Today, with so many styles of blinds and shades to choose from, finding the right one for your needs isn't always a quick open-and-shut deal. Here, we've gathered our best advice to help you see your way through the process. Whether you're looking for privacy, style, or both, it can be a daunting task to choose window treatments. Should you head to a specialty blind store, your local home center, or shop online? How formal should you go, or how sheer? And how come your stylish neighbours always seem to get it right? Windows are a great focal point in a room and blinds and shades should be both decorative and functional. Thankfully, we've come a long way from the days of hiding them behind basic mini blinds. Now you can dress up a room in hundreds of ways without making a major investment. At Ashwini Decors, we saw a need for better, well-priced window treatments that are more safety-conscious - and then decided to roll them out in a wide swath of colours, fabrics, and styles. We're proud to introduce our exclusive Good Housekeeping Custom Blinds and Shades Collection, available at our showroom.
First Things First
• Light and privacy : How much do you want and need? Decide whether you want your room bright and airy or more "buttoned up" and cozy. Is your goal to block out light for snug sleep in the bedroom or hang a sheer fabric in your kitchen that lets the sun shine in over your farmhouse sink? Are the windows you're covering near the front door or facing the sunny side of the house? All of these factors will influence the styles and fabrics you choose.
• Your budget : Are you outfitting just one window or the entire house? You may consider spending more on certain windows and scaling back on others. Window treatments are priced by size, so expect larger treatments to cost more. Custom sizes and specialty fabrics, patterns, and features also add to the cost.
• How much time and effort : you're willing to spend cleaning Standard blinds can be cleaned at home, but are magnets for dust and need frequent attention. Shades in textured fabrics and weaves hide soil better and are best cared for with either vacuuming or professional cleaning.
• Your decorating style : Is it formal or casual, comfortable or chic? Bold colors can be fun or dramatic. Subtle hues are perfect for a room decorated in neutral, earthy colors. Do you prefer corded styles or sleeker, streamlined cordless ones?
• Safety : Do you have young children in your household and a need for streamlined cordless blinds and shades?
Blinds are best if you want tiltable slats that can be adjusted to let the sun shine in (or not). They offer a handsome, clean-looking custom fit and plenty of privacy. Prices for blinds generally climb in this order: vinyl, aluminum, faux wood (or textured vinyl) and wood. Here's what to know about some types. Wood blinds come in light and dark hues and polished or painted finishes — our line ranges from white Country Cottage to rich Peruvian Walnut — and they're perfect for offices and dens. They're not the best choice for kitchens or baths, where moisture could do damage (choose polymer or faux wood instead), or for bedrooms or living rooms where you want a softer, more romantic effect. Insulating blinds help conserve energy and filter or block light, so they work hard for your money. Our branded selection of insulating blinds come in many colors, from Natural Linen to Sage. When choosing blinds, keep in mind:
• Wider horizontal slats create the illusion of bigger windows and more space in apartments and small rooms. Slats in the Ashwini line range from 1 inch to 2 3/8 inches.
• Vertical blinds work for windows that are wider than they are tall. They're an ideal pick for picture windows with a sweeping view or across sliding glass doors. Upside: You don't have to put blinds at half-mast to let in light, as you do the with shades — the full length of the window pane can always be covered for a finished look, even when slats are open. Handy for bathrooms and bedrooms because you can leave blinds down for privacy but adjust as needed for light. Downside: Blinds generally require more of a commitment to keep clean, because the slats attract dust and grime. Shades are the answer if you're looking for tremendous versatility and style. They provide more ways to create different looks and moods using texture, pattern, and fabric weight. Our Good Housekeeping line includes everything from sheer horizontal to energy-saving cellular to blackout roller shades and more, in either traditional bottom up or with top down designs for more light-entering options. Some standouts:
• Woven wood (such as bamboo) offers full, natural-looking coverage. It works well in garden rooms and breakfast nooks, where you often need to filter out the sun to read the newspaper or see your iPad screen.
• Tight weaves like twill or microsuede offer optimal privacy because they're opaque. These work well in bedrooms and bathrooms—and don't forget the guest room.
• Roman shades have soft, wide pleats that fold flat when raised by a cord. These are lovely for the dining room, living room and family room. Balloon, where the fabric is gathered into billowy poufs—make a high-style statement and are a dressy touch for formal living rooms or sitting rooms.
• Honeycomb, aka cell or cellular, are designed with horizontal rows of air pockets (like the tight, neat rows in a bee's honeycomb) which work to keep heat in during winter and out during the summer. These energy savers are a favorite for all around the house.
• Blackout, with a room-darkening fabric, block out up to 100 percent of light (they cost more than conventional styles) are ideal for bedrooms, home theaters, and media rooms.
•Solar are made from a sheer weave that offers protection from harmful UV rays but don't completely block your view. They are a good option for sunrooms, kids' rooms, dining areas, and light-drenched offices. Upside: Shades are a versatile way to easily refresh any room and can lend a warmer, softer look than blinds. Downside: To keep them fresh and clean, you'll need to hand-wash vinyl shades. Fabric shades (especially if they're a light color) should be vacuumed with a hand tool regularly and either spot-cleaned or sent out for professional cleaning.
Blind and curtain cords or chains are a significant risk to children, as unsecured cords can lead to strangulation. There are simple steps you can take when installing blinds or curtains and preparing baby's sleep area to make sure it's safe from these hazards.
Choose blinds and curtains with safe design features that:
have warning labels to remind you of dangers to children, provide a way to secure cords/chains so there are no loops or strands that children can reach, or operate without exposed cords/chains.
Safety during Installation
•When installing new blinds and curtains, make sure you or the installer secures any loose or looped cords—do not leave them hanging down.
If possible get rid of looped cords by cutting the cord and installing tassels.
•Some blinds can’t operate properly without looped cords. To keep them out of children’s reach you should secure these cords with either: tie-downs (cleats) 1600mm above the ground, or tension devices that secure cords and chain loops, which cannot form a loop of more than 220mm.
You can get tie-downs and tension devices from hardware or window furnishing stores.
Always fix tie-downs and tension devices firmly to the wall or window-frame so a child is not able to remove it. Never use materials that can’t support a load, such as double-sided tape or glue.
Safety at home
• Go through every room in your home and check for any blinds or curtains with long cords that are either loose or looped. Remember, this includes any cords within children’s reach at floor level or near furniture they can climb on.
• Do not put children’s cots, beds, highchairs or playpens near a window where children can reach the blind or curtain cords. The cords can get around children’s necks and strangle them while they are playing or sleeping.
• Do not place sofas, chairs, tables, shelves or bookcases near windows with corded blinds or curtains. Young children often like to climb onto furniture to look out the window. If they can reach the cords, they may quickly become entangled in them, lose their footing and suffer strangulation or serious injuries.
• Make sure blind and curtain cords are not hanging anywhere within children’s reach. Loose cords can easily wrap around and strangle children who are jumping, playing or climbing nearby.
• If you are living in a rental property, seek help from your landlord or agent to ensure cords and chains are out of reach.
• Always supervise children in any rooms with reachable blind or curtain cords. Accidental strangulation can happen very quickly, so never leave children alone in these rooms, even for a short while.
Also keep products with electrical cords – such as lamps and monitors – well away from babies' cots.
Selecting the Right Colour Blinds color can make the world of difference to your window blinds… You’ve updated the décor in your home and you’ve finally made the decision to install window blinds throughout (or maybe just replace old blinds). You’ve decided on the type of blinds that will most suit each room, but now you need to decide on colour.The blinds you choose for your windows have more of an impact on the overall look of your décor than you may realize. Windows are important focal point in a room. They naturally attract the eye and should highlight your overall décor style. This is why choosing the correct colour for your blinds is very important too.
- Wooden Blinds: If you are having wooden blinds fitted (like wooden venetian blinds or bamboo roller blinds), choosing the correct shade of wood is also important. Choose wooden blinds that will blend in with wooden furniture already in the room.
- Light: With fabric blinds, it’s important to decide beforehand how much light you would like your blinds to allow in the room before settling on the colour. Blinds are available in colours that are almost transparent, allowing lots of light into the room, to completely opaque.
- Setting the Mood: You may want to create different moods in different rooms. For example, you may want to have serene colours like pale blue in the bedroom to help you sleep or the calming effect of muted, earthy colours in your living room. Autumn colours, like reds and oranges, add warmth and vibrancy.
- Changing the Appearance: Choosing the correct colour blinds can help you change the appearance of a room. Light coloured blinds will emphasize the size of an already large room. This is great if that’s the affect you choose, but to make a large, cold room seem cosier go for darker, warmer shades.On the other hand, having darker blinds in an already small and dark room will make it seem even smaller and darker. Using pale or neutral tones will help to make the room appear larger.
- Function: It is important to match your blinds to the function you want your windows to serve.If you don’t want them to be very noticeable, choose neutral coloured blinds and make sure your walls are painted a bolder colour than the blinds.If your windows are focal points, make sure you choose bright, bold or patterned fabrics for your blinds.
- Overall Design: Whatever the overall design of the room, make sure you choose blinds in a colour and style that complements it. For example, for more rustic, country styled homes, you would normally choose more earthy tones and not bright pinks or purples that would clash with the rest of your décor.Take into account all aspects of the room, including flooring, walls, upholstery and artwork to make sure that your blinds will add beauty to the room and not detract from or clash with any other features.
The type of cleaning your blind requires depends on the amount of dust deposited on it. If there is only a small coating of dust, a mere dusting with a moist cloth is enough. This method is very advantageous because the dust doesn’t get released into the air, it’s safe and inexpensive. The best and the cheapest way to clean the blinds needs only some white vinegar and a cotton glove or an old sock. You can place the glove or sock on your hand and dip the fingers in a container holding vinegar. Squeeze out excess vinegar. Now you may run your fingers along both sides of the first slat to wipe out all dust. After finishing a few slats, you may remove the dust or slime from the sock, dip it in vinegar again, and go over the remaining slats.
For fabric or vinyl blinds, you may use a rubber dry sponge to remove dust. Metal or vinyl blinds can be taken outside, and cleaned. Ensure that you secure the floor with enough towels before placing the blinds on it for cleaning to prevent any scratching. After washing the blinds carefully, you may hang them out to dry and then re-hang them on the windows.
In the case of fabric blinds, if they are extremely dirty, you can take them to a drycleaner who specializes in window treatments.
- When washing wood blinds, do not over saturate the wood. Wipe excess water off immediately to avoid discoloring and/or warping.
- It is good to vacuum blinds often with a brush attachment, but do it across the slats, not up and down.
- Whatever cleaner you use, make sure that there is no contact with the eyes and prolonged contact with the skin.
- If you wipe down the slats of the blinds with fabric softener sheets after cleaning and drying them, you can postpone the dust build-up. It will also give a fresh and pleasant smell to the blinds.