When you think of window blinds and shades, you don’t necessarily think of beauty. So, you might be surprised to learn that blinds can, in fact, function beautifully and be beautiful. They cannot only create privacy and filter sunlight, but they can breathe new (aesthetic) life into a room. Who knew?
We spoke with two expert window blind professionals who gave us the details on creative blind solutions, what’s trending for 2022, and how technology and automation play a role.
FORM AND FUNCTION
Slats Blind and Shutter Experts in Cincinnati has a transitional shade known as Allure that is made of bands of opaque fabric. The look of transitional shades is not only clean, but they require virtually no maintenance, since dust doesn’t fall or settle on vertical surfaces. Slats co-owner Rudy Forte, who started working at his father’s drapery business as a kid, likes them so much that he has them throughout his own home and his vacation home.
Innovative yet surprisingly simple, Allure sits snugly and completely flush with the window and differs from a traditional slatted blind, being comprised of two panels of alternating mesh and translucent fabric. Manually, or with a motorized feature, operated remotely or with an app, homeowners can manipulate the amount of light passing through the fabric to allow a preferred amount of sunlight to fill the space. This style of shade gives new meaning to the marriage of beauty and functionality.
Aerolux Blinds and Shades is a family-run window covering manufacturer in the Dayton area. They offer a similar combo blind-shade known as Shadow Glide. “The bright, clean, minimalistic look of these blinds completely transforms the look and feel of a home,” says Sushmita Jain, owner of Aerolux. “They can be adjusted to allow all the light in or block it out—or any interval in between.”
We’d be remiss not to mention the mainstays of the blind world, and the following remain quite popular: sun-deflecting, energy-saving screen shades; sleek roller shades; Roman shades with waterfall pleats; and elegant, enduring plantation shutters, all customizable. Regarding the latter, “The louvres can range from two inches to up to four-and-half inches, for a beachy look,” says Forte. “They also have them with hidden tilt rods [or no tilt rods] so there’s no vertical sight line and you don’t have to dust around the rod.”
Removing the need to dust may not sound terribly enterprising, but it’s just one of many modern conveniences in the blind world. It wasn’t so long ago that people who wanted motorized blinds had to have them installed as their home was being built, with wires running up to the windows. Today, rechargeable battery-operated motors allow homeowners to easily control their blinds, making installation a cinch and cords non-existent, and smart technology means you can adjust your blinds from a mobile device app or your voice. “You can be in Tahiti and can make it look like you’re home,” explains Forte.
Lest you think blinds are relegated to indoors, consider Aerolux’s outdoor weather solution, the Monsoon Blind. As the name suggests, this solution, which grew out of a need in the resort areas of the Maldives, was designed to take on Mother Nature.
“The challenge was to create something non-permanent that can be lowered when inclement weather comes, but goes completely away when you don’t need it, to give you an unobstructed view of your beautiful landscape,” says Jain. “It’s made of clear PVC and pleats up like a Roman shade. It can completely close an area to block rain, wind and, in these parts, snow, allowing homeowners to extend the use of their outdoor space.”
Also, in keeping with the times, are the pandemic’s effects on the industry—yet some of these effects are, thankfully, positive. First, people are finding opportunities to invest in their homes, including in window treatments, whether incorporating new, creative solutions, or finally getting around to fixing that one pesky broken blind. And businesses have changed the way they do business.
“We’re measuring virtually and designing virtually,” explains Jain. “Over Facetime, Zoom, or by phone, I meet my client and can tour their home to get an appreciation for their color palette and preferred style, and even take measurements. Customers love this option during the pandemic.”
Finally, if you’re considering making a change to your home’s blinds or shades and you want to make your dollars stretch, she recommends that you beautify the main living areas first (versus areas such as garages, laundry rooms and even kids’ bedrooms, where they often don’t even open their blinds). In any case, enjoy the aesthetic appeal—and amazing functionality—of what today’s blinds have to offer.
Slats Blind & Shutter Experts
Article by Lee Rhodes
Article originally appeared in March 2022