Blinds and Curtains Everything you need to know about blinds, curtains, and more

8Jul/100

Conservatory Blinds: A Quick Guide

Conservatories, or sun rooms as they may also be called, were at one time the province of the very wealthy, and were mostly an indoor place for plants to grow. Nowadays more and more people are able to have these beautiful rooms in their home, and while they enjoy the peace and relaxation of their conservatory, new owners may find themselves confronted with problems such as a lack of privacy, too much noise, or too little insulation. These problems are easily fixed with the right type of conservatory blinds, yet for many people the buying process can be overwhelming. To help I've written a quick guide walking you through the process - what you need to think about and which blinds meet your needs best.

First, Prioritize

The first thing you need to do is decide what is most important to you. Some common concerns include heat reduction in summer and/or insulation in winter, glare reduction, privacy and security, noise reduction, cost, and appearance. Each type of blind will have strengths and weaknesses so it's important to be organized. Make a list and decide what you absolutely can't live without, and what you want but don't necessarily need.

Once you've done that, you may want to consider some other factors as well. Do you need the blinds for your windows only, for your roof only, or for both roof and windows? You also need to consider the shape of the glazing - a conservatory with mostly rectangular glazing will allow you to be more flexible in your choices. Also think about what your conservatory is made of (timber, aluminum, or PVC, for example) so that you can pick blinds that match the best. Finally decide whether you prefer remote controlled or manually operated blinds, because some blind types are only available in one or the other.

Types of Conservatory Blinds

The most common, flexible, type of conservatory blinds are pleated blinds. These are suitable for most, if not all, conservatories. Standard blinds will work well provided your conservatory uses mostly rectangular glazing, but will be best used for your roof only. However, even if your conservatory is full of irregular shapes pleated blinds will work well. You will simply need to look for pleated blinds that are designed specifically for conservatories, as these will best meet the challenges you face. Generally speaking these provide the best value for your money, may be either remote or manually operated, and do a good job of keeping your conservatory cool and shaded, but though good, are not the absolute best when it comes to insulation.

Pinoleum blinds are another very common choice. Pinoleum, which is simply made of small pieces or wood/twigs laid horizontally then joined together, is a very flexible and a good fit for most conservatories. They provide better insulation than pleated blinds while creating a very pleasing, soft, look in summer. However, they can be slightly more difficult to clean than pleated blinds and don't provide quite as much privacy. Still a very good choice, however, as pinoleum blinds are widely available in many colors and styles.

Roman blinds are made in much the same style as pinoleum but with fabric instead of wood. These blinds offer the most privacy, while adding a bit of contemporary style to your room. They are mostly remote controlled, which makes them easy to operate. However, like pinoleum, they are more difficult to clean. They are also a little more expensive but if you truly want the contemporary look of roman blinds, don't let that stop you! These are most suitable for gable-ended conservatories.

Slightly less popular are roller, vertical, and venetian conservatory blinds. Roller blinds, while they can be used to great effect, may end up leaving gaps between blinds, and are not the best fit for your conservatory roof. Vertical blinds are best suited for very large glass windows without window sills, but do not work as well in conservatories with irregular shapes. One plus though, is that vertical blinds are relatively cheap. Venetian blinds are the least well suited for conservatories and are not generally recommended because they tend to generate static, collect dust, and lead to excess humidity.

Keep in mind that even the most inexpensive blinds can look great - provided you install them with care. When you shop for blinds be sure to ask plenty of questions and try to visualize what each type of blind will look like when installed, since many blinds can look better in pictures than they do in your room. Just prioritize and choose the appropriate type of blinds for your conservatory and I'm sure your search will go well.

14Jun/100

How To Decorate With Office Blinds

Whether a person is starting from scratch and designing a brand-new office layout or has just been handed the chore of ordering new blinds for office windows, this person has a unique opportunity to incorporate new blinds into that office's decor. This lucky person needs to look around the office, plan for the office blinds and use them to create a focal point and to enhance the ambiance of the room. This is a simple process if given a little thought.

For a new office, the person in charge of organizing it should take into consideration the windows, the size and location of the windows and the purpose of the office blinds. These are used to control the light coming from another area, to provide privacy or to improve the office look. A person in charge of ordering new blinds to replace the old ones can go to step two.  Normally, large areas requiring blinds will need a more subtle touch; small spaces offer the opportunity for bold action.  Using colors in different areas to segregate spaces is an efficient way to clearly define each area and increase the workers and visitors enthusiasm for the layout. A wall of windows requiring coverage could be done in different shades of the same color or complementary colors with a bold panel periodically injected to create an attractive display and reduce the impact of the long wall.

There are two ways to create a focal point in a room using window treatments. These are through the use of color and the use of each individual window treatment. These blinds come in five different types: Venetian, vertical, horizontal, roller blinds, Roman blinds, shades and shutters. The most common office blinds are vertical or horizontal blinds; these allow the user to control the amount of light and come in a variety of colors and textures. Materials can be aluminum, wood, or PVC. Many offices choose PVC because of the price and easy cleaning. Small blinds can be a bold color and are used to draw attention to an area. Incorporated with artwork, plants or a seating arrangement, this creates an individualized space.  In the right environment, bold colors should be encouraged. For a sophisticated look, using a color slightly darker or lighter than the wall colors creates a clean look that is soothing and pleasing to the eye.  Colors evoke emotions; different colors create different emotions depending upon a person's culture, race, gender and age. Generally, cool colors are more calming and warm colors promote excitement and optimism.

Office blinds enhance the ambiance of the room. An attorney's office would choose rich window treatments in both texture and color to promote the feeling quiet competence.  An interior design studio would use bold window treatments to demonstrate various options to potential clients. Many offices housing 25 or 50 busy employees will choose a small amount of color to make workspace pleasant and keep the employees focused on their jobs.

The lucky person who is chosen to order office blinds has an opportunity to make the office a more inviting place.

2Jun/100

Gingham Curtains – Give Your Home a Country Feel

For years, gingham curtains have been the go-to choice for home decorators whenever they want to give a room a light, airy, country look. Gingham itself has been around for hundreds of years and there are so many patterns by now that you'll have an almost dazzling array of choices. Not only that, because it is so popular, gingham is widely available in both brick-and-mortar stores and online. Let me go over what gingham is as well as some popular ways to use it.

Gingham is simply a type of striped fabric that was imported from Indonesia by the Dutch. I say striped, but the truth is there are many variations. You might find fabric with checks, stripes, or even plaid patterns - and it's all gingham. Just think Dorothy's dress from the Wizard of Oz - that should give you a pretty clear picture of what I mean. This type of fabric is usually used to cover soft furnishings for a sort of farm or country look. It's springlike, casual appeal means that it's a great choice for kitchens or any other room that you want to look homey and comfortable.

In kitchens, two panel curtains are often used together with a valance - this lets light in and gives you privacy to boot. If you're doing a full kitchen renovation, you could match the fabric exactly, or you could choose a pattern with the same overall color scheme. Either way, this is a great look. Gingham also works well in bathrooms, for much the same reasons. Here, you might want to think about pulling one of the colors from your curtains and getting a whole set of towels, etc. to go with them.

There are many different types of curtains available in gingham.  Eyelet curtains are easy to install and easy to adjust - you'll never have to worry about them bunching up in the middle again! Tab top curtains are also a popular choice - I see a lot of these aimed at college students. Again, they're easy to use so that's a plus in their favor. Also be sure to think about whether you would like a valance or not. Either way looks great! Though gingham is most commonly used in the kitchen, it also adds some homey comfort to your living room so don't rule that out if you're shying away from long curtains.

Checked, striped, or plaid - gingham has something for everyone. From your kitchen to your bathroom to your living room it's sure to give your home a bit of cozy, country flair!

1Apr/100

Eyelet Curtains Defined

In the past, the only types of curtains available were difficult to adjust - they were heavy and often bunched up or got stuck when you tried to open them. Luckily for us, some kind soul thought of a great solution - putting holes in the fabric with grommets attached so that the curtain rod could slid through freely. These became what we now call eyelet curtains - a two-paneled curtain style with eyelets all along the top.

Eyelet curtains are very popular due to their ease of use. In fact, these days you may see eyelet curtains in the shower as well as in your living room. The eyelets let them hang neatly from the curtain rod, so they never bunch up. They also give a room a light, clean, airy feeling.

These curtains are usually made of lightweight fabrics so as to avoid stressing the fabric and causing tears around the eyelets. The good news is that they let in a lot of sunlight! You can also choose heavier fabrics if you wish to hang eyelet curtains in a more formal setting, but you will need to check them every now and then to make sure there is no damage to the fabric.

One disadvantage is that the eyelets are clearly visible and may or may not (depending on personal preference) detract from your decor. However, there's a solution for this too! These days you can often find (or make) valances called "eyelet headers" which are specifically designed to hide the eyelets from public view. Eyelet headers are available in many different styles and colors, so no matter what, you are sure to find something that works for you.

The most common locations for eyelet curtains are bathrooms, little girl's rooms, and nurseries. In a bathroom, they let in some much needed light, provide a more airy, open feel, and still give the privacy that you need. In a girl's room, eyelet curtains lend a delicate, feminine touch. They are often used in nurseries for similar reasons.

This is not to say that they can't be used to decorate a dining room or living room - it all depends on what look you want for your house or apartment. Just keep in mind that formal fabrics may mean more maintenance and lighter fabrics may look more feminine.

I, for one, am thankful that eyelet curtains are around to make life just a tiny bit easier. They are one of my favorite curtain styles because they let in so much light, are lightweight, and versatile. Try them out and see if they work for you!

24Mar/10Off

Curtain Styles: A Guide to Types of Curtains

I don't know about you, but whenever I move someplace I unpack my curtains first. Realistically speaking, they may not be the most important but they are one of the many little touches that make a space into a home. The type of curtain you choose is one way to express your personality and design vision. However, there are so many curtain styles out there that it can be a little daunting. Leave it to me - I'll break them down for you!

There are many different ways to categorize curtains. I generally think of them as first of all, overarching types of window treatments (curtains, blinds, etc.) then curtains that are categorized by the type of material used (lace, net, gingham), then curtains named after some detail in their construction such as eyelet curtains or pinch pleat curtains. I'll move through each group fairly quickly so you can get an idea of what they're all about.

Types of Window Treatments

The first decision you have to make here is whether or not you want curtains, blinds, or something else. Curtains, as we know them today, are for the most part a decorative item. Originally they were supposed to block out light and keep heat in (or cold out, if you'd rather think of it that way). During the middle ages they were a luxury but as the world gradually modernized curtains gained in popularity. Textile mills grew more common, fabric prices dropped, and so curtains became inexpensive and available to everyone. What we think of as curtains would have at one point been referred to as 'sash curtains' and were primarily used to filter out light. Draperies (or drapes - same thing) are another type of curtain, but they are purely decorative.

Blinds are a common window treatment, especially in apartments. These generally consist of wooden slats which may lie either vertically or horizontally and are controlled via a string. Blinds do a great job of blocking out light but also provide some much needed privacy. Unlike curtains, blinds can also be adjusted to let light in while keeping prying eyes out. Types of blinds include conservatory blinds, office blinds, and roman blinds, among others.

Shades are yet another option. Like blinds, shades are controlled by a string and can be adjusted to let in more or less light. However, they are different in that they are solid (so they only roll up instead of adjusting the angle of the slats like blinds would) and do not have any slats at all. They also come in many different materials, from wood, to bamboo, to even various types of fabric.

Curtains by Material

Many curtains are named for the material used in their creation. This category includes curtains made of bamboo, lace, gingham, net, and more.

Gingham curtains are very popular in kitchens. Gingham is a type of fabric that has stripes, checks, or plaid. The most common type has small checks with darker stripes running vertically or horizontally as well as light stripes of the same color running in the opposite direction. (Think Dorothy from the Wizard of Oz.) These curtains create a very light, casual feel and work very well in a country-themed room.

Bamboo curtains are very different in that, like beaded curtains, they offer privacy while also being permeable. The reason for that is the hundreds of bamboo strips that hang vertically (again, like beads). Because you can walk through them easily, bamboo curtains are often used in doorways. Some types have designs on them and are perfect for mounting on the wall.

Voile curtains are lightweight curtains that are often made of cotton. Their airy feel makes them perfect for tropical climates where you wouldn't want to keep heat in. They let in tons of light while still providing privacy and style. As a bonus, they are easy to wash!

Curtains by Construction

I apologize if this is confusing - this is simply how I group curtains in my head. This group of curtains includes those which are named for some element in their design that makes them unique, whether that be eyelets or pleats. Tab tops are also included in this category.

The first type of curtain that comes to mind here are eyelet curtains. An eyelet is simply a hole with a metal grommet attached. Some clever soul came up with the idea to add eyelets to the top of these to prevent their curtains from bunching up. These are easy to adjust and easy to take down and wash if you need to. The fabric used is often light to prevent damage to the area around the eyelets; however, you may choose to use heavier fabrics in a more formal setting.

Pinch pleat curtains are also fairly common. The pleat at the top of these curtains is pinched, much as the name suggests. One thing to know about pleats is that they can be either pressed or unpressed. The pressed version is like a pleated skirt, with pleats that stay put no matter what you do and require little to no ironing. Unpressed is much softer, and that is what is used here. The result is a curtain that falls from the pleats at the top in a soft fashion that is very eye-pleasing.

Tab tops provide yet another solution to curtains that bunch up. Instead of eyelets at the top, these curtains have sewn in tabs that slide easily onto a curtain rod. They are easy to find lined or unlined and very versatile. On top of that, they are easy to make on your own! Some tab top curtains have buttons at the top to add some flair; you may also be able to find some curtains that are box pleated or gathered in addition to having tabs.

No matter which curtain you end up choosing, there are several factors to consider. First of all, think about the function your curtains will serve. Do you need them to completely block out light? Try black out curtains. Maybe you just want to filter light a little bit? In that case, try curtains or blinds. If you need more privacy then choose blinds, shades, or heavy weight curtains. Finally, think about style - what kind fits best with your decor? That's a question only you can answer!

I hope that I've answered some of your questions about curtain styles and happy decorating!

20Mar/10Off

Welcome to Blinds and Curtains!

Hello everyone, my name is Alecia and I'd like to welcome you to Blinds and Curtains! In the coming months I'll be sharing information about various types of blinds and curtains including how to make your own. Stay with me as more content is added!

If you have any questions or concerns feel free to contact me at aleciabriganti@bestblindsandcurtains.com.