We have a wonderful, beautiful and light force in the energy of the sun, which many of us take for granted. We wake up in the morning, and it’s beautifully sunny; or cloudy, with potentially life saving moisture. We plan our days around our outside weather patterns. Inside of our homes, we often do not consider how those temperatures and sun energy affect our heat and the force of the sun as it streams through our windows.
Realizing I’m not an expert in weather or energy, I write from a long time interior designers point of view. I’m sharing the effects of the suns energy on our lives, more specifically on the interior of our homes and offices. Moods, furnishings, color, space planning and many other areas in our lives are affected by the sun and its rays into our living spaces. The sun and its energy enter our inside living environments through our windows and doors. We buy window coverings to control the light and darkness, as well as to offer decorative beauty in our homes. We also use them for privacy and insulation.
There are a myriad of products on the market that cover windows. We’re going to review the shadings or blinds that cover the glass on our windows and doors. We to use draperies that traverse across the glass on a rod or headrail as well. In the shading and blind industry, the available products fall into three categories. The 1st is the “tilt and turn” category which has little insulation when open to see the view or let in light. Metal mini blinds, wood blinds (including vinyl and faux or fake wood blinds), vertical blinds, and shutters are included in this grouping. When these products are closed, you get some kind of insulation, however air seeps in through the slats. So insulation is limited. When the slats or vanes are open, there is no insulation opportunity. Metal products are a temperature conductor, especially in the cold weather.
The 2nd category is what I label the “up and down” grouping of shades. These are the old type of shades that roll up onto a headrail, often used as a spring loaded headrail, many custom made fabric shadings in different styles, such as roman shades like Vignette®, and Duette® or honeycomb shades. When these shades are pulled up to the top of the opening, you have a great view, light and NO INSULATION. When they are down or closed, you have privacy and insulation but no view. Draperies that traverse on decorative rods fall into this category, too.
The most versatile products fall into the 3rd category. I humorously call this one the “Have your Cake and Eat it too” group of shadings. In the Hunter Douglas product line they are named Silhouette®, Nantucket™, Luminette®, and Pirouette®. Other companies have similar shadings like Shangri-La® and Illusions with similar operation. These shadings are made with sheer fabrics to support vanes between the fabrics. The sheers are tightly woven and allow 3 types of viewing opportunities. They are all able to be pulled up to a headrail, into a headrail or drawn to the side, allowing a totally clear view through the glass. Great view, but no privacy or insulation is available in this position. When you draw them over the glass, the vanes can be in either the open or closed position. With open vanes, you see a filtered view, and have all the benefits of about 60% of insulation from the cold in the winter and heat in the summer. So you have views and insulation at the same time. Privacy is available when you totally close the vanes. These products offer 3 different viewing opportunities, including insulation savings and responsible energy usage.
The bonus of the 3rd “Have your Cake and Eat it too” category is UV protection. The Hunter Douglas products in that category offer an 88% UV protection for your inside furnishings when the shadings are rotated to the “down, open” position, where the vanes are open so you have a filtered view. When the vanes are closed in the down position, your UV protection jumps to 99%. The UltraViolet Rays cause damage to our furnishings, flooring, and accessories by bleaching the color and causing fading on furnishings. The higher your altitude where you live, the more quickly floors and furnishings are changed or ruined. In the case of fabrics, they may get “sun rot” where the fibers actually break apart. Having the UV protection with the view at the same time is a great way to enjoy the outside while protecting your furnishings.
Because these insulative shadings have tubular spaces, especially the Silhouette® and Nantucket™ products, they tend to collect insects and debris inside the columns with sheer sides and the horizontal vanes. People asked “How To Get Bugs out of Silhouettes®”? CamilyWand Sticky Bug Removal Tool™ was invented to handle this chore easily, safely and inexpensively. Using the CamilyWand™ will keep your shadings bug free, while protecting your shading investment.
We are happy to give you other ideas and thoughts about blind and shading decisions and how to properly care for them. The window covering industry has come a long way from the old venetian blinds and spring loaded roller shades. Enjoy the journey of selecting beautiful window covering products that will enhance your home and living experience.