By Ashleigh Mattern
Blinds have come a long way: Years ago, your only options for colours were forrest green, dusty rose, or navy blue, and they only came in one material- metal- attracting heat and cold into your house. Plus, they were hard to clean. Leanne Pilsner-Fisher, Budget Blinds Owner and Style Consultant, remembers people going to odd lengths to clean their blinds, including bathing them.
"Now blinds are so beautiful and so aesthetically pleasing, and can really finish your home or recreate a feeling," Pilsner-Fisher says.
They also play a doubly important role for condo owners, who are often looking for window coverings to give them privacy from their neighbours.
"There are lots of options that will give full privacy, but lots of light," says Pilsner-Fisher. "When people think privacy they think it has to be dark, but that’s not it at all. You can get a multitude of colours but allow light through."
Top down, bottom up blinds are an especially nice feature for privacy while still being able to see outside from in and control what people can see inside from out.
"If you’re on the third or fourth floor, you can get a nice view but people can’t see in depending on where you place the blind."
The top-down feature comes in cellular or honeycomb style blinds, and roman shades,. Another option are blinds that have horizontal slats, like faux or real wood blinds. "Those ones have the tilting feature too that allows for privacy. You have many options for light and privacy at the same time; anything with louvers or slats that you can tilt up and have light coming in in a filtered way."
There are also options for people who have bought a condo for the view: Solar screens allow you to get the full view from your big, beautiful windows, while still protecting your home from UV heat and glare that can damage furniture or floors. Paired with drapery, the screen gives you privacy and protection during the day, and the drapes can be drawn at night.
Pilsner-Fisher notes that blinds are especially important in homes with a lot of windows, which are essentially walls that can only be decorated with window treatments – including blinds and fabric décor.
"Windows are a cold feature in a home; they’re just blank. You can warm up a home buy adding fabric, drapery, or wood.... It really can change a home."
Paired with the furniture, paint job, and accessories, window coverings can help to tell a story about what your home is to you, and what you want people to feel, says Pilsner-Fisher.
While styles vary widely depending on the homeowner's tastes, some general trends she's noticed include contemporary styles in white and cold greys, and natural grains. Roman shades are also still popular for rustic chic styles because they pair well with drapes.
The most popular style by far, though, are cellular blinds.
"You get good insulation, tons of colours, a choice of cordless or top down bottom up, and they can come with a room darkening feature" says Pilsner-Fisher. "They have all the options available, all the colours available, and it’s affordable."
There are a multitude of options for window coverings, but Pilsner-Fisher says you can easily narrow it down by asking a few important questions: "What do you want it to look like? How do you want your friends and family to feel? How do you want it to function? How much do you want to spend?"
Window coverings typically have a lifespan of about five to 20 years, though Pilsner-Fisher notes the only reason to switch them out after five years is for a change. Functionally, your blinds should easily last 10 to 15 years.
"We always talk about windows coverings being an investment, just like your floor, just your countertops," Pilsner-Fisher says. "When choosing blinds, think about the long term investment you’re making."