The Basics: Getting Started

When we first begin to work with a client we ask a lot of questions. You should do the same. Take a moment and look around your room/s that you want to decorate and ask yourself these questions: What do we want to use this room for? Sleeping/TV viewing require very different light control needs that say, reading. What direction does my room face? A north facing room can suffice with a much different product than a room that faces west. There’s no point in having a gorgeous room if it’s not comfortable. A room that becomes unbearable in the afternoon because of heat gain is useless. By determining the orientation of your room you’ll be able to select the right type of product to address the needs of the room. Next, ask yourself; how do I want the room to feel? Designing a formal room will lead you in a very different direction that a casual, homey feel will. Also, contemporary versus traditional design will lead to different product selections.

Now that you have determined your style & light control needs for both use and orientation let’s begin with a quick review of your options. The two main choices are soft treatments such as draperies, roman shades, top treatments and shadings or “hard” also called alternative window treatments. This category encompasses blinds, shutters, verticals and shades such as pleated and honeycomb products. As companies such as Hunter Douglas continue to innovate the lines between the two categories have blurred somewhat. Products such as Silhouette and Pirouette can really fall into either category. They are soft, made of luxurious fabrics, yet have a variety of lift systems, even motorization, like a blind. Let’s look a bit further to clarify your choices.

Blinds traditionally are horizontal slats that have a tilt mechanism that allows you to open and close the vanes. They can be raised or lowered to allow for full view and ventilation but will always stack the vanes at the top of the window when fully raised. This may block part of your view. The heavier the vane the more stack you’ll have. It’s not unusual for a long window, dressed with a wood or faux wood blind to have 12-18 inches of stack at the top when the blind is fully raised. Consider this factor carefully when deciding if a blind is right for you. Also consider the weight of raising or lowering the blind and the view through. Most people think they want a faux wood blind because they believe it to be the least expensive option. This is not always the case. A quality faux wood blind, one that doesn’t bow or sag, can actually be more expensive than some real wood blinds. This is because of the polymer base (oil) of the faux material. As oil prices climb so does the price of faux wood material. The weight factor can be a real negative as well. A quality faux wood, especially on a large window can be extremely heavy to raise and lower. While you may have the muscle you also need to consider that this can cause premature cord wear/breakage. Investing in a real wood product can save your energy AND your money! Don’t get me wrong, there are places in the home where faux wood is the perfect choice; the bathroom, where high humidity is prevalent and windows are relatively small is an ideal place for faux products. Another place I recommend faux wood is the garage. Most quality faux wood products can be hosed down for easy defeat of those nasty cobwebs!

Hunter Douglas Lightlines Cordlock Mini Blinds

Hunter Douglas Lightlines Mini Blinds with Cordlock

We all remember the ubiquitous mini blind! They were everywhere! Well, would you believe there is actually something new in mini blinds and other aluminum blinds! It’s called Reveal with MagnaView. This unique feature allows the slats to nest together as they are rotated open. This nesting allows for greater view thru. A 1” mini blind now has a 2” view through! This is a great feature when you have a view you don’t want to block but really do need a blind for privacy or light control on occasion.

My next post will focus on more basics as you consider dressing your windows. I’ll have information on honeycombs, pleated shades and more!


  1. trying to find you on facebook, wats your profile

  2. HomeSource says

    Our FB link is listed on the right side of the blog page.