Evaluating Your Window Covering Options

From shutters and blinds to shades and curtains

Window coverings are more than just an aesthetic accessory. They also help set the mood in a room, and can go a long way towards preventing heat from escaping through your windows during the winter and stopping sunlight from heating your home in the summer. However, not all window coverings are the same. Different coverings have different properties, and these should be taken into careful consideration when making your choice.

Five Popular Types of Window Coverings

Here's a closer look at the five most common types of window coverings, and when you might choose to use each of them:

  • Curtains. Variations on curtains and drapes number into the dozens, from thin, relatively transparent decorative material to thick blackout drapes which can be used to insulate windows. While thin curtains are purely decorative, you should use thick curtains to cover large windows, as a great deal of heat can escape through sizeable windows and thick drapes are very effective at inhibiting heat transfer.
  • Shutters. Though shutters have been viewed as nothing more than exterior accessories for many years, the advent of wireless digital technologies have made them relevant again. You can get remote-controlled shutters that you can operate from inside the house, and there may be no better way to achieve near-night conditions indoors if you like to sleep late. Because shutters are usually made of wood, they also stop sunlight in its tracks during the summer months.
  • Blinds. The major advantage of blinds is that they allow you to customize the amount of natural light you're letting into a room. Traditional blinds are manually operated, but you can also get sophisticated mechanized blinds which can be remote controlled or set to a timer. The latter option is excellent if you have a programmable thermostat and want additional control over the amount of sunlight that gets into your home, but you're not there during the day to adjust them yourself.
  • Roller shades. These window coverings are made of a continuous length of fabric, which can be rolled down to partially or fully cover a window. They're excellent in bedrooms, as dark roller shades are extremely effective at keeping daylight out of the room.
  • Roman shades. These window coverings are like blinds, but wider. They are usually made of fabric or naturally woven material, and make a stylish upgrade on regular blinds.

All these window coverings are available in a near-endless range of styles, colors, fabrics and materials. Beyond considering them for utility, take the time to select a covering that matches your interior décor, paint and wallpaper.