Let the Light In

Let the Light In

Dressing up your home with new window treatments is a great way to update a space and put the finishing touch on a room’s décor. Today, homeowners can choose from a dizzying array of options – everything from luxurious fabrics to motorized shades.

Ian Gibbs, creative director of The Shade Store, Seattle, says, “When you enter a room, windows are one of the first things you notice. They can take up a large part of the wall. In selecting a new window treatment, you can add drama to a room, you can make a design statement, and you can create the illusion of architectural elements that aren’t present – like adding height to a space.”

However, homeowners tend to save these decisions for the end of the decorating process. “People sometimes go the safe route, because they aren’t aware of how many options are truly available,” Gibbs says. His store offers more than 900 different material choices.

Many of those choices are informed by the latest trends in fashion. “Currently, it’s a couture look inspired by tailored clothing including textural prints of herringbones, hounds tooth, plaids and stripes,” Gibbs says. “We are also seeing popularity in bold, graphic floral prints.” While the fabrics are bold and interesting, “the window treatment style is simple – a tailored or ripple-fold drapery paired with a roman shade and layered with a printed or solid roller shade.”

“What we’re seeing is a desire for more beautiful fabrics across the board,” says Kim Kiner, vice president of Hunter Douglas, a worldwide manufacturer of window coverings. Whether shopping for energy-efficient honeycomb shades or gliding panels, homeowners are getting choosier about the materials. “For instance, roller shades, which normally would be considered a very basic window covering, complement a more contemporary, modern design,” Kiner says.

When navigating the many options, Kiner recommends starting with a basic question. “What is your most pressing need?” Answers might include energy-efficiency, privacy, or light control.

Child safety is a concern as well. “Unfortunately, there are children every year who get entangled in window coverings,” Kiner says. She recommends that homeowners look for window coverings that don’t have cords and can be raised or lowered with your hand.

Convenience and functionality also are keys. More consumers than ever are turning to motorized options. “In the past, to have motorized window treatments, you needed your home to be hardwired,” Kiner says. Today, many motorized options are battery-driven.

“People want a connected home filled with products that will make life easier for them,” Kiner says. “When they are making an investment, they want to buy the most updated technology that will last.”

Motorization not only appeals to younger homeowners who want the latest in technology, but also older consumers who enjoy the convenience of operating multiple window coverings with the touch of a button.

“Homes today are built differently,” Kiner says. “There are more windows, more out of reach windows, and urban living where windows are very large. It’s not as convenient to open and close window coverings.”

With all of those windows, energy efficiency is also a priority. “Layering window treatments . . . can certainly make an impact on the overall energy efficiency of your home by helping to manage the light and heat that enters and escapes your space,” Gibbs says.

Not only does energy efficiency cut down on heating and cooling costs, but it also appeals to consumers looking to make a greener choice. Gibbs says to look for products made from natural materials along with products that are recyclable, biodegradable, and certified eco-friendly.


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