When budgets get tight, easily overlooked features like window treatments are the first to suffer. By design, modern housing developments and apartment buildings are furnished unimaginatively in order to be as inoffensive as possible to picky buyers. The end result is boring roller blinds in off-white or grey, in cheap fabrics, mass produced and purchased in bulk.
It doesn’t have to be this way! Blinds curtains and shutters are first of all functional, offering privacy, shade and insulation. But more recently, interior designers have turned their eye towards window furnishings with a bit of personality and pizazz. Creativity is making a comeback. Manufacturers and interior designers are starting to recognise that innovative window designs aren’t just a frame for the window, but an opportunity to add a polished edge to your home interior.
In this article we’ll show you six design ideas to bring your shades out of the shade, and onto centre stage.
1 Motorized Blinds
Motorized, remote controlled blinds are not only convenient, they open up a range of design opportunities as well. With no ugly chains or pulleys to deal with, motorized blinds give a cleaner look. Modern versions have a very lightweight mechanical system which can be recessed into the roof or window surround, making them virtually invisible when rolled up. In the pictured application the designer has used a concealed motorized blind as a retractable shade for a sunny deck area. When not in use the motorized blind is rolled up all the way to the high stud completely out of view.
2 Custom printed blinds
Custom printed blinds in bright colours or a striking design make a serious statement! In some cases it’s as simple as uploading a photo, poster or design you love to an online service who will then print directly onto a blind and deliver it to your door. Kids love the effect, which makes it a great way to decorate a bedroom that won’t cost the earth. For a more refined result we recommend using an established retailer who can guarantee image quality and provide a colour matching service. Also, choose your image carefully! You don’t want to be stuck with a huge re-creation of poster for a movie you don’t even like anymore.
3 Plantation Shutters
Old fashioned plantation shutters are making a comeback! Shutters bring light, ventilation, privacy control and a classic aesthetic. Popular in France, England and Southern United States for centuries, plantation shutters continue to represent elegance and old fashioned charm. Shutters are available in wood and synthetic and can be painted or stained any colour you like. Many styles have built in adjustable louvers so there is no need for curtains or blinds, you can adjust the light according to your mood. Shutters are a great insulator so will keep you warm in the winter and cool in summer.
4 Stained Glass
Most people associate stained glass with old mansions or a church windows. In reality, modern stained glass can be a funky addition to a modern home. Stained glass brings an artistic quality to your home, is very decorative and casts beautiful colourful light on sunny days. When done well, it can feel modern and creative and can bring a pop of colour to otherwise minimalist or neutral designs. It’s hard to resist the amazing colorful light that comes streaming through a stained glass window.
5 Blinds as a Room Divider
Blinds, curtains and even shutters don’t need to be confined to the sidelines. For apartments where space is at a premium, or multi-use spaces in offices, a hanging blind or curtain can be a practical and eye catching solution.A curtain divider in a heavy, luxurious fabric brings the advantages of two enclosed rooms without the permanent commitment. A slimline roller blind in a neutral colour is a great way to divide a studio apartment in two, creating useful living spaces or a private sleeping area. Office spaces often use hanging dividers to create break-out meeting areas that are versatile, multi purpose and provide a bit of privacy when necessary.
6 Smart Glass
For a futuristic look, smart glass (also called switchable glass) might be your thing. Smart glass changes from translucent to transparent at the touch of a button. There are a range of different technologies on the market but most use heat or electrical current to alter the wavelengths of light the glass allows to pass through. As technology has improved, and prices have come down, designers are using smart glass in residential homes. Smart glass brings privacy at the touch of a button. With no window furnishings required, some designers love the clean lines and minimalist feel it can bring. Plus, switching the glass back and forth at the touch of a button is great for impressing your friends!
Article and images courtesy of Ryan Lewis from Lovelight