Ideal Bedroom Window Coverings for Great Sleep

Deep sleep…a “good night’s sleep” is healthy and rejuvenating. It’s never been more sought after and more important.  These tips for creating a bedroom setting that invites a better night’s sleep from interior designer Robin Wilson of Robin Wilson Home …known for her eco-friendly aesthetic and an eco-healthy focus.

window treatments for great sleep

  • Window Coverings (Our Specialty!) – Light pollution is a huge factor that often gets ignored in the quest for healthy, relaxing…good night’s sleep. A well-fitted set of blinds, shades or shutters is a great choice, and it can be a healthier one, too, as draperies can be dust-catchers. Hunter Douglas Silhouette A Deux shadings combine the sheer, light-diffusing beauty of Silhouette shadings with a room-darkening roller shade for increased light control and privacy when desired.
  • Pillow Change – Is it three years old?  Dump it…especially if it hasn’t been washed.  It weighs more now than when you bought it.  Why? Because it’s loaded with dust mites. Use hypoallergenic pillows over down pillows, and use a zippered pillow protector that you wash weekly for a double barrier.   Pillows need to be Washed at least twice a year and replaced every three years.
  • Mattress Cover – Cover your mattress with a hypoallergenic cover and wash it every two months. Make sure your mattress is non-toxic without formaldehyde-based fire retardants.
  • Paints – Use Only non-VOC – Why? They won’t off-gas, leave an obnoxious paint odor and stir up allergies. It looks just as good on the wall as regular paint.
  • Nylon Shower Curtain Liner – Allergy sufferers are told to shower often to remove pollen and pet dander from their bodies. However, the phthalate chemicals in vinyl shower curtains off-gas with humidity and heat, and also attract mold and mildew. This off-gassing can easily spread from the bathroom into the bedroom. Replace your vinyl liner with a nylon shower curtain liner.
  • Stuffed Toys – Wash or freeze them – Teddy Bears, Stuffed animals and dolls are breeding grounds for dust mites. Wash them or put them in the freezer for 24 hours to kill them.
  • Pets – Keep ’em Clean and Off Bedding – Cat and dog allergies are very common, so keep pets bathed regularly to reduce the dander and don’t allow them on your bed.
  • Flooring – Tile and hardwood floors are usually a healthier choice than carpeting, as floor spaces are the largest dust collectors in the home.

 


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Window Coverings – How to Make the Best Choice

Are you a recent new home buyer…wondering how to make the best window coverings choice for each room?  A house usually feels empty when the windows are bare too.  So what are some of the best ways to approach each room and choose the best options?   Window treatments are often finishing touch that can make or break all rooms in a new house.   Usually…it’s a combination of several factors that help you decide…including: style of the house and room functionality required…as dictated by privacy and light control.

Here are a few key common factors:

  1. The Space – Covering all the windows in a home…or even one side of a home…with a single consistent type of treatment…can often be a practical decision.  All blinds or shutters in one color, for example. This affords the same level of light control and privacy to every room…giving your home a uniform look on the exterior.
  2. Style – for example…Contemporary homes may look most attractive with fitted, streamlined, blinds.   Traditional, formal homes often have more ornate window treatment combinations…e.g. Blinds with full-length drapery, or customized roman shades to add pattern and color to each room.
  3. Window Treatment Options – The range of possible window treatments extends from the familiar drapery…to blinds, shades and shutters.  And composition of each window covering can go from wood & faux wood…to fabrics and other more natural .
  4. Drapery vs. blinds – In some rooms, even with a blind, you may want to add drapery to soften the room or add some extra fullness. This might be in a living room or bedroom where you want additional style or decor — you can coordinate fabrics and textiles and really bring a room together. When you have more than one window in a room, like a living room, it’s important to give them the same coverings.

Tip: It’s tough to go wrong with seeking a seasoned professional for advice and installation…especially on more customized window treatment applications.  It can eliminate the usual surprises and heartaches encountered in DIY settings.

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Motorized Shades – 10 Tips

Why spend the energy to swap out your old traditional window coverings for a more contemporary motorized variety?  Here are a few reasons to stimulate your thinking:

  1. Versatility
  2. Style
  3. Convenience

The reality is that Motorized window treatments have become increasingly extremely popular in the past few years.  It has much to do with how home automation manufacturers have provided seamless integration with many well known window window treatment manufacturers like Hunter Douglas, Lutron and Somfy. For example…this integration enables the shades and drapes to move in concert with other subsystems, like lighting, music, and heating and cooling equipment.


Need more stimulation and motivation? Here are 10 more practical reasons to consider motorized shades for your home or office.

  1. Energy efficiency and privacy protection equally achieved.  On sunny Summer days…your home’s air conditioner can operate more efficiently. In fact, the shades can position themselves automatically based on the time of day or the intensity of the sun.
  2. Help protect your home from burglars and vandals. When window treatments move throughout the day, makes you house appear as if someone is at home. In other words, it gives it a “lived-in” look—an effective deterrent against burglars.
  3. Enhanced aesthetics over manual shades and drapes.  Attached to a motorized rod, track, or roller, window treatments lift, lower and traverse left and right without any tugging of a cord necessary.  Minus pull cords, you window treatments evoke a look that’s clean and modern. Moreover, the window treatments can be synchronized to start and stop in unison and to line up perfectly across the window.
  4. Quiet, smooth, and precise operation.  These high tech manufacturers have developed units that are virtually noise-free.
  5. More safe environment for your family.  Manual pull cords…and children & pets often don’t play well together…and can be down right dangerous.

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Roman Shades – When In…When To

While traditional custom-made drapery has a richly renowned reputation for its dramatic flair…each room of your home has its own character and needs appropriate window coverings to match.  Roman shades are often preferred where the desired look is a notch more practical and clean.  Though they’re a fabric based window covering like draperies…Roman shades retract vertically and stack neatly near the upper portion of the frame.

Here’s how  a couple of noted designers describe Roman shades:

“Roman shades are stricter, less fussy, and more modern,” ~ Robert Couturier – AD100 designer

 

“They can provide more of a clean-lined architectural look than full-length drapery in most situations” ~ Abby Rodriguez – VP of New York’s Chelsea Workroom

Roman shades also have a more pragmatic appeal.  Sometimes, when you have customized built-in furniture or shelving…full-length drapery is simply not an option.  Roman shades fulfill such unique needs for windows coverings, when limited wall space specialized structures would otherwise pose limit your options.

But not all Roman shades are created equal. To help determine the best setup for a space, we asked Couturier and Rodriguez to share their thoughts on the many available options.

  • Fabric – this is the most critical choice when you’re in the design phase of creating custom Roman shades.  Aside from color, fabric also affects translucence as well as ease of operation when opening and closing the shade.
  • Relaxed vs Constructed –  Relaxed shades have no rigid supports inside and allow the fabric to sag gently under its own weight, which creates a curve at the bottom of the shades when they’re raised.  Constructed shades have sewn-in horizontal rods, dowels, or battens to create a more rigid appearance.
  • Lining –  Though not necessary  for all shades…but when used…lining can give blinds a more finished, luxurious look.
  • Controls –  There are three types of controls—integrated electric motors, a continuous loop system, or cord and cleat.
  • Placement – Whether to mount them inside or outside the window frames is largely determined by architecture

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5 Space Specific Window Treatment Options

Room decor and design often lead many professionals to first consider the larger elements of the room…like larger furniture pieces or area rugs.  Window coverings often receive secondary attention in this inside out approach by many designers.  But the owner of a posh East Coast custom window treatment supplier, Loom Decor, says this about window treatments:

“…they’re often the most complicated decision in a space.” ~ Ashley Gensler, Founder – Loom Decor


Focusing your attention on more pragmatic concerns when selecting your ultimate drapery or window shade for the targeted room’s decor. Make your decision criteria these three needs:

  1. Light
  2. Privacy
  3. Architecture

If the focal point of a room is the window, you want to play it up as much as possible.” ~ Abby Rodriguez, VP of Chelsea Workroom – New York custom drapery atelier

Here are a hand full of specific space types and corresponding window treatment options that might work best for them…with pointers for avoiding common mistakes.

Elegance & Extreme Light Control:
Heavy luxurious drapery is famous for it’s light-blocking qualities…and for offering a feel of extreme elegance. Hence, they are highly appropriate for bedrooms and formal spaces, such as living and dining rooms.

High-traffic room focus:
Roman shades are a popular option here because they have structure…making them more substantial than other window coverings. Examples of high-traffic rooms include bedrooms, offices & powder rooms…but they’re also a practical choice for rooms where you don’t want window coverings that reach the floor…like rooms for kids, pets or radiators.

Minimalist focus:
Roller shades are a great choice for a room where you want the window treatment to be much less noticeable…and functionality takes a higher priority than form.

Custom & Unique focus:
Custom window treatments (as opposed to pre-fabbed) conquer those challenging situations where non-standard window and room sizes just won’t allow for anything ready-made.  Professionals will also ensure that they are installed and hung correctly.

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Window Treatment Alternatives for Victorian Homes

From the “Painted Ladies” of San Francisco’s Alamo Square residential neighborhood and park…to the historic downtown San Jose mansions that still stand tall and proud, the Bay area is full of beautiful Victorian homes that shout out to California’s cultural past. While some new purchasers of these classic homes stay on the traditional path as the redecorating begins…other prefer a more hybrid approach.

For a classic Victorian treatment, use interior wood shutters or blinds that match your woodwork in a way that ties in with the architecture of your house. No need to stay true to the heavy, fussy, layered Victorian style for window treatments. ~ Jennifer Adams

victorian home bedroom window with fauxwood shutters overlooking wooded property

Founder of award-winning interior decorating firm, Jennifer Adams Design Group, Jennifer Adams is an acclaimed author and TV personality on a nationally syndicated daytime TV design program (The Better Show).

In this short Q&A session with a new homeowner who had just purchased a Victorian…and seemed eager for advice on doing window coverings somewhat off the traditional path. Jennifer points out that some of the drawbacks of the original Victorian window treatment style are that it’s dramatic construct tends to block out too much exterior light…while keeping hidden the elaborately beautiful woodwork that these classic homes are renowned for.

Jennifer’s basic answer:

Use interior wood shutters or blinds that match your woodwork in a way that ties in with the architecture of your house.

If you choose Shades, consider ones made of natural materials or fabric that are mounted midway…leaving the top portion exposed to allow more light. may be another solution if you don’t mind the look of the mounting hardware or having a roll of material across the center of your window. Or…only if your windows have deep sills, reverse blinds or shades that stack is another cleaner look.

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Victorian Home Window-Treatment Options: Minimalist View

From the “Painted Ladies” of San Francisco’s Alamo Square residential neighborhood and park…to the historic downtown San Jose mansions that still stand proud and tall, the Bay area is full of beautiful Victorian homes that shout out to our California cultural past.  While some new  purchasers of these classic homes stay on the traditional path as the redecorating begins…other prefer a more hybrid approach.

For a classic Victorian treatment, use interior wood shutters or blinds that match your woodwork in a way that ties in with the architecture of your house. No need to stay true to the heavy, fussy, layered Victorian style for window treatments. ~ Jennifer Adams Inc.

victorian home bedroom window with fauxwood shutters overlooking wooded property

Founder of award-winning interior decorating firm, Jennifer Adams Design Group, Jennifer Adams is an acclaimed author and TV personality on a nationally syndicated daytime TV design program (The Better Show).

In this short Q&A session with a new homeowner who had just purchased a Victorian…and seemed eager for advice on doing window coverings somewhat off the traditional path.  Jennifer points out that some of the drawbacks of the original Victorian window treatment style are that it’s dramatic construct tends to block out too much exterior light…while keeping hidden the elaborately beautiful woodwork that these classic homes are renowned for.

Jennifer’s basic answer:

Use interior wood shutters or blinds that match your woodwork in a way that ties in with the architecture of your house.

If you choose Shades, consider ones made of natural materials or fabric that are mounted midway…leaving the top portion exposed to allow more light. may be another solution if you don’t mind the look of the mounting hardware or having a roll of material across the center of your window.  Or…only if your windows have deep sills, reverse blinds or shades that stack is another cleaner look.

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7 Ways to Increase Your Home’s Value for $1000 or Less

Selling your home and want to maximize the final price?  It’s all about leverage.  What are some lower cost upgrades that yield the highest rewards when it comes to closing time?

Obviously, everyone wants a home that looks clean and well-maintained…and so do prospective buyers.  The question is…what can a seller do to primp and window dress on a practial level…without taking out a second mortgage for a major remodel?  Here are several cost effective strategies you can implement…each for under $1,000 that will have a line of competitive offers leading to your front door.  Speaking of front doors and window coverings…they just happen to be the first few items on our list:

  1. New Walkway – Remember your dating days and the expression, “You never get a second chance to make a first impression”? It also works here with #1 and #2 on the list.  You can create positive expectancy for buyers with a new front door pathway that elevates their anticipation of “Eureka!” (I have found it…the search is over).  Whether it’s brick pavers, stone, concrete, or just rocks — the trick is to be sure the pathway’s look and feel matches your home’s style. It creates a welcoming feeling that invites newcomers to crave a closer look at your home.
  2. New Front Door – Just as the eyes are the windows to the soul…your home’s front door and entry way is where your home’s curb appeal creates impact and comes into focus. Whether you replace or just repaint it, the front door has built in emotional buttons that affect thoughts of safety and security.  A new door should have practical appeal (new hardware is important also)…using color to subtly conjure up emotion and add some style to your home’s introduction is great way to make a statement.
  3. New Blinds or Plantation Shutters Ahh…our specialty!  That ‘windows to the soul’ thing applies to your home’s window too!  New window coverings can dramatically impact and modernize a room. If your windows are a standard width, you can try the DIY route and purchase basic wood blinds at a home improvement store (and most allow you to customize the length). If you have irregular window sizes special-ordering them is the only smart choice. Plantation shutters often add dramatic appeal…and can be a final tipping point with your home’s next owners.high angle view of downtown San Jose, California residential housing area with a variety of neighborhood buildings.
  4. Water Filtration System – Who doesn’t have a positive response to the idea of ultra clean and pure water on a daily basis?  The addition of an entire-home water filtration system is just plain smart at a fundamental level.  The notion of filtering to remove pollutants and chemicals from our drinking water has become a necessity in most major metropolitan areas of the U.S.  The bandaid approach of dealing with the issue by using clunky, refillable 5- gallon bottles or even purchasing drinking water in environmentally unfriendly plastic bottles…is just not pragmatic.  Increase your home’s value and impress buyers with filtered water directly from any faucet in the house — it’s pure luxury, and this amenity will pay off now and in the future when it’s time to sell.
  5. Programmable Thermostat – A truly cost effective home upgrade is a programmable thermostat (even a Wi-Fi–enabled type that allows smartphone control) that allows you to customize a temperature profile throughout the day. According to the U.S. Department of Energy, heating your home accounts for more than 40% of its total energy usage.  Reducing the temperature inside your home by a degree or two while you sleep can lead to huge savings on a monthly basis.

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New Drapes? Think Functionality First

Las Vegas veteran interior designer Jackie Von Tobel knows drapery and curtains so well that she wrote the  book: “The Design Directory of Window Treatments” (Gibbs Smith).  She also knows that homeowners are often overwhelmed at the idea and process of choosing them for their residence or business.

Because drapery is “a very personal item,” and is often expensive…it sometimes scares would be buyers, said Von Tobel.  Custom-made drapes produced by professional window-treatment designers and manufacturers can cost thousands of dollars. Even those that are ready-made and available for purchase at retail stores — with the hardware required to hang them — can prove pricey.

Draperies are “definitely something (people) should invest in because it’s really the first thing you see when you walk in a house,” … “You look at what’s on the walls and its draperies, and it can set the tone for the whole room.”  ~ Jackie Von Tobel

Several measurements must be taken before selecting and hanging draperies. Window-covering companies typically provide in-home consultations that include taking measurements as part of their services.

For do-it-yourselfers, Von Tobel said there are “plenty of (websites) that will give you sort of guidelines on how to measure for your draperies.” She also recommends watching instructional videos on YouTube.  The measurement process can be tedious all by itself.

But of utmost importance…the available drapery fabric and design options are tremendously large and varied.

“Just by the fact that it is (made of) fabric, you’re going to have multiple choices to be made, and a lot of people are very uncomfortable making those choices for themselves,” said Von Tobel, who is also an interior-product designer.  She advises homeowners to begin the drapery selection process by considering how they will function in the home: “What do you need on that window? Is it just that you’re putting up something pretty to make it look nice, or do you need light-blocking? Do you need sun-blocking?”

When hung on a window with an accompanying pair of heavy, interlined curtains or drapes (into which an extra layer of lining material has been sewn between the ordinary lining and decorative fabric), blackouts can also effectively reduce sound.

Marlies Zieman, owner of Interior Visions, a Las Vegas-based wholesale drapery manufacturing company…agrees.  Working with local interior designers to create custom window coverings for high-end homes and other projects…for over 20 years…makes her perspective highly sought after.

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Choosing New Window Coverings – 10 Key Questions

One of the biggest mistakes homeowners make when choosing new window coverings is not considering the actual functionality they are needed to perform.  Getting guidance from a window coverings professional is never a bad idea…but a little self education can go a long way in helping to avoid costly mistakes.

Here are 10 key questions to as yourself when choosing the right window coverings for your home:

Choosing New Window Coverings - 10 Key Questions

  1. Architecture of the home? Do you have an obligation to decorate according to a certain historical period?  Also consider what your window coverings will look like from outside.
  2. Existing colors/décor in the home? Will these be changed in the future? All white is highly not recommended…humans are designed to crave color.  Also, many white window coverings show dirt easily and can be harder to keep clean.
  3. Window Size? Some window treatments, such as timber venetians, have a maximum width, so this needs to be taken into account. Small windows can be given the illusion of largesse if the right window treatment is selected. If you have space around the window to extend the size of the window coverings, this can make the proportions larger.
  4. Window Shape? Unusual shapes such as arches, angles and circles greatly limit the window covering choices. Plantation shutters are a great option in many cases.
  5. Thermal Protection Needed? Do you need extra warmth in winter or coolness in summer without increasing your energy consumption? This is where fully lined curtains and pelmets do their best work.
  6. Privacy Needed? Is your window overlooking an ugly view or do you have nosy neighbours? No one likes living in a goldfish bowl! Please put something appropriate on your windows, as sometimes we don’t want to see into your house!

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