CHOOSING THE RIGHT WINDOW TREATMENT

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Feeling intimidated or dizzy… not to fear: The purpose of this article is to help you determine the right window treatment(s) for your home.  Let’s approach this process from two different aspects.  The first is a practical side or why a window treatment?  And the second is more of a personal one or what kind of a window treatment?

In the seventeen years that I have been in Window Treatment business, I have found that there are six practical categories or purposes why the homeowner has concluded the need for Window Treatments.  The categories are:

The homeowner’s desire for Window Treatments is usually based on one, or a blend of more than one of these categories.  To reach the best solution, the decision should be based on balancing these reasons.  If privacy is the only reason and totally ignoring beauty enchantment then the answer might be an old sheet and some thumb tacks, or if light control is the problem a sheet of plywood can work…I’m sure you get the point.
The six categories or the why of Window Treatments is pretty self-explanatory, but let’s review them:

Privacy:
Privacy issues are normally in bedrooms and bathrooms or sidelights by the front door.  Women might prefer privacy in rooms that face the street or adjoining homes.

View: (Outward)
Full view all the time, with UV protection, can be achieved by tinting the glass area.  Variable views (open/closed) can be achieved in several ways using window treatments that move up/down, vertically, or with a large louvered (3 1/2 or 4 ½)  plantation shutter.

Light Control: (Inward)
Light control is important in bedrooms, nurseries, rooms used by daytime sleepers, and media rooms.

Sound Absorption:
This is a good application for heavy drapes that eliminate sound echo.

Loss Prevention:
Concern for sun light damage (UV) to floor coverings and furniture is often controlled with Window Treatments.  This can be done by deflecting the light source Blinds or Shutters or blocking the UV rays with Tinting. Or blocking the view and light source with Shades and Draperies. Elimination of high heat gain due to direct sun light can be remedied best with reflective Window Treatments.

Beauty Enhancement:
This component adds excitement to a room and is normally in most of the equations.

Now to the more personal side of the Window Treatment decision, it helps if you start by thinking about the following criteria: budget, purpose, and personal preference.  Again, balance is the answer.  You have to weigh each criterion in relation to the other.

Budget:
The price per window can range from $65 to several thousand dollars per window.  A good rule is to budget window treatments in relation to the value of the home.  For example, a young couple in a modest starter home might want to limit the budget to faux wood blinds.  Whereas, a homeowner in a home with hardwood floors, granite counter  tops and high end trim might lean toward Plantation Shutters, Shades, or High End Draperies.  Any good window treatment consultant will help you with this.  If they are worth their salt, they will not try to oversell you knowing that repeat business and referrals are more important than a few extra dollars on a sale.  Tip: If your budget is limited, begin with a few desired window treatments then add as the budget allows.

Purpose:                                                                                                                                
Determine why you are considering Window Treatments.  Review the six whys: open view, light control, privacy, sound absorption, loss prevention, and beauty enhancement.

Personal Preference:
I am going to do something dangerous: I am going to use a personal example.  About seven years ago, my wife and I started planning what we would like to be our last home here on earth.  In our lifetime, we have owned six homes and all but one, our first, were old fix-ups.

Our plan was to design and build our own dream home.  The planning took longer than the building of the home, but we wanted it to be our design, customized to our way of life.  You know the drill.  Room sizes, floor coverings, fixtures, counter tops, paint colors, trim design, on and on ad nauseum.  One of the most important parts of the home to us was the kitchen; my wife loves to cook, and I love to eat.  The layout of the kitchen was the one area, no matter how hard we tried, we couldn’t make it work.  To solve this problem we hired a kitchen design consultant.  She didn’t design her kitchen, she designed our kitchen.  We didn’t know how, but we knew what we wanted, and she was skilled enough to find out what we wanted and put it down on paper. It was her design but it was our kitchen.  The moral of the story is that we had a personal preference; we just didn’t know how to get there without help.

The rest of the design of the home was relatively easy.  When it came to Window Treatments, we knew exactly what we wanted.  Here are some of the criteria:  View, easy maintenance, compatibility to the design of the home, traditional look (didn’t want to change every few years), lots of light (eyes are not what they used to be), color, and of course, budget.  These are all the areas of our personal choice and the practical consideration for the window treatments in our home. 

Other criteria might have been sound control, light control, even more color, up to date look, trend setting, wide-open view (no obstruction), and what ever else you can think of.  The point is 4 ½ “louvered Plantation Shutters is what we wanted and what worked for us: it fit our Personal Preference and our Practical Need. This choice would not have worked in our first home.  Remember the budget criteria?

One more tip before I close, in your planning stage, start a file on window treatments and clip pictures from home magazines.  Do a web search for shutters, draperies, blinds, shades, window treatments.  Take pictures, and visit open houses.  Stretch yourself a little, and you will find that choosing the right Window Treatment can be fun and exciting!

Hummingbird Shutters
Greenville, SC