With hot Okanagan summer temperatures, it's no wonder Exterior Solar Shades are becoming so sought after! These durable and see through shades are built exterior grade tough to be able to withstand the elements, and help to provide homeowners with the comfort they desire in their outdoor spaces or homes interior.
But what are they and how do they work?
The shades are comprised of a solid piece of tightly woven material that rolls up and down from a tube thats mounted above the opening. Solar shades have been designed to block out the heat and glare from the sun, while also helping to prevent furnishings and decor from fading. The weave still allows for a view to the outside which is perfect for Okanagan homeowners who want to maintain their beautiful lake, mountain or city views. They're also great for homeowners who want to be able to see their children playing in the yard, or maintain a view to their gorgeous garden. The fact that these shades don't visually close in a space is a big plus.
What are they made of?
The "fabric" is made from a variety of durable, exterior grade materials including fibreglass, vinyl and PVC. Stainless steel components ensure the shades won't rust and various cassette and fascia options help to conceal the tube and provide a seamless and pleasing finished look. Metal guide cable or track systems will prevent the shades from blowing around in the wind.
How much heat or sun will they block?
Depending on the weave selected, you can expect to block between 90-99% of the suns UV rays. The colour of the material selected plays a large part in how much of the suns glare will be blocked out, with darker colours doing a better job of cutting the glare, (think dark sunglasses!).
Where can they be mounted?
As long as there is a solid mounting surface, these exterior solar shades are great for the outside of a homes windows (stopping heat before it enters the home). Deck overhangs, pergolas, or really any outdoor enclosure are also great locations. A place to attached guide cables or a track system near the ends of the shade is also required.
WestStyle can help!
WestStyle Blinds is running a one month Facebook contest in which anyone can enter to win $1000 worth of ShadeOmatic window coverings. Simply LIKE our Facebook page between Feb.10th - Mar.10th/2018 to be automatically entered to win. The draw will take place March 12th/2018 and the lucky winner will be announced and contacted via Facebook. Enter now for your chance to win and update your home with beautiful new window coverings!
The WestStyle Facebook page can be found here.
WestStyle recently completed a moulding feature wall that we absolutely love! The best part is that it was relatively inexpensive and completely changed the look of the room. Another bonus is that if you have some motivation, your own power tools and a free weekend, this is a simple DIY project that will yield huge “Wow Factor” results.
We decided to frame this moulding around a fireplace in a family room but this would be equally impressive in the master bedroom, dining room or even basement media area. We opted for primed moulding pieces, but to cut costs further, an inexpensive wood like poplar would also work. We will outline the materials and tools required below.
The first step is to pick your wall. This new feature wall will be the one your eye is always drawn to when you walk into the room, so it needs to make sense. You don’t want to confuse the eye by having more then one feature area in a space. All areas and walls of the room should be beautiful and interesting, but one should be the obvious dominant wall.
The next step is to pick your pattern or layout. We went with a simple grid pattern, but you could easily opt for thinner mouldings in large box shapes, or even abstract layouts. As long as you maintain a level of symmetry in your design, you will be left with a strikingly beautiful result.
Your paint colour will largely effect the finished look. We really wanted to accentuate this wall so we opted for a medium/dark colour that added a ton of interest. Colours will change in appearance at different times of the day, on different walls and in different lighting, so keep that in mind when picking your colour. Sometimes going dark can be too dark when it’s all said and done, so it’s best to have an open mind while grabbing your paint swatches at the store. For the best results, always take your swatches to the actual room location. It’s an extra trip, but can save you a lot of headache, labour and money.
If you want to create interest but don’t want the wall to be over powering, you can paint the trimmed area the same off-white as your baseboards, or even the same colour as the rest of the walls, and it will still offer a classy but more subdued style. This is a great option if you already have other colourful items in the room that you’d like to showcase like furniture, art, throw cushions, and area rugs. The goal should always be to add interest to a room, without taking away from any other important pieces.
So if you’re convinced, and ready to get started, we’ve outlined a list of materials and steps below.
The materials you will need:
Zebra shades have taken the window covering industry by storm and have quickly become one of the most popular styles. Many manufacturers have stepped up to put out their version of the product which has led to a large variety of shade qualities and many different product names. Other commonly used names for these are Banded shade, Dual shade and Mandalay shade.
Zebra shades explained...
Zebra shades are best thought of as a variation of a roller shade because the fabric rolls up and down on a tube thats mounted at the top of the window. The difference between the two styles is really only in the fabric. Unlike a roller shade which uses one solid piece of fabric, a zebra shades fabric is made up of alternating bands that are semi-opaque and sheer which roll on the tube bypassing one another. The idea behind this is that you can rotate the bands slightly to line up the sheer fabrics, thus allowing a view out of the window, while still offering daytime privacy and UV protection for interior finishes.
This option of a fabric mixed with a sheer, gives the shade a luxurious feel that's great for all areas of the house but especially in living rooms and dining rooms where you may be desiring a more upscale look.
Zebra shades in a bedroom
If you're considering putting this shade in a bedroom but you're concerned about blocking enough of the light, then you're in luck. One manufacturer has come out with a dual roller cassette system. This specially designed cassette allows for a blackout roller to be mounted behind the zebra fabric while still only requiring a minimal mounting depth. This combined option makes these shades very versatile by allowing the front shade to offer sheer and light filtering capabilities while the back shade offers room darkening.
How much do they cost
Historically any shade that combines sheer fabrics with semi-opaque fabrics has been a higher priced option, however the zebra shade is much more affordable then some of it's counterparts. This has also contributed to the shades growing popularity.
While the beauty of a shade is always in the eye of the beholder, we are very happy with this new trend in window coverings and we suspect the zebra shades are here to stay.
Click here to find out more about the different window shade options available or contact us to book your free in-home consultation.
For some people, having a very dark bedroom is imperative to a good night sleep. With the different styles of window coverings and options growing every year, it can be hard to know which ones to choose and what you can expect. Whether you're looking for options to help your kids sleep during the day, you're a shift worker, or you are just extremely sensitive to light, we have created this list of the 3 most popular types of room darkening shades to hopefully help simplify your options.
1. Roller shades
Roller shades are a popular room darkening option because they're a great price point and come in a ton of fabric and colour options. Since roller shades are one large piece of fabric, they do a great job of blocking out the majority of the light entering a room. They're also customizable to your personal style with various valance and control options.
Roller shades do however have their downsides. The biggest complaint about blackout roller shades is that they have fairly large gaps on either side of the shade where the fabric meets the window opening. While these gaps are not large enough to effect your privacy, they can let in some extra, undesired light. If you're someone who is extremely sensitive to light or you are trying to sleep during the day, this may not be the best option for you.
2. Custom Drapery
When we hear drapery, we often think of the pre-made, store bought panels that can be found in large box stores. While a pre-made panel can do a pretty good job of blocking out the light, they cannot compare to a custom drape made to the optimal height and width for the ultimate blackout option. This is why we see drapery so often in hotel rooms where it's imperative that the hotel caters to the sleeping requirements of even their most light sensitive guests.
Custom Drapery has also come a long way since the days of the orange retro curtains that we grew up with. Now we have a huge selection of beautiful fabrics to pick from, which when combined with a high quality liner and the correct fabric fullness, will create a luxurious look that will also offer energy efficiency and act as a sound barrier from the outside.
This option is more costly then the others due to the amount of fabric and labour involved to produce them, but we know that if you decided to go this route, you would not be disappointed.
3. Cellular shades
Cellular shades, (also known as honeycomb shades) are a fantastic option for room darkening due to their versatility. Not only are they one piece of fabric so that they won't let in light, but the fabric fits snuggly in the window opening which cuts down on unwanted light coming in from the sides of the shade. Due to their insulating nature, they will help to block any sound coming from the outside.
The cellular shades most popular feature is the ability to bring the fabric down from the top or up from the bottom, (shown in the above image). This is an especially great feature for bedrooms as it allows you to let in the natural light from the top of the window, while not giving up your privacy down below. These options combined with their midrange price point, make these shades our favourite pick for blackout.
Realistically these options are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to room darkening shades and what options are available. If you're interested in finding out more, please feel free to contact us to set up a free in-home consultation. The good news is that some of our shade options do such a great job of blocking out the light that the question stops being about if it's dark enough to sleep, and starts being about if you will want to wake up in the morning.
fall is here!
Fall is one of our favorite times of the year. Along with fall comes a change in decor as we start to get ready for winter and transition into rich, dark, warm colours. We are absolutely loving what is in store for the fall of 2017 so we thought we would share some of what you can expect to see trending in home decor.
We hope you are loving this seasons design trends as much as we are. With so many different directions and options to choose from, it really is about making your space completely unique to you. Don't be afraid to take a chance and to stand by your decision. After all, like they say, "The more that you love your decision, the less you care if others do."
When automation first entered the world of window shades, it quickly grabbed the attention of consumers because it suddenly made window coverings "cool". While it's true, automation does add a certain "cool factor", which is still a valid reason to automate your blinds, some experience, and new technology has taught us that there are some other really great reasons to consider automation. Below are the top 5 reasons we think they're worth a look.
Among other advances, new app technologies have changed the way we interact with motorized shades. You can now choose to operate your shades directly from your smart phone or tablet. This advancement also introduced the option to set up room themes and pre-program shades to open and close at the times that work best with your lifestyle. Want to wake up at 7 am? Program your shades to open at that time every weekday, letting in the light and acting as a secondary wake up notification.
The pre-programming capabilities are also great for people who are a little uncomfortable leaving their homes unattended while on holidays. The continued movement of the shades while you're away, helps to give the impression that someone is in the home and manually adjusting them. The shades and the app talk to each other through your homes wireless internet router. This allows you to program the shades from anywhere in the world and takes the stress away from remembering to set them prior to leaving the home.
3. hard to reach windows
This is by far the most common reason that people search out automated shades. Many new homes now feature stunning vaulted ceilings that are lined with rows of windows, or beautiful light enhancing skylights. Adding automated shades allow you to control the light and heat in these areas without having to completely block off the windows.
4. Energy Efficiency
In the Okanagan we get some hot summer days and that often translates to additional heat transfer through our windows and into our homes. Some automated systems now offer BTU (British thermal unit) censors that measure the amount of heat on the window and will automatically lower the shades to block out unwanted rays. These censors are convenient, but not necessary to maximize your blinds efficiency. Instead you can use the apps pre-programming capability to tell your system when the windows get the most sun and you'd like the shades to close.
5. Child Safety
This reason needs almost no explanation, however dangling blind cords continue to be a dangerous threat to the lives of small children and pets. The Canadian government has currently started the process to mandate large changes to the type of window covering control options that will be available to consumers. These soon to be implemented changes will have drastic effects on the window covering industry.
Automation is definitely not for everyone or every window, but these 5 points sum up the main reasons why they may be worth considering in the future. We now know automation is about much more then just having another fun toy that can be used to impress your friends... although just between us... they ARE pretty impressive!
Click here to find out more about automated shades.
Call Weststyle today for your free in-home consultation and to learn how automation can work for your home. Mention this blog post and receive an extra 10% off of your automated shades. 250.488.5151
Chelsea created WestStyle Blinds in 2017. She has worked in blinds and design for the past 13 years including some time spent working as a product representative for one of Canada's largest blind manufactures. Chelsea is a native to the Okanagan Valley and she received interior design training at the Pacific Design Academy in Victoria, BC.