let the sun shine in

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by Kendra Lee

trends in window treatments

Move over boring old blinds and dated draperies. Today’s window treatments are a sight to behold. Allowing just the right amount of sunshine to filter through, they can create a softness throughout your home. There’s a coverage factor perfectly paired to your indoor activities from subtle light diffusion to complete blackout. In addition to providing an impeccable frame for a grand vista outside the window, they can add a colorful and textural element to your interior design.

Today’s window treatments allow just the right amount of sunshine to filter through, they can create a softness throughout your home.

And they’re not just pretty, these workhorse window treatments help block solar heat gain, protect furniture and valuables and reduce electricity costs. According to the U.S. Department of Energy, a home can lose up to 30 percent of its cooling energy without energy-efficient window coverings. These appealing accents might just be the showstopper in your home.

Drapery
Draperies remain one of the most versatile window treatments available. Sheer shades beautifully diffuse light to create a soft ambiance, while blackout drapes provide total privacy and darkness.

To defer the most sunlight and heat, opt for medium-colored, closed-weave fabric with a room-darkening liner. “The great thing about sheer shades is they come in a variety of luxurious fabrics that contrast nicely with a heavier drapery,” says Karen Wike, owner of I’m The Blind Lady, Albuquerque’s exclusive HunterDouglas Gallery®. “The shade and drapery combination, frankly, creates depth and interest.”

To further reduce heat gain, close east-facing shades and draperies just before bed to eliminate early morning sun and in the late afternoon if you have western sun exposure.

Shades
Fabric and roller shades, also called solar shades, are a perfect solution for controlling glare, heat and UV rays that result from problematic reflective landscapes and west-facing windows.

Today’s re-engineered roller shades offer more insulation and more significant light control. For the strongest light control, a fabric’s openness factor—tightness of its weave—can range from 5 percent to total blackout. The shades are available in inventive fabrics such as recycled options like the Greenscreen Sea-Tex® collection from HunterDouglas.

Along with HunterDouglas, leading solar shade brands include Insolroll, Qmotion and Mecho Shade—all carried by Albuquerque’s JC Blinds.

The Designer Roller Duolite® Shade, exclusive to HunterDouglas, is an engineering breakthrough that combines a lightdiffusing sheer fabric and an opaque roomdarkening liner on one roller. Designed to match any decor, Duolite® Shades come in 24 fabric choices with an assortment of textures and colors.

Truly noteworthy shades include the HunterDouglas’ Duette® Honeycomb window shades that diffuse light and provide extraordinary, energy-efficient comfort by trapping air in distinct pockets to help keep houses cool in the summer and warm in the winter.

Window Films
Essentially sheets of tinted plastic, Low-E films are emerging as an energy-saving option and are most useful for homeowners who don’t want to block views with window treatments or who have uniquely shaped windows. This is a great option to protect artwork, furniture or carpeting that could fade due to prolonged UV exposure. Films can reduce heat intake by 70 percent and come in an array of options, including tints, UV blockers, reflective options, thicker films for security and antiqued or crackled finish if you want to kick it up a notch. Additionally, when considering window films, be sure to check with manufacturers for warranty information.

Exterior Solar Screens
An alternative to awnings, exterior solar screens can reduce heat gain, UV damage and glare. They look similar to regular insect screens. And just like their interior counterparts, they are available in roller and fixed panel options.

resources
I’m The Blind Lady
imtheblindlady.com
JC Blinds