As humans we are always looking to control our surroundings. One area we have been able to master is the light in our homes. Not only can we turn interior lights on and off with the flick of a switch, but by utilizing the proper combination of window dressings and technology, we can also control the amount of exterior light coming into our homes as well.
Clearly, I have a passion for the almost infinite assortment and combination of window treatment options that are available to our consumers today; some of the best ways to control the light in your home come down to the choice and type of fabric. The unlimited variety of colors, textures and patterns of the fabric allow shades, blinds and draperies to be customized to any style or need. The more unique options even include wood and leather shades. Wood and metal shutters can be customized to filter light in stunning colors and stains.
Sheer fabrics soften and filter the light, providing an opaque screen. Sheer fabrics can also be layered with other more solid fabrics for a day to night look; providing light filtering during the day while not obstructing the view and privacy with light blocking during the night and early morning hours.
Solar fabric, available for use in Roman shades, sliding panels and roller shades allows the light that comes into your home to be filtered at different percentages, protecting you, your art and furniture from damaging solar rays while reducing the heat gain and enabling you to save energy. Solar fabrics are offered in 1%, 3%, 5% and 10% openness factors. All solar fabrics provide glare and heat control, natural light management, the ability to see through to the outdoors, and UV protection.
Blackout fabrics allow the user to completely block out the light, and are ideal for bedrooms and theaters. Shades made with blackout fabric can be combined with side channels and other hardware to block out almost all ambient light. These shades can be layered with sheer curtains, Roman shades, or solar shades in front of the blackout shade for use during the daytime.
Once a window treatment and fabric type have been selected, the option of whether or not to motorize the shade will often be discussed. For very large or heavy window treatments, motorizing the shade will often offer the best solution. Not only will motorization extend the life of the shade, but it will also enable the treatment to be operated more easily. Motors can be hardwired into the existing electrical system, requiring an electrician, or operated using a battery. Motorization is also the best option for windows that are hard to reach and for skylights, enabling the user to open and close the treatment with the touch of a button.
Somfy, one of the leading window treatment motor producers, has developed the myLink system. This system is a simple device that connects to your home wireless router and enables your smartphone or tablet to become a remote that can control your motorized window treatment. MyLink allows your smartphone or tablet to operate your motorized products at home or away. The system creates an effortless ability to manage the sunlight coming into your home, reduce glare, or increase your privacy. You are able to program different settings, or scenes, within your home timed to different periods of the day. Scheduling different times of day for window treatments to open and close automatically can drastically reduce the heat gain within the home. This is also an important safety feature, as moving shades can mimic someone living in the home when while the homeowner is away. Homeowners usually see a large reduction in energy bills. The best feature of motorization and myLink is the ability to have control of your motorized products anytime or anywhere.
4. Home Automation Integration
If you have chosen to automate your entire home, the addition of motorized shades, draperies or shutters can complement your system. The window treatments can be programmed to open and close at certain times of day or controlled from any room in the house.