A conducive sleep and study environment for school-going children cannot be underestimated. A good night’s sleep improves children’s attention span, receptiveness and ability to learn while a positive environment for studying enables them to focus better. According to Sleep for Kids, a service of the National Sleep Foundation, there are a few practices that help children achieve a healthy sleep: maintaining a sleep schedule, creating a consistent and enjoyable bedtime routine and establishing a sleep friendly environment.
Child psychologists say that getting into the pattern of studying and getting a good night’s sleep starts at an early age. Studies also suggest that children who establish these patterns early on do better in school and are more successful in college.
Window blinds also play a surprisingly big factor in this. Here are a few things that all parents can do:
1. Install window blinds that block glare from the sun. Glare often makes difficult for a child to see his or her computer screen. It can also damage the child’s eyes if he or she has to strain through it.
2. Choose top down/bottom up options on the blinds nearest to your child’s study area. While it is important to block glare, sunlight also elevates our moods, helps eyesight and suppresses melatonin, the chemical that affects our sleep patterns. In other words, students who do their learning in the daylight are happier, able to see more and less sleepy. The result? A world of difference in a child’s concentration!
3. Window blinds can prevent distractions. Even the smallest movement, like a bird or car, can break concentration. Prevent those interrupters from making an impact by keeping the blinds lowered during study time.
4. Put blackout shades in a child’s bedroom. In the summer and early fall months, the sun sets on the late side. Make it easy for kids to go to bed at a reasonable hour by installing shades that completely block light.
Take time to establish which environments are best for what your child needs. Creating a home environment that consistently fosters good habits can have a significant positive effect on your child’s growth, ability and desire to learn.
Many homes have more than one window type. From skylights to French doors and everything in between, there is a right window treatment for them all. When selecting the right window blind or shade, you need to consider its function, form and purpose.
Arched Windows – Due to the numerous types of arched windows, choosing the right window treatment can be challenging. The most popular type of window treatment for arched windows is a honeycomb shade, which fans into a semi-circle. While horizontal blinds can be made to fit arches, they are generally more costly.
French Doors – There are many choices when deciding on a window treatment for french doors. Sheers on doors are popular, but many people think they’re too frilly, old-fashioned, do not want to always block their view, or are afraid they’ll get the fabric soiled from dirty hands.
When deciding on french door coverings, the key is to think of the door as a window, which happens to be in a door. It is usually best to use the same products as those already on windows in that room, for consistency.
Blinds with smaller slats are recommended as door window treatments because larger blinds may interfere when opening the door. If you prefer to completely block out light, choose a blackout roller or honeycomb shade as a door window covering. A light filtering shade will gently filter in natural light, yet offer you the privacy you desire. It is common to use hold down brackets at the bottom so your blind or shade won’t flop around as the door opens and closes. The product can be easily removed from the bracket whenever you want to raise it.
Wood blinds with smaller slat sizes and mini blinds are typically used for French doors and smaller windows. Woven wood shades are also an option. They offer different levels of light control and come in an assortment of diverse looks.
Hard to Reach Windows – Windows that are up high, such as split-level windows, windows in cathedral ceilings or windows that are obstructed by furniture or other obstacles need special consideration when choosing a window treatment.
Consider specifying extra long cords so you can open or close a product. Some honeycomb shades and blinds can be made with a remote control.
Large Windows- Large picture windows add drama and lots of great natural light. Whenever a window covering is extremely large, its weight makes it difficult to raise and puts unnecessary tension on the strings (which may cause the strings to break).
When dealing with large window treatments you may need to consider special control options. If the shade is very large, everyone will benefit from this option. The manufacturers should have size guidelines that help you choose the best option.
For blinds, consider dividing them up into multiple blinds on a single head rail, or order multiple blinds and install them side-by-side. Usually there are multiple windows within a single opening, so you should usually divide up the blinds to line up with the windows. When you do this, get one valance to span all the head rails to make it appear to be one single product.
Skylights – Skylight windows are great way to bring more natural light into a room but can also be a source of unwanted heat loss, heat gain and UV exposure. Consider using a highly efficient insulating honeycomb shade, which lets light in, but blocks heat and cold. The shades can move, with the help of an optional collapsible wand.
Special shades can be ordered with side rails for support. Be sure to specify that your shade is for a skylight, since there’s a surcharge.
Patio/Sliding Glass Doors – When it come sliding glass doors, a window treatment needs to provide all the normal duties – privacy, light control and, of course, aesthetics. But they also have to be able to open up fully for easy ingress and egress.
The traditional choices are vertical blinds and curtains. Both work well on these large glass surfaces and both can be opened fully to one side, or sometimes both sides. Within these categories there are lots of great choices.
Lesser known choices include panel track blinds, which operate on wheeled track system and have over-sized vertical vanes, and vertical cellular shades. Vertical cellular shades are vertically-oriented cellular shades and usually feature two moveable side rails with locking handles for ease of operation; this allows the shade stack to be positioned on the right, left or in the center.
Replacing your old worn out window treatments with new window shades or blinds is an easy and affordable way to spruce up any room in your home or office. Blinds are not only decorative, but they also give you privacy and protect your home from harsh elements.
Selecting the right window treatment depends on the purpose, level of maintenance, personal taste and last but not least, your budget. Here are some points to consider.
Decide on a style
You will need to decide on what sort of look you wish to achieve from your window treatments. Is it the modern and clean look you are aiming for? Perhaps you would you prefer a more warm and rustic look.
Wood blinds help to insulate drafty spots around your windows. Cellular shades also help to insulate your home around the windows and block nearly 100% of UV light. Cellular shades are durable and low maintenance with the dust resistant non-woven polyester. Roman shades add a classy touch with the look and style of drapes but the technology and durability of shades.
Measure your windows
It is important to take accurate measurements of each window before placing your order with the manufacturer. You can hire a professional to do this before you order and install your new window treatments once they arrive. If you plan to measure and install the blinds yourself, make sure you take a precise measurement of your window, double and triple check your measurements before you finalize your order.
Choose from fabrics or colors and features.
Once you have accurately measured your windows, search the manufacturer’s inventory for a color or fabric that fits your décor. Wood blinds and faux wood blinds look great with their natural wood finish as well as huge range of white tones. Cellular, roller and Roman shades come in hundreds of colors. Roman shades are also available in many stylish colors as well as prints, patterns and embellishments if you are looking to add a decorative accent.
To make purchasing and installing new window treatments easy and affordable no matter what your budget, watch out for manufacturer discounts which are typically seasonal. Alternatively, online window treatment stores also offer some good discounts and offer a convenient way for you to make your purchase.
Another thing you want to do is make price comparisons between 3-4 manufacturers. This is so you get the best bang for your buck.
In essence, window blinds are available in a wide variety of designs and textures. They can help completely transform the complete look of a room. If budget is a major constraint, but you don’t want to compromise on the look of the home, mixed blinds are a great option. You can use cheaper blinds for areas with low traffic and attractive, more expensive blinds in important areas such as living room, dining room, bedroom and other high usage areas.
Do consider the overall theme of your room while buying blinds. Also consider insulation and energy-efficiency aspects. This will affect your electricity bill over the long run.
Your bathroom functions in quite a different way to the rest of the rooms in your home and therefore the blinds you choose for the bathroom should reflect the rooms use.
Firstly, no other room in your home will see quite as much water as your bathroom and where there’s water, there’s potentially damp and water stains. Another consideration is to keep privacy in mind when you’re choosing blinds for your bathroom. Many bathrooms also tend to have smaller windows as bathrooms are often the smallest room in the house so blinds which let in natural light are a must.
There are quite a few options out there and hopefully the ones featured below will give you some ideas.
Top down/bottom up
This is a perfect window treatment feature for a bathroom. Privacy can be maintained while still allowing natural light in. Shades with this option can be lifted from the bottom as well, providing a variety of light control options. This type of shade lift is available in roman, cellular, woven wood and pleated shades.
The light coming in from all of these windows is controlled yet flexible with two different cellular shade options. The skylight shades also offer a wand for more convenient operation.
The neutral colors and natural fibers of this woven wood shade bring a pleasing balance to this otherwise feminine bathroom.
Faux wood blinds
This is another great option for bathroom windows. While having the look of a natural wood blind, they are among the easiest window treatments to maintain. Requiring only a quick wipe down for cleaning is a huge benefit because bathroom window treatments tend to attract more dust and dirt due to being in an often humid environment covering open windows. Additionally, they are available in such an array of colors, there is sure to be a match to coordinate with any bathroom décor.
Composite wood shutters
Also ideal for a bathroom because they are resistant to moisture, will not warp, and are easy to clean, all while looking fabulous.
If your blinds might get wet or damp consider a water resistant option
Avoid heavy fabrics because if the environment is too damp they could collect mildew! Also avoid using real wood and consider wood effect venetians.
Working from home has exploded tremendously over the last few years. Evolving technology has made it easier than ever for employees to simply connect from home without ever stepping outside of their front door. Here are a few ideas on how to turn your home office into a conducive place to work
Your home is not just a living area anymore. It is also your workplace. As the saying goes, “a cluttered space is a cluttered mind”- well, it’s true! It is difficult to focus when the area around you has so many focal points. Your mind is concentrating on the clutter instead of more important business matters.
An area without clutter relaxes your mind. You’ll be amazed at the amount of peace you will reach simply by removing and neatly arranging items around you.
Designate a Work Space
Decide where your work area will be. Whether your office is an entire room or a small corner, you want to make sure that space is your designated area.
Since you are now working from home, there is nowhere to escape to when the 5 o’clock whistle blows. For this reason it is important to keep your work and play area as separate as possible.
Your first instinct may be to carry your work from room to room. You will want to use the entire house as your office. It is important not to do this. Why not? Because when it is time to escape at the end of your workday you want to have somewhere to escape to. If you have work spread throughout the house you won’t have that section of your home to go to in order to relax.
Let the Sun in
Having your blinds drawn and working in a dark gloomy environment is not the most effective way to spend your work day. Studies show that people who work and live in spaces that are well lit with natural light are happier, healthier and more productive.
Sunlight is also a good source of Vitamin D which increases energy levels. Allowing the sun to shine through will improve your attitude and stimulate your creative juices.
So naturally, efficient window treatments are a must. It doesn’t matter if you work in a dedicated home office or f you use another room to perform work-related duties, you cannot work comfortably if the area is dark, dim or has poor lighting.
Windows, curtains, blinds, shutters, overhangs, skylights, tinted glass and coloured glass can all be used to manipulate the quality and intensity of natural light entering an interior space.
Window treatments are not just for functional purposes, they can also greatly enhance the beauty of your home office. This makes for a more pleasant, comfortable and professional environment to work in.
Most people, when they think of exterior window shutters, they think of the typically ‘classic’ French style Louvre, with small brightly colored slats, and traditionally fashioned in wood. But today, this is far from the only choice available, although still highly popular.
These whimsical shutters have been designed with timeless style, practical designs as well as shutters that are easy to clean and difficult to stain. Apart from that, exterior window shutters are made from many different materials including a wide variety of wood, plastics, polymers, vinyls and even aluminum metal.
Exterior shutters existed far before colonial America. The history of shutters is thought to extend back to ancient Greece. The wood exterior shutter was adopted in America as a means to effectively control light, provide privacy, and protect from intruders. In the modern era, the need for exterior shutters has diminished with the wide-spread use of window screens, air conditioners, and interior window coverings.
Today, the exterior shutter is primarily used to enhance the outside attractiveness of a building.
Essentially, exterior shutters are made from cedar wood due to its properties of high resistance to decay and long-term durability. The tannin found naturally in cedar wood helps to prevent penetration of moisture and acts as a natural repellant against bugs. Yet, there is only so much you can do with wood, and if buyers are reluctant to stick to just brown-colored shutters for their windows, they can also consider non-wood shutters.
Colonial style exterior shutters consist of two separate shutter panels that open towards both sides of the window. These types of shutter are of historical value with panels that can be raised, flattened or louvered. It is essential to remember that Colonial shutters require space for the panels to be outstretched when occupants want the shutters opened.
On the other hand, Bahama style shutters open upwards to the top of the window and are held up with supporting arms. They are normally found in white and are made from stronger materials such as aluminum and fiberglass to withstand natural elements.
If you are seeking for style and color variation in your exterior window shutters, then Vinyl shutters and Composite shutters may just be the choice for you. These shutters are available in louvers, raised or flat panels. Finally, shoppers are spoilt for choice with various panel styles and colors
Window treatments often turn into a design challenge or major investment, but let’s face it: If you neglect your windows in favor of a different design focus, you’ll be left with a bare view. We’ve noted some of the latest trends for 2012 to help you transform your space for a fresher and more stylish year ahead.
These days, you’re recycling, conserving power and water and trying to be more eco-conscious because it’s the right thing for you and your family to do. There are eco-friendly window treatments too; woven wood shades fit that bill. They’re made from recyclable materials like reeds, grasses, sisal, rattan, and of course, bamboo, which you can easily and safely dispose of if you ever decide to get rid of them. The materials used to make them are sustainable. These woven wood shades make a beautiful statement, bringing a touch of nature into your home.
Green design is becoming a popular trend from consumers looking to combat allergies to those looking for heat- or cold-repellant window panels.
Shades and blinds have always been about keeping light out, but now they can also save you money on your heating bills. Cellular or honeycomb shades is tech meets nature. “They’re made of a spun woven polyester that, combined with the shape of the bee honeycomb, creates a detour for the wind or the cold to not go into the house. For larger, sliding glass windows, the solar panels will reduce glare, UV penetration and heat transfer.
Performance fabrics have also gone “green,” with anti-microbial, anti-fungal traits woven into the yarn or offered as a topical spray. Stain-resistant and mildew- and mold-resistant fabrics are also popular picks for allergy sufferers. Even the environmentally conscious will feel right at home with non-toxic dyes on fabrics.
Not surprisingly, color trends for 2012 are moving towards natural hues and colors that are emblematic of nature. In addition to timeless neutral shades of beige and brown, bright sky blues and deep forest greens are big right now. If you want to make bolder choices, include warm sun-like yellows, sunset-like oranges and rich teals. Choosing paints with natural pigments and low or no VOCs is also recommended.
Simple, sleek lines are dominating window fashions in everything from flowing drapes to chrome decorative hardware. Creating sleek silhouettes against a window instantly lends a clean, modern look to any window and room.
A quick way to get truly streamlined treatments is with popular panel-track systems. Panel-track systems are made of fabric or woven-wood panels and can be used as room dividers or on window walls or doors. Influenced by Asian shoji screens, these panel-track treatments can look contemporary or European depending on the fabric.
Stripes and bold prints are continuing as a trend in 2012. Bright florals that attract traditional tastes and graphic geometric patterns that offer youthful spunk are some of the bold prints being seen on windows lately.
Technology plays such a huge role in our lives and yet we yearn for simplicity. Window blinds can now be controlled via remote, a light switch or even the Internet. But just because your windows have gone high-tech, it doesn’t mean they have to be stark and uninviting. Layering fabrics with high-thread-count cottons is one trend sure to cozy up a window.
If you have a home with contemporary décor and furniture you probably might want to choose modern window treatments to go with it. In the past drapes and curtains were considered to be the more traditional window coverings but this not the case anymore. Nowadays there are various types of contemporary designs for drapes and curtains to suit any type of modern home décor. However blinds, shades and shutters are still my preferred choice. One common thing among the different modern window treatments is the minimalist design. The uncluttered, simple and clean look is the trend that many modern owners are trying to project in their home décor as well as things that they own from tablet PCs to cars
Window shutter is still one of my favorite modern window treatments. Window shutters are simple, elegant and easy to maintain. There are basically the traditional design which has smaller louvers and the plantation shutters have thicker louvers. The wood based shutters are the most popular but there is also an alternative synthetic material called faux wood which is gaining quite a following among home owners.
Next is the honeycomb shade which combines the beauty of modern blinds and practical functionalities. The shade is made out of synthetic fabric that forms many small “bee hives” which is why it is called honeycomb. The shades are not only good looking but they also insulate heat thus help to cool down the room.
Venetian blinds are very popular because they are affordable and can easily go with any types of home décor or design. The blinds can be either inside or outside mount depending on the types of windows that you have. The wooden blinds are the most popular as they provide both beauty and warmth to your décor. Not too far behind are the vinyl ones which are pretty hardy and easy to clean and maintain.
Last but not least is of course the ever populat Roman shades. Most of the shades of made out of fabric and they are especially popular among folks who like curtains and drapes as well. You can also customize the fabric by incorporating more contemporary art and design or anything that you want to suit your home décor be it modern or otherwise.
First of all what exactly is a bay window? Well in short it is actually a window space that protrudes out from the main walls of the house or building. It forms a bay in the room and it usually comes with a few window panels although the common ones are three but it can be more or less. Bay window is useful to increase the space of the room and it also increases the influx of sunlight into the room. Therefore bay window is a favorite place for reading among home owners because it is probably the brightest spot in the house.
There are plenty of options when it comes to window treatments for bay windows. You can either choose to cover the windows with just blinds, shades, shutters or curtains (drapes). Nowadays a combination of blinds and curtains is getting to be quite popular as they provide the best of both worlds in decorating your bay windows.
If you choose to use roman shades or roll up blinds you will need to have a separate one for each window panel. These types of window treatments for bay windows are great in providing tidy and neat ambience to the home décor. They are great for privacy when lowered and they also filter light although not completely as there is no need for that. Wherever possible especially if your bay windows come with window frame you should go for the inside mount shades and blinds. In my opinion inside mount shades on bay windows look better and neater as compared to the outside mount ones. The other option is to use plantation shutters which are perfect for both modern homes as well as the more rustic and country type of bay windows. Apart from light filtering and privacy, plantation shutters also protect the window from intrusion something which the other types of window treatments would not do.
If you have a more traditional bay window or want a softer look you can opt for curtains and drapes. You can use separate curtain and rod for each panel but if you have a scenic view you might want to go for one curtain rod that runs across all the windows and the curtains at the side. If you intend to hang draperies on the top of the windows try to hand them as high as possible to give the illusion of a higher ceiling. Wherever possible the side curtains should be floor length as they are more elegant and provide the illusion that the windows are higher.
The final option is of course to use a combination of blinds or shades with curtains at the side. Use roller blinds or roman shades on each of the panel of the window. Do not hang any draperies on top of the window. The draperies or curtains should be at the side for decorative purpose only. The actual light filtering is done by the blinds and shades on the window panels.
Choosing window treatment for your home is not always the easiest thing to do. That is the reason why a lot of people have outsourced this task to a professional or interior decorator. However they can be expensive or their taste might not be the same as yours. If you don’t have to spare you have no choice but to decide on your own the types of window coverings that you want.
Window treatment ranges from blinds, shades, shutters and curtains. One of my personal favorites are window shades and blinds because they are easy to fit and would go with most home décor style.
However choosing your window shades and blinds is not always easy as there are a variety of shapes, types and sizes. However I always use the following criteria when choosing them. They are functionality, lift system and fashion.
First on the list if functionality. What do you want it to do for you? Do you want it to filter light, darken the room or cooling it down. If it is just to filter light then vertical or venetian blinds should do the trick as they don’t normally block out the sun completely. In order to completely block it out you need blackout shades which can be installed separately although roman shades. Shades and blinds are also good in cooling down the room which helps to save electricity usage on the air condition.
Fashion or style plays a huge role in determining the types of window shades and blinds that I choose. Wooden blinds provide the cozy and cool look. If you want a more natural and rustic look you might want to go for bamboo blinds instead. They are great and friendly to out environment. For a softer look you can go for blinds made out of fabric.
Finally it is the lift system which is the way that the blinds are opened and closed. The simplest one is the continuous cord system which is mainly found in roman shades. The other option is the top-bottom up lift system which is synonymous with venetian binds. The cord runs through all the slats vertically on both sides and it is connected to the head rail of the blind. For those who wants convenience or have very high windows you might want to consider using motorized shades and blinds. They come with remote control unit and timer that allows you to open and close the blinds automatically at certain time of the day and night. Use this system only if you can afford it.