Choosing window treatments for your newly built home can be a confusing process. There is plenty of choice in the market and it often depends on your house style, location, views, family preferences and budget. Blinds are cheaper to buy and install than curtains and are much easier to maintain. But nothing beats curtains for heat retention and light block-out. They also give a room a cosy, warm feel.
One of the most popular options for new homes across Australia are roller blinds. They are easily operated with either chain control or motorised. Motorised blinds come in mains power or battery power with solar charge option. Roller blinds have fantastic light blocking properties and come in a wide choice of fabrics and designs. The blinds can be made in sunscreen, light filter or black-out fabrics. A dual roller blind combines sunscreen and blackout fabric for day and night use.
Timber blinds are a stylish update on horizontal venetians and add warmth and style to a room. They give the homeowner complete control over the amount of privacy required. Materials used include timber, synthetic and aluminium and come in a choice of timber stains or custom paint colours. There is also a wide range of profiles.
Roman blinds offer a softer alternative to timber or roller blinds and can use plain or patterned fabric to add another dimension to the room. They can be positioned at any height depending on the views, light and privacy levels. Roman blinds add a softness to living areas and make small rooms look bigger. They are operated by a cord and lock or chain and come in three different styles. Fabrics include sunscreen, light filter or block out materials.
Plantation shutters add a modern yet timeless look to a house and can be cost effective as they outlast every other type of window treatment. Shutters increase privacy while giving the room character and charm. White wooden shutters are the traditional look and suit contemporary and open space designs. Plantation shutters come in composite wood or co-polymer material, which is ideal for high humidity or salt spray. Two different kinds of hardwood shutters feature even wood grain suitable for staining or painting. There is a variety of styles, colours and designs and shutters can also be customised.
Curtains are classic and never go out of style, although they can cost considerably more than blinds, depending on the fabric. Curtains can frame a window, layer a room or add warmth, movement and texture. Fabrics can range from gossamer light sheers to heavy velvet with draped pelmets. Like luxurious feature wallpaper, there is a shift towards beautiful fabrics that move away from minimalism. Colours are still muted though, especially if the fabric is heavily textured.
A general rule is curtains must always touch the floor, not matter what size of window. There is also a trend to hang them high and wide. Position the top of the curtains at least midway between the window and the ceiling, and make sure they are wide enough to clear the side of the window when open. Curtains suffer from sun fading and dirt and wear and tear from handling. Wands and pulleys keep curtains hands-free, and quality lining minimises fading. Dry-cleaning is recommended once or twice a year, depending on the curtain colour. In contrast, blinds just need dusted or vacuumed to maintain their looks.
Blinds and curtains can be mixed and matched throughout the house. Blinds may suit the living areas, where they can disappear during the day and give privacy at night, but without impacting on the space or design. Curtains in the bedrooms give a cosy feel and can be complemented with soft furnishings and carpet. Blinds and curtains can even be paired together on the same windows, offering flexibility for styling, light control and privacy. Doubling up give the home owner the best of both worlds.