8/13/2011

Window Treatments

We are going to be getting new windows in our house soon. That will be a total of nineteen new windows! The only windows we aren't replacing are the porch windows and the leaded glass window in our living room. Yikes. Although we will be having someone else do the installation it still means having to take down all the window blinds and shades. Did I mention that we have nineteen windows to do? And that every window has a custom inside mount blind or shade? That means all the brackets have to be taken off as well. It's going to be a royal pain!

So here is a question for you. How do you feel about mini blinds? I'd love some feedback. My living room and foyer have older, but high quality aluminum blinds that are still in nice condition. We have beautiful oak woodwork in the house that I didn't want to hide behind drapery, which is why we opted for inside mount blinds. There were fewer window covering options available when we bought than what is out there now. Although I hate the upkeep of blinds I really like the light control and the architectural lines, as well as the way they seem to pretty much "disappear" when the slats are  horizontal. When I want to raise them they're lightweight and stack tightly so as to be almost unseen. They also offer total privacy and blackout when needed in our front room which faces the sidewalk and street. But are mini-blinds too old school? I  don't see them very often in the design and decor sites I browse. Also, the color is a burnt sienna and although it looks nice with the woodwork and the decor I'm really tired of it. Any opinions? The first photo isn't very good but it does show the woodwork a bit more. (You can click on any of the pictures to enlarge them.)

                        















































In the adjacent dining room I have soft fabric blinds. The lighting wasn't good. I shouldn't do photography late in the day should I?

 They're attractive and I've had many nice comments about them from visitors, but they aren't as practical as the mini blinds for a couple of reasons. First, they don't offer a clear view out the window due to the sheer fabric overlay, particularly when the sun is shining directly on them. They do offer good privacy from the outside however. Second, as far as energy efficiency they rate pretty low. This will be less of an issue when we get our new low-E windows, but in the past they haven't done much to control heat loss or to keep the heat out on hot days. And third, every now and then an insect will make its way inside the blind and the only way to get it out is to try to stick the vacuum wand in there to suck it up. A real pain! Other than that maintenance is low. They may have an anti-static feature to them because dust doesn't seem to collect on them at all. They've also retained their white color without any yellowing that I can see.
Dead bug. Ugh.
In the bedrooms upstairs we have pleated and cellular shades which work out nicely. A top down-bottom up feature is particularly nice with double hung windows, allowing for privacy and yet air flow. In all but the coldest months I like having a window open, even if just a crack. Must be my Scandinavian origins. The cellular shades have great insulating qualities too.

In the bathroom we have two-inch faux wood blinds (not shown because I don't want you to see all the dust on them...). As you are probably starting to see there is no consistency in any of my window treatments. The kitchen has woven blinds:






Last summer I finally succeeded with my long overdue plans to get shades for both my front and  back porches. I used to have white tie-back curtains on the front porch, which were too "country" for me and a real chore to keep them looking nice and fresh. (Taking down, washing, starching, line drying and ironing...oooh, the ironing...and then rehanging them by which time they'd be wrinkled again thanks to the all cotton fabric.) Then I found that Overstock has some great prices on bamboo Roman blinds. I needed nine blinds and was able to get all of them for about $250 which was well within my budget. The quality is top notch and they've held up well. Our porch used to be nicely tree shaded until our neighbor's tree had to be cut down a couple years ago. Without that afternoon shade the porch would get pretty hot by the end of the day! These bamboo shades have been a nice solution to cutting down on the hot afternoon sun without blocking too much light or visibility. They come in quite a few sizes so we were able to get pretty close to what we needed, although we did have to trim all of them thanks to our non-standard size windows. My husband used a Dremel to do it but you can find other tips online about how to go about it using non-power hand tools as well.
 


The back porch just off our kitchen has eight windows. (If you're keeping count so far that is a total of 20 + 9 + 8 = 37 windows.) For the back porch we went with Ikea's enje roller blinds in dark grey. Unfortunately they're no longer available here in the states, but are still listed on Ikea's Canadian site for you Canadians. They're quite sheer but do a fairly decent job of light control. From the outside they look the same as the window screens so aren't noticeable at all. Trimming was involved with those also, but it was a fairly easy task requiring just a bit of time and patience. There's a great tutorial over at Door Sixteen that I followed and it worked out great. 



So whew, that's a lot of windows! And I didn't even mention the doors that have windows or the basement windows or the garage. Yeah, we run a pretty classy glassy joint here. 

Anyway, I'd love some feedback. I'm not even sure anyone is reading this blog of mine. What are your favorite window treatments? Are you blinded by all the blind choices? Have some shady characters lurking around your windows? Or do you curtsy more to curtains? Okay, I'll stop now. Do leave a comment. I hate to beg, but pleeeease?





1 comment:

  1. I came across your post while searching for comments on Ikea blinds. Thank you for posting your opinion. I have a question, how do these Ikea Enje blinds look from the outside? are they very transparent at day? What about night - can everything be seen what's inside? We are looking for inexpensive curtains or blinds, but these might be too transparent for night? And, if someone looks from a far distance at night of approx.100 metres (we live in countryside), will it be just a shadow of a person? Thank you for your feedback in advance!

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