Daunted by the myriad of blinds, shades and shutters when looking for window treatments? Get the scoop here to learn how to make informed choices for this investment in your home.
Looking for an easier way to operate your window treatments?
The way you open and close your windows is up to you!
Blind and shade operating systems can be controlled in a variety of different ways:
- Push or pull from the base or the side (cordless)
- Twist a wand (cordless)
- Motorized and automated
- Corded with safety features
Motorization & Automation
Do you loathe walking to every window and struggling with cords or climbing on your furniture to close blinds that are out of reach?
Some window treatments can be motorized or operated manually with just the touch of a finger.
- Control on-demand via remote, mobile device or voice command using Amazon’s Alexa, Google Assistant and, soon, Apple’s Homekit.
- Remote control is a handy feature when you’re sipping mai tais on a faraway beach and realize you forgot to close your blinds.
- Schedule window treatments to open and close at pre-set times — this is a dream if you want a blackout room to sleep in, but wake up in sunlight. Wouldn’t you love a wireless system that automatically moves your shades throughout the day, so you don’t have to?
2. PRIVACY & LIGHT CONTROL
Looking for a way to control the amount of privacy and light in your room night and day?
The right window covering will allow you to control what you see and who sees you.
Privacy is dependent on the opacity of the shade.
Opacity is affected by several factors:
- Type of material used. A wood blind is an opaque material, but you will always have light seepage, even when closed. They are good for privacy, but not necessarily for room darkening.
- Thickness/weight of the material. Blinds and shades are available in a range of light-control and privacy options with a broad selection of materials and fabrics ranging from from sheer to blackout.
- Sheer window fabrics are engineered to diffuse harsh sunlight, dispersing it to help illuminate your home naturally and are ideal for moderate privacy needs.
- Semi-opaque and opaque materials are more appropriate for room-darkening. If you want to block out light, choose window treatments with maximum light-blocking qualities that minimize light gaps, seams and rout holes. Another option is to consider a room-darkening liner that can be either sewn directly into the front fabric or a shade that features two opacities, one for for filtering and one for room darkening.
- Blackout shade fabrics are designed to block out all light.
See examples of each opacity type by clicking here.
- The way the shade is mounted. Both inside and outside mountings will leak light. An inside mount will have light gaps because the fabric or shade needs to be forward of the window frame in order to drop freely. An outside mount will cause a glow around the entire window. The best solution is drapery panels combined with maximum opacity shades.
Learn which mounting options are available for the windows in your home by clicking here.
Learn more about light control from Ron of JC Licht in this video.
3. CHILD SAFETY
Looking for the most child and pet-safe window treatments?
Kids, hounds, cats and cords just don’t mix.
Window treatments are available in a wide range of operating systems for enhanced child and pet safety.
The safest options include:
- Motorized operating systems
- Retractable lift cords
- Cord tensioners
- Wand controls
The best part is that you don’t have to sacrifice style. Safety features are an option on many different types of blinds and shades that are available in an extensive array of materials and colors.
Learn more about light control in this video.
Looking for window treatments that fit the frame of your window?
There are two types of mounting: inside the window frame and outside, usually on the window trim.
- Inside mounted blinds and shades will give you the cleanest look because the shades, blinds or shutters fit inside the window frame. However, shallow window casings can make it almost impossible to install using an inside mount. Click here to determine if your windows can be inside mounted.
- Outside mounted blinds and shades give the flexibility of choosing almost any window covering for any situation because the window frame doesn’t matter. Just mount the brackets outside the top of the window frame so they extend past the inside edges of the frame. Click here to learn about several benefits of outside mounted window treatments.
The style of your window will affect your installation location and window treatment style options.
- Double-hung windows. These allow for treatments that both raise and lower because you can open your window without pulling the shades into a full, upright position. Double-hung windows are are also perfect for shades and shutters that tilt to let light in.
- Casement windows. Check to see if there are window locks that protrude on the inside of the frame. The window locks and cranks may impede an inside mount or interfere with the its operation.
- Sliding windows. These are usually patio windows. For these, you’ll want shade or blinds that slide along with the window as it is opened.
When it comes to measuring and installation, it’s best to rely on a professional to measure and install your window shades and blinds for proper fit and function.
Learn more about mounting window treatments in this video.
5. ENERGY EFFICIENCY
Looking for ways to make your home more energy efficient?
Are you shivering in a drafty older home or baking in the open glare of a contemporary sunlit window wall?
The right window shades and blinds can help to conserve energy in your home, and save you money on heat and air conditioning bills. Without energy-efficient window treatments, as much as 50% of a home’s heating and cooling energy can be lost through its windows. Window treatments will conserve energy through:
- Solar heat control
- Daylighting – the practice of illuminating rooms with natural light
If you live in an older home with older, drafty windows, choose cellular shades and add a layer of draw drapes to keep your home cozy.
6. UV PROTECTION
Looking for options to protect your home from damaging UV light?
When installed over double-glazed windows, many window treatments are rated to filter out 75% of the sun’s harmful UV rays. This increases to 99% when fully lowered with closed slats, vanes or louvers.
Choose light-filtering solar shades if you are concerned about UV sun rays and want to protect your valuable art, family photos, fabrics and wood surfaces from fading.
If you’re not sure why uv-blocking window treatments matter, click here to learn more.
7. SOUND ABSORPTION
Looking for noise reduction solutions for your home?
Is your home an acoustical nightmare with hard surfaces everywhere, from tile floors and counter tops to wooden ceilings?
Window treatments absorb sounds, so you can improve interior acoustics (perfect for movie night) by choosing window materials that absorb sound. The level of sound absorption depends on a few factors:
- Product Features
- Whether your window treatment is open, closed, or lowered
Looking for window treatments to complement the aesthetic of your space?
Todays window treatments come in hundreds of designs and combinations to suit everything from a clean modern, aesthetic to traditional shutters paired with beautiful draperies. Choose from a variety of shades, shutters, blinds and drapes to complement your unique decor.
- Shades are an affordable and stylish window treatment option. They come in hundreds of fabrics and colors that pull down for beautiful light control. To understand the differences between five Hunter Douglas shade variations, click here.
- Shutters are crafted from real wood or advanced composite or vinyl materials. They can be custom-tailored to your windows, provide durability, and can be adjusted to accommodate any level of privacy or light allowance that’s desired.
- Blinds are made from metal, wood, wood alternatives, or a range of fabrics and come in either vertical or horizontal slats in a number of colors, textures and slat sizes. Learn about the three main Hunter Douglas blind styles by clicking here.
9. PLANNING & SCHEDULING:
Looking for guidance on scheduling window treatments into the remodeling process?
Plan your entire room from the start and think in terms of layers. You can start with a neutral blind or shade that supplies room-darkening or privacy, and layer your drapery panels later.
A good rule of thumb is to start your interior design by choosing more permanent fixtures first, such as blinds and shades. After all, it’s much easier to match a paint color to your blinds than it is to match blinds to a paint color. When major fixtures are set, then consider less permanent decor features, such as drapery, furniture, fabrics and rugs.
Learn more about planning and scheduling in this video.
Looking for information on what cost and home equity assessments to take into consideration for window treatments?
The cost of custom window treatments and design can represent a significant investment. If you plan to live in your home for 7-10 years, pick treatments you love and incorporate the cost of that over the length of time you will spend there.
A good rule of the thumb is to spend $1-$5 per square foot of your home. Some window treatments improve the value of your home and are considered fixtures that qualify for home-improvement loans.
You can also plan your window treatments in stages. You may want to start with your privacy or room-darkening objectives right away, then add drapery to coordinate with your decor at a later time.
Learn more about budget considerations from Ron of JC Licht in this video.
Looking for a timeline of the installation process and advice on when to order your new window treatments?
Allow a minimum of 2-3 weeks for new window treatments to be installed after placing your order. Some window treatments, such as roller shades, can be custom designed and installed faster than others. Plantation shutters and custom drapery could take up to 8-10 weeks.
There is a lot to consider, we know, but JC Licht window treatment professionals are here to help sift through the options so you can make smart decisions that look great and reflect your style.
To make your beautiful windows happen, schedule your free in-home consultation in the Chicagoland area.
Click below to get started!