While blinds and other window treatments are present in nearly every home and business in the world, they get very little discussion compared with other elements of home decorating. Many people don’t know much about the brands and options available.
Blinds are technically horizontal blinds with slats that tilt and go up. Beyond blinds are many kinds of window coverings, but many people refer to “blinds” in the general sense as anything that goes over a window or door. This article uses the term window treatments to draw from the larger selection.
Because energy efficient window coverings can be a significant, long-term investment, let’s take a look at an often-overlooked first step in the process of decorating with window treatments.
The first step of the shopping process is to determine consciously what type of decorator/buyer you are. This step is usually skipped over or simply not considered, but knowing what type of decorator you are will improve the odds that you’ll be happy with your decisions, both in the immediate future and the long run.
Typically, decorators are either style-first or function-first. The two types are different in approach to shopping and selecting products.
Style-oriented: For style-first shopping, the first selections are the type of material, colors, and look of a window treatment. Then, you narrow the list by the function of the treatment (the way the mechanisms work for open/close, etc.) and budget.
Function-oriented: Functional shopping happens two ways. Either you have a specific function for a room, or you’re unaware of your options and unconsciously think of the process as primarily utilitarian.
Some examples of room-specific needs might include
- Blackout treatments for converting a room that is particularly bright at night into a sleep-friendly room.
- A home theater room where darkening is important, but so is sound absorption and a theater look.
- Need for privacy while letting in light.
- Special windows (door sidelights, arches, etc.).
For many shoppers, none of these special challenges exist, yet you may have an automatic impulse to consider a particular type of window covering because that’s what you are familiar with. By calling out the first step of the shopping process of determining if you are a style-first or function-first shopper, you can become aware of all the options and conscious of what you really want in regard to style.
The fact is, the functional needs of almost any window can be met in many ways, meaning you have latitude to solve the functional aspect of treatments. You can use this leeway to explore what will server your style best. With this freedom, you can shift the discussion from utilitarian to having some fun with your home’s style.
Window coverings are a significant investment. Taking the time you need to get it right is time well spent. Look at the different types of treatments, think about your priorities for the room, and then buy your blinds or window treatments with confidence.