Bathroom Window Coverings – Composite Blinds vs Faux Wood Blinds
Growing up in Africa had an unparalleled charm – wide open spaces similar to the vast open country that suburban North America typifies. Add to this, large windows, which kept us linked to the outdoors, makes for nostalgic references to the spectacular animal diaspora that was very much part of African city dwelling in the ’70s. But something that is a-not-so pleasant memory is curtains constantly brushing the top of my head as I used the washroom. My mother would simply gather the bottom of the curtain panel and make a large knot to keep it from irritating me, but this was not very comfortable as I was always wary of my brother’s friends who always threatened to take a peek-a-boo if they knew I was in there!
Now, bathroom window treatments are a necessity, most of the time. I have seen designer homes that have bathroom windows engulf entire walls, or are fitted with large French windows with windowsills that beg for a long loll in the loo with a favorite book – these windows are left absolutely naked as they’re designed in such a way that no peeping toms can get a look in! My childhood memories always intrude when I’m confronted with picture windows in bathrooms, no matter how beautiful and well-designed they are!
So, for those who aren’t enamored by bare bathroom windows, what would be an exciting form of covering that will allow for a sustained aesthetic appeal without intruding on privacy needs? Well, the options that confront us are many, what with modern technological advances even paving the way for automated shadings, even in loos! And check this out – I visited a friend’s home where she had a loo strategically occupying the bottom of her stairs, illuminated with a ‘tubular skylight’!
Having analyzed the various window coverings that could be used in a bathroom, which is practically everything, I think the faux wood blinds or the composite blinds, which come with practical functionality while retaining the aesthetics of real wood blinds, are two of the best options for bathroom windows. Now, there’s a difference between these two blinds, though a lot of people use the term composite blinds to mean faux wood blinds. In technical blinds terminology, ‘faux wood blinds’ refer to those blinds that have slats made out of PVC while ‘composite blinds’ are those that have slats made of wood chips/pulp and PVC/plastic resins. In other words, composite blinds are a combination of real wood and recyclable plastics. So, by definition, it is faux wood, as in the real wood look alike, it’s technically different in its composition.
Why composite blinds and not real wood blinds or faux wood ones? Well for one, faux wood blinds aren’t Eco-friendly, so in consideration with modern requirements of ‘sustainable’ window covers, that’s a no-no. Real wood blinds, while lending warm, natural looks, and are environment friendly (made with timber from harvesters who practice ‘sustained yield management’ – from trees grown specially for timber usage, replanted and maintained responsibly) , they’re not exactly an ideal choice for warm, high humidity areas that would, over time, lead to structural changes in the wood. There’s also the price factor – wood blinds are made from treated wood and finished to perfection, and though they’re light and easy to use, they are pricey. One wouldn’t want them damaged due to the effects of moisture inevitable in bathrooms! Faux wood blinds, though economical in pricing, tend to look ‘kitschy’ after a time. Composite blinds provide a suitable balance – the functionality of high-performance PVC in warm, humid conditions and the stylistic features of real wood blinds, at a comparatively lower cost than the latter.
There is a concern that composite blinds could start ‘yellowing’ with time – they are constructed with unique UVA inhibitors that prevent yellowing due to exposure to sunlight and warping due to moisture – so rest assured that these blinds are infinitely durable and ideally suited to bathrooms. They don’t chip and crack either. That apart, they are available in varied vane sizes – go for the broader vanes (two or two and a half inches) make for wider spaces between slats, thereby providing a clearer view in and out. The best thing about blinds in bathrooms – you can angle the vanes upward, letting in light but completely obscuring the view from outside. So, have a long soak in the tub in a well-lit bathroom, completely unconcerned! You can even let kids splash around with wild abandon, having no fear whatsoever that the blinds might be damaged!
Composite blinds are manufactured in a variety of whites and browns, so they can blend into any possible bathroom color scheme. They also come with the regular lift options – cord lift, continuous cord loop, cordless and motorized tilt – but I would recommend the integrated motorized system that allows for incredible energy efficiency and is programmable to lift or tilt and lower at pre-set timings. This option makes them child-friendly as well, as there are no dangling cords at any point that might engender tangling. They also provide excellent insulation for bathroom windows when the vanes are closed completely.
Composite blinds are easy to clean – just wipe them down when wet, if required or if there is an occurrence of stubborn stains and grime, use a mild detergent to clean them with a damp cloth.
Having learned the benefits of varied window treatments for bathrooms, I would never consider curtains or drapes…. didn’t we learn in science that effluents are absorbed by fabrics and can retain odor-causing bacteria?! Nor would I use aluminum mini blinds, as I find composite blinds so much more attractive, with better insulation properties. You can decorate these blinds with cloth tapes in varied colors and prints if you’re so inclined. So, go for it. I wouldn’t think twice!