Enhancing Your View: The Best Window Treatments for the City
Windows are often the focal point of a room, so your blinds and shades need to be both decorative and functional. This is especially true when it comes to city living.
One of the most appealing aspects of city living is the view. There is really nothing quite like it. In fact, we recently wrote about the Top 10 U.S. Cities with the Best Views. And when the time comes to purchase new window treatments, it’s important to take your beautiful view into consideration. You want to choose a window treatment that enhances your experience, not one that detracts from it. As custom decorating professional and Houzz contributor Jess McBride will tell you, “not all shades are created equal.”
What Are the Best Window Treatments for City Living?
“Windows are a great focal point in a room and blinds and shades should be both decorative and functional,” says Carolyn Forté, Home Appliances & Textiles Director in the Good Housekeeping Research Institute. This is especially true in the city. There are several factors to consider, such as aesthetic appeal, light control, privacy, energy efficiency, and, of course, your view.
Finding Your Personal Style
What window treatments make the most sense for you.
“From roller shades to drapery panels, picking the right window treatment can be quite an adventure,” says interior designer Kerrie Kelly of Kerrie Kelly Design Lab. “Picking the right treatment is all about choosing your style, fitting the size and shape of your space, and meeting your functional needs.”
Managing Light Control & Privacy
“A well-lit apartment is hard to find,” says David Michael McFarlane, MakeSpace. And the right window treatments can be an even bigger struggle. “It is not just a choice of light or no light,” says Sharon Renshall, CEO and President, At A Glance Decor. You want window treatments that enhance a room, allowing you to adjust just how much natural light you get throughout the day. “You can decide exactly how much sun you want,” says Renshall.
And then there is privacy. “For most people, privacy means avoiding nosy neighbors, but even more importantly, it means feeling safe,” says Katie Laird, Homes.com. Unfortunately, when living in a densely-populated area, such as a city or even a crowded suburb, privacy can sometimes be hard to find. Because space is limited and homes are being built closer and closer together, it is often easy and, at times, unavoidable to catch a glimpse at the inside of your neighbor’s home.
“When it comes to privacy, one of the first and most obvious places to look is at your windows. How do you block visibility into your new home, without losing your own view of the outside world and the natural light that we all want?” The right window treatments can make all the difference. “Choosing the right window blinds, shutters, or curtains can help you gain privacy, while still letting the sunshine in,” says Laird.
Energy Efficiency is a Must
The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) estimates that windows account for 25-40 percent of your annual heating and cooling costs. According to the DOE, “window coverings—blinds, shades, curtains, and awnings— could save significant energy at low cost.” All window treatments have energy saving properties, though some are inherently more efficient than others.
Our Recommendation: Solar Roller Shades
Solar Roller Shades are a stylish solution for those seeking light control, privacy, and the perfect views. “Roller shades are a sleek and sophisticated way to update your contemporary space without forfeiting the design elements,” say Kelly.
Solar Roller Shades protect your privacy, reduce glare, and block up to 90-99% of harmful UV rays, all while still allowing you to gaze out your window and take in the beauty of the great outdoors. “These light and elegant shades block blinding sunlight yet let the good light through,” says interior designer Rebekah Zaveloff. The secret is the openness. “The material is usually a vinyl mesh which is available in varying degrees of ‘open-ness,’” explains interior designer Mike Strutt. “The more open they are, the more light they let in, and the more you can see through (both in and out).” Next Day Blinds solar shades, for example, are available in 1% (open), 4%, and 5%.
“If you’ve got an amazing view, but your large windows bring in too much sunlight sometimes, rollers are the perfect solution,” says window treatment specialist Mary Lou Ralston.