By Donna Metallic, RID IDO Incorporated is a full service Commercial Interior Design Firm that provides a variety of services, and helping clients select window treatments is just a very small part of what we do. How do you select the perfect window treatment for your home? As Interior Designers, we start with a list of questions to help narrow down the selection process. For example: 1) What are your needs for privacy? a. Window treatment products offer a range variety – from sheer to privacy and all degrees in between. i. You will see an example of an installation that we just finished this past week using a Hunter Douglas Silhouette product. It features fabric vanes suspended between sheer fabric panels, rotates for varying degrees of privacy and light control allows you to see your view and at the same time provide privacy. It comes manual and motorized. On the installation we recently completed, we used motorized on the larger windows (that were more difficult to get to) and used the manual version over the sink. 2) What are your needs for light control? a. Many window coverings go up and down and make all stops in between … this offering adds the option of being lowered from the top down, thus allowing light to enter a room while still providing privacy and offering maximum light control. b. There are Top-Down / Bottom-Up and TiltAnywhere™ options as well. Products with either vertical or horizontal louvers, vanes or slats allow you to redirect the light to change the complexion of a room by rotating or tilting the louvers. c. Of course, how much light control you need depends upon what your room will be used for. For media rooms, Duette honeycomb shades in opaque fabrics with an aluminized polyester core provides total room darkening are an economical choice. These shades are available with PowerRise®, a battery powered remote control motorization, which can be integrated into home automation systems. 3) Which direction does your window face? And what are your needs for UV-ray protection and energy efficiency? a. North-facing windows bring in the most even and consistent sunlight. It is also the coldest exposure, so for energy conservation, please make sure to use insulated shades (forthese windows), which will effectively trap air in the honeycomb cells. i. Incidentally, Duette (made by Hunter Douglas) has a triple honeycomb shade – which is the most energy efficient window covering on the market today. b. South-facing windows receive sunlight year-round, casting a warm, and golden glow on interiors. Heat and UV rays in this consistent light will cause the most damage, so, choose products that can protect fabric and furniture from the sun’s harmful rays. Look for a “% UV blockage” rating. The higher a product’s rating, the better the your home’s interior will be protected from UV rays c. East-facing windows admit the most balanced or full-spectrum light, however, its brightness and clarity may render it warm, especially in the morning. d. West-facing windows are exposed to the hottest sunlight and also the haziest because by day’s end, there are so many impurities in the atmosphere. Many of the same treatments as south-facing windows are good selections here. 4) Is noise a problem? If your windows face a crowded street, then sound can be a problem – especially at night. It’s good to know that fabric window coverings can provide a solution. 5) Do your windows open and, if so, do you open them often? Some windows open up, some out and some in. Other slide from side to side. a. For windows or glass doors that slide open and shut, make sure to check for cranks and hardware when selecting your treatment. If the window is used for ventilation, it is best to have treatments that stack off the window so that incoming breezes will not rattle or damage it. 6) Is the window covering child-safe? Particularly if you have young children or pets at home, safety is important. There are many options for this safety issue so make sure that you ask the right questions. A great choice is the cordless lift system that allows shades or blinds to be raised and lowered with touch of a finger. 7) What are the proportions of the room? a. The window treatment should be considered within the overall scale of the interior in terms of both height and size to maintain proper proportions. If, for example, the window is small in relation to the rest of the room, you may want to extend the covering to the edge of the window molding to make the window seem larger. b. For a window with an interesting architectural frame, place the covering within the frame so as not to obscure it. c. Also, for a room with a low ceiling, remember that vertical lines can enhance the height of a room. 8) What colors do you prefer? a. Color intensifies as you increase areas of coverage. i. To visually expand a window or room, choose soft, light or cool colors such as lemon yellow, sea foam-green or sky blue. ii. Another hint: Coordinate the window coverings with the wall color, as low contrasts will keep the eye moving around the room iii. Reverse the technique to make the window or room appear smaller and cozier by using dark, warm colors and high contrast between the window and wall. iv. Also remember what your window looks like from the outside. v. Always consider the effect pattern the window will have on the whole room. Patterns can be surprisingly intense in large quantities, so proceed with caution. vi. Textures can be both
1. casual (rough, nubby or earthy) or
2. formal (smooth, elegant fabrics).
3. Texture is particularly important at the window where sunlight penetrates the fabric or material. Always put the sample to be used in an application up to the window to judge the effect of light coming through it, as the texture will alter the diffusion of the light.
If you have any questions, please feel free to contact me for more guidance or selection for your situation. For more information, contact Hunter Douglas at 1-800-937-STYLE (1-800-937-7895) or visit www.hunterdouglas.com.