Architects seem to love big windows more and more with each passing year. Compare today’s structures with a few from the 60s, and you’ll notice that the windows have significantly increased in size, even in buildings with relatively small floor plans. Oversized windows and sliding glass doors give rooms a touch of class, make them look larger, and fill them with glorious natural light — a big plus for small apartments.
Unfortunately, when the sun goes down or you just want some privacy, those massive windows are going to need coverings. When the world was busy celebrating the demise of horizontal venetian blinds, they welcomed the relative ease and style that vertical blinds offered. Now, vertical blinds are rapidly losing their appeal, leaving everyone in search of something different and unique. Designers have already created a wide variety of replacement options, but there are a few products out there that stand head and shoulders above the rest.
Solar shades are roller shades made from a special fabric that offers a good amount of daytime privacy and preserves a lovely, muted view of the outdoors. These shades look very sleek and modern, complement any decor, and make the glare of monitors and TV screens much less harsh on the eyes. They also keep rooms cooler by partially blocking the heat from the sun’s infrared rays. On the other hand, solar shades don’t offer total privacy, so you’ll want to be careful about which windows you put them over. When solar shades are the only thing covering your windows, whatever you can see of the interior from the outside during the daytime is almost as visible at night.
Cordless Cellular Shades
If you hate blinds with cords, cordless cellular shades are a dream come true. You lower them with a gentle tug on the bottom rail, adjust them with easy manual manipulation, and raise them by simply lifting the same bottom rail. Their construction is uncomplicated, typically consisting of fabric slats with a semi-opaque three-dimensional honeycomb structure that helps insulate interiors and offers excellent privacy. The cords that operate the shades run through the insides of these slats, so you’ll never have to worry about putting them in children’s rooms or having their beauty diminished by unsightly dangling strings. These shades come in a variety of colors and patterns, adding style to any room and accomodating even the widest of windows and sliding glass doors. Vertical cordless cellular shades are available in the same fabrics, colors, opacities, and cell sizes as their horizontal counterparts, and they provide the same energy-saving benefits, too.
Sliding Panels/Panel Tracks
These cool, eye-catching window treatments resemble vertical blinds with oversized panels in place of narrow slats. Large fabric panels, available in a wide range of materials, colors, prints, and textures, are mounted with brackets on walls or ceilings, and they effortlessly slide back and forth along a bottom track for easy adjustment. These panels never touch the windows and look more like screens than traditional blinds. Nonetheless, they provide excellent blockage of sunlight and offer optimum privacy. Sliding panels are available in a range of contemporary fabrics, any of which can add depth, character, and aesthetic appeal to any room. Sliding panels are also often used as unique closet doors and room dividers.
Many people prefer the look of conventional drapes over blinds, mostly because long formal curtains look elegant and graceful. Double-wide draperies, which are often difficult to find but worth the trouble, are perfect for creating curtain panels that are easily pushed back to let light fill the room. Look for lined panels that fully block light and ensure the utmost privacy when drawn together. With this style, you get the drama of drapes and the easy manipulation of blinds.
If your decorating tastes wax dramatic, roman shades might just the best choice for your windows. They are comparable to cellular shades in basic structure and design but considerably more spectacular in style and material. You can transform a room to reflect almost any era using roman shades, making them the focal point of any given decor. These flat blinds are available in a wide range of colors, and they can easily be rolled up to fill a space with light or let down to provide privacy with a touch of elegance.
Like you can with most other design concepts, you can always mix and match your window treatments. Pair roman shades with double-wide curtain panels for a classy look, or use panels of several different textures and colors in one room to create a modern, eclectic environment. When paired with solid color blinds for sliding glass doors, printed window coverings can make an interior feel unique and personalized.
New types of window coverings emerge every year. Shop around to make sure you find the materials and styles that meet your needs for natural light and privacy. Try different window treatments out throughout your home and change them up periodically to keep things feeling fresh all year long.