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DESIGN LINE: 10 Window Shade Treatments

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

 

When we talk about windows, let me first say that I am a designer of simplicity. I don’t always opt for window treatment at all—but many times we either need it to complete the room or to physically block the light. Because so much of my work is modern-minded or happens within old New England homes with intricate moldings, I often opt to place the treatment inside the window casings. This achieves the simplest look and leaves those charming details exposed.

For those of you eager to know about drapery and other ways to treat your windows, I promise a future column, but for today, let’s take a look at the options for window treatments that fit inside. Not all window jambs will be deep enough to house every type of shade inside, so make sure you find out exactly how deep that jamb is before you get going.

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Flat Fold Romans

When a space calls for a bit of softness and color, but you still want to keep it simple, flat fold romans are an excellent answer.  They are perfect for softening a bathroom full of lots of hard surfaces.  When let down, a flat panel of fabric covers the window.  Raise them and large lovely pleats adorn the bottom, while a smaller flat panel sits above.  Even the most classic room can come alive with a vibrant print or solid burst of color.  Just be sure that your fabric is suitable for the job: linens will wrinkle and flop; sturdier fabrics are a better answer.  And line them!  You don’t want to see the mechanisms through the shade once your treatment is hung.

Kelly Taylor Interior Design

Photo: Nat Rea

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Soft Romans

Another version of the roman shade, soft romans are a bit more airy and light.  My favorite fabrics to use for soft romans are sheers.  These are perfect for a dining room that wants to be upscale but not super formal  or for a room, such as this one, where there simply is no place for drapery to stack.  Soft romans, sometimes called “relaxed,” are romantic and even more so when made from a light, highly translucent material.  But you can also use more opaque fabrics if you want the look without the light.  If the shade will be unlined, be careful about using silk, as sunlight will degrade the silk fibers and eventually disintegrate your shades.

Kelly Taylor Interior Design

Photo: Nat Rea

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Wood Blinds

Wood blinds are an excellent choice for bedrooms, studies and less formal rooms.  I love that they easily allow a wide range of light adjustment.  My favorite wooden blinds come from Hunter Douglas.  I happen to prefer them in the painted colors, since they blend beautifully in with most white and off-white moldings.  But there are many wood tones, so in a dark mahogany study, for example, that would be the way to go.  Hunter Douglas offers a cordless raising system, which is great for people with young children or simply for ease of lifting and lowering the blinds.

Photo courtesy of Hunter Douglas

www.hunterdouglas.com

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Wood Shutters

I grew up in Charleston, SC, where plantation shutters abound.  However, I’ve never been a fan of the louvers.  They get sticky over time and are hard to clean.  I put my own twist on the plantation shutter and simply have panels made that look like mini-doors.  Having wood shutters custom made is certainly not the least expensive option for window treatment, but I love that the bottom shutter can stay closed, allowing for glare control and privacy, while the top can remain open, allowing natural light and the view to shine in.

Kelly Taylor Interior Design

Photo: Nat Rea

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Top Down, Bottom Up

Using a top-down, bottom-up shade can provide the same combination of privacy and light as shutters do, allow the use of a softer treatment and, more often than not, be less expensive.   This shade will have two cords.  One moves the shade from the top down, to allow light to come in from the top, while the other moves the bottom up.  One thing to remember:  when the shade is pulled down from the top, there will be visible strings which hold the shade in place, so know that before purchasing them.  A small valance at the top of the shade covers the mechanism for a nice clean look and maximum flexibility

Courtesy of The Shade Store

www.theshadestore.com

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Roller Shades

Roller Shades can be very effective for the cleanest, most modern look and total ease of operation.  They come with no cords, and simply operate by tugging up and lowering down until the shade locks.  That said, the mechanism is fully exposed on a roller shade, so make sure you understand that from the start.  One thing I like to specify when ordering roller shades is known as “reverse roll.”  Instead of the shade dropping behind the roll, reversing this allows the shade to drop from the front of the roll, thereby hiding the roller.   You will still see the mounting hardware on either side of the roll, but with a tight fit, this should be minimized.  The Shade Store has some amazing prints which can pack some serious punch for a very reasonable price.

Photo courtesy of www.theshadestore.com

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Solar Shades

Solar shades are so named because they are made to cut the glare of the sun.  These are perfect for a home office.  They allow a view outside but prevent a view inside, and come in varying degrees of translucency to block various amounts of light.  Not all solar shades are created equal in look or in quality, so make sure you grab samples and check content before making your decision.  Hunter Douglas has a line of “Greenscreen” solar fabrics that pass green certifications standards.  You don’t want to buy window treatments that emit toxins into your air, so be sure to ask.  I especially like solar shades that are dark, as they allow more visibility out, believe it or not, and can be really dramatic.

Kelly Taylor Interior Design

Photo: Nat Rea

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Cellular Shades

Cellular or “honeycomb” shades are a bit utilitarian, but for those on a budget, they are a viable option.  Super simple, cellular shades typically come in limited, neutral colors.  However, they are available in black-out and light filtering varieties, so that you can control the amount of light entering the room.  Custom-sized cellular shades will cost you between $150-175 per window, so if you’re looking for something simple, easy to operate, and economical, this is your shade.  As you can see, the top-down, bottom-up option is available in these as well.

Photo courtesy of www.smithandnoble.com

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Pleated Shades

I prefer pleated shades to cellulars just because I think they look a bit more upscale.  And, they cost even less than cellulars in most cases.  In this room, they provide a simple, clean backdrop to two traditional lounge chairs, which goes to show they can work in nearly any setting.  Plus, these crisp, accordian-like pleats come in a fantastic color assortment, so if you’re looking for adding pop on a budget, this is an excellent option.  And, if down the road, you want to add a little punch, you can always get a custom fabric valance to hang over the tops of the shades.

 

Photo courtesy of www.smithandnoble.com

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Natural Wovens

I’ve saved the best for last, because in my opinion, there are no shades as beautiful as natural wovens.  Natural woven fabrics can be made into roller or roman shades (romans are pictured here).  They are, very simply, natural fibers and materials woven together into a cloth-like fabric that retains the roughness of the fibers themselves.  They’re my favorite because I love the added depth some texture can add to the slickness of paint and glass.  For the very best and lifetime-lasting shades, go to www.conradshades.com.  You can achieve a similar look through lower-priced options.  Just know going in that eventually the edges will fray.

Kelly Taylor Interior Design

photo: Nat Rea

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Ask!

I love hearing what you want to know.  Please, feel free to post on my Facebook page anything you’d like to see written about in this column. My page is open to wall posts, so bring on your ideas, questions and what’s making you crazy at home or at work!

Kelly Taylor has 15 plus years of experience in the field of interior design.  She is the 2012 recipient of New England Home magazine’s  “5 Under 40” award for excellence in design as well as Rhode Island Monthly magazine’s 2012 Gold Award for residential interior design.  She practices residential and commercial interior design in Providence, Rhode Island. Find her on Twitter at @ktidnet, visit her website at www.ktid.net or check her out on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/KellyTaylorInteriorDesign.

 
 

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Comments:

Those were some really cool ideas. However, I believe that window screens by modern designers such as shoji screen Bethesda MD can be matched according to individual window types and materials and are durable as well.

Comment #1 by Kelvin Taylor on 2014 06 18




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