New windows, unsullied by dust, weather, smudges and fingerprints, can bring unexpected joy upon moving into a brand-new home. That said, you’ll need to cover most of them to a degree.
With new construction, you can count on having Low-E windows with UV protection and heat reflective properties that keep heat out on warm days and retain heat on cooler days. Your window treatments don’t have to do as much work as in an older house, but they can if you want them to.
Imagine in advance how you will live in each room or space in your new house. Be sure to write down which direction each room faces, noting that west- and south-facing windows get the most sun exposure.
Next, consider not only the function of each window treatment but how they look, both from the inside and the outside. Keep in mind functional needs while looking at window treatments that are popular for their style, flexibility and durability.
There’s a belief that Roman shades have been used since the time of the Roman Empire, and for good reason. Roman shades provide timeless beauty while offering a range of light filtering or blocking options as ideal for Rome’s climate as it is for California’s.
Using either a cord or a cordless system, properly fitted Roman shades fold evenly when raised open. When closed, they cover the entire window.
These classic shades blend the warmth, softness and texture of fabric with the functionality of adjustable blinds. Roman shades are a terrific choice for bedrooms, powder rooms or casual living areas. And in bedrooms, you can add blackout liners to Roman shades.
Keep in mind that, given their weight, especially with blackout liners, Roman shades are best for standard-size or narrower windows, as they can get cumbersome to raise and lower at wider widths. For wider windows, especially in a great room or living room, consider either a lighter-weight fabric or double-hung Roman shades.
Roller shades and roller blinds
Made from various fabrics and designs, roller shades and roller blinds are easy to use and ideal for offering sunshade, but not total darkness. They’re best for areas such as the family room, kitchen, home office or windows on staircases. The fancier the room, the fancier the fabric can be.
The more popular option, roller shades, are made from a long piece of fabric fitted carefully over a roller that is made of wood or metal. When anchored to the window, the fabric easily pulls down from the roller to cover the window.
Roller shades nicely accent casual or formal spaces based on their fabric and if curtains or draperies are hung in front of them. A good choice for a minimalistic, contemporary look, roller shades typically have a ratcheting mechanism for opening and closing. Some even offer electrical, solar-powered or battery-operated choices.
Double-layer roller blinds, also known as flexible blinds, contain two layers, each with alternating stripes of two fabrics, one translucent and the other opaque. Each section of the blind slides over the other to allow different levels of light and privacy. When the translucent fabric is exposed, light can get in but still offers a measure of privacy.
These blinds are designed to let some light in; they won’t darken a room. A ratcheting mechanism or a cord allows you to adjust the exposure, but they can also be lifted up completely.
For roller shades or roller blinds, consider using the same texture of fabric from room to room or within large open spaces. This will create a unified look and simplify the cleaning process; different fabrics need to be cleaned in different ways.
For a casual look with sustainable materials, look at bamboo shades, which fold up similarly to Roman shades. Made of bamboo, which is beloved for its lightweight but strong, durable, flexible, easy-to-grow and versatile properties, bamboo shades can lend a rustic or tropical feel to any room.
Bamboo shades are considered light-filtering, not darkening, but will provide complete privacy when lowered. When comparing bamboo shades, look for those with a cordless lift mechanism that allows them to hang more evenly than those with cords woven through them. For comparison to bamboo, know that rattan and wicker are also gaining popularity.
Made of wood or a recycled polymer material, plantation shutters provide a timeless look, are easy to operate and last for decades. Be sure to understand the style and shape of each window before ordering; plantation shutters should complement the windows themselves.
Next, decide, by room, if you want full-window-length shutters; cafe-style plantation shutters that cover only the bottom half of the window; tier-on-tier shutters, for which each vertical section of shutters contains an upper shutter and a lower shutter; and/or double-hung shutters, which are a good choice for covering standard or wider windows.
Choose quality, durability and minimalist color schemes for long-term happiness with your window treatments. Follow this space for an upcoming feature on draperies and window hardware.