Changing the look and feel of a room to give it a fresh vibe is always fun, exciting—and possibly overwhelming. Whether you’re selecting a new paint color, flooring material or furniture style, having a game plan is key so that you’re happy with the end result.
The same goes for choosing new shades. Before you start shopping, it’s helpful to narrow down exactly what features and benefits you want out of your window treatments. Armed with answers to the following questions, you’ll be well on your way to finding blinds or shades that best meet your needs.
How much natural light control do you need?
If you’re looking for shades for a room that gets direct sun, you’ll need more control than you would for a room that doesn’t get direct sun or that’s not used very often.
Both sheer shades with adjustable fabric panels and cellular honeycomb shades diffuse natural light beautifully. If your goal is to protect furnishings and flooring from fading, you might consider solar shades, which help curb harsh UV rays while preserving your view to the outdoors.
Do you want to be able to block all light?
Bedrooms and media rooms are two places where you’d probably want to be able to block all light. Choosing a room-darkening fabric or a room-darkening liner paired with a light-filtering fabric will help you create the perfect atmosphere for sleeping soundly or movie watching.
Do you want to save energy?
If saving energy is top of mind, your best bet, hands-down, is to go with cellular shades. Their honeycomb design traps air in distinct pockets, creating an extra layer of insulation at the window. And that helps keep your home warmer when tips dip and cooler when they heat up.
Where do you want to mount your shades?
You can mount shades inside or outside of the window frame. Mounting your shades inside the frame lets you showcase the window’s trim—just keep in mind that you will have a small light gap on each side of the shade (so that the fabric moves smoothly). Mounting your shades on the outside of the frame helps eliminate that light gap when you lower them.
Do you have specialty-shaped windows?
Custom window treatments can be crafted to accommodate specialty shapes, such as arches, angles, circles and bay windows—but keep in mind that not all types and styles will work with all specialty shapes. If you have specialty-shaped windows, meet with a window treatment specialist to learn which types of shades she offers for unique shapes.
Do you want to cover doors?
Like specialty-shaped windows, many custom window treatments can accommodate French, sliding-glass and patio doors. Because you will most likely be covering windows and doors in the same room, consider shade styles that coordinate with one another.
Do you want automated or manual control?
Automated smart shades let you control your shades with a remote, an app, through customized schedules you create, or even with your voice (when integrated with a compatible smart home system). The beauty of smart shades is the convenience factor—especially if you create schedules so that shades automatically adjust to the exact position you want, whenever you want.
Smart shades are also useful for hard-to-reach windows, as well as for homes with children or people with limited mobility (because the shades lack control cords).
Manual operating systems are just that; you need to manually adjust the shades. From simply pushing up or pulling down on the shade with your hand, to a variety of cord and wand styles with differing functionality, you have multiple options when it comes to adjusting shades.
Do you have infants or young children?
Window treatments with exposed or dangling cords are one of the leading home hazards for infants and young children. So when it comes to child-proofing a home, cordless window treatments are an ideal alternative to those with cords.
Look for shade styles that have cordless manual control options, as well as for styles that are available with automated control.