Among all the important finishes in the home such as flooring, your wall colour and the cabinetry, the window coverings are often overlooked and left till last. Yet, they play an important role in your home as they not only protect the interiors from external elements such as heat and cold, they can also provide privacy, assist with light control and importantly the effects of the sun which can fade timber and fabric finishes. Finally, they’re also an important decorative element which defines a window, as seen from the inside or the outside, providing contrast and texture as well as a stylish statement. Excluding curtains, as this is a whole other subject, there are numerous types and styles of window treatments to choose from, based on your taste, house style and budget, so I’d like to focus on the more contemporary and popular types, which I believe tick both boxes for functionality and style.
all images in this page courtesy of Luxaflex
PLANTATION SHUTTERS are window coverings popular in many homes today, as they are low maintenance, attractive in style and extremely functional. Shutters have the ‘best of both worlds’ when it comes to light and privacy control, as they allow you to easily tilt the blades for an immediate control of light, letting as much or as little through as you wish. This comes in handy for both bedrooms and bathrooms in particular, where you require privacy, as you can easily adjust the blades to prevent anyone from looking in, whilst still allowing natural light to come through.They are popular in white, natural timber look, great for creating a sought after ‘holiday resort’ or ‘plantation home’ look. These are also striking in dark and moody, perhaps matt black for a very contemporary and modern look.
Plantation shutters are in the higher price bracket in window coverings, depending on the size and design of house and windows/doors - for a three bedroom home you can expect to budget between $12,000-$20,000.00 (prices can vary greatly due to window numbers and sizes, materials and styles). As an alternate solution, if budget is a worry, you could furnish just the windows to the front façade of your home with plantation shutters. This way, from the street, the house will achieve an expensive and cohesive look and apparently have shutters throughout. Not visible from the front, the other windows can be furnished with less expensive kind of window coverings, such as roller blinds.
VENETIAN BLINDS are a more affordable option for a similar horizontal effect. These were very common in Australia for most of the 1900’s and although seen as slightly dated, their modern versions offer slim line metal blades and easy to operate, mess free and many options for a modern look. As they can also come in a wide range of colours they can transform a space at a fraction of the cost of plantation shutters, with all of the functions plus one, as they can be pulled completely up, opening the whole window space to the outdoors (see below a modern stylish take on Venetian Blinds).
ROLLER BLINDS (also known as Holland blinds) are possibly the most popular window treatment as they are easy to use and offer a slimline and neat appearance. Roller blinds are very functional as you can install them over doors, where sometimes this isn’t possible with the thicker plantation shutters. Roller blinds come in a variety of fabrics that offer block-out (no light through), translucent (plenty of light but no vision) and light-filtering (semi see-through), all suitable options depending upon your particular need. For example, you would use block-out fabric in the bedrooms and the media room to allow for total exclusion of light and privacy when needed, but if using the see-through fabric to filter natural light whilst being able to see out during the day, you may need an additional block-out roller for night privacy, also being something I commonly suggest for my clients.
Roller blinds are in the lower price bracket when compared with plantation shutters with pricing depending on the type of fabric you use and also the area it is to be installed (i.e. window or door). Because of their ability to completely disappear when not used, these are perfect if you want the option of an unobstructed view.
An exciting advancement in outdoor fabrics now provides for roller blinds which can be installed externally, providing a very modern edgy look whilst extending options for entertaining or dealing with west facing entertaining areas. A simple roll of the blind allows for both privacy and sun block out, extending the use of outdoor areas within the home. As you can see, whether indoors or out, window coverings such as blinds and shutters can have a very positive effect on how you enjoy your home all year round.
all images in this page courtesy of Luxaflex
VERTICAL BLINDS are also a very popular choice as they offer great flexibility when it comes to filtering privacy and the amount of light allowed in the home. Despite carrying a little out-of-trend feel, these offer a strong contemporary look in modern wide-blade design, and although they will stack slightly to one side, they can greatly open a window space when drawn away. Importantly to note for those of us who may have grown up with vertical blinds, those messy broken beads running along the base of the blades have been replaced with simple weights, located inside the bottom of each blade. This allows them to be easily opened or gently blown by the wind, or even walked through by your pets without any damage or unsightly pull strings being damaged in anyway. You can also easily direct the vertical blades subtly one way or the other to capture a view whilst still providing privacy.
A Treble of Tips:
Consider and match your property's character when choosing the style of window coverings
For a successful look it's best to use the same window treatment throughout the whole house
Curtains can also be added as an extra layer, if wishing to soften the appearance of windows
James Treble is an ambassador for Planet Ark and firmly believes in sensible purchasing, recycling and creative re-purposing. James has decades of accumulated experience in the Building Industry, Real Estate and Interior Design. His knowledge and experience in adding value to homes, through clever design & styling, is now published for all to learn and benefit from: Interior Design For Profit is now available online.