Window Dressings, A Focus on Blinds

Before the COVID 19 Lockdown began I had stopped in at Vawda’s Interiors to refresh my memory on the different types and styles of window dressings available to us all.   There are so many different options so for the purpose of this article I am going to focus blinds, and will deal with curtains in a later article.  Please refer to the Jossi Design website (www.jossi.co.za) and go to the blog page where you will find a previous article on shutters.

Types of Blinds:

1. Vertical blinds

I think we all know the vertical blinds as they have been around for so long now.  These blinds consist of fairly stiff vertical panels which are controlled by a side chain, and the vertical panels can be rotated to adjust the amount of light they let in, and they also stack to the side revealing the window behind.  Available in a wide range of fabrics, colours and textures including blockout or translucent.  Vertical blinds will always remind me of office interiors, while I believe there are some modern ones which might look quite lovely, I still cannot get past this stereotype I have created in my mind and would not use these in a residential setting.

PHOTO REFERENCE: ZICHT.ORG AND BLINDSDIRECT.CO.UK

2. Lumi Voile

   

PHOTO REFERENCE: LUMINOS

The lumi voile by Luminous blinds is an interesting system which gives you the impression of a curtain but also acts a bit like a vertical blind. This system uses a special track mechanism (which usually sits into the window reveal as it has a maximum height restriction that you cannot exceed) into which clips a voile/ sheer fabric. This fabric hangs down in what looks like lovely even pleats, however each pleat is made up of 2 pieces of sheer fabric with a stiff vertical slat in between. These inner slats can be rotated to the desired angle using the pull chain on the side and therefore controls the amount of light coming in and how much you can see through the sheer curtain. With the slats in the closed position you cannot see out at all. The pull chain mechanism also allows for the sheer and inner slats to be drawn to the sides, so similar to a vertical blind, you have the option of adjusting the vertical slats (but leaving the sheer in place) or completely opening the entire window dressing to the sides.

3. Roller blinds

PHOTO REFERENCE: VAWDAS INTERIORS

I just love roller blinds!  My favourite way to dress a window in a new home is to design the ceilings to have a recessed curtain pelmet in which the roller blind is fitted, so when they are rolled up they completely disappear. I find this works best for modern apartments or houses with large window spans as well as modern offices. However roller blinds can easily sit inside a window reveal and look quite neat.  There are standard fabrics to choose from with lovely colours and textures. The 2 main types are:

1) Sunshade roller blind: In this case you can see through the blinds but still creates a certain level of privacy. These offer excellent levels of sun protection while allowing light to filter beautifully into the room.

2) Blockout roller blinds: As the name implies the material used keeps out the light, as well as the heat, giving you complete privacy. I often use blockout roller blinds behind a sheer curtain, keeping them both in the same recessed curtain pelmet (a note here: if you are using a wave curtain and a roller blind behind your recessed curtain pelmet needs to be wider than normal). I love this method of window dressing because you can have the sheer curtain closed during the day and the roller blind is completely out of sight rolled up in the recessed pelmet.  Now you can see out onto a beautiful view whilst still having the softeness and privacy of a sheer curtain in the room.  At night you can bring down the roller blind creating the effect of a blockout curtain, stopping the early morning sun from coming into the room.

The latest technology allows for a reflective back on the blockout roller blind (which almost looks like a silver sheet on the back of the blind). This reflects the heat away from your window and therefore allowing for an even cooler interior.

4. Vision / Doppio blinds

PHOTO REFERENCE: BESTBLINDSDBN.CO.ZA AND BECE.BE

Another very clever system by Luminos is the Vision Blind or Lumi Doppio Blind (Doppio meaning double).  These remind me of venetian blinds but they give a softer feel at they are made up of a fabric alternating solid and sheer bands. Using the side chain you would adjust the positions of the fabric which give the effect of sliding over each other. So by pulling on the chain you can opt for:

1) Completely solid fabric slats resulting in a darker room
2) Sheer and solid fabric slats (resulting in the venetian blind look when the blades are tilted) letting light into the room
3) Raise the blind to allow the window to be fully exposed

5. Venetian blinds

PHOTO REFERENCE: VAWDAS INTERIORS AND WINDOWVERT

Venetian blinds are categorised by the material used to make them:

1) Wood Venetian
Made up of horizontal slats of wood.  While there are different sizes I prefer the 50mm slats. The slats are made of solid timber, they can be in a painted finish, and the natural qualities of the timber give them a more authentic look.

2) Pre Made PVC blinds
PVC blinds look very similar to the wood venetian blinds but as the name suggests these are made from PVC and therefore do not have the same properties as the natural timber but function in the same way. PVC blinds are made of a composite material and are therefore advantageous is in bathrooms where there is a lot of steam.

3) Aluminium blinds
These blinds can be useful in that they are available in various slat sizes: mainly 16mm, 25mm, 35mm and 50mm slats. There is also a large range of colours and finishes available such as matt, gloss, woodgrain, brushed and printed. While I would possibly use these in a commercial setting, they are not my favourite option as I find them quite flimsy but I do accept that they can look quite smart in the right application.

6. Panel blinds

PHOTO REFERENCE: GALAXY BLINDS

As the name suggests the blinds are basically vertical panels of fabric which slide open and closed and can be made from a variety of fabrics (including patterned fabric). They can be installed to stack to the left or the right, as well as in the center of a doorway or window. The fewer panels there are the wider the panels will be.

7. Woven Wood and Bamboo blinds

PHOTO REFERENCE: BOUCLAIR.COM AND VINTAGEROMANCESTYLE.COM

These blinds are available in a variety of patterns and colours. As they are made from natural materials therefore small irregularities in the finish, colour and stitching may be noticeable.  These work well for a more vintage or ethnic feel but I find the irregularities bother me and the strings on the side can get annoying, however I have seen interiors where these have worked incredibly well so it comes down to personal preference.

8. Roman blinds

PHOTO REFERENCE: DECORIFUSTA.COM AND BLINDS-2GO.CO.UK

A roman blind can be made from any fabric of your choice, and will be manufactured using a plain blockout lining on the back. The structure of the blind is such that it gives the impression of a flat material window covering when it is down and when you pull the side string the whole structure “folds” upwards. When it is open you will have a fabric panel across the top of the window which can give a pretty touch to a room. While I don’t use roman blinds in the more modern interiors, they can be a lovely option for a bedroom where you have a wooden venetian blind within the window opening and you would like to soften the window by adding a roman blind across the top.

A Note on Automation

Many of the blinds mentioned here can also be automated. You might feel that automation is be beyond your budget but it might be worth exploring the options because by motorizing your blinds you omit the need of all the chains and strings that hang down on the side of manual blinds. Automation make the blinds easy to use as they would be controlled through a remote, however they can also be programmed to react automatically to sunlight and temperature. I suggest you contact Vawdas Interiors to find out about your automation options.

Thank you to Vawdas Interiors for providing me with such useful information.  For more information please visit their website www.vawdasinteriors.co.za, their showroom is located at 30 Springdale Place, Springfield, Durban.

For all your interior design needs please contact Jossi Design and we would be glad to see what advice we can offer.  www.jossi.co.za or 082 451 8030