What Are Solar Shades?

Solar shades are perfect for rooms with a view.
A benefit of solar shades is that they block glare.

A benefit of solar shades is that they block glare.

Solar shades, sometimes referred to as sunscreens, are a beautiful and functional alternative to standard window coverings. They offer added benefits that make them the perfect choice for homes with a view or windows located where sunlight shines directly in.

Solar shades are made of fabric woven tight enough to block out some sunlight but are open enough to see through. They come in a range of openness from 0-25%. The smaller the number the less open and the less you will be able to see through the shade. The higher the number the more open so the better the view and more light will pass through.

Standard window treatments completely block your view when they are closed. Solar shades allow you to take advantage of the view outside your window even when they are fully extended. You determine light control by the percentage of openness you choose.

Solar shades are perfect for rooms with a view.

Solar shades are perfect for rooms with a view.

Solar shades are a type of roller shade with a fabric panel that wraps around a roller at the top when open. There are three standard valance options available for solar shades, as well as various styles of wooden cornices. For a clean look, a square aluminum fascia can be added to cover the roller and brackets. For a coordinating look, the fascia can be wrapped with a matching fabric. A third valance option for solar shades is the cassette.  The cassette is rounded and also covers the roller and brackets. It has a coordinating fabric insert. The fascia and cassette are available in different colors such as bronze, brushed aluminum, black and vanilla. Of course there is always the no valance option if you prefer.

There are many types of valances available for solar shades.

There are many types of valances available for solar shades.

There are different types of lift systems to choose from, depending on your needs. The child-safe cordless lift system and motorized system are best for eliminating the strangulation hazard that cords and chains create. They also provide a clean, uncluttered appearance.

Not only do solar shades offer a streamlined, sophisticated look, they are also eco-friendly. They significantly reduce harmful UV rays that can damage your home and furniture. They decrease temperature transference, keeping it cooler inside during the summer and warmer during the winter. This saves you money!

Another benefit of solar shades is that they block glare, making them perfect for rooms with televisions or computers.

Not only do solar shades offer a clean sophisticated look, they are also eco-friendly.

Not only do solar shades offer a clean sophisticated look, they are also eco-friendly.

Keep in mind that because of the openness factor, visibility from outside of the home is as clear as it is from the inside, especially at night with inside lighting. If privacy is a concern, choose the lowest openness percentage. Pair solar shades with drapery or curtains to maximize privacy.

Solar shades are versatile, functional and they look great! These energy-efficient shades look beautiful in any room, while simultaneously saving money on your electric bill and making a more comfortable environment in those spaces that receive direct sunlight.

To see our selection of solar shades please visit our site at Blindsmax.com.

Types of Roman Shades

Roman Shades Have a More Decorative Appearance Than Other Shades
Roman Shades Have a More Decorative Appearance Than Other Shades.

Roman Shades Have a More Decorative Appearance Than Other Shades.

Roman Shades have a more decorative, elegant appearance than other shades. There are essentially two types of roman shades; flat, also called classic, and hobbled, sometimes referred to as looped.

Flat Roman Shades

A flat roman shade is a fabric panel that lies flat against the window when fully extended and forms neat stacked folds, like an accordion, when raised. They offer a clean, uncluttered look. There are many varieties of both flat and hobbled roman shades. Flat roman shades can appear as a smooth solid piece or with visible pleats that can be seen even when the shade is fully extended.

Roman Shades Can Have Visible Pleats.

Roman Shades Can Have Visible Pleats.

Hobbled Roman Shades

The hobbled roman shade retains its soft, overlapping folds, or loops, when fully extended. This creates a flowing, cascade look, closer to the look of drapery.

Hobbled Roman Shades Have Soft Overlapping Folds.

Hobbled Roman Shades Have Soft Overlapping Folds.

Embellished

Another choice for customizing your look is to have the bottoms embellished. They can feature a curved bottom, referred to as European style, a vertical gathering in the middle, a bottom that spreads out like a fan, as well as other varieties.  Tassels, fringe, or beads can also be added as bottom trim.

Colors and Designs

Roman shades are available in an array of colors, textures, and designs, from classic weaves to bold color prints. They usually have a neutral color backing so that the outside view of the home is consistent. Flat roman shades can accommodate large windows with no light gap and are great for dramatic patterns.

Referred to as European Style, Some Roman Shades Have a Curved Bottom.

Referred to as European Style, Some Roman Shades Have a Curved Bottom.

Light Filtering, Room Darkening, and Privacy

There are many options for fabric depending on the amount of light filtering you prefer. Choose a thermal or blackout liner for more energy efficiency, light blockage, and privacy. Due to the additional fabric for the folds, you tend to lose a bit of privacy with hobbled. That may not be a concern depending on which room they will be in. Choosing an outside mount will provide the most light blockage and privacy, as the shade will be slightly wider than the window and attached to the wall on the outside. This will prevent any gaps that may allow in light.

Roman Shades Can Have a Room Darkening Liner.

Roman Shades Can Have a Room Darkening Liner.

Cordless Option for Safety

A continuous cord loop is an option that is especially useful for wider shades. It makes them easier to lift regardless of weight. This replaces the traditional dangling cord that is a safety hazard. They can also be equipped with no hassle cordless operation for convenience and safety. Eliminating cords and chains altogether, gives a clean and uncluttered look and keeps your small children and pets safe. You do not have to sacrifice style in the name of safety. In fact, the clean, slick look of cordless is gaining popularity because of its streamlined appearance. These typically operate by gently pushing up or pulling down on the bottom pull or rail to position at desired height. The top down bottom up variety allows you to lower the top or lift the bottom so that you can let in light and still keep visibility from outside down to a minimum.

Versatility

Roman shades are very versatile window treatment. They look great with or without a fabric valance. Valances come in many styles and sizes to suit your needs. Wooden cornices are also available as a decorative top treatment. Flat roman shades also pair elegantly with drapery. Double roman shades are made with two layers. There is usually a sheer layer in front of a heavier fabric and the two layers function independently.

With so many ways to customize, roman shades are a beautiful choice whether you want a simple or sophisticated look.

To see our selection of roman shades please visit our site at Blindsmax.com.

What Are Cellular Shades?

Energy-Efficient Cellular Shades Are Great for Almost Any Living Space in the Home.
Energy-Efficient Cellular Shades Are Great for Almost Any Living Space in the Home.

Energy-Efficient Cellular Shades Are Great for Almost Any Living Space in the Home.

Cellular shades are a popular type of window covering also called honeycomb shades. Fabric is bonded together to form honeycomb shaped cells. They have a single, double or triple layered design that traps the air between the layers of the shade in individual cells to provide insulation. This creates an effective barrier between the window and the room and helps to prevent temperature transference. These are available in an array of fabrics and colors allowing you to customize your window treatments. Determine your needs based on color, opacity level, energy efficiency level and size.

Energy Efficient

Double Cell Cellular Shades Have Two Layers of Cells for Better Insulation.

Double Cell Cellular Shades Have Two Layers of Cells for Better Insulation.

The honeycomb design provides a high level of energy efficiency and sound absorption. Cellular shades keep you warmer in the winter and cooler in the summer and save money on your electric bill.

Single cell cellular shades have one row/layer of cells. They provide some amount of insulation but not as much as double or triple layered shades. They are better suited for spaces where resistance to heat and cold is not a priority. Because they have only one layer, they have a smaller profile and work nicely for doors.

Double cell cellular shades have two layers of cells. They provide more insulation and therefore better resistance to sounds and temperature transference.

Triple cell cellular shades have three layers of cells. They are the best option for locations in extreme conditions with freezing or scorching temperatures. They offer maximum insulation for temperature control and noise reduction. They are thicker and heavier than single or double layered so the size and lift options may be limited.

Variety Available to Meet Your Needs

Cellular shades are available in a variety of opacity levels, including sheer, light filtering, room darkening and blackout. They allow in the amount of light you prefer while maintaining your privacy. Light filtering cellular shades are great for almost any living space in the home.

Available in Many Colors and Designs to Suit any Decor.

Available in Many Colors and Designs to Suit any Decor.

You will also find many colors and designs to suit any decor. Most have a white exterior appearance to give a unified look throughout.

Available Cordless Feature for Safety

They can also be equipped with no hassle cordless operation for convenience and safety. Eliminating cords and chains gives a clean and uncluttered look and keeps your small children and pets safe. You do not have to sacrifice style in the name of safety. In fact, the clean, slick look of cordless is gaining popularity because of its streamlined appearance. These typically operate by gently pushing up or pulling down on the bottom pull or rail to position at desired height. The top down bottom up variety allows you to lower the top or lift the bottom so that you can let in light and still keep visibility from outside down to a minimum.

Cellular shades are a great choice for an attractive window covering that maintains privacy, is energy-efficient, and available in many styles to suit your taste.

To take a look at our selection of cellular shades please visit our site at Blindsmax.com.

Choosing the Right Kitchen Blinds

Levolor Light Filtering Shades are a Great Option for Kitchen Blinds
Levolor Light Filtering Roller Shades are a Great Option for Kitchen Blinds

Levolor Light Filtering Roller Shades are a Great Option for Kitchen Blinds

The kitchen is often considered the heart of the home. There are several factors to consider when choosing the right kitchen blinds. You want to create a comfortable space that your family will enjoy as well as express your personal style and also choose something that is functional and easy to maintain.

Take into consideration the amount of light that comes into the room, the size and placement of the windows, and whether they will be prone to getting wet or possibly absorbing cooking odors.

If you think you might want a fabric type shade, stay away from heavy materials as they will be more likely to hold in smells. Instead, sunscreen and roller shades are good options. They are lightweight and can be positioned at various heights to block sunlight. How much light do you want to allow into the room when the shades are down? Roller Shades are available in a range of light filtering choices from sheer to blackout. The variety of styles and colors are vast so this is a good way to add a splash of color to your kitchen.

Aluminum Kitchen Blinds for Locations Prone to Moisture

Aluminum Kitchen Blinds for Locations Prone to Moisture

Another popular selection is the Venetian blind. These consist of overlapping horizontal slats that can be tilted to block or allow light. The blind can be lifted fully for maximum light exposure. These types of blinds are stylish and practical. Aluminum or plastic may be best for windows near sinks or stoves due to moisture. Choose a blind with a smooth finish because they will be easier to wipe down than a textured material. Avoid hard wood blinds as they can warp from dampness. They are also heavier and would be harder to lift. Some types of blinds are treated so that they will be water-repellent and flame retardant. Faux wood blinds give you the wood look without the limitations of real wood. They are more durable and come in many colors.

Fauxwood for the Real Wood Look Yet Suited for High Humidity and Extreme Temperature Areas

Fauxwood for the Real Wood Look Yet Suited for High Humidity and Extreme Temperature Areas

Roller shades and Venetian blinds both come with the cordless upgrade option. Choosing a cordless version is a good idea for a cleaner look as well as eliminating the potential safety hazard.

Keeping in mind that kitchens are high-traffic areas and splatters and smells from cooking are inevitable, choosing the right kitchen blinds can be very important. You want something that looks attractive, makes you feel content and is easy to clean. There are many great options that meet those guidelines.

Home Décor Resolutions for the New Year

Stay Organized and Clutter Free for the New Year
Stay Organized and Clutter Free for the New Year

Stay Organized and Clutter Free for the New Year

It’s that time again. The holidays are almost over, the new year approaches, and we commit to make some life changes so that the next one will be better than the last. The problem with resolutions is that though we have every intention of tackling them, we tend to let them quietly fade away. That could be because we often make resolutions that are unrealistic. We defeat ourselves before we even begin. Make this year’s resolution to make attainable resolutions!

Here are four doable home décor resolutions to get you started.

1. Stay Organized and Clutter Free. Keeping your home organized and clutter free will not only make it more inviting, it will reduce stress and anxiety. In order to take on the initial clean-up, break it into small tasks that you can do over a period of time so that it doesn’t become overwhelming. If it seems to be a daunting chore then you are more likely to avoid it altogether. Don’t expect to do it all at once. Do one room at a time and divide it up into projects. Determine what items you need to keep and what you don’t. If you haven’t used something in a while you probably won’t, so get rid of it. Don’t bring more things home. Once you have your home clean and organized, commit to doing a little tidying up every day so that it doesn’t get out of control.

2. Go “Green” at Home. Reducing your impact on the environment by using eco-friendly home décor options is a great way to accomplish two things at once. You can do that room makeover you have been putting off and do your part for the planet. Grasscloth wallcoverings are made from natural, sustainable materials and are considered an eco-friendly choice. They are beautifully textured papers with many unique designs. Another alternative is bamboo window coverings, called woven woods by window blind retailers. Bamboo is very popular for its versatility in appearance and application. A variety of attractive, natural blinds and shades are available. Bamboo options will elegantly accent any room.

Eco-friendly Blinds and Shades Make Great Window Treatments

Eco-friendly Blinds and Shades Make Great Window Treatments

3. Update an Outdated Room. A couple of quick ways to update a room are by adding an accent wall and swapping out old drapery for more modern blinds or shades. Choose a sophisticated wallpaper pattern and create a focal point accent wall. Then spread the color around the room with matching accessories. Take down the old, dusty drapes and replace them with some energy-efficient, streamlined blinds or shades for a stylish and eco-friendly upgrade.

4. Start the Kids’ New Year Off Right. Whether you are preparing for the arrival of a new little one or redecorating your child’s room as a birthday gift, designing their space should be fun for you and expressive and stimulating for them. An easy way to create an environment they will love is with wall décor. From wallpaper to murals and decals, the options are virtually endless and you are sure to find something appealing to both you and your child. Once you decide on a theme to work around, consider strippable wallpaper or peel & stick wall decals, so that it will be easy to remove when their interests change and they want to replace it with a new favorite hobby or color. Children grow quickly as do their personalities, so allow them to express themselves and demonstrate their independence all year long with wall décor.

Start the Kids' New Year Off Right with New Wall Décor

Start the Kids’ New Year Off Right with New Wall Décor

Your home is your haven so love it or change it! A comfortable home is good for your health. If there is something you don’t love about it, now is the time to make it better. Take an inventory of your home and make a plan. Start small; give yourself reasonable time frames and attainable goals. Home décor resolutions for the new year are a great way to make your house a home. Whether it be rearranging some furniture or adding an accent wall, your home should be a relaxing place and an extension of yours or your family’s personalities. Enjoy the new year and enjoy your house!

Bamboo Shades and Curtains: Eco Chic Window Fashions

Eco Chic Bamboo
Eco Chic Bamboo

Eco Chic Bamboo

As consumers, we are becoming increasingly more aware of how our choices affect the world around us. Many are making daily efforts to lessen the negative impact on our planet. In addition to recycling, using mass transit, and conserving energy usage, another way we can work toward preserving the environment is by choosing Eco-friendly home décor products.

The term Eco Chic refers to products made with Eco-friendly materials, which are better for the environment, yet stylish and trendy. In effort to “go green,” interior designers encourage and implement the use of recycled, renewable and natural materials. Being environmentally conscious does not mean one has to forgo their sense of style and personality. It doesn’t have to be a sacrifice to do your part. You can live in a more Eco-friendly home while maintaining your creativity.

Bamboo Shades

Bamboo Shades

There has been an increase in the variety and availability of environmentally friendly textiles. The options are vast. The organic production of natural fibers for use as building materials and home décor items is growing as the desire for these types of products rises. “There are varying degrees of ‘green,’ but in general a product must be made from renewable natural material grown organically or harvested with minimal impact to its environment, or a material recycled in an environmentally responsible way.” (Talsma, 2012)

One such material that has become very popular for its versatility in appearance and application, is bamboo. Bamboo grows in most continents except for Antarctica and Europe. Due to its Eco-friendly appeal, quick growth rate, and durability, bamboo is a preferred building material. It is “more lightweight than steel and five times stronger than concrete.” (Green Diary, 2012) It not only lasts a long time, it is completely biodegradable when disposed of.

Bamboo Shades in a Sun Room

Bamboo Shades in a Sun Room

Window furnishings are a great place to start your home transformation. Choosing the right window covering will not only benefit the environment but it can save you money! There are varieties currently on the market that are not only beautiful but serve to allow you to block completely or let in just the right amount of sunlight. Having natural sunlight permeate a room can help reduce costs related to lighting as well as heating in the winter. Having the ability to block the sunlight effectively can reduce the cost of cooling in the summer.

There are several types of bamboo window coverings available. Woven roman shades, roller shades, grommet panels, and drapes are crafted from reeds, grasses, and natural woods, including bamboo. The shades provide a combination of natural beauty, durability, and function. Shades can be flat, hobbled style or accordion, with the same options as other shades or blinds, such as traditional wood valances, continuous cord loop or top-down/bottom-up style for custom design. The panels and drapes can be easily hung with a rod. Because they come in a variety of colors, textures and weaves, with a number of customizable attributes, the selection is extensive. They naturally filter light but a liner can be added to block light and increase privacy. They also pair well with fabric drapery panels.

Bamboo shades, drapes and panels are multifunctional and can be used to accent the home in other ways besides covering windows.

  • Bamboo beaded curtains are great for separating spaces within a room, such as a room divider in a shared kids’ room, creating a private sleeping space in a small studio or setting up a small closet.
  • A woven bamboo panel makes a nice shower curtain that can be easily hooked to the shower rod.
  • Bamboo curtains and shades work well for blocking sunlight when hung over a sliding glass door.
  • Colorful, decorative bamboo shades or beaded curtains make fun wall hangings that are easy to change out for seasonal themes or motifs.
Bamboo Shades with Fabric Drapery

An Eco-friendly home can also be stylish and trendy. Bamboo options will elegantly accent any room by adding a natural touch to your modern décor. Sustainable natural materials are being used to create beautiful and interesting home décor options that will decrease the negative impact on the environment, so you don’t have to sacrifice style to be a green homeowner.

Green Diary. (2012, September 4). Bamboo-the Eco-friendly building material [Blog post]. Retrieved from http://www.greendiary.com/bamboo-the-eco-friendly-building-material.html

Talsma, T. (2012, September 7). Going green in your décor. Retrieved from http://www.wotv4women.com/dpp/your_home/home_decor/going-green-in-your-dcor

Energy-Efficient Shades Save You Money

Choosing the right window covering will unify your room and create the ambiance you desire. If you opt for an energy-efficient window treatment, in addition to tying together your decor, it will save you money! There are varieties currently on the market that are not only beautiful but serve to allow you to block completely or let in just the right amount of sunlight. Having natural sunlight permeate a room can help reduce costs related to lighting as well as heating in the winter. Having the ability to block the sunlight effectively can reduce the cost of cooling in the summer.

There are many benefits to having the proper blinds, shades or shutters in your home. They will make your rooms look nice while also preserving privacy, saving money on heating and cooling costs, and blocking outdoor sounds. Energy-efficient shades offer an attractive and practical alternative to drapes. Some popular and stylish shade options are cellular shades, roman shades and roller shades.

Cellular shades also called honeycomb shades, have a single, double or triple layered design that traps the air between the layers of the shade in individual cells. This creates an effective barrier between the window and the room and helps to prevent temperature transference. These are available in an array of fabrics and colors.

Roman shades are solid fabric panels that when raised, gently fold and stack to give a decorative appearance. They can be overlapping, hobbled or flat. There are a variety of styles, colors and textures to coordinate with any decor. They can be created with an insulated lining to improve energy efficiency as well as privacy and can accommodate large windows.

Roller shades are a sleek design option made as a flat panel of fabric that rolls up and can be concealed. Roller shades are a simple, streamlined look that can be used to filter or block sunlight completely. Roller shades can help to prevent heat loss, block drafts around windows and absorb sound. They are stylish and efficient with many patterns and accessories available.

These types of energy-efficient shades are available in light filtering and room darkening and in a variety of styles to match any home or office. They can also be equipped with no hassle cordless operation for convenience and safety. Eliminating cords and chains gives a clean and uncluttered look and keeps your small children and pets safe. Energy-efficient shades are attractive and functional. They successfully provide privacy, light and sound control, and protect furniture and floors from damaging ultraviolet rays all while cutting down your electric bill!

Cordless Blinds and Shades: The Safe and Stylish Option

There is nothing more important than the safety of your children. The best place to start taking precautions is in your child’s room. Consider the following tips from the Window Covering Safety Council, regarding window areas: Never place a crib, playpen, bed or any type of low-standing furniture near a window. To avoid your child accidentally becoming entangled in a nearby window cord, place cribs and furniture on a non-windowed wall. It is recommended that only cordless window products be used in young children’s bedrooms and play areas. Retrofitting older window coverings is also an option.

Cordless blinds and shades are available in a variety of fashionable options. You do not have to sacrifice style in the name of safety. You will find many colors and designs to suit any decor. In fact, the clean, slick look of cordless is gaining popularity because of its streamlined appearance. Most traditionally corded types are also available in a cordless version using either spring-loaded mechanisms, remote controls or wands.

Some examples available with cordless options are roller blinds, cellular shades and pleated shades. These typically operate by gently pushing up or pulling down on the bottom pull or rail to position at desired height. Remote control blinds give you safety and convenience. Wand operated blinds allow you to easily open, close and traverse slats. Eliminating cords and chains gives a safe, clean, and uncluttered look to enhance any room. Horizontal blinds and shades, vertical blinds and even wood blinds can be used to beautify your home while also keeping your small children and pets safe.

The Window Covering Safety Council was founded in 1994 by major U.S. manufacturers, importers and retailers of window coverings. They formed this coalition to educate consumers about window cord safety, to raise awareness of the potential hazards of window cords, provide free retrofit kits and information, and promote the industry’s continuing commitment to product quality and safety.

For your number one priority, consider replacing your old window coverings with cordless possibilities. If that isn’t an option, retrofit your existing blinds. The Window Covering Safety Council provides free retro kits for your convenience.

Hardwood Blinds vs. Faux Wood Blinds

Wood blinds add warmth and elegance to any room. They are a stylish window solution for traditional or contemporary homes. Many blind options are available to homeowners but if you favor the wood look then the decision is between real hardwood blinds and faux wood blinds. When it comes to hardwood blinds vs. faux wood blinds, the question isn’t which is better, as they are both good choices. The question is which is better suited for your needs. There are some key differences between hardwood and faux wood that one should consider before setting out to make a purchase.

Hardwood Blinds

Hardwood Blinds

Real hardwood blinds come in many colors and stains. They look luxurious on any window but rooms with high moisture such as bathrooms or kitchens, should be off-limits as the real wood is susceptible to warping. They are light-weight for easy raising and lowering which puts less strain on the mechanism and in turn extends the life of the blinds. Because of their light weight, you will find more size options available if needed for large windows. The real wood also helps to insulate the room against heat and cold and can assist in protecting furniture from sun fading. Because the wood doesn’t give when pressure is applied it is more fragile than its faux counterpart and does not stand up well to wear and tear by children and pets. Also, harsh chemicals should be avoided when cleaning.

Faux wood blinds resemble real wood but are more resilient and flexible so the slats are less likely to break. They are heavier than real wood and can be harder to raise and lower if the window is large. The options may be limited for larger sizes due to their weight. Because they are made at least in part with vinyl or PVC, they can resist moisture and would be the best choice for bathrooms and even shower windows. Cleaning is easier since there are no restrictions on the types of cleaning products that can be used. The color selection for faux wood is limited so matching stained window trims might be a concern. When choosing faux wood blinds, be aware of cheaply made products. Some are made of foam that is less durable and may yellow in time. Inexpensive should not mean cheap. One thing to note about their heavier weight, faux wood blinds have smaller spacing between the cord ladders. If more visible cords is a problem, you should consider real wood blinds. If you’re considering decorative tapes keep in mind the tapes cover each ladder cord, so it may look excessive on a faux wood blind.

Faux Wood Blinds

Faux Wood Blinds

Hardwood and faux wood blinds both offer quality options for beautifying your home. If you have children and pets, are buying for a high moisture room or you have white or neutral color painted window trims, then faux is the way to go. If you have stained wood trim and want to easily match to your blinds or you need to cover large windows or want the light-weight option and have no worry of kids or animals, then real hardwood blinds are the right choice. Either way, hardwood or faux wood blinds are the home improvement worth making.

To see our selection of hardwood and faux wood blinds visit our site Blindsmax.com.