Top Things To Consider When Purchasing Window Treatments

By: Ashley Brown, Stoneside Design Consultant

The first thing most people do when shopping for blinds and shades is measure the windows. Next, they’ll find themselves alone among hundreds of samples trying to make a decision. There are so many things to consider before you order window treatments, and mistakes can be costly. At Stoneside, we are experts who know that purchasing blinds and shades requires professional guidance. Keep reading to find out what you need to know about custom window treatments before you shop.

What’s Your Interior Design Style?

Are you a minimalist, or do you love a cozy home that expresses your personality? Consider how your new window treatments will fit into your home’s decor. Perhaps you want to keep the design simple, so you’ll focus more on functionality. Or, maybe you’d like your window treatments to create a focal point, so you’ll shop for patterns and interesting textures. Here are a few questions to ask yourself:
  • Is your taste modern or traditional?
  • Do you love color, or tend towards neutrals?
  • Does your home have a distinctive architectural style? (i.e. Cottage, Mediterranean, Modernist)
  • Do you have children or elderly household members? Are you retiring in your home?
  • Do you prefer layered curtains and blinds? Or, a simple blind or shade?
An interior designer or window treatment specialist uses your answers to determine which products are best for your home. The selection of window treatments available today is tremendous:

Wood and Faux Wood Blinds:

Traditional blinds are classic and functional, but they don’t have to be boring. Real or faux wood blinds come in a wide range of stains and even designer paint colors, so you can match interior woodwork exactly. Use them alone or in combination with valances and draperies. Consider different slat sizes and decorative tapes to customize your look.
View Wood Blinds View Faux Wood Blinds

Transitional Shades:

Transitional Shades combine sheer and opaque fabrics in a roller shade format for a contemporary look. They offer a wide selection of fabrics and custom configurations, for light control and privacy.
View Transitional Shades

Cellular Shades:

Pleated shades have crisp, modern tailoring that adds texture and dimension to any room. Cellular shades and vertical cellular shades offer superior insulation, a broad range of colors, and a compact design that preserves your view.
View Cellular Shades View Vertical Cellular Shades

Roman Shades:

For a more traditional look, roman shades are a timeless choice that suits almost any interior. Choose classic folds or a hobbled style to add softness to the window. Use a tailored Roman Shade for an understated effect. They can be layered under draperies or used alone.
View Roman Shades

Roller and Solar Shades:

Roller shades offer a clean, contemporary style and can be constructed of opaque fabric for privacy, or solar screen fabric to control the sun. They’re easy to use and combine well with valances and drapery panels.
View Roller Shades View Solar Shades

Drapery Panels

Drapery panels provide a rich more formal look and can be lined or unlined, opaque or sheer. Use them for light control, to add softness, and dampen sound. Blinds and shades can be layered underneath for additional privacy and flexibility. Draperies are often part of a multi-layered window treatment in a formal home.
View Drapery

What Type Of Home Do You Live In?

Today’s homes range from urban apartments with a few windows, to large custom homes featuring entire walls of glass. The design of a space and the depth of window casements determines what can and can’t be done with window coverings, so professional advice is essential.
If you don’t have many windows, choose a product that lets natural daylight in. Roller shades, cellular shades, roman shades or transitional shades are all excellent choices – they can fold or roll up tightly to expose the full window.
You may also want to consider your furniture arrangement and architecture. Can you reach windows easily to raise and lower shades? There may be furniture in the way, or a window may just be too high to reach. Choose between cord loop, cordless or motorized controls based on the layout of your home.
Motorized cellular shades offer convenience and ease-of-operation for these two-story windows
Houses with tall ceilings and large window walls often have issues with privacy and temperature control. The right window coverings protect you from heat and cold, and help you feel safe from prying eyes.
Adding motorization makes adjusting blinds and shades on upper windows easy.
Your design consultant is an expert in identifying the right products and designing an easy-to-use motorized control setup.

How Much Privacy Do Your Windows Need?

Before you choose a window treatment, walk around outside your home in the evening to check for privacy issues. How close are your neighbors? If you have tall shrubs or a privacy fence, then your main concern for living areas will be daytime light control.
Do you have beautiful views, or want to keep an eye on kids in the yard? You can opt for shades that open enough to clear the window, or solar screen shades that you can see through.
For bedrooms, bathrooms and dressing areas, choose styles that provide complete window coverage or go for top-down and bottom-up options that allow light in while maintain privacy.
Street-facing windows in living areas can be challenging. We recommend sheer or semi-opaque window treatments, which are private enough during the day. They let in plenty of light and are useful for blocking unsightly views.
Roller shades offer privacy for street-facing windows
Remember, when it’s dark outside and your home is lit, people can see directly inside. Add drapery panels to your sheer window shades or choose opaque shades or blinds for complete privacy.

What Are Your Light Control Needs?

Solar shades protect furniture and décor from ultraviolet light, glare and heat
We love light-filled homes, but direct sunlight can fade furnishings, heat up the interior, and cause a glare on computer screens and televisions. Solar shades keep your room significantly cooler, while preserving the view and reducing glare.
Solar shades will reduce fading of fabrics and rugs, but the only true protection is to avoid direct sunlight. Wood blinds or vertical blinds are ideal for letting some light in, while directing it away from furniture or media screens. In a home theater, choose cellular shades with blackout lining, or layer drapery panels over roman shades for total darkness.
Room-darkening or blackout window treatments help everyone get a good night’s sleep. Before you shop for bedroom shades, look out the window to check for light pollution (like security lights or streetlamps) and note which bedrooms get bright morning sun. Blackout shades can be a necessity if you work odd hours, or have small children.
There are plenty of budget-friendly options, like roller shades or cordless cellular shades, that are safe for children and easy to operate.

Consider The Design Of Your Windows

Before you choose blinds and shades, look closely at how your windows are constructed. Double or triple windows can be split into two or three shades.
Our design specialists will check the depth of your window frames to confirm whether you should mount shades inside or outside the frame. They’ll also make note of anything that might be in the way, like casement handles, security sensors, or doorknobs. If you’re shopping on your own, you’ll need to bring detailed measurements and notes about your windows.
Outside mounting can be useful for shallow frames or with unusually-shaped windows

When to Use Outside Mounted Window Shades

If window frames aren’t deep enough, blinds and shades can be mounted on the face of the window frame. Outside-mounted shades cover all of the glass and window casing. They may provide better insulation, eliminate light leaks and allow you to see out the entire window when fully raised.

When to Use Inside Mounted Window Shades

Blinds and shades installed inside the window frame have a cleaner look; but they may reduce the light that comes and your view because they cover the top of the window when raised.
Inside mounting of blinds and shades offers a clean, stylish look

Do You Need Energy Saving Window Treatments?

Many older homes have windows that are poorly insulated or even let outside air in. Properly designed window treatments reduce utility bills by adding an insulating layer and eliminating drafts.
Cellular shades offer excellent thermal insulation for cold - or hot - climates
For cold climates, cellular shades offer superior insulation, and fold up into a compact space so you can maximize sunlight during the day.
In hot climates, solar shades are the solution for reducing air conditioning use. Leave them open in winter to let the sun heat the house naturally.
Today’s programmable controls make it easy to save on utility bills. Battery-powered systems automatically open and close shades – you won’t need an electrician, and you can control the system from your phone or tablet.

Safety Features and Maintenance

If you’re planning to stay in your home through retirement, purchase your window coverings with the future in mind. Remote control, motorized shades may seem like a luxury, but they’re safer for anyone with mobility issues.
Consider maintenance too – do you have the time and budget for professional cleaning? Most blinds and shades just require occasional dusting, or light vacuuming although some blinds and shades require more maintenance.
Motorized shades and cordless lift systems provide increased safety for small children, pets, or adults with mobility challenges

Are Window Treatments a Smart Investment?

We think it’s important to include blinds and shades in your budget, whether you live in a studio or a mansion. Custom window treatments improve your home’s appearance and can be well worth the investment. You’ll add an attractive upgrade to your home, and experience the convenience, beauty and performance of custom window coverings.
Even if you're planning to sell your home after just a few years, custom window treatments improve your home’s appearance and can be well worth the investment. You’ll add an attractive upgrade to your home, and experience the convenience, beauty and performance of custom window coverings.