Catherine Cuddy's Blog
When moving into a new home, the first thing you want to do is make it your own. That means painting, upgrading fixtures, and the all-important window coverings. Instead of just looking for the most stylish option, take this chance to go with curtains, shades, blinds and screens will improve your bottom line. Most of the energy lost in your home goes through your walls, roof, and windows. You can enhance your walls and roof with well-made insulation, but unless you want to remove the windows entirely, your only option is thermal window coverings.
Now, typically, "thermal" is associated with keeping heat in, think "thermal underwear," but thermal window coverings are designed to block heat from both directions. That means they keep warm air inside in the winter and warm air outside in the summer. In this way, the blinds help control the temperature in your home year-round, reducing your heating and cooling energy costs.
The Four Top Options
While there are a wide variety of energy saving window coverings, and even energy saving windows themselves, the mostly break down into one of four categories.
- Thermal Drapes and Curtains: These are the easiest to install of all the options. The installation is, in fact, the same as for non-thermal drapes or curtains. Just hang the rod and slide on the curtain. While not tight to the windows, curtains do work to reduce the amount of heat that travels through your windows. A secondary feature of most thermal drapes is that they create "blackout" conditions. Blocking as much light as heat, they produce more comfortable conditions for sleep or to stop the glare on your forty-two-inch television screen. There are a wide variety of blackout or thermal drapes on the market, but you will get the best results from those with an acrylic backing layer. The more layers of acrylic, the thicker and more effective the curtain will be at blocking both light and heat.
- Thermal Interior Blinds: Mini-blinds, plantation blinds, Venetian blinds, there are so many from which to choose. Each type's fabrication is from of different materials leading to various levels of thermal protection. Slatted blinds are useful because they give you greater control over the amount of light let into a room. Depending on the curve of your slats, you may also be able to create an air buffer between the blinds and the window, changing how the cooler or warmer air flows into your room.
- Cellular Shades: Halfway between curtains and blinds, these “honeycomb” shades trap air in hexagonal pockets between at least two layers. The more layers in the blinds, the more efficient they will be at stopping heat or cold from traveling through into your rooms. Unlike slat blinds, cellular shades create an air barrier in front of the window without needing to be adjusted for a particular angle.
- Thermal Exterior Blinds: Exterior blinds work similarly to interior blinds. They are mounted above your windows and lower or raise through channels mounted to either side. Made of a variety of faux and natural materials including bamboo, wood, vinyl, steel and aluminum you can find an amazing style to match your home's needs. In addition to adding thermal protection to the outside of your windows, external blinds increase the shade and privacy of your home. Make certain you check with your homeowner's association first though. Some HOAs don't allow outdoor blinds since they change the exterior appearance of your home.
Want to block even more heat and light? Or just have more control? Look for reflective window films, awnings, roof overhangs, and screens to augment your interior window coverings. Getting ready to sell? Ask your real estate agent about the best choices to improve the value of your home.
There’s a lot more to interior design than simply picking out the latest trends in home decor. Design principles are also used to make the atmosphere of your home spacious and welcoming, and to make your home livable in a practical way.
In spite of the fact that most people will own a home someday, no one is ever really taught interior design. So, it comes as little surprise that so many people are missing out on simple techniques that can drastically improve their home.
In today’s article, we’re going to share with you some of the best interior design and decorating secrets to help you spruce up your home and make it more practical at the same time.
Low ceiling? No problem
Having a low ceiling can make it difficult to decorate and make your home seem spacious. One great workaround is to avoid tall furniture and seek out chairs with low backs, and bookcases that are wide rather than tall.
Omit hanging lights and ceiling fans and used recessed lighting instead to maximize your space and avoid having taller guests having to dodge objects hanging from the ceiling.
Finally, paint the ceiling white and remove crown molding to give the impression of openness.
Making small rooms feel larger
If you have a small home it can feel difficult to keep things uncluttered while still making sure you have everything you need. There are a few ways to make rooms feel more spacious that don’t involve throwing out your belongings.
First, add mirrors to give the illusion (literally) of space. A single or group of mirrors can be a nice decorative touch that makes a room seem much larger than it is.
Next, paint and decorate with mainly light colors or white. Dark colors will make a room feel smaller.
Lastly, take advantage of hidden storage space, such as tables with drawers underneath, and avoid putting decorations on too many surfaces. Filling the room up with objects will make it appear smaller.
The size of decorations matter
There’s a rule in interior decorating called the “cantaloupe rule.” It states that you should avoid using decorations that are smaller than a cantaloupe.
However, that doesn’t mean this rule can’t be artfully broken. A better description would be that you should omit several small decorations in favor of just a few large ones.
Create a color palette
When choosing the color of your furniture, walls, and decoration it can be easy to just choose whichever color you like for that object rather than what works well in your home. Try making a color palette to adhere to when shopping for these items.
Create a house-wide palette and a palette for each room. Stick to three or four colors that complement each other well for each room, and make sure they aren’t too starkly contrasted from other rooms in your home.
If you aren’t sure about how to design a color palette there are several free online tools you can use to help.
Your living room is one of the most used rooms of the house. It’s where the family gathers and company comes to chat. If the furniture in your living room is not arranged comfortably, then you may not enjoy the space as much as you should. Heed the tips below in order to get the furniture in the living room is arranged for comfort and practicality.
See How Conversations Will Play Out
You want your living room to be a place where face-to-face conversation actually thrives. Even in the age of the smartphone, people still like a certain kind of connection with one another. Make sure that food and drinks will be in easy reach and that the seating is arranged in a way that allows everyone to be involved with a conversation.
Use Dividing Factors
If you have a large living room, you’ll need to divide the space with either a room separation apparatus or a piece of furniture. Using furniture actually keeps the room cozy and free from feeling stuffy. If the living room bleeds into another room with an open floor plan, this becomes especially important. Use a sofa, and allow it to face away from the dining area in order to divide the conversation spaces and keep your home’s interior design flowing.
Use A Focal Point
Most living rooms have a TV or a fireplace, or both. You can keep both on the same wall, or create separate spaces for both activities in order to have some division in the room. There are many different strategies that can be used in order to keep both the fireplace and the television in the same space without making a dizzying focal point.
Think Outside The Box
By arranging your furniture at a diagonal, or different angle than simple straight lines, you’ll be able to give your living room some flavor. First, set the sofa and the coffee table, then create the rest of the space around these establishing angles. This will make the room feel bigger and give it a sense of symmetry with flavor.
Matching Furniture Gives Flow
By getting matching sofas, chairs, and side tables, you’ll be able to create a sense of symmetry in the room. The way you arrange the furniture ultimately depends on your needs and tastes, but you’ll have a few anchoring pieces to work with that will allow you to make the living room your canvas and your furniture your subjects. Have fun playing with the layout and design of the room. There’s really no right or wrong answers, just simply what will make you happy and what looks good in the space.