Blinds, shutters solve simple window issues

Windows to the left of us, windows to the right of us … a blessing or a curse? I’d say a blessing. Let that sun shine in! But what if the sun is blinding at certain times of the day? Here are some solutions.

The simplest, most uncluttered window coverings are achieved with blinds and shutters. They are relatively inexpensive and tend to work well on just about any fenestration. They are great by themselves as well as with over-draperies and/or valances.

Let’s start with the roller blind.

The springy thing has been popular since the 18th century. You can even make one yourself if you are so inclined. If you’re a make-it-yourselfer, be sure to use fabric that is tightly woven, flat and cotton. If the shade is to be used in the kitchen or bathroom, a waterproof fabric is a must. Plain blinds look good with a trim on the bottom. Try a fabric color that matches the wood trim around the window. Another idea is a pattern that matches something else in the room.

Roman blinds look similar to roller blinds when down, but have a pleated effect when up. There are also Roman blinds that can be sewn to maintain that pleated look when in the down position. These blinds most often should be lined in order to keep them from looking limp or flimsy.

Austrian blinds hang straight when down, just like the simple Roman, but with a scalloped hem. When in the up position, they have a balloon effect. This is achieved by cords, which run through looped tape at the back. Festoon blinds are similar but not as full as Austrians. Both treatments have an ornate quality to them.

Venetian blinds are back. Well, they were never really gone in the first place, but they did use an alias — the mini- blind. They are now being used in the original 1- and 2-inch widths as well as in the mini (1/2 inch) and micro-mini (1/4 inch) sizes. These blinds are available in aluminum slats as well as wood slats. Both kinds are available in a multitude of colors.

Shutters provide security, silence and a great look. When open, they don’t restrict the window at all; when closed, they are an attractive addition to the wall. Slat sizes vary from 1/2 inch to as much as 4 inches. The smaller the slat, the more traditional the look. The wider the slat, the more tropical the look.

With all of these blinds, except the fabric ones (Roman/Austrian/festoon), the great advantage you have is the control of light coming into the room. You can adjust slats to let a little or a lot of light in. You also can slide the slats completely up or out to the sides to let it all in. Isn’t it nice to have options?

Rosemary Sadez Friedmann, an interior designer in Naples, Fla., is author of “Mystery of Color.”

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