What makes blinds and shades an element of décor?

Rahul Mehrotra - March 23, 2014

Let me begin by stating the big difference between blinds and shades.

Blinds – The big thing with blinds (or Venetian blinds) is that you have slats that Tilt-Open and Tilt Close. You can also move the whole thing up or lower it.

Shades – Shades are either up or down. There is no Tilt Open or Tilt Close with shades.

Is there more to blinds and shades than just basic functions?

With that said, I can tell you from my In-Home consulting experience that our clients are interested in more than just Tilt Open or Tilt Close. In contrast, they want me to tilt open bit more with ideas and thoughts so that the hidden designer in them can bubble up with self confidence.

All of us get the basics. The simple expectation from a window covering is to provide privacy, manage sunlight, reduce heat build up and offer some degree of security. If that’s all you ever wanted, then what’s wrong with a guy stating that just cover it up with a bed sheet. What he is missing that it is not about cover up. This is my home and I want to do it my way, a beautiful way.

By the way, I drive around new home areas and I do see bed sheets on windows. Next time, I drive around the same area and I see them replaced with something elegant. Then, I know for sure that the guy who said “just cover up” is not the boss type in this home. May be I am eyeballing too much and I should just focus on being a blind guy.

I will get a call from a homeowner and they would initially plan on spending about an hour to discuss blinds and shades project. As the discussion moves ahead, it is fairly common for me to spend more than an hour or two with the homeowner. At that point, the discussion is more about how choices will pull things together in a room or area. Not to say that basic functions of privacy or light control are ignored, but the real buzz or fun is how a particular choice will transform the look and feel of the area.

What to strive for when choosing blinds and shades for your home décor?

If I have to use one line to answer this question, I will say you strive for harmony.

My intent here is not to take you on any transcendental journey. If you are really interested in that perspective, then I will suggest checking out the book “Power of Now” from a contemporary spiritual practitioner, Eckhart Tolle, that I resonate with. Am I digressing? Yes, I think so.

From the décor view point, harmony in a room is simply when one thing fits in with another. Some voice tells you that it belongs there and above all it feels right, more so as to how you look at it. I also refer to it as be in the right place. The space feels right and everything is part of the whole.

The big question is how to achieve simple harmony. This is where most of my time is spent with the homeowner working tirelessly to do what is right. If it means exploring multiple options, scenarios, visits and estimates, then let it be.

Get both décor and function with your blinds and shades

Every homeowner will decide this based on his or her view of the room, but there are some basic elements that play together to make it all happen. You should keep them in mind as you go about creating that harmony, but don’t let anyone tell you that you can’t do something when you strongly feel that it is the right thing to do for this space.

I don’t believe in “one size fits all” when it comes to decorating my home. I go to many homes and I find plenty evidence of that belief. The experience should be no different when choosing blinds and shades for your home windows, especially when window coverings need to be custom made for each window to fit that window size.

Following are the elements to watch for when you do window coverings.

Color: Color adds personality to your space. I recently worked with my daughter on her Grade 2 project, and she was using terms like primary colors, warm color, cool color, hue, tint and more!. I said to myself – Wow! I can learn a lot from little kids. Color does evoke emotions. In our context, there will be a day time color of the fabric when light is filtering through the shade fabric and there is a night time color for the same fabric.

Roller Shades - Right color adds mood to the whole homeRoller Shades - Softer color makes space look bigger

Texture: Texture is simply how we feel when we see the fabric surface. It can feel smooth, soft, hard or flat and it can change as light falls onto it. It is also related to our memory of the fabric from past experience or how I presume it to be. I will occasionally get a comment from homeowner that this fabric feels like the one her grandma had or I am looking for a rustic look with a woven texture.

Bamboo Shade - Woven Wood Natural Shade - Woven Wood TextureAlternative Wood Blinds - Faux Wood Blind - Texture

So, you got the personality and some skin in your judgement. What’s next? Let’s add some flair.

Pattern: Again, my daughter is learning how to recognize patterns in numbers or objects in her class. In our case, it is no different. It is the repetition of graphic designs on a fabric or blind slat material. It can be lined patterns, circle patterns, floral patterns or any design pattern. Patterns create visual appeal and need to be balanced nicely for simple harmony. Wood blind slats have varying wood grain patterns. Roller shades for a kid’s bedroom can certainly take more geometrical patterns.

Shade - Floral PatternShade - Pattern

Scale: There are certain window coverings that are best suited for windows that go from the ceiling to the floor compared to the average size windows. Blind slats come in different widths, and not all windows look nice with bigger slat size. There are mounting depth requirements, as to how much blind or shade head rail extends into the room.

Emphasis: Do you see a need for window covering becoming the focal point? Or, you may just want to create a subtle contrast to make its presence felt. The common feeling is that contrasting color tones tend to make the space look smaller or cozy, but it also depends on the size of the room or area. You are empowered to bring casual style of window shades in the nook dining table area – an emphasis that is truly yours.

Sunlight: I am from Calgary, so I know our summer days can be long and sometimes harsh. Knowing that, I need to understand how the Sun moves around the home and the issues it brings. If the sun is glaring right into my eyes and it gets really hot, then I need to do something about it using some form of shades or blinds.

Closing Thoughts

All the decor elements above lend something to the whole picture. We know the end goal – harmony. Some gut feel will tell you when it is right for you. After all, you decided on the design and style of the home that you live in. Now, let your creativity work as to how you see the décor done inside the home.

We are aligned with the best blinds and shades suppliers/ brands in the industry such as Hunter DouglasGraber and more. This enables home owners to find the right mix of décor elements and create a sense of oneness.

If all that is not enough, then I may suggest listening to the Grandmother Willow Tree song “Listen With Your Heart” from one of the movies that I like watching with my little one – “Pocahontas”.

It is your turn now. Please let me know how you see blinds and shades done in your home.

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