Privacy, light, style and energy costs – window furnishings are an investment that can instantly change the look, feel and functionality of your home.
Window furnishings are a long term investment for your home, adding value to the property while creating a more stylish, private and insulated interior. You can create lasting value by choosing products that suit your lifestyle, budget and style preferences. These decisions are made easier when you are able to clearly understand your choices and cost your selections.
Why window furnishings?
Windows are a complex and interesting part of the building fabric of your home. They admit light, warmth and fresh air and they connect your interior with the outside world. They reduce glare, buffer sound and control privacy. If you’re lucky, windows can frame spectacular views.
Windows serve a variety of purposes but from an energy efficiency point of view, windows are a weak point in your home. Up to 40% of a home’s heating energy can be lost through its windows and up to 87% of its heat gained. High performance, tight window seals, double or even triple glazing can help but to ensure the best thermal performance of your home you need effective window furnishings.
Getting to know window furnishings
When building or renovating, consider window treatments as part of the design process. Take into account the associated requirements and thermal contributions and you’ll make better decisions about your window furnishings.
It’s important to consider the main purpose when choosing window furnishings. If minimising heat gain in summer is the main aim, it’s best to keep the sun off the glass in the first place with an external shading device such as an awning. If privacy or glare reduction is the primary aim, semi-transparent blinds or curtains are a good option. If reduced heat transfer is the goal, snugly fitted and insulative blinds and curtains will trap a layer of still air next to the window to provide a feeling of cosiness.
Style and budget are two other very big factors to consider. Window furnishings come in all kinds of styles with some more expensive than others. The more research you do, the better equipped you are to make good decisions that best suit your budget.
Types of window furnishings
Generally speaking there are three main types of window furnishings – curtains and drapes (soft), blinds and shutters (hard) and external furnishings. There are manual versions of window furnishings and motorised window furnishings that make life easier, safer and more comfortable.
What you choose will depend on your individual preferences.
Curtains and Drapes
Curtains and drapes are what you’d call “soft furnishings”. They are made of anything soft, such as sheers, swags, valances and roman shades. If choosing curtains and drapes you will need to consider fabric and how much natural light you are wanting to filter through. Sheers will offer you privacy and light and can be used in combination with heavier curtains or drapes which can be opened during the day and closed at night.
You’ll also need to think track and decorative rod. Curtain tracks and rods are one of the most important elements to the successful dressing of a window, adding to the visual appeal and functionality. You may also like to add pelmets, which can create a professionally finished look while maximising your light control and insulation.
Blinds & Shutters
Blinds and shutters are considered “hard furnishings” and are often made of harder materials like wood, bamboo or vinyl. Blinds can be cellular for energy efficiency, pleated to pull up flat at the top, or suspended by strips of cloth called tapes, by which all slats in unison can be rotated through nearly 180 degrees (Venetian).
Roller blinds are among the most popular and affordable window furnishings available. They deliver a sophisticated contemporary look that complements any decor and come in sheer, translucent and blockout finishes. If you want that next level of elegance and sophistication, classic Roman blinds are a stylish designer solution. Used in conjunction with screen roller blinds on the same window they can provide day and night time privacy.
If your home has sliding doors, panel blinds will glide into position and stack neatly to one side, providing visual and physical access to the view or doorway.
Shutters can be employed for a variety of reasons, including controlling the amount of sunlight that enters a room. Used on the inside or the outside of your home, shutters provide security and privacy and visual appeal. Unlike drapes and blinds, shutters do not fade or age at the sun’s UV rays and shutters are timeless in their beauty. Cleaning shutters is easy too.
For keeping the sun off your windows, alfresco zones, verandahs and outdoor entertainment areas, external window furnishings are required. External window furnishings use high quality fabrics and components that will withstand the harsh climatic conditions therefore are generally more expensive than interior window furnishings.
Awnings are the original air conditioner and can add comfort, function and style to your home. They provide valuable shade, protect you from rain, reduce glare on televisions and computer screens and help reduce your energy costs.
External blinds offer privacy and protection from the wind and are ideal for pergolas, verandahs and balconies. They maximise space, protect your outdoor furnishings, keep away the bugs, flies and mosquitoes and protect you from harsh weather.
Choosing the right window furnishings
A good rule of thumb when designing the window furnishings in your home is to start at the front of your home and to try and achieve a cohesive look, no matter the styling. Work your way through your home, room by room, considering function and orientation. In living areas, daylight is important, but so too is privacy. For bedrooms and bathrooms, privacy is a must.
Another consideration is what fly screen system you will use on your windows. Flyscreens are a staple in any Australian home and as such there are systems to suit every window and style. Today’s flyscreens can be surprisingly inconspicuous and can even add to the style of your windows and window furnishings.
At Artilux, our ‘customer first’ philosophy runs through everything we do and we always go out of our way to ensure our innovative systems complement your windows and their furnishings. And thanks to our superior range of high quality retractable screens, we can help you live more comfortably and feel safer in your home.