Power Up your Window Covering


In the past five years, the most dramatic developments in the window covering industry have come in the area of motorisation.

As we move into an era of smart homes that enable the occupier to operate anything in the home from a remote control or from a device  such as an iPad or smartphone, window covering professionals have to get savvy about some of the technological issues that accompany this trend.

The current leader in window covering motorisation, Somfy, is constantly developing new hardware (and software) that will ensure the smooth operation of blinds, curtains and awnings, both interior and exterior. The challenge is to make operation user-friendly and economical whilst ensuring the end user does not incur extra energy expenses or increase their carbon footprint.

There are basically two major installation types for motorisation. C-Bus is a system in which the entire home is controlled from a central point and devices such as wall switches or even tablets and android phones can control everything. You don’t even have to be in the home for these items to work, as long as you are connected by your mobile device. This means you can arrange to have all your blinds down when you walk out the door, and have them up in time for your arrival back home. You can put items on a timer so that when you are absent, it looks like someone is still home.

The other installation type is remote control operation. This is more cost effective and suitable for smaller homes or those with a more modest budget. An electrician simply hard-wires the windows that require treatments and then the blinds or curtain tracks are connected to the exposed cables. A hand-held or wall mounted remote control operates the window treatments, and the end user can have numerous options as to how these window treatments open and close.

Motorisation is a huge consideration in rooms where windows are inaccessible and still require operable window coverings. Also, those who may be incapacitated would benefit greatly from motorising their window treatments. Of course, those who simply love gadgets will also appreciate this technology. There are a few things to watch out for if you decide to utilise either of these technologies, however:

  1. Neither system is cheap. Remember you need to add the price of the motor to the price of the window treatment.
  2. Look for a motor with a warranty that is backed by after sales service from the supplier (not just your  salesperson).
  3. Purchase the quietest motors you can afford. There are different grades of motors and some are quite noisy.
  4. If you don’t have an electrician, look for a supplier who can offer an electrical service as well as the motors. In some cases, this also extends your warranty.
  5. Be careful of cheap Chinese motors as the jury is out on some of these

If you only have one or two small windows and don’t want the expense of a motor, you might want to consider battery operation. Apart from being a cheaper option, batteries are great for small blinds and can be retrofitted in some cases. Generally, you can expect a battery to last about two years before it needs replacing or recharging.

So, if you are building a new home or completely replacing your window treatments, why not consider having them motorised?


Dressing oddly shaped or large windows


If constructing or buying a house, one of the biggest decor headaches can be dressing your windows, especially since they come in all shapes and sizes. Well nowadays, this should not be a problem. A variety of solutions exist for any window type or shape. From a range of blinds, to shutters or curtains, no window is too large or too complex to get a proper cover.

Venetian blinds

These control the amount of light entering a room. Through changing the angle of the lamellaes, you can control the direction of the sunlight to create a unique atmosphere. Other than being a decorative and heat control element, these blinds also protects the room from overheating. They are ideal for roof windows.

Roller blinds

  • The standard ARS roller blind offers protection from sunlight and can also be an element of decoration in the attic. The ARS roller blind reduces the amount of incoming light, adds style to the room, and the wide range of fabric designs (plain, patterned) allows you to match or contrast the blind’s material with the decor of a room. This blind is made up of material on a roller with the spring. It has an elegant aluminium fascia which hides the roller. Three pairs of fastenings installed on the sash allow the blind to be fixed in different positions.
  • ARP roller blind : It has similar characteristics as the ARS roller blind, the only difference being that the latter has three different fixing positions.
  • ARF roller blind: gives a room a total blackout such that the inside of a room appears as if it is night time even during the day. Unlike the other blinders, they have side runners which give the room a complete interior blackout. It prevents heat loss in the winter and protects against UV radiation during sunny days.

Pleated blinds

They provide a soft diffused light into the room. You can lock this blind in any position.

Roller shutters

These are the best for those seeking a window cover that will offer extra benefits. The roller shutter protects from overheating, gives the room complete shading and the best bit about it is that it also locks out noise from outside hence keeping the room serene.

Ovation cellular slider

This cover is ideal for wide windows, over doors, wide windows and room dividers. It comes in a variety of stacking options that work for any window and room. It is child-proof, hence safer because it has no cords or wands that are exposed.

Specialty shutters

With more sophisticated house designs, comes windows of various shapes. Shutters are no longer just built in rectangular or square shape. Manufacturers have responded to market needs with new shapes of shutters such as octagon, rake, circle, eyebrow and arch, to ensure that all types of windows can get a matching shutter. If your window is shaped like a half moon or an eyebrow, arched window shutters will give these windows a streamlined look.

Window arch shades

Arched windows are stylish and give a room an elegant appearance. However, dressing them with a curtain can be very difficult. Enter the window arches which are made either from wood or faux wood. You can also choose a stationary, moveable, or top down/bottom up option to customise window arch to your needs. Installation is easy: no drill, no screws, no brackets – just peel and stick.


Lastly, however odd-shaped or large a window is, interior designers and curtain makers are very experienced in creating customised window dressings for the most awkward shapesand styles. There may be several options – and combinations of treatments – that will work, and your designer should be able to draw up a few examples for you to consider.

Control rods

These are not a window dressing accessory but will help you manage a cover, especially if its a dressing that has to be managed manually. These rods are used for opening windows that are out of reach and can also double up as hooks for opening and closing the shutters, blinds etc that are above normal level.




Electronic Blinds for Your Home and Office

window blindsHaving window blinds make the perfect appliance for your windows. These things have helped control light entering the room and maintain privacy for years since they were invented. Nowadays, innovation has led to the production of electronic window blinds. These window blinds can be remotely operated through a control. You can have the same benefits of having window blinds installed for your home or office at hassle free.

Get the best set of remote controlled window blinds for your home and office. You can see a large selection of different kinds of blinds here that could fit your personal style. You can choose from a variety window blinds made from plastic, wood and other materials. Each design has its own unique setup to complement for any home or office environment. Having electronic window blinds installed offers the benefits of regular blinds and more.

Remote controlled window blinds removes the need for you to adjust your blinds manually. If you have regular blinds, it could be a nightmare to frequently adjust the amount of light that enters through the room. With a remote controlled window blind, you can adjust them all with a simple press of a button. Electronic window blinds make good appliances for showrooms. Adjusting window blinds manually during any showcase of items in a room full of crowded people may not be a classy to begin with.

By remotely operating your window blinds, you no longer have to expend much effort while they can be adjusted in sync. You can make a good impression for your guests visiting your office or home with the modern touch. In this modern era, having anything operated electronically can impress people. With the right design features opted for your remote controlled window blinds, you can be sure guests are can be impressed.

Electronic window blinds may have a reputation as additional sources of energy cost. However, this reason could not stand when taking into consideration the benefits it actually brings. Electronic window blinds can actually help you save money from energy costs. There are several features that helps the appliance automatically adjusts itself to light, heat, and time difference. This also depends on the features innately opted in the product. Just like any other window blinds, heat can be prevented from escaping from the room with a simple adjustment.

New electronic window blinds in the market are manufactured with less energy consumption requirements as opposed to older models. This gives you less carbon footprints and more money saved throughout the year. Take advantage of the aesthetic features electronic window blinds could also have. The market has several electronic window blinds that have different classy designs to fit interior motif. You only need a reliable source to provide you with the right electronic window blinds for you.

Window treatments control light, add style

IYN1_SS___Content-300x225Window coverings are essential and need to be done right. To achieve a custom, professional look, you’ll need help from experts. We can come into your home to give you help.

If your home is in need of window treatments here are a few things to consider.

1. Blinds versus curtains: There are several different kinds of blinds, each of which offers its own features and advantages. Types of blinds include pleated, Roman, panel track and wood blinds. If you’d prefer curtains in your space, you can opt for anything from a light and casual breezy look to a more ornate, formal fabric with sophisticated pleating and draping. If you’re not entirely sure, your design consultant can offer helpful suggestions.

2. Combination solutions: Often, the ideal solution combines blinds and curtains. You might wish to have blinds installed on the windows, which you can easily adjust for light control throughout the day. In a layered window treatment, you would then add drapes or curtains. These could be functioning, with ample fabric that allows you to cover the window completely, or not; the curtains might simply be panels of fabric that remain stationery but add softness and sophistication.

3. Privacy: Consider the level of privacy you require from a particular treatment. In certain areas of your home, this may be of no concern at all. If you don’t have to worry that someone can see in, you might select a gauzy, more-transparent fabric or blind. If there’s a spot where you definitely want the view obscured, great options exist both in curtain and blind solutions.

4. Light: Window treatments are a great way to gain control over the amount of light exposure you receive. If a certain spot is too bright, you’ll get limited use from the area; you’ll avoid it because it’s just too uncomfortable. If the area is on the darker side but you still wish for privacy, you’ll want to preserve the light that does come in but add a discrete level of screening.

5. The view from the street: We don’t always think about how our window treatments appear from the exterior of our homes. For condo dwellers, there are often rules you need to abide by. Many condominium boards require all window treatments to have a white backing in order to present a neat and uniform look from the street. As a unit owner, you are responsible for this. Or, maybe you simply want to create a cohesive style for your home. The careful selection of materials — with a certain amount of consistency or symmetry from room to room — is a simple way to elevate the overall look.


Ikea to stop selling blinds with cords

Pose too much danger to toddlers

Ikea has promised to stop selling window blinds with cords in an effort to improve childsafety.

As of today, it’s stopped selling them in the US, and says it plans to discontinue them internationally by the end of the year.

“Product safety is the highest priority for Ikea, which is why we have been working to develop alternative solutions to exposed cords in window coverings. In 2012, Ikea made the commitment to only offer window blinds and coverings with no or non-accessible cords by January of 2016, and we’re pleased to be able to announce that we’ve met this commitment,” says Heather Spatz, Ikea US country sales manager.

“Ikea is committed to working together with our customers to raise awareness of this important issue and to help families get the knowledge they need to ensure a safer everyday life at home.”

On average, one child a month died in a window blind accident in the US between 1996 and 2012, according to the US Consumer Products Safety Commission – which has named the cords as one of its top five hidden home hazards.

In the UK, according to the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (RoSPA), there have been at least 30 deaths across the UK due to looped blind cords since 1999 – 17 since the start of 2010.

Most such accidents, it says, happen in the bedroom, to children between 16 months and 36 months old. More than half involve children of around 23 months.

At this age, toddlers are mobile, but still have a comparatively heavy head and undeveloped control of their muscles, making it harder to free themselves if they become entangled.

In addition, toddlers’ windpipes are smaller and less rigid than those of adults and older children, meaning that they can suffocate far more quickly.

“It can take as little as seconds for a toddler to lose their life after becoming entangled in a window blind cord or chain, but simple steps – such as securing cords and chains with safety devices and keeping furniture away from windows so that children cannot climb up – can help prevent deaths,” says Dame Sally Davies, chief medical officer for England.

Last month alone, three inquests were carried out into the deaths of toddlers from blind cords.

Two-year-old Roisín Redmond choked to death after becoming caught in a looped blind cord at her grandmother’s home in Graiguenamanagh, Kilkenny.

Three-year-old Mohammed Javaid, known as Haseeb, also strangled himself at his Huddersfield home, as did Oxfordshire thirteen-month-old Johnny Doran.

Recent changes to the law mean it’s no longer legal to sell blinds with cords unless the cords are fixed to the wall or have a snap-mechanism that breaks them when more than 4kg of pressure is applied; Ikea is going one further.

But as blinds tend to stay in place for years, the majority of those currently fitted in the UK are likely to pose some danger, and parents are advised to check, if necessary adding a cleat.

Window Covering Can Help Cut Your Energy Costs



SAN DIEGO, CA–(Marketwired – Sep 11, 2015) –  Are you concerned about your carbon footprint? Or maybe you are just concerned about how high your utility bills have been because of the recent heat wave in Southern California.

Recent studies demonstrate that up to 40% of our energy costs are spent on heating and cooling the home. Unfortunately a lot of this money is simply going out the window. Window coverings may help you lower your carbon foot print and your monthly utility bill.

For many homeowners, the goal of window coverings is for blocking light and finishing a room. Today you also have very attractive choices in window blinds and shutters that act as insulation for your home. Today’s window covering can actually trap air between the glass and the window covering keeping the air conditioned or heated air in the home.

Glass is a conductor of heat and cold and with today’s home designs and downtown condo’s windows are used extensively. Ever touch a glass of hot water or cold water the temperature goes right through the glass, the same is happening with your home.

There is an easy solution to this and the solution is very affordable in comparison to E-Glass. Not all window coverings are the same when it comes to energy efficiency. Aluminum blinds and Vertical blinds offer the least insulation since they have gaps that impair the coverage of the windows. Window shutters are much better but still have some gaps but are one of the better choices. Cellular shades we recommend as the cells are designed to trap air and when custom designed sit very flush in the window frame.

Combining cellular shades with window curtains will give you the best energy- efficiency. Curtains that are designed correctly with pelmets prevent air from escaping upwards into a room and a total block out lining prevents air from escaping.

Today’s homes are designed to be more energy efficient from appliances to solar panels but many times the window coverings are overlooked. San Diego Window Fashions is San Diego’s most trusted name for affordable window coverings and blinds. With over a decade of experience in the window covering industry we off all the top brands at affordable prices.



Report puts blind cord dangers in the spotlight

Health and Social Wellbeing Improvement

Report puts blind cord dangers in the spotlight

A report which aims to help save children’s lives by highlighting the dangers of looped blind cords and chains is to be released today (July 9).

The 30-page paper, by the four UK Chief Medical Officers and organisations including the Department of Health, Social Services and Public Safety (DHSSPS) Northern Ireland, Public Health WalesThe Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (RoSPA), the British Blind and Shutter Association (BBSA) and Children in Wales, highlights the dangers looped blind cords and chains pose to young children.

RoSPA is aware that 28 toddlers have been killed by blind cords and chains in the UK between 1999 and 2014, 15 of which occurred since 2010. The report aims to reach out to parents, grandparents and carers about the risk of fatal accidents and how to prevent them.

It calls for more appropriate data to be recorded into deaths and near misses to better identify the scale of the problem.

The report also revealed that there are still millions of potentially unsafe blinds that were fitted in the UK prior to the introduction of new legislation in 2014. The new legislation requires new blinds to be “safe by design” or be supplied with the appropriate child safety devices installed. The report warns that there needs to be continued public awareness raising to reach those families that may be at risk.

Ita McErlean, RoSPA’s home safety manager for Northern Ireland, said: “This report is an important step forward in raising awareness of the potential dangers of looped blind cords. Anything that can help reach homes that still have blinds with looped cords or without the appropriate safety devices is a move in the right direction.

“Sadly, there have been more blind cord deaths across the UK since the report was published, which goes to show how important it is for us to continue to raise awareness among parents, grandparents and carers to ensure that looped blind cords are kept out of the reach of children. Far too many young lives have already been lost.

“These deaths are devastating for parents and families involved and we must do all we can to prevent more deaths and further suffering.”

The report was commissioned after a group, including the CMOs, public health agencies and RoSPA, was set up in 2013 to look at ways to reduce blind cord injuries and deaths.  The report has already proved useful for pushing this issue up the agenda with additional initiatives taking place across the UK since the report was completed.

Dr Michael McBride, CMO for Northern Ireland, said: “The purpose of the report is to help highlight the dangers of looped blind cords and look at ways in which blind cord injuries and deaths can be reduced.

“It can take as little as seconds for a toddler to lose their life after becoming entangled in a window blind cord or chain, but simple steps – such as securing cords and chains with safety devices and keeping furniture away from windows so that children cannot climb on it – can help prevent deaths.

“While the report shows that there has been significant work to address the issue, the fact that there have been further deaths since it was completed means that we must continue to step up our efforts to reduce the risk of unintentional injuries and premature, preventable deaths. There is no room for complacency when it comes to our children’s safety and we can always do more.”

RoSPA worked with the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS), the European Committee for Standardisation (CEN) and the British Blind and Shutter Association (BBSA) to strengthen the current European standard relating to looped blind cords, which led to the new legislation being introduced last year.

Nelson Watt, chairman of BBSA’s Child Safety Working Group, said: “The British Blind and Shutter Association (BBSA) has been pleased to be involved with this report and recognises that the collective work of many stakeholders is vital in raising awareness of blind cord and chain safety. The BBSA will continue to develop its Make it Safe campaign to ensure appropriate messages are communicated regarding child safety and existing window blinds.”

Anyone wanting more information about blind cord safety should visit www.rospa.com/blindcords.

10 Ways To Keep Your Home Cool.. Without Touching The Air Conditioner

1. Keep your blinds closed. As simple as it may seem, the Family Handyman notes that up to 30 percent of unwanted heat comes from your windows, and utilizing shades, curtains and the like can save you up to 7 percent on your bills and lower indoor temperatures by up to 20 degrees. In other words, it essentially prevents your home from becoming a miniature greenhouse, which is especially the case for south- and west-facing windows.


Read the complete article here:


More comfortable summers

Sky light blinds


Q: Will solar blinds really keep my home cooler in summer? We have two large bay windows and I was looking at installing some Krumpers solar blinds or perhaps some awnings. I’m skeptical about the blinds since they still let heat inside the glass.

A: Your plan is a great way to reduce heat buildup during summer. And though I don’t have any personal experience with the blinds you’re thinking of, I expect they’ll help quite a bit. The research I’ve looked at with the Krumpers product impresses me.

Your concern about heat still getting between the glass and the blinds probably won’t turn out to be an issue. The light colour of solar blinds will reflect energy back out again through the glass, but you don’t necessarily need to go ahead on mere “blind” faith. Before you commit to buying, try simulating blinds by putting a sheet over your window temporarily during sunny weather. I think you’ll find it makes quite a difference, and proper blinds will make even more of a difference.

Although most people don’t realise it, openable skylights with blinds offer another option for keeping houses cooler during the summer. Even homes with central air conditioning often still have upper rooms that are way too hot in the summer. A few operable skylights left open even an inch or two allow hot air to escape outside, enabling the air conditioner to do its job upstairs. The best solar skylights don’t require wiring and they can open and close electrically, either on schedule or manually. They also close automatically when the first drops of rain hit.


Published May 24, 2014 – 12:00am
Last Updated May 24, 2014 – 12:10am


Shuddering at California shutters

Q: My girlfriend and I recently bought a condo. It’s a two bedroom in an older building, with fairly large rooms and windows. We don’t consider it our forever address, but we will be here for at least five years. That said, we need advice on our window coverings. Neither of us are really drapery type girls, but we do require privacy from neighbouring buildings. My girlfriend has an attachment to California shutters, but I find them dated and heavy looking. I prefer roller blinds, but she thinks they’re too utilitarian. Any ideas?

A: I’m not expecting to score points with your girlfriend when I say I side with you when it comes to California (plantation) shutters. I think they have a place (a beach house or in a bathroom) but I’m personally not a fan of these shutters from a decorative perspective. I realize you and I are in the minority; plantation shutters are loved by many because they’re an easy way to cover every window of a house without the effort or expense of draperies.

I like the simplicity of roller blinds, but, at the same time, I understand your girlfriend’s concern regarding the utilitarian look. If they are intended to be the primary window covering (as I assume they are in your condo), then I think they look best with simple, uncluttered furnishings.

They can be the perfect fix for lofts or condos, but if your tastes lean toward traditional decor, they’re probably not going to be decorative enough on the windows.

For a more layered look, I’ve used roller blinds in addition to linen sheers and decorative side panels. I like them mounted on the inside frame of the window behind a four-inch (10.16 cm) wooden valance (valance height will vary depending on the size of the window and blind) that is painted the same colour as the window trim.

You wouldn’t even realize they’re there until they’re rolled down at night for privacy.

Depending on how close your windows are to the windows of the neighbouring building, you may need to have the blinds down during the day and in this case, I like the roller shades pictured here by Delia Shades (deliashades.com).

Ten years ago, industrial designer Delia Heilig felt the same way as your girlfriend about roller shades, so she set out to change that. After perfecting the screen-printing process, Delia started designing and producing roller shades patterned after traditional window coverings from around the world.

When you view her website, you see Moroccan arches, French wrought iron work and Indian jali patterns, to name but a few. Delia stocks three weights of roller shade mesh and can line them with blackout lining if total light blocking or privacy is required. Every shade is made to order with window measurements you provide. Pricing is about $25 a square foot (0.1 square metre).

You may not want to use these in every room, but I think they’re perfect for principal rooms in which you’re looking to make a statement. And for the other rooms, investigate options at such stores as Blinds to Go or Home Depot.

Check the rules of your condo board when it comes to window coverings, because with any luck, your building doesn’t allow plantation shutters and you and I won’t have to take the blame for poohpoohing them in the first place.

Send your design question to [email protected]

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