panels are a bit more durable.  They present a great alternative to verticals and are offered in a variety of fabric choices including natural materials like bamboo.  Unfortunately, they do not tilt like verticals do and therefore decrease you ability to control the light and privacy in your room.  And, while they are a worthy alternative to verticals, some consider them bulky. They also can block a good portion of your view when stacked together.
If neither verticals nor panel tracks strike your fancy, you might’ve been left with choosing a large shade or curtains to cover your sliding door or large window.  Fortunately for you, there is another newer alternative, the Allure. 

The lure of the Allure is that it combines the benefits of the aforementioned treatments and offers a modern, soft, and beautiful option for larger windows and doors.  Like verticals, they maintain your tilt ability with soft curtain-like panels (no more noise from vinyl slats).  And, although they do have panels, unlike panel tracks, they are much smaller (more similar to the width of a vertical vane).  In addition to their small panel sizes, the Allure is offered with opening options (even center opening to resemble that of a curtain) and a valance to complete the look.  You can also use the Allure to accompany the sheer shades that cover your smaller windows.  So, while verticals are classics and panels are good options, the Allure with its combining of the softness of shades and curtains with the function of blinds, is certainly worth considering!

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Products Shades Tips and Advice

How About Some Sheer Shades?

Simply put, sheer shades are an elegant combination of a blind and a shade. The soft inner vanes behave as a blind by tilting opened and closed as they are encased on the front and back by a soft, delicate layer of sheer fabric. To lift the shade, a continuous motion closes the vanes, just as a blind would operate, laying the two outer layers of sheer fabric flat against the vanes, then the shade rolls up, similar to a roller shade, into the top rail to clear the window. With the shade drawn and the vanes closed, privacy and light control are achieved. If the shade is down with the vanes in the open position, light filters in gently through the outer layers of sheer fabric.

A treatment sure to impress, sheer shades are a sophisticated and stylish step up from any basic blind. Their soft and delicate appearance gives off the impression of almost no window treatment at all yet are still very effective at light control. My favorite rooms for sheer shades are the dining room and bedroom. Their gracefulness lends them to fit right into a slightly more formal dining room. There is something about how these shades transform the light that creates an intimate and cozy environment, perfect for entertaining. Your guests won’t even realize why they feel so calm and content in the comforting atmosphere you can provide by installing sheer shades. Also available in light dimming fabric, these help darken a bedroom for a peaceful night’s sleep. The softness of the sheer fabric complements the tranquil and calming vibe so often desired when we retreat to slumber. Sheer shades are surely a striking window treatment.

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Faux wood blinds setup in this gorgeous bathroom. Blinds General Shades Tips and Advice

Restroom Window Coverings

People often have the question; What is the best window covering for restrooms? There are a lot of options and one is not limited to a certain kind when you are considering to cover your restroom window. Most of the time, people want to have privacy while still letting in the light.

Since you typically have moisture in this specific room in your house, we often tell everyone that you can use most of the blinds like the aluminum, vinyl, and faux wood, but not the real wood. Real wood naturally have cracks in the slats where moisture goes through and warps the material. It usually takes years but when it comes, all you can do is  replace the whole thing completely. The aluminum is an option but with the 1” slats you have to clean more slats compared to the vinyl and faux wood. The aluminum is also a thinner material than the vinyl and faux wood so it may bend and dent, you have to be careful when cleaning it. Blinds are a good option because you can control the amount of light coming in and the privacy by tilting the slats in an angle.

The other option, of course, are the shades. We typically recommend those materials that are waterproof or the lighter fabrics. Roller shades are the most common people use because you have the light filtering option, most materials are easy to clean, and it gives you the privacy. Another material that is gaining popularity are the Cascades, it is a shade but since it’s an alternate between solid bands and sheers, you can open and close it to your desired openness for light and privacy. There are also other shades that has the top down-bottom up option. You can open it up from the top to have lots of light coming in and keep the shades close at the bottom, some shades that offer this option is the pleated, roman, and cellular.

Curtains or drapes are usually not a practical option as those are heavier materials, it is not something you would want to touch with wet hands and layering of fabrics will look too heavy and excessive for a restroom window.

Either you prefer a blind or a shade, there are options that you can do for your washrooms to better suit your wants and needs but practicality is the key when it comes to this window in your home.

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Cascade Sheer Shade in a dining room setting. General Inspiration Interior Designers Products Shades Tips and Advice

Sheer Shades You Will Love

Sheer shades are those resplendent blinds that are also a shade. They gently filter light through transparent panels to create a natural glow. Once considered a designers’ secret, sheer shades are now available to the modern design enthusiast in an array of neutral colors and textures.  It’s easy, when you’re immersed in the world of design, to forget that the majority of consumers don’t have access to the pulse of the market the way those in the industry do. So what are sheer shades? How do you use them and where can you find them?

Sheer shades were designed to function as both a blind and a shade and were diversely different than anything else on the market. Although the basic components of other window treatments were in place, their design and function set them a world apart. Constructed of fabric vanes that float between two sheer panels, they closely resemble a horizontal blind but are uniquely different. Due to their fabric component, they are lighter in weight and more pliable making them easier to tilt, raise, and lower. This allows them to share the functionality of a roller shade, increasing ease of use with a roll up feature and decreasing the bulky stack that occurs with horizontal blinds. Near perfection is their design, making them an ideal choice for almost any room in the home.

Sheer shades provide a clean and chic, modern touch to almost any room, but personally, I recommend them for bedrooms, living/sitting rooms, and sunrooms. The gentle way sun filters through the layered sheer fabric creates a soft glow that lends itself well to softening a bedroom and creates an even more inviting space. I am drawn to spa-like bedrooms, with fluffy white bed linens, a myriad of textures from pillows and throws, and downy carpet underfoot. White or soft grey sheer shades, both light filtering and blackout, are the just the treatment to flawlessly finish a bedroom oasis.

Much can be assumed by a name and sheer shades are no exception. It would be easy to eliminate these beauties as an option based on the name alone, but don’t be misled. The functionality of these shades makes them an ideal candidate for living, dining, and sitting rooms. Their unique ability to function as both a blind and a shade is useful for allowing just the perfect amount of light for varied environments and situations. Drop the shades and close the vanes to ensure a darkened room for movie night, bask in the distilled rays as the sun filters through the open, sheer panels while enjoying a lazy afternoon, or take in an unobstructed date night view by simply closing the vanes and rolling up the shade.

Whether your home is function or fashion, or a bit of both, sheer shades are designed to impress. These shades are truly a show stopping, unique window treatment. Surely, but sheerly wonderful.

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Inspiration Tips and Advice

Planning Lighting Designs

A room’s lighting can set a mood, create depth and space, highlight the strengths of a room, improve the functionality of a space, and even regulate our sleeping & waking cycles. Here are some tips to guide your room’s lighting plan:

WHAT KIND OF MOOD DO YOU WANT TO CREATE?

Different rooms should set different moods. For example, we like kitchens to feel bright, cheery, and functional. A bedroom, on the other hand, should be comfortable and relaxing. Bright lighting and task lighting can help a kitchen fulfill its purpose. A bedroom should allow for low lighting and block outside light when you need it to.

WHAT ARE THE FUNCTIONS AND NEEDS OF THE ROOM?

Are there items in the room that that need more or less lighting? This might include expensive, light-sensitive items like paintings, brocade, or plants, which might need to be in or out of direct lighting. Additionally, if a TV or computer is in the room factor in dim lighting and seek to reduce glare.

WHAT’S THE NATURAL CYCLE OF THE SUNLIGHT IN THE ROOM?

Watch your room as it progresses through the day. What’s the natural light like in the morning? In the afternoon when the sun is hottest? In the evening? North and south facing windows will provide more steadily regulated lighting during the day. East and west windows will provide sharp slants of light, broad swathes of sunshine, and total shadow, depending on the time of day. Consider what kind of lighting you want to invite into your home, and what kind you’ll want to regulate.

WHAT ARE YOUR RESOURCES?

This will include your windows, a skylight, and the lamps and lighting fixtures already there. Your adjustments might include installations of new lighting, dimmers, additional windows, and especially, adjustments to the existing windows. Although windows might be difficult to move, it’s easy to make old windows seem new with some strategic window shades and blinds.

Several interior design professionals say the biggest-impact; lowest-cost upgrade you can make is to install dimmers. Consider shutters and blinds your natural-light dimmers. They allow you to control the levels of light and the direction in which it’s cast. Additionally, beautiful shades will suddenly upgrade your room, and add design, polish, and visual interest to boring windows.

CONSIDER IMPORTANT DESIGN PRINCIPLES WHEN PLANNING YOUR LIGHTING:

Create variety: Lighting fatigue occurs when there’s no variety in a room’s lighting. This can make the whole room feel hard, unforgiving, and flat. There’s no place for your eyes to rest. Counter this by incorporating variety into your lighting scheme: light and shadow, highlights and lowlights. There should be light at different levels and from different directions.
Accentuate the positive: Highlight your favorite aspects of a room, or downplay the things that you want to hide. Cast a spotlight over a favorite piece of furniture, a decoration or a picture. Bathe alcoves and corners in soft light to give a cozy feel.
Incorporate function: Spotlight functional areas: a game table, a walkway, or a project space.

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General Inspiration Interior Designers Tips and Advice

Spring is Here!

Spring is here, and hopefully where you live that means the gray snowy weather is in the rear-view mirror. If you happen to live in New England, you may need a little more patience this year! But, like any year, spring is the time for new beginnings, which in the world of home décor, means fresh starts, freshening up, and brightening up.

In terms of colors, bright and bold. Think along the lines of pastels, but with a little more punch to them. A bright lilac, a strong coral, even a bold peach. These colors should be used as the basis of your decorating – from any walls that need to be repainted, to accent pieces that need to be added into your space. They are great because they have warmth to them but are bright enough to make your space look bigger and more spacious. Geometric patterns are also popular in 2018 which are great to add in with any soft treatments. Gold accents are also continuing to carry over from winter 2018 as a mix with the new spring colors.

It’s time to put away all the heavy blankets and take off the heavy window treatments. Trade out the heavy blankets with some bright colorful throws, this year introducing bold colors, and floral patterns. Replace the heavy drapes with airy light curtains. This year stick with bright neutrals – sands, beiges, and whites, in light fabrics like linens.

While doing your spring cleaning, keep in mind, the less clutter the more relaxing the space. Maybe that means taking the extra step to add some organization. Some magazine holders in your living room. A filing cabinet in your office. More clothing storage/organization in your bedroom. Some additional shelving in your bathroom. Taking these steps will help to lighten up the feel of your room but adding the additional organization will make it something you can maintain moving forward as well. (Added bonus: you can use these as the pieces that bring in the new colors of the season).

And of course, the style that never gets old in the Spring, bring in some greens! Adding foliage to any room, whether it be green plants that you can keep for a long time or bringing colorful flowers in from your gardens will instantly warm the room, and make it feel like spring. Happy decorating!!

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General Products Tips and Advice Window Basics

Half Door Dilemma

When you move into a home, you always go in with the mind set – the brighter the better. Whether it’s coming from windows, skylights, or doors; the more light there is then the more appeal it has. Until it comes to realizing you need some privacy. Half glass doors often raise a challenge to a lot of new homeowners. Again, it’s nice to have some light filter in, but you are also creating a privacy issue by not closing the view from outsiders.

The most important thing to keep in mind with a window on a door – half or full – is that being it is a door, the less bulky, the better. One of the most creative ways we have seen the doors covered, is applying an actual film directly to the glass. There is a variety of styles available – from a simple frosted look, all the way to as decorative a stained-glass window. It is simple, you simply cut the shape you need and stick it to your glass. Down side, of course, is that you are losing the option of ever seeing out of the window, but up side is, you are eliminating any space/bulkiness option.

The second most common option is a curtain. They are generally attached with a small rod at the top and bottom of the window, to eliminate them flopping around when the door is opened or closed. Again, a great option because they are compact, and fit tightly against the door. The downside, through our research is that there are not a lot of options out there, and most appear to be your standard white sheer material. The upside compared to the film is you can always move them to the side, or peek out through a corner if you need to see out.

Blinds or shades are also a common option. When choosing the style, rather than necessarily match to the other treatments in your room, keep the idea of “less bulky” in mind. If going with a blind you can tilt open and closed, stick to a mini blind, due to the low profile. If you go with a shade, chose something with a small headrail that closes tightly. The advantage to one of these treatments is that you have a lot more control over the view – whether it is the tilt feature, or the raising and lowering depending on the time of the day. You also have a lot more option in terms of colors, styles, and even prints. The downside, again, compared to the other two is that they will definitely appear a little bulkier.

Whichever direction you go, keep in mind doors are generally high traffic areas, meaning whatever you go with will have a decent amount of wear and tear in it’s lifetime. And as always, any treatment you add will add a decorative element to the space – so make sure it flows with your style!

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