Energy Efficiency Tips for Winter Window Coverings

Installing window coverings throughout a home will minimize the escape of heat and cut down on the use of electricity.

  • Professional Measurement – of your custom window treatments by a seasoned window coverings expert.
  • Honeycomb Construction – the most energy-efficient window treatments utilize it (e.g. Hunter Douglas Duvette)
  • Roller Shades – can be controlled with a chain or an electrical light switch.
  • Louvered Shutters – available in three styles: Cafe, plantation and sliding…including wood and faux-wood construction
  • Minimize Fading from Sun Exposure – Window treatments protect rugs, paintings and furniture fabrics.
  • West-facing Windows – need the most coverage because they allow the hottest light to pass through.
  • South-facing Windows – are the most important natural light source and need only light coverage.

natural wood blinds - custom drapery

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Window Treatment Trends

You may not think window coverings and treatments to be on the hot list of Google Trends, but you might be surprised at the variety of perspectives that have a genuine keen interest in the latest developments around what many consider to be a purely aesthetic endeavor.  Whether you’re an interior designer, a high rise office building facilities manager, a vintage clothing boutique owner…or an everyday homeowner that’s finally ready to make constructive energy efficiency changes…the window coverings industry is alive with new developments

Even though they are beautiful, the inherent value of window treatments is function, which addresses some of our most basic needs such as privacy, energy efficiency, UV-light protection and light control. 

~ Kim Kiner, VP – Hunter Douglas Alustra Collection and Design Studio

Ultimately, it’s “personal taste…should dictate the final results regardless of what is trending” says Doris Gagel, long time window coverings business owner in Canada.  She poses her three decades of industry experience as a question to her customers:  “Is this something you want to replace in three to four years or can you live with it for 20 years?’ Given the cost, it’s usually better to do something you know will still be nice for years to come.”

Here are snipits from a range of perspectives on what’s current in the genre of window treatments.

Designer Window Treatments – HouseBeautiful

Whether you’re looking for elegant draperies, Roman shades, or a simple swath of fabric, [there are] window treatment ideas that will complement every room in the house. [read more]

Window Coverings Make or Break Room – MapleRidgeNews

If you’re looking to add panache to your home, window coverings should be right at the top of the to-do list.

Window coverings have the potential to really make or break the ambiance, comfort, warmth and personality of a room or a whole house… [read more]

What’s Trending in Window Coverings – WaynesvilleDailyGuide

Add a window treatment like shades, shutters or blinds to add style, warmth and privacy.

“Window treatments set the tone for the rest of the room. They offer more than just a way to pull things together,” said Rona Spiegel, owner of New Jersey’s Lifestyle Interior Designs. “Window treatments give homeowners privacy and protection from harmful UV rays of the sun that can damage their furnishings. Window treatments also provide sound baffling in a space, absorbing noise and getting rid of the echo in a room. Diffused light coming in through the windows is also a mood elevator, especially in the middle of the winter when the sun is at a different angle.”

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Alustra Screen Shades - Hunter Douglas

Trends in Window Coverings – A Primer

Window coverings present a unique opportunity for a specialist because they’re “the one finishing-off area of the home that most people did not know how to do, clients and designers alike,” says interior designer Christy DeVicente in the San Luis Obispo area.  Following are her insights on the the latest trends,  pros and cons of custom versus premade, and the biggest gotcha’s to beware of.

Current Window Covering Trends

  • Natural Woven Shades – continue as the top trend — but from a new angle.  DeVicente points out that there are “so many new weaves and more refined textures.”  More contemporary and less tropical in feel, the newer weaves fit nicely into today’s clean, contemporary interiors. Woven shades are warm and textural…usually fashioned of natural materials like bamboo, raffia, grass, sticks or jute . They also offer various degrees of opacity for a range of lightblocking and privacy preferances.  Surprisingly versatile…even when opened, they continue to be a unique design element that creates a sort of “folded valance” along the top the window.
  • Classic Roller Shade – Often preferred because of their simplicity and streamlined design… “I have had more calls for roller shades in the past year than in all my 14 years in business,” said DeVicente.  Because they roll up tight, leaving a thin cylinder of around 2-1/2 to 3 inches in diameter, they can mount inside a window frame without detracting from views. Pair a roller shade with a narrow four to six inch valance, and you have a sleek yet functional and stylish window treatment. The basic design of roller shades is not much different from those your grandmother may have used, but the materials and mechanisms have come a long way.  The introduction of woven materials “No longer do you have to settle on the old plastic-like roller shade materials, or the vinyl laminated shades,” said DeVicente.
  • Solar Shades – A specialized roller shade filter out sunlight while maintaining views.  Manufactured from a heavy decorative screen material, they come in varying degrees of filtration, blocking out 86 percent to 97 percent of the sun’s rays. This isn’t just easy on the eyes — it protects furniture and décor from ultraviolet rays, and can help cool the home.  For windows with heavy sun exposure, and privacy is not a big concern…solar shades may be your optimal solution.
  • Motorization – not a new feature…but currently much more affordable.  Hiding all mechanisms within the frame is the latest innovation in motorized shutters. Solar powered motorized shutters with batteries that constantly recharge using a small solar panel located on the bottom rail. “This is great for windows that are up high or for a whole house full of shutters where it would be challenging and expensive to replace batteries every two years,” she said. Motorized shutters use a radio frequency remote, allowing you to open, close or change the angle of the louvers. You can operate one or multiple shutters from up to 120 feet away.

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