Shutters Create Soft Mood

Shutters

Window coverings can be one of the most challenging design choices in a home. Balancing light access, privacy, cost and design benefits can be complex. In the meantime, you may be living with sheets tacked to the walls with painter’s tape.

This space shows some of the advantages of shutters. The look is clean and inviting, and light is completely under your control. A simple adjustment of the louvers allows you to let in plenty of daylight without compromising privacy. And the light provided is soft and appealing.

This corner feels like a perfect place to settle on a summer Saturday morning. The white-on-white style is well suited to the filtered sunlight, and yellow-green accents keep the space feeling cool and clean. You can curl up and read a book – the light is just right – or talk with the person sitting in the matching chair on the other side of you.

Notice that there are just a couple of features in other colors. The dull silver of the labels is a good foil to the green, and the little turquoise-colored box on the top shelf pops gently in comparison to the other hues. Someone spent some time planning this corner, and the shutters provide just the right background for this design.

If you’re planning your window coverings, why not consider shutters? They can be custom-made to suit any size or shape of window, and provide a wealth of options in terms of color and materials. They make a great companion to almost any design, and can be a major contributor to the overall look and feel of a space, as this corner shows.

Choosing the Right Window Treatment

18055454_SWhether you have just moved into a new home or are redecorating a room in your house, choosing the right window treatment can make or break your decorating scheme. There are so many options when it comes to treatments so you’ll need to do your homework to decide if you want blinds, shades or draperies.

Keep in mind the style of the house, your budget, the room the windows are in, and, of course, the windows themselves. Large draperies will look overpowering on small windows, while blinds on large windows may be overwhelming. Think about your color scheme when selecting the treatments.

You also want to think about how easy your window coverings will be to keep clean. Options for blinds include plastic, faux wood or aluminum. With regular dusting and an occasional wipe down with a damp cloth, blinds are fairly easy to maintain. If you pick heavy draperies they will need to be washed or dry-cleaned a couple of times a year.

Do you want your window treatments to provide privacy and block the light or do you want them purely for aesthetic reasons?

To get ideas look through home magazines, go through model homes, surf the web and look at what your friends have done. You definitely want a foundation of what you love before you start looking in stores.

Most importantly, measure, measure, measure! You don’t want to purchase a window covering, get ready to install it and then find out that it doesn’t fit or isn’t long enough.

Windows Instead of Walls

There is a lot of talk about focal walls in decorating. What if you have more windows than walls in your room? Sun rooms and rooms with walls of windows can be tricky to decorate given you don’t have wall space as a focal point. In the case of too many windows, let the view outside be the star.

 

Garden rooms and sun rooms can have three walls of windows, leaving just one wall as a place to hang art or place a television. Place furniture in an arrangement that highlights both the view through the windows and the focal wall. Common arrangements of furniture right up against the perimeter will mean you are facing away from the view in a room full of windows—and not taking advantage of the view.  Some furniture that faces into the room is acceptable to create conversation areas.

 

Use flooring to designate seating areas in the sun room or garden room just as you would a living room. Often sun rooms feature both sitting and dining areas so rugs can help distinguish these two spaces. Ask your retailer about color stability in sunlight when purchasing flooring for a sun room or room with a wall of windows.

 

A wall of windows can be dressed with window treatments that allow you to control the light flow into the space. Curtains and shades, even when left open, will give the windows a more finished look. Coordinate these design elements with other colors and patterns in the room.

Blinds and Flooring Set Stage

When you have a contemporary house with little or no architectural detail built in, the best solution is to create architectural depth yourself.

This room has a strong contemporary feel, and the light wood flooring and matching wood blinds support that while adding interest and depth to the room.

Choosing dark tape for the blind mechanism grounds the light elements in the room and connects the light wood choice with the dark leather bed frame and dark wood nightstand. Together they provide the contrast that makes a modern room work – the light wood horizontal combined with the dark verticals complement the dark horizontal furnishings.

The bed has a curved padded headboard that creates a comfortable place to lean back and read or watch the flat-screen. The nightstand also shows function as well as style with room enough for essentials on top and storage for books and magazines underneath.

Notice the pillow choices. Three sets of matching pillows add pattern. The bottom pillows are in a solid fabric, but the tie closures add a nice detail. The next two sets combine modern and a touch of traditional with the embroidered dragonflies. This room keeps accessories to a minimum, so the pillows add interest and help make the bed the focal point.

Functional and well-designed, this bedroom brings together a good foundation with an appealing finish. Do you want a bedroom with the right combination of connection and contrast? Let us help you select just the right combination of flooring and window treatments to get you started.

Good Design Starts with the Fundamentals

If you are drawn to modern styles, every choice becomes more critical. With traditional design there are many details to draw the eye. Good modern design keeps lines simple and furnishings to a minimum. This forces every element to carry more importance in a room.

Take a look at this bedroom. Its clean lines and neutral palette requires attention to every detail.

First, notice how the two-inch wood blinds match the light wood flooring. This connection creates style before adding stick of furniture. These blinds offer a selection of fabric tapes to cover the mechanism, and this daring dark choice brings the equally-dark bed frame into focus. The dark verticals coordinate with the dark horizontals of the only two pieces of furniture in the space.

The bed linens are simple and light and the matching bed pillows provide the only patterned fabric in the room. The large circles on the larger set of pillows show a classic modern design, and then the gold dragonflies embroidered on the smaller pillows provide an unexpected touch of romance. The flowers also provide a softer element, but the very contemporary vase keeps the design consistently modern.

Do you want to create a contemporary room with just the right design elements? Come visit our showroom and learn how coordinating flooring and window treatments provide the start you need to design the modern room of your dreams.

Good Foundation for Great Room

One difference between a nice room and a room that’s well designed comes from how the furnishings fit with the design structure of the room itself.

This room demonstrates an effective connection between its flooring, window treatments and the style choices.

The wood flooring’s natural maple finish matches perfectly with the light wood window blinds. In contrast, the dark tapes selected as blind pulls reflect the dark leather bed frame and wood nightstand.

Although furnishings are limited in the space, the coordination of dark and light throughout the room helps it feel finished from a design standpoint. Additional touches are limited. The nightstand sports a phone, magazines and a lone vase of flowers. The reading material is a natural fit for that headboard. The curve and padding makes this a great spot for reading or watching television.

The touch of pattern comes from the bed pillows. One set is a large dot pattern that suits the contemporary feel of the bedroom. The smaller pillows show a more traditional pattern – embroidered dragonflies – which provide a more luxurious and gentler touch.

By starting with a coordinated and attractive foundation, this bedroom owner created an inviting and simple bedroom that still shows natural design flair.

Whatever your preference in flooring: wood, tile or carpet, there are window treatments that will coordinate well and create the finished look you want. Let us help you make the right match for your home.

2011 Design Trend: Metallic Surfaces

Hunter Douglas resident design experts, Jen & Sally, give their top ten insights for what’s going to be hot on the interior design scene in 2011. One of the trends they called and we are already seeing a lot of is a throwback to past eras of when the theatrical and dramatic glamour of metallic surfaces was all the rage. “Alluring and theatrical, metallic surfaces are back in style. You’ll see them as primary and secondary design elements throughout the home, from stainless steel furniture to gold leaf accessories.”

The trend hasn’t been lost on Hunter Douglas product designers either. You’ll find metallic finishes on hardware, blinds and many other products. Their blinds in particular are expertly made and give off the glamorous glint of precious metals. The following collections offer the widest variety of metallics:

Alustra Modern Precious Metals—available in ten metallic finishes such as aluminum, brushed aluminum, champagne pearl, twilight pearl and bright gold, Their  2” slat surface reflects the light beautifully when open and gives a good amount of privacy control at night. Use in any room and add a few metallic accents such as mirrored furniture or window side panels hung on metal hardware in bright metallic finishes.
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Somner Custom Vertical Blinds—available in six metallic finishes such as bright aluminum, antique gold, bronze and golden honey. The 3 ½ vane size allows for a lovely glow for daytime and a privacy control of 5. Be sure to visit the link above to see all of the swatches. These are also great for any room especially the bedroom and living area.
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Child Safety and Window Coverings

F1ONRF-00005794-001We’re in the middle of October, which is child safety month. As future parents plan for their new little one, safety is a number one concern.

It’s interesting to consider how much more important safety has become over the past few decades. At one time, there were no safe child car seats or swallow-safe toys designed for children under three. Home products have also changed to reflect child safety issues.

Hunter Douglas stood in the forefront of the changes to make today’s homes safer for both children and pets. Although it’s not top-of-mind for most people, some children – and pets – lost their lives after becoming entangled in cords hanging from blinds and shades. Once the problem was recognized, Hunter Douglas developed a number of innovations to eliminate this risk.

Their roman shades demonstrate the changed perspective, with no exposed cords, and the tassels on their wooden blinds have a quick break feature that will split under pressure.

Two newer Hunter Douglas window products eliminated the cord issue completely. One, the LiteRise® system, allows shades or blinds to be raised or lowered to any position by hand. The other is a motorized lifting system which adjusts height on window treatments with the push of a button.

Today’s children have a much safer living environment than we did, thanks in part to efforts of consumer safety groups and companies such as Hunter Douglas that have stepped up to make a difference.

Window Coverings – What to know before you buy

Window coverings are not an option! Every home has to have window coverings. If you don’t purchase them before you move in, you will have to purchase window coverings and will usually do so within 30 days of move-in. It’s important to be aware of the many advantages of purchasing window coverings before you move in to your new home or when remodeling your home.

Window coverings bring immediate privacy and a sense of security.

Questions to ask yourself:

  • What activities are going to be done in this room?
    • Keeping these activities in mind will help you determine the answers to the following questions.
  • What are my privacy and light control needs?
    • You will want to consider how much privacy you desire in each room.  For example, you may not need the same amount of privacy for a dining room as you may need for a bedroom. You then want to consider how much light control is needed. Do you want the capacity to filter or completely block out the sunlight?
    • Window treatments come in varying degrees of opacity.  There are many products in sheer, semi-opaque and opaque fabrics and materials.  Light and privacy can be easily managed, and virtually eliminated, if desired. Additionally, if you want the capability to adjust light, privacy and a view, blinds offer amazing versatility.  Any product with a louver can redirect light and completely change the complexion of a room simply by rotating or tilting the louvers.
    • You should also consider that sunlight can cause many interior finishes to fade.  You will definitely want to protect your cherry cabinetry and hardwood floor from damaging UV rays as soon as possible with window coverings. Window 2
    • Window coverings will protect the floor coverings and cabinetry from harmful ultra violet light.
    • Window coverings provide privacy that you may forget about until you move in and are exposed! Window coverings also provide security while the home may be vacant prior to renting.
  • How do your windows open?
    • You will want to look at the window layout of your home and determine how each window opens and consider how often you will want to access them.  There are many different styles of windows.  Some windows open up, some out and some in, while some go side-to side.
    • If you are covering sliding glass doors, are they opened often? This is an important question to ask because you might design a beautiful window covering, but if it doesn’t fit the function, you will be unhappy with the result.  Keep in mind that you will want a window treatment that is easy to lift and stacks nicely for windows that you will open often or for sliding glass doors.
  • Are you shopping for any specialty or unusually shaped windows?
    • There are many interesting window shapes and your window treatments may need a bit of special attention.  There are arched or palladian windows, bay windows, skylights, A-frames and casement windows, to name a few.  You also want to remember any doors that will require coverings, such as sliding glass doors and French doors.
  • Do you have children, pets or elderly persons living with you?Windows 3
    • Some types of window coverings can pose a safety threat to small children or pets with their pull cords.  There are products that help create a safer environment. Products with cordless operations minimize hazards associated with lift cords.  Additionally, safety tassels and wands are available on several aluminum and vertical blinds.
  • Is energy efficiency a concern? / Is there a need to control temperature or is energy efficiency a concern?
    • Window coverings make an enormous difference in the enjoyment of a home. Besides adding to the beauty of the rooms, they can reduce the heating and air conditioning costs. You will want to consider the heat in the summer and cold in the winter, along with the exposure of the room – does it face north, south, east or west?
    • Window 4North facing windows provide the most consistent light but also the coldest exposure.  For these windows, it’s wise to consider energy efficient window treatments.
    • South facing windows receive good light year-round.  Light diffusing treatments help protect upholstered furniture from the sun.
    • East facing windows admit warm, bright light, especially in the morning.  You will want to consider window treatments that help block ultraviolet rays.
    • West facing windows admit the hottest, haziest light of the day.  Light diffusing window treatments are best in these areas.
    • It’s important to know that sunny windows make air conditioners work two to three times harder, while in colder seasons, heat lost through windows can account for 10 to 25 percent of the heating bill.  Honeycomb shades are well known for their energy efficient components.

Hunter Douglas Energy Efficient Window Fashions

INGMRF-00067178-001Did you know that almost 5% of all energy consumed in the U.S. passes through the windows of residential homes. meaning as much as 50% of a home’s energy is lost through its windows. Hunter Douglas is the worldwide leader in creating innovative, energy-efficient window fashions that can significantly reduce this energy loss, helping you and your family to stay more comfortable, save on heating and cooling costs and contribute to protecting the environment.

Here’s how Hunter Douglas products help conserve energy:

  • Insulation: Reduce heat flow (both heat loss and heat gain) through the windows.
  • Solar Heat Control: Help to control solar heat (heat generated from the sun) by allowing it into your home in the winter and minimizing the amount that comes in during the summer.
  • Daylighting: Enhance daylighting (the use of natural light) by diffusing and dispersing sunlight deep into a room, reducing your need for electrical lighting.

The most recent innovation from Hunter Douglas, Duette Architella honeycomb shades, takes energy conservation to a whole new level. Its patented honeycomb-within-a-honeycomb construction forms three air pockets to dramatically reduce heat flow at the window to save on both energy and heating and cooling costs.

What does that mean?

If installed in every window of every American home, Duette Architella shades have the potential to cut the country’s annual energy consumption by 2½%. This may not sound like much, but it’s the equivalent of a 33% increase in fuel mileage for all passenger cars on U.S. roads — which would save almost 450 million barrels of oil annually and reduce C02 emissions by about 200 million tons.WOW! Those are real numbers!

For more detailed “green” product information, visit the Our Products section of the Hunter Douglas website.  Once you select a window fashion, click on the “Hunter Green” tab inside Product Details.

Have you used any of these products in your home? Have you seen a difference?