How to Select the Right Coverings for your Windows

Many factors and variables play a role when selecting the right coverings for your windows. The main reasons as to why you should install window coverings are privacy and light control. Factors like durability, life expectancy, ease of cleaning, formality, versatility, and of course safety as well as price, should be taking into consideration. Privacy Factor Privacy can be achieved with almost any type of window covering. The window treatment simply needs to be semi-translucent to diffuse images or opaque to prevent visibility to the interior. Frosted glass or glass block can also compliment window coverings to give adequate levels of privacy. Light Control Factor The most difficult factor to control is light, with most window coverings falling into one of five categories:
  1. Transparent – Clear, without obstruction
  2. Translucent – Diffused light to prevent the perception of distinct images
  3. Filtered – Muted or dim light in bright conditions
  4. Semi-Opaque – Impenetrable by light, yet it allows some light through the gaps
  5. Opaque – This is where all light is totally blocked
Durability Factor A window opening subject to direct sunlight, humidity, dust, and odd temperatures is by nature a harsh environment. Add to these the frequent use factor and its simple to understand why window treatments need to be constructed well. The life expectancy is normally less for fabric treatments that can fade with time. Other coverings, such as shutters, and window shades have a longer life span. Ease of Cleaning Factor Each and every window covering will collect dust and dirt. Fabric coverings are the most difficult to clean, and are subject to stains. The furniture quality window coverings will normally wipe clean with a light solution. Others may require dry cleaning to prevent damage to the fabric and shrinkage. Shutters, blinds and shades are usually easier to clean.
Versatility Factor Some coverings will work well in formal settings; others will work in casual settings, while others will work great in modern living settings. Alternate styles are versatile and blend well with almost any style of room. Safety Factor Small children in the home will usually come in contact with windows and their coverings. Some coverings will have cords to raise or lower for better visibility. Although they are handy to have, they can be dangerous if they come within reach of a child. Toxins released by some materials, collection of dust and other allergens, as well as flammability, should also be taking into consideration when selecting window coverings.
Price Factor Window coverings on the low end of the price spectrum will normally have a short life expectancy and low durability. The slightly higher priced coverings, such as shutters and shades are designed to last longer – all while retaining the original character. Price of window coverings is dependent of many variables such as size of window, material selection, manual or motorized options, and so on. While there is usually a discrepancy in the costs of window coverings from vendor to vendor, it’s very important to weigh the overall value involved. The term “value” is often overused, therefore, when purchasing drapes, blinds, shades or any other window covering, it is necessary to consider the return on the investment and the quality of the service received not only at the time of the purchase but also when maintenance or service is needed.
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