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The New Kid on the Block – Panel Track Edition

By Darius J.

While plastic vertical blinds are on the decline, Panel track blinds maybe on the rise; with two great styles to choose from (Woven wood, Roller shade) Panel track blinds has tons of options; unlike traditional vertical blinds. As previous stated Panel track blinds has many options, for instance Panel track blinds can come as a translucent shade for privacy but still able to let natural light in once its close; or a transparent blind that will let light filter in while seeing through the actual material.

Equally important Panel track blinds are great if you have a very wide and tall window that you want to cover; but don’t want the hassle of having a lot of little slats like on traditional vertical blinds. Panel track blinds cover more space with limited amount of panels used.

In conclusion Panel track blinds are very easy to operate, when they are opened the panels will stack neatly to the side, all overlapping each other; in the same sense the panel track comes with a continuous cord loop that is mounted on the side to give a safe and clean look.

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General Products Shades Tips and Advice

Ready for Shades

Window shades are the “central air” of decorating. It’s a luxury that you don’t always need, but when you have some, that really WORK, you feel so lucky and fancy. I love curtains/drapes but they don’t work in every style of window or home (or maybe the furniture doesn’t allow them). Custom shades cost a ton – hell, custom anything costs a ton. So I have rounded up all the readymade shades that hopefully will work on your (crossing fingers) standard windows.

Let me quickly explain what a shade does that is different than a curtain/drape. A curtain/drape hangs vertically and opens/closes horizontally. Curtains add more drama and texture plus a luxe or bohemian vibe. Shades feel simpler, modern, and take up less visual space in the room. I love both equally – it totally depends on the space. Historically shades have cost more than drapes but there are a lot of readymade, less expensive shades out there now giving drapes a run for their/your money.

There are three major different types of shades if you are looking for a drapery alternative:

  1. The simple Roller Shade:

Roller shades are the most modern, simple and least visible of the shade varieties. They are like good spanx – they should disappear and show off the goods. Their function is to block light and provide privacy but not look decorative or even be noticed. I have these in my living room and I love how much they disappear because that room has huge modern windows and I didn’t want the distraction of shades or drapes.

  1. The Woven Shade:

The great thing about woven shades, of natural material like wood or bamboo is that they add a lot of warmth to a room, while still adding privacy and shielding light. They go a little more boho or traditional (funny how they bridge both styles) but are less expensive than fabric typically.

Lastly …

  1. The Famous Roman Shade:

Now there are a million different styles of roman shades, but my favorite are the simple flat panels that don’t do anything too romantic or frilly, just add a lovely line of fabric when up and textured fabric shade when down. I like both inside mount (because they are cleaner) and outside mount (because they allow more light).

I buy them a lot and when done right they can’t go wrong.

A few things to think about: if you use them a lot, pulling them up and down twice a day then I fear that some of these cheaper readymade shades aren’t going to be sturdy enough. Roman shades can be heavy and people aren’t gentle with them, so unfortunately something custom or a more high quality can be required in high use areas. I haven’t used every single of one these before, but it’s like shoes – if you are going to give them a lot of wear and tear, then think about something more high quality that will last a lot longer. But there are many windows in our life that take the gentle up and down once a day, and for those you can get away with a less expensive version.

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Products Tips and Advice

Oversized Windows

Large, wide and/or tall windows are things of beauty. They let in an awe-inspiring amount of light, allow amazing views of the outdoors, and can even make the room seem larger. We are excited to share some tips for how to choose a custom window treatments for your large or wide windows.
Our first recommendation is vertical blinds. This window treatment is perfect for windows that are wider than they are tall . They’re a durable alternative to drapes, and the PVC slats can hold up to elements such as sunlight or moisture; an important factor to consider if you are installing them over a large kitchen window or even a bathroom. The vinyl also helps to keep the light out when they are closed and will help with insulation as well. They also come in a variety of colors and styles, as well as fabric. Fabric vertical blinds are a great way to get that more “drapery” feel to your windows and a softer look in general.
Another option are Allure vertical sheers. These soft and elegant window treatments mimic a flowing drapery when open or closed. They are mainly light filtering but do allow for privacy when closed as well. They are a great option for someone who wants more of a fabric drapery look.
Roller shades and Solar shades are also great options for large windows. They can span wide widths and fit the decor of modern styled homes with large windows. Your home may have windows that are extremely tall or even out of reach. The solar shades also gives you a nice view outside when the shade is down and keeps the heat out.  selections blinds and shades will be the right solution for you, with the touch of a button, Motorization allows you to tilt your blinds, raise and lower your shades, even if they are out of reach.
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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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Blinds Products Shades Tips and Advice Window Basics

Benefits & Considerations to Slider Alternatives

It seems like so many people just don’t like vertical blinds ANYWHERE! Ok, I get it for windows, but for sliding glass doors, they are the most economical and easiest to maintain window treatment for these large openings. If you really have to have something other than vertical blinds for your door, all is not lost. There are several options available for you.

While there are many options available, there are certain benefits and considerations to keep in mind.  The main benefit is that since they are primarily window treatments, you won’t have a problem matching the windows in your house to the door(s) if they are all in the same room or open concept area of the house. However, a consideration to make is that instead of verticals which open and close side to side along with the door, shades or blinds would open and close top to bottom; making in necessary to always open the treatments completely when needing to use the door. Let’s talk about some of the options you have:

Roller Shades, although not the most popular, are a great alternative. They’re a low profile material and when you do roll them up to gain access to the door, there is very little stacking. If you needed to do 2 roller shades side by side for the door (due to measurement restrictions) this is a possibility, however, it will cause you to  have a light gap between 2 shades which will in turn alter your privacy and lighting preferences.

Roman Shades or Woven Wood Shades are also an option for sliding glass doors if you wish to have a more formal or more “completed” look. These two shade options share a lot of the same characteristics and therefore share a lot of the same benefits and considerations as well. They will both give you the same warm and cozy feel of a curtain or drapery and come in many different textures and patterns. However, a consideration to make would be the large amount of stacking that will occur when you pull up the shade, which means you will likely need to mount it higher than the door itself so you have enough clearance to walk through. Of course, it they are French Doors, these are great options because you get the elegance factor and do not need to worry about the clearance issues.

Panel Tracks are a great alternative and a “best of both worlds” situation. These are large panels of Roller Shade fabrics OR Woven Wood material that slide back and forth on a track system. This way, you are getting the functionality of a vertical blind but more of the look of a fabric shade instead! Of course there are some considerations, as always; such as the stacking on one end (or both ends) of the track. These are wide panels so they will take up more room/space.

These are just a few options among a long list of many others, but the point is there ARE plenty of other options if you really don’t like vertical blinds; even if they do come with some considerations… but then again, doesn’t everything?

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Blinds General Products Shades Tips and Advice Window Basics

Basic Window Coverings for Renters

Landlords and property managers have a lot of responsibility when it comes to maintaining the appearance and safety of a property. While some features are required by law or agreed upon within leases, other amenities are strictly up to the landlord. One often overlooked decision to make about a rental is whether or not to install window treatments. Providing even basic window treatments will help attract renters.

If the home or apartment requires the landlord or property manager to provide window treatments, several factors should be taken into consideration. The window coverings should be cost effective and durable, as well as appealing to many prospective tenants.

Depending on the amount of windows needing treatments and the overall price of the rental property, cost is one of the biggest deciding factors in choosing what window coverings to buy for a property.

There are unlimited options available ranging from cost effective vinyl and metal mini blinds, faux wood blinds, or roller shades. You can also go for a more long term investment with wood blinds, Cellular shades or Roman shades for added character; or in some cases upscale properties will go with custom-made drapery.

 

Mini Blinds

Mini blinds are a standard choice for rental properties as they are offered in many slat sizes and colors at a low cost. Aluminum mini blinds offer a number of benefits: easy to install, making them ideal for a quick addition to a new property; easy to clean and replace; provide both privacy and light control as they can be easily adjusted. This is especially important for city living. They are also durable and reliable. Mini-blinds are available in 6 gage and 8 gage.

Faux Wood Blinds

Besides mini blinds, faux wood blinds are the next best low-cost solution for property owners. Faux wood blinds look like wood blinds but are more durable and less expensive. They louver easily, but because they are heavier than wood blinds, they are not recommended for large windows where the tenant may want the raise and lower the blind. Faux wood blinds are typically available in most popular and trendy painted and stain finishes. A great benefit of faux wood blinds include being easy to clean since they are made with moisture-proof PVC slats making them moisture resistant as well so you can use this blind in any room, including bathrooms!

Shades

Depending on the amount of privacy required in a rental, shades can be a good option. There are a variety of different shades ranging from standard roller shades to more elaborate and customizable Roman shades. Standard roller shades can block light efficiently. However, when mounted on the inside of the window opening, roller shades have wider light gaps than any other blind or shade. At their most basic, roller shades are inexpensive. Solar shades are modern and filter light while offering a view outside, but they do not offer any privacy. Roman shades will add aesthetic value to rental properties and they are still quite cost effective. They are lovely additions to condominiums and single-family homes. Fabric shades, whether roller or Roman, are not as easily cleaned as mini blinds or faux wood blinds, and they can show wear more easily.

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General Inspiration Products Shades

Natural Roller Shades

Bamboo shades and/or Woven Wood shades have always gotten all the attention; touted as the best choices for eco-friendly homeowners looking for organic blinds. Everyone loves a beautiful bamboo shade, but we’ve noticed a measurable increase in people sampling and buying Natural Roller Shades. All signs now point to a prediction of these shades becoming a hot design item.

Natural Roller Shades have flown under the radar for quite some time now; really only being purchased by those in the know about window treatments. I’m here today to let you in on this gem of a product, and give you a first look at how these are a different and exciting addition to the genre.

First off, they’re light filtering; meaning they won’t completely prevent light from coming in, but they will block heat and give you a little privacy. Similar to Woven Wood shades, they’re available in numerous styles and natural materials, but don’t fold up like woven woods do; they roll up like roller shades, virtually disappearing when raised. I see these as the perfect compliment to sleek, modern decor. Natural touches like reeds, bamboo, grasses, sisal, and rattan are totally chic right now, and these shades are so cost effective, you’ll be able to easily replace them, should you ever want to (you won’t!)

I love the idea of using these in a sleek, city loft, bringing a touch of the outdoors inside. If you live in a bustling city, invoking nature in your space is a great way to calm down at the end of a hectic day. Lower your natural roller shades and decompress. Don’t we all need that every now and then?

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General Inspiration Shades Tips and Advice

Kitchen Window Decor

From countertops to cabinets, designing a kitchen involves coordinating multiple surfaces, colors and textures. Finding the perfect combination that looks great together (and fits your vision) can be tough. Throw in window treatments that are functional and attractive, and all the decisions can seem downright overwhelming! So to help you out, we’ve rounded up a few of our favorite kitchen window décor ideas.

NATURAL WOOD TONES

Woven Wood shades are an excellent choice for kitchens. They are easy to operate, can act as light filtering or blackout treatments depending on the material and lining, and come in numerous styles and colors. Our best suggestion is to choose a material/style with colors that pick up on the warmth of the natural wood tones elsewhere in your kitchen. For example, Woven Wood shades in a coordinating tone are a logical choice to add interest to a kitchen complete with white subway tile and Forrest Green cabinetry.

You can also coordinate Woven Wood Shades with the finish of your hardwood floors. Say you have white and cool gray on your kitchen cabinets; if you match or coordinate the woven window shades to the color(s) of wood on your floor, you can visually link the walls with the rich color of the floors, keeping the space cozy and intimate.

WHITE ON WHITE KITCHENS

If you have a statement piece in your kitchen, such as a patterned floor, you can allow your window treatments to remain subtle and understated to let the rest of the room shine. You can choose something like a simple, solid white Roller Shade to block glare, and the textured cabinets and colorful floor take center stage in a bright kitchen. Or you can use a soft cellular shade to help insulate and keep the window looking soft. Whenever you use a monochromatic white palette with pops of color, it  always results in a sleek design.

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Geometric pattern on these patio doors. Shades Tips and Advice

Go Bold or Go Home!

 Let’s cut to the chase. Most people go to their “safe place” when shopping for shades. “Oh my parents had roller shades so I will get them too”.. Why do we do this? it’s because we are afraid to step out of our box and live a little! We see a bold pattern or color and then settle for that simple neutral because we don’t want to take a chance. If we LOVE the color/pattern, and have to live with it long term; let’s step out of our comfort zones!
One of the best ways to begin stepping out of your comfort zone is with Roller Shades. These window coverings have come a LONG way since your Grandmothers’ thin, vinyl, snap-up roller shades. Roller shades are now offered with bright bold patterns made with a tightly woven polyester or cotton fabric. You can still go the neutral route if you choose but go for a textured neutral or a grey instead of a white or beige. The options are literally endless!
So why do we settle for the “plain jane” look when we have all of these wonderful options?! It’s time to let loose and go for that bright bold pattern! Make a statement with your window coverings and you’re sure to please anyone who comes to visit.
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Inspiration Interior Designers Products Shades Tips and Advice

Seeing the View with Sunweaves

Seeing the View with Sunweaves

It’s a beautiful warm and breezy Saturday summer morning, you’re sitting at the breakfast table in the cottage, and the fresh smell of recently brewed coffee surrounds you. You breathe in the smell deeply, you feel the warmth from the mug in your hands, and inhale intensely after each sip of fragrant French roast.  You smile and look up from the mug, squinting unpleasantly, trying to see what would normally be the beautiful image of the lake through your large picture window that just happens to get the full, hot, blasting, east sun in the morning hours.

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