Window Treatments: A Comprehensive Guide for Selecting, Replacing, & Getting the Most Out of Blinds, Shades, & Shutters

Window Treatments

Choosing the right blinds, shades, or shutters for your home can be more difficult than you think. There are so many factors to consider: Will they clash with your home decor? Are you sure you have all the right measurements taken? How are you going to make sure your pets don’t ruin them the first week they’re installed?

In this post, we’ll be discussing everything you need to know before purchasing your window coverings.

Making Your Purchase

Window Treatments

First thing’s first: take the measurements. Measure the height and width of the windows you plan to buy window treatments for. This way you won’t get home only to find your selected window treatments don’t fit properly.

Now, consider the decor of your home. For the sake of simplicity, let’s make a distinction between two decoration styles that most homes could roughly fall into: traditional and modern.

  • Traditional – This involves a lot of classic details, wood furniture, lavish carpets, sumptuous furnishings, and many different accessories. Usually, traditional style decor involves rich color palettes and a wide variety of textures. For traditional decor, it’s best to go with wood or faux wood blinds and shutters. These bring a natural warmth to the room and perfectly accommodate the surrounding decor.
  • Modern – In this post we’ll be using “modern design” as an umbrella term of anything deviating from traditional styles. Modern decor usually involves a lot of straight lines, simple color palettes (usually consisting of black, grey, blue, etc), and glass, metal, and steel materials, rather than wood. Modern designs can include industrial and minimalist styles. For this, shades are usually a fail-safe. If you choose blinds or shutters, go for metal or durable plastic.

Remember, don’t use natural wood in areas that see a lot of moisture and temperature changes.

Window Treatments

These conditions cause wood to expand and contract, leading to damage over time. Instead, use faux wood. Don’t let the name fool you; faux wood looks and feels just like natural wood, it’s just as durable, and will last a long time in your bathroom or sauna.

When To Replace Your Window Treatments

A number of factors contribute to your window treatments becoming damaged over time – discoloration from consistent UV light exposure, pets, children, etc. Here are some things to watch for.

Yellowed or Discolored Window Treatments

One of the main functions of window treatments is to block out light, and the harsh UV light from the sun can take its toll on them overtime. The effect is usually a yellowed look or some other kind of discoloration. Window treatments in this condition can have a depressing effect on the home, making it look old and uncared for. 

Frayed Cords

If your cords are frayed, it’s a sign that your window treatments are ultimately in bad condition. They’ll fail to meet your needs such as providing privacy, light control, and the aesthetic appeal you want from them. There is also likely problems with an internal mechanism that’s causing them to become frayed.

Difficult To Raise

There is usually one of two reasons for your window treatments being difficult or impossible to raise.

  1. You have a damaged lifting mechanism.
  2. Your window treatments were made too wide for the lifting mechanism to support.

With the right amount of force, blinds and shutters that are difficult to raise can fall from the wall. If you’re noticing this problem, it’s time for a replacement.

Blind Slats Don’t Close Tightly Enough

As blinds get old and worn out, it can become impossible for them to close all the way. This usually occurs due to an old or damaged tilt wand mechanism. To replace this mechanism, you’ll have to re-cord the entire blind. A far easier option would be to simply replace the blinds altogether.

They’re Out of Style

You’d be surprised at the aesthetic toll old window treatments can have on your entire home; they have a way of making the whole house appear dated. If you still have window treatments from 7-8 years ago, it’s likely time to get some new ones. 

This isn’t just about aesthetics either; if your window treatments are outdated, they’re probably in bad condition as well, giving you one or more problems listed above.

How To Save On Energy Costs With Window Treatments

In order to do this, you just need to keep one principle in mind: bright colors reflect light and heat, dark colors absorb them. With that, let’s discuss how you can use window treatments to save on energy costs.

Window Treatments
  • Shutters: These are window treatments that were originally made to have a dual function of blocking out the cold and shielding the indoors from hot, bright sunlight. You can utilize this dual function to help keep your house warmer during the winter and cooler during the summer. Insulated interior shutters are a great way of keeping your home warmer during the winter. Install dark colored window coverings snugly against your windows. During the day, leave them open in places where the sun is directly shining. At night, keep them all closed to trap extra heat in your house. During the summer, install Louvered shutters. These are great for blocking heat from your home during the summer. Install bright shutters and keep them closed throughout the day. At night, open them (and your windows if you like) to let heat that has accumulated dissipate.
  • Blinds: The same principles apply with blinds as they do with shutters, but blinds can be far easier to install and replace, meaning you can easily switch from a blind with bright material in the summer to a blind with dark material in the winter.
  • Shades: These can be a great resource for saving energy, but you need to select the right shades for the job. Some of the best shades for this endeavor are shades made of cellular fabric, often called honeycomb shades. They not only maximize insulation but also guard against UV light, prolonging not only their own life but the integrity of your furniture, paintings, and fabrics overtime. There are also shades made of dual colors – bright on one side and dark on the other.

Saving energy for your home year-round is easier than you think with the right blinds, shades, and shutters. You can even mix and match some of them for maximum effect. Not only can this look great, it also helps keep your home even cooler in the summer and warmer in the winter. Get all of the right colors, matches, and installation down and watch your energy savings increase.


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