When summer temperatures get insufferable, homeowners find themselves gazing out the windows from the comfort of an air-conditioned indoors – drawing added attention to the state of the drapes. But looks aren’t everything: purpose and performance can make a big difference if you choose new window treatments (such as curtains, shutters, shades and draperies). Armed with a little knowledge, you can select window treatments that are just as practical as they are pretty. Some things to keep in mind when selecting window treatments that combine form with function:
In addition to managing the ambient light in a room, your window treatments can be put to work to protect carpets, furnishings, fabric and fine art from damaging ultraviolet rays. While natural light can be pleasant, considering UV protection when purchasing window treatments can increase the longevity of everything from wallpaper to woodwork in your home and can keep your most beloved belongings safe from the sun.
Temperature Control and Energy Efficiency
The proper window treatments can play a huge role in reducing solar heat gain in the summer and in minimizing heat loss in colder months. Even conventional draperies can reduce heat loss from a warm room by up to 10%, according to the U.S. Department of Energy – and awnings can reduce heat gain by up to 77% on west-facing windows. The comfort of a room can degrade quickly when it’s drafty and the impact you feel on your wallet can be just as unpleasant.
Of course, another functional factor to consider in selecting window treatments is related to privacy – how much light vs. how much sight you want to allow into your home. Creative design choices such as top-down/bottom-up blinds can allow you to restrict the line of sight while letting in plenty of light and air.
Operation and Maintenance
Keep the mechanics of your window coverings in mind as you decide what works best for your home, advises Karen Kloss of Eclipse Designs in Fort Collins.
“What you can’t see is even more important – the technology and mechanisms that make a shade and blind work are often hidden in the head rails,” Kloss said. “This is true for draperies and drapery hardware, too. Cheaply manufactured drapery hardware can have inferior brackets that lack the ability to support even a lightweight drapery, and the rods may sag and bow quickly.”
Once you’ve considered the way you want your window treatments to work, of course, it’s still important to consider how they look. Windows are focal points in the room and window treatments can be used to highlight features or disguise flaws. Window treatments can even assist with acoustics in a room, softening sounds and eliminating echo.
Educate yourself, choose carefully and make an investment rather than an impulse buy. If you consider both appearance and performance, you’ll have it made in the shade with winning window treatments. Still in the dark about drapes? Uncertain about curtains? Blindsided by blinds? Attend the HighCraft Builders window coverings seminar August 23.