Hole in the Wall – Discovering Energy Efficient Window Treatments

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Did you know almost 25% energy loss (cooling and heating costs) at your homes takes place due to windows every year. Before you buy window blinds and shades, it is important to understand the issues related to energy efficient treatments. This includes the pros and cons of insulated window shades and more.

Energy vanishes right out of the window when there are no efficient insulated shades and blinds. No wonder, windows are often referred to as holes in the wall! As you know windows have a big impact on how our homes function and feel, so we of course want to ensure they are perfect. However, even the best windows have a real hard time doing everything we expect them to perform. Gleefully, we can make our windows do better by opting for insulated window shades and wood window blinds.

These days, you can find cool solutions to make your home windows more efficient and comfortable, that too without breaking your bank. It doesn’t matter if you installed the costliest windows in the world, the first thing that needs to be done is to change the way it functions. This can happen by installing thermal curtains, insulated window shades and woven window shades among others.

On the other hand, replacement windows can be something one can get excited about, as they offer latest features to decrease energy bills. However, most Eco friendly building experts suggest it is not an effective way to shell out your money. By relying on less expensive treatments like discount window blinds can turn out to be a better bet. They not only offer energy efficiency but also help in room darkening and come in popular colors, making them stylish and completely customizable. Get that seamless insulation and appearance while decreasing your energy bills.

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Wood Window Blinds – The Real Deal To Keep Cool

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Wood window blinds are simply the best & a coolest window treatment available in the market today. They are natural and impart a warm feel to the room; add to it, the availability of wood window blinds and shades in many patterns, style, color, material and size.

It is clear just from the very initial ideas that wood blinds are the best cohort when it comes to decorating the space and keeping everything cool; but if you need more grounds to make them your favorite, here are the major ones:

  • Because of the natural material, wood blinds develop a relaxing atmosphere
  • They look great from both the sides – inside & outside
  • They can easily be painted in any color to match the décor of your room
  • Wood is a great insulator against cold & heat due to their solid wood construction
  • It greatly helps reducing energy costs by keeping the space colder in summers and warmer in winters
  • It offers unrivaled privacy and protection from the sun rays harming your furniture in the room
  • They are light-weight and easy to maintain with minimum tear & wear
  • They are long lasting to serve you in excellent condition for several years

Wood blinds and shades certainly are the most wonderful and eye-turning solution to stop the sun from bothering you.

Real Vs. Imitation

Many people prefer buying discount faux wood blinds rather than real wood for varied reasons with price factors topping the list. While faux wood excellently mimics the real wood, it is not as attractive as real. However, if you are using wood blinds in humid places like kitchens or bathrooms, the real wood may warp, but faux wood blinds made of plastic polymers stays the same.

If it’s only the price keeping you away from the real charm of wood blinds, discount window blinds in real wood are also available in the market. You can even look for woven wood shade for a variety.

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Innovative Window Dressing

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Since a long time, it seemed that there is nothing new or innovative in the world of window dressing; but that old tendency is now cleft apart with following newest trends in window blinds and shades. Take down those mini blinds and heavy drapes – switch over to environmentally friendly and energy efficient options of window dressing.

Options For Wide Windows

In case you are looking for exciting window covering options for wide windows, patio or big sliding doors, traditional wood window blinds or woven wood shades are not the only option you have. Sliding panels offer unique and airy look. They can easily fit into the sliders on a classic valance to be opened or closed as desired.

They are now available in natural materials with an added advantage of being environmental-friendly.

Window Films

Window films are a perfect solution for windows that are hard to be fitted with discount window blinds. Many people prefer window films to get the advantage of glare, heat and privacy control. Window films are available in great range of designs – as traditional insulated window shades, as crackled glass and mosaic.

Window films can be used along with blind, drapes and other type of window covering. These films are capable of blocking the harmful UV rays and can cut the cooling cost by almost 50%.

Window Treatments

Window treatments are truly the future of window dressing. Besides controlling light, air and heat in the room, window treatments can also filter allergens and bacteria to improve the indoor air quality.

Such window treatments use advanced technology and smart fabrics that prevent bacteria and allergy causing allergens from being collected in the curtain fibers. As an added advantage, they look beautiful to compliment the room decor.

Take a forward-thinking approach for dressing your windows with above sophisticated options especially when they are capable of removing aroma and allergens out from the air.

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Impeccable Styling with Window Blinds and Shades

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Windows blinds and shades are utterly stylized and versatile. Consider following styles and buying tips to make a smart choice:

Roller Blinds

These are the simplest of all the window covering solutions. With flat vinyl lengths wound around a roller, these blinds work and look good with or without cloth drapes for additional privacy. Custom made blinds can be used for windows of any size and shape. Discount window blinds are easily available in many colors and make an economical solution. Easy to clean and moisture resistant blinds are a great choice for bathrooms and kitchens. They usually come with DIY installation kits.

Cellular Shades

Compare opennessThese insulated window shades look like horizontal tubes stacked in a group to tap air and keep the room warm in winter and cool in summer. Honey comb or cellular window shades are available with different opacities. Window shades for a sale are easily available online and such shades can be lowered, raised or moved from side to side for desired amount of light.

Wooden Shutters

Wood window blinds or shutters are best to spruce up old world charm. Movable horizontal wooden slats are set in a frame to offer various degrees of light, air and privacy. Discount faux wood blinds and shutters that are available in many colors can be used to cover entire window or just the bottom or top half.

Solar Shades

These types of shades are extremely popular in condos and modern homes. They are made of vinyl or fiber glass to keep away heat and UV rays while allowing outdoor visibility and indoor light. These are again available in many colors and designs.

Matchstick Blinds

These wood woven shades are made with natural bamboo strips that are perfect for stylish appearance as they may not be very effective for insulation. They can be used in spaces where insulation and privacy is not in major demand.

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Room Darkening Window Shades

room darkening shadeDo you have trouble sleeping?  The Solution may be as simple as installing room darkening window shades on the windows where you sleep.  Sleeping in a dark, quiet room can help manage your sleep cycles, your mood and your energy levels, helping you wake up refreshed and alert.  Blackout Roller Shades are the most economical and efficient way to keep unwanted light from entering your windows, while blackout cellular shades offer the added bonus of increased energy efficiency.

Given the room darkening capabilities of these window shades they are perfect for bedrooms, nurseries, and media rooms.  So if you are having a difficult time sleeping or your baby is keeping you up all night, room darkening shades may be just what the doctor ordered.

Shop for Blackout Shades

 

 

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Window Decorating Fabrics

fabric window coveringsNow that the holidays have past, it’s time to get back to our interior decorating projects that we have put on hold.  Why not make the best of the long winter months that often keep us cooped up indoors.  Decorating with fabric window coverings can easily change the whole look and feel of a room, and custom fabric window treatments should be at the top of your list.

Gone are the days of stark white walls and naked windows, when decorating today it is more common to find each room taking on its own identity.  Not only does this mean selecting a different paint color for each room but, also includes a unique fabric window treatment for each window. Many homes already have some type of window blind or shade covering their windows but blinds are typically more functional than they are beautiful.  Having your window blinds and shades already installed means that you are ready for the next step.

The next step usually means choosing a fabric that fits the style and decor of a room.  There are literally thousands of fabrics to choose from all with their own individual style and texture.  Once you have reached this step it may be time to seek the help of an experienced window treatment specialist.  Choosing a fabric that is the perfect fit for your own individual style can some times be very time consuming and it is easy to make a mistake.  Choosing a fabric is a very personal decision that you will make, but a little coaching will go a long way.  I recently had an encounter with a customer, we’ll call her Mrs. Jones who was misinformed and this misinformation ended up costing her a pretty penny.

Mrs. Jones hired an interior designer to choose her fabric and design her fabric window treatments.  The designer recommended a beautiful silk fabric for the living room that she would make into draperies to frame the window.  Mrs. Jones agreed to the color and style and, was anxious to have the new draperies installed.

Six weeks later the draperies were hung and Mrs. Jones loved the look but asked if the wrinkles in the fabric could be removed.  The designer replied; Mrs. Jones these draperies are pure silk that is how silk is supposed to look”. Her reply was, “What you see as pure silk I see as wrinkled fabric, all I ask is for you to remove the wrinkles”.  The designer explained that the wrinkles could not be removed because wrinkles are inherent to most silk fabrics.  Mrs. Jones reluctantly paid the designer her fee because she was told that she received what was ordered.  The only mistake the designer made was not telling Mrs. Jones before hand that silk fabrics are inherently wrinkled at which point a new fabric could have been selected.

After living with the draperies for six months Mrs. Jones was so unhappy with her purchase that she decided to have the draperies remade.  This time she consulted with a window treatment specialist that steered her in the right direction. Yes, this is a true story and this is just one example of what can happen if the wrong fabric is used when decorating your home. Decorating with fabric should be at the top of your list if you would like any given room in your house to take on personalized look. As you can see, choosing the correct fabric color, texture and, composition is as critical as choosing the right style for your window. 

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Missing Window Cornices?

Have you just installed your window blinds or shades and feel something is missing?  What you may be missing is a Window Cornice.  A window cornice in its simplest form is a wood box that can be upholstered, painted or stained and is made to cover the top of  a window blind or shade.  Window cornicewood cornice moldings come in many different shapes and sizes and will add that finishing touch to any window blind or shade.  For upholstered cornices a fabric must first be selected that will be used to wrap the wooden frame.  If your window blinds or shades are white or off white then choosing a fabric that will introduce some color or interesting pattern would be a recommended. You will be surprised how a cornice will change the whole look of your window treatment.  If a simple more sophisticated look is preferred then a wood cornice that represents crown molding can be used to top your blinds or shades.  Wood window cornices can be painted or stained to coordinate with your interior space and will add interest to an otherwise boring window covering.

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Cool off with Cellular Shades

If you haven’t heard the northeast has been experiencing record temperatures this summer, just last week the mercury reached 106 degrees in New York’s Central Park.  Due to the extreme heat we have had many customers have been inquiring about the insulating qualities of Cellular Shades (also known as Honeycomb shades) for windows and skylights.  I have always known that these shades were effective in keeping the air cool in summer and warm in the winter but this extreme weather has people talking about how effective these shades really are.
I just received a call from a good customer let’s call her Mrs. “C”; she was in a panic because her motorized cellular shade had just run out of battery power and was stuck in the up position.  She explained to me that with the shade down in her living room the temperature was 15 degrees cooler than with the shade up.  Not only was the room uncomfortable even with the air conditioning at full blast but, she was wasting her money by making the air conditioner work harder than it had to.  Because of the insulating qualities of cellular shades it is common for these shades to pay for themselves over time.  Yes, the savings that you receive on your energy bill from the insulating qualities of cellular shades will more than pay for the shades over a period of years.  Let’s not forget that these shades not only can save you money on your energy bill but, also offer a beautiful and functional window covering that will provide both privacy and light control. As for Mrs. “C”, once I explained how to change the batteries in her motorized shade the crisis was averted and Mrs. “C” was able keep cool once again.  So if you are in the market for a beautiful window covering that will keep you cooler in the summer and warmer in the winter, check out the great selection of cellular shades also known as honeycomb shades.

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Traditional Brackets Offered By Osborne

Brackets have been used in numerous types of architecture for several reasons. Colonial buildings were sometimes built to include decorative corbels on the exterior to make the otherwise plain buildings come alive. In the following years, the design evolved into what is now referred to as Victorian architecture. In this highly ornamental era, it was not uncommon to see corbels on the exteriors of both common and governmental buildings. In medieval Europe, many used brackets for protection. At that time, brackets were made from stone materials which had frightening contortionists, dragons, and drunkards chiseled into them.  The theory was that if individuals placed these carved corbels on the outside of their homes, they could ward off evil spirits. In contrast, the churches of the time period would surround themselves with images of biblical figures carved into corbels to give visual representations of light to the people.

In America, corbels were made from wood rather than stone because of the abundance of trees in the surrounding forests. When gingerbread-style houses became popular, the brackets were integrated into the facades. This style soon became popular with farmhouses as well. When used boldly along with molding, the farmhouses were transformed into something quite picturesque.

With the invention of the railway system and assembly lines, a greater quantity of corbels could be ordered and transported quickly by train. Until this time, corbels were used mainly for decorative purposes, but the style began to change. Consumers began desiring products which served a functional rather than ornamental purpose. To meet this demand, bracket designs changed from ornate carvings to the more simplistic. The straight lines on the aptly named traditional corbels gave the impression of strength over ornament.

Consumers today are also looking for functionality in corbels rather than the highly decorative look used in the Victorian era. Modern traditional brackets avoid using curves and are recessed to provide a simplistic look. Osborne Wood Products, Inc. realizes the need to offer simple as well as elaborate and ornate corbels and brackets, and because we strive to meet the needs of our customers in every way possible, these traditional brackets are offered at Osborne Wood Products in a number of designs and in up to eleven different wood types.

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Remote Controlled Window Blinds and Shades

Remote Controlled window blinds and shades otherwise known as motorized window blinds and shades are now available from most reputable window coverings retailers.  Once only available to the rich and famous, advances in technology have brought the price of remote controlled window blinds and shades within reach of most consumers.  There are a few different types of remote controlled window blinds and shades such as, Battery Powered, Hard Wired, Infrared, and Radio Frequency operation.  These different types vary by manufacturer and there is no one size fits all.  If you are considering a purchase of remote controlled window blinds you should always discuss your needs with a qualified retailer such as BlindsOnLine.com.  BlindsOnLine.com does not offer a motorized option on their website but, they will offer this option to those who contact Mike directly to discuss their needs.  It is important to understand the pros, cons, and limitations of remote control window blinds before making a purchase.

Even though remote control window blinds and shades are growing in popularity this option is not always the best application for every window in your home. I usually recommend remote controlled window blinds for hard to reach windows.  Windows that are high such as an entry foyer windows or a window that is difficult to reach such as a window behind a bathtub, these would be perfect examples of shades that require motorization.  If you are thinking of using remote controlled shades in every room of the house I usually advise against it unless you are incorporating the shades into a whole house automation system such as X10® or TAHOMA®.

Once you have selected the windows that require remote control operation you will need to select the type of motorized system.  The most commonly used system is the RF or Radio Frequency battery powered motor.  RF allows you to remotely operate the window blind without having to be in close proximity of the window.  The radio frequency single will pass through walls or window valances so that you will not have to point the remote directly at the electronic eye in order for the blind or shade to function.  Although infrared remote control blinds and shades are still available it is considered “old technology” and is not recommended for most applications. If you are planning to operate a large quantity of blinds and shades via remote control then a “hard wired” system may be the way to go.  Hard wired motorization will eliminate the need for batteries (usually 8-12 per window blind) and will also allow for larger, heavier window shades to be operated via remote control.  Hard wired systems will require the services of a licensed electrician so be sure and take that into account when budgeting for this type of system.

Remote control window blinds and shades can also be integrated into home automation systems such as TAHOMA® by Somfy or the more commonly used X10® system. By integrating your remote controlled window shades to a home automation system you will have the ability to operate your window shades, lighting and thermostat from a remote location via the internet.  Full home automation not only can give  your home that “lived in” look while you are away but it can also be very effective when trying to conserve energy.  By controlling your window shades, lighting and thermostat remotely via the internet you can set all of these to function at peak efficiency which will lead to energy savings and extra cash in your pocket.  Remember, if you are shopping for remote controlled motorized blinds and shades always discuss your needs with a qualified professional such as BlindsOnLine.com to maximize the potential of the shades and to save you from costly mistakes.

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