Reinvigorate your home
I’m sure most people are familiar with that sense of irritation associated with someone who’s overstayed his/her welcome, but you just grind your teeth and bear it! Specially that lonely old granny who lives down the road and pops in for a cup of coffee unannounced! She drones on and on, yada, yada, yada, you have a fixed smile on your face, your cheeks are going into spasms, your eyes have that glazed over look, but still….then the phone rings! You finally have an excuse to show her the door….saved by the bell, so to speak!
If only our window treatments were so easy to get rid of….remember how you bought them and hung them so lovingly? Invited all your lady friends over for brunch to proudly show off your make-over? Now, every time you see them you want to grind your teeth! Or rip them off! The sheers in the dining room have got these seemingly perennial stains on them from where the dog brushes it when she waddles past. The blinds in the living room are far from hanging straight because not long ago, my son grabbed at them for balance as he skateboarded past!
But frivolity apart, there are many reasons to change your window treatments. Those living in the northern hemisphere have to consider window treatments very thoughtfully indeed. Yes, one of the reasons to change them would be because they never look fresh anymore and gives a room an overly lived-in look. If you decide to change them, consider –
1. Is there any leakage of air from and through your windows? Have them weather stripped (sealing air leaks) – clean the windows thoroughly and allow to dry; seal cracks and crannies with adhesive and foam; work-in V-channels between sash stiles and jambs; test the sash to see it works properly. Caulk all cracks between window trims and sidings; allow it to dry before wiping down.
2. Assuming your windows are modern (gas-filled double paned windows with low-E coatings), consider the orientation of windows before deciding on the type of window covers you need. North and South facing windows need little protection in warm weather, whereas east and west facing windows need optimal cover to prevent excessive heat absorption, glare and fading due to the harmful UV rays. In winter, consider operable window shading like blinds and shutters, solar shades, or cellular shades, as the natural sunlight is necessary to heat up a home while creating a barrier against the glare and UV rays.
3. Keep in mind the mode of operation of window shading. Should you have little children or pets, consider cordless or motorized options for windows to prevent the danger of strangulation by window shade cords.
4. Consider the decor elements of a room. Today, most window shadings fit into any sort of decor as they’re all crafted with precision and style. Natural blinds used to be considered too casual (many people still think they’re for use to shade veranda’s and balconies!), and aluminum blinds, too clinical, but consider the environment before making a decision. Bathrooms could do with blinds with operable vanes of hardy material impervious to moisture – like faux wood, composite and aluminum blinds. Ditto the kitchen, the basement and laundry rooms that tend to be more humid than other rooms. Often, the lady of the house will not be thwarted in her choice of window cover for the kitchen! She’d argue for Roman Shades in her kitchen because she has a powerful exhaust that sees to preservation of the shade of her choice! And she would be mostly right.
5. Finally, be wise and choose blackout fabrics or shades for your bedrooms. With the summer not too far away, along with long daylight hours, allow your body clock to tick away peacefully by using this option to ensure that you get your daily 7-hr sleep in comforting darkness.
Room darkening options.
Room darkening shades are excellent options for common living spaces – choose from natural shades, roman shades, Roller solar shades and wood blinds and shutters. The latter options are, of course, the most sensible choice, not least because they add style and elegance to any decor. Always a more expensive option, they’re guaranteed against any manufacturing defects. The best thing about them is that they don’t have to be raised to allow light through, or for a good view outside. Added to that, they bend the light to any angle that you prefer to provide optimal shading and privacy. They’re available with motorized vanes that allow you the benefit of optimizing sunlight to reduce your air-conditioning load in summer and heating load in winter.
My personal favorites are the Artisan Roman Shades from Graber, which I chose for my common areas. As the kids are still small, so I opted for the motorized option that can be programmed to open and close with the rising and setting of the sun. I realize that I don’t need to change the blackout cellular shades I have in my bedrooms, but I team them with Artisan Sheer Curtains from Graber, in an Indian muslin fabric. This addition allows me to raise my cellular shades completely with a sheer cover against the summer breeze when I open the windows out. I’m all set till the next project to beautify my home begins to bug me! And guess what? My energy consumption seems to be down by a good 30%!