When assembling the interior design of your home or workspace, deciding between the multiple kinds of window treatments in the marketplace can be a difficult process. You may find yourself attempting to balance functionality and appearance, while trying to determine if shades or blinds are best for your windows. At Interior Dreams in Pagosa Springs, Colorado, we are here to help every customer work through the advantages and disadvantages of each kind of window treatment, and make the best informed decision as possible. There are many factors to consider before making your choice and we are here to help with the process. But first, there is usually some confusion on the difference between a window shade and a window blind, so let’s discuss briefly what the main differences are.
Blinds vs. Shades, what is the difference?
A window blind is almost always made from a hard material such as aluminum, faux wood, vinyl, or wood. Window blinds can also be made from natural fabrics, and are constructed with slats that can be angled and tilted to allow the desired amount of light into the room. On the other hand, window shades are typically one piece and come in a variety of soft materials. They are controlled by a pull-cord mechanism and don’t have the ability to tilt or move at a different angle. Window shades come in many versatile forms including roman, cellular, and blackout. Now that we have discussed two of the most popular types of window treatments for your windows, let’s discuss how to narrow down which one might be a better fit for your home.
Location, location, location…
Although every decision with your home decor is very personal and there are many factors that ultimately influence your decision, here are some helpful factors to consider while you narrow down your search. One of the biggest considerations that you need to remember is the location of the room itself in the house. Buying window treatments for your kitchen window will be completely different than buying window treatments for your bedroom, because the desired effects and environmental factors are unique to each room. One of these considerations should be the moisture level in the room. In rooms such as the bathroom and kitchen, moisture levels are higher, and therefore you would want to choose a blind or shade that is as water resistant as possible. In other rooms such as the bedroom or dining room, moisture levels do not need to be as much of a consideration. Experts recommend purchasing faux wood or aluminum blinds for those rooms that have higher humidity as a result of daily use and activities.
Light Levels and Energy Efficiency
Another factor to consider when evaluating the room itself is how much light control you want and levels of privacy you desire. Some rooms in your house you will inevitably want to keep darker than others at times, and you also might want more flexibility in the range of possible light levels overall. For example, you might want your bedrooms to be able to get a little bit darker as you hit snooze on those weekend days. In rooms such as the kitchen and dining room, you might desire the ability to let in as much natural light as possible. Each room in your home has a different use, so it makes sense that your window treatments adjust accordingly.
It is also beneficial to think about energy efficiency when narrowing down your results. Experts say that we can lose up to 40% of energy through the glass panes on our windows which means higher heat bills in the winter, and more difficulty keeping your home cool in the summer season. If energy efficiency is at the top of your needs, it is recommended to choose cellular or honeycomb shades because their unique chambers are designed to capture warm air in the winter, and cool air in the summer. Another good alternative for energy efficiency are faux and real wood blinds.
Taking Your Style Into Consideration
Lastly, you will want to focus on the actual appearance and design of the window treatment that you decide on. This is usually the most enjoyable part, and it’s easier than you think to find inspiration from your existing decor. Take a look around your house and see what existing colors and patterns you’re already using, and take this into consideration. Don’t be afraid to add a little more color, but also keep in mind what your window treatments will look like from the outside of your house. We are often so focused on the interior appeal that we forget what it might look like from the curb of the neighborhood, so make sure to take a minute to step outside (literally). And although there are dozens of window treatments in every color and pattern imaginable, at Interior Dreams we are ultimately here to help you go over all of the pros and cons of each kind and make sure you make the best informed decision as possible. Stop by our store today or give us a call, and we’ve got you covered!
Purchasing good quality wood furniture can be a big investment for any family, whether you’re just starting out or are looking for an upgrade. It is important, therefore, to understand what can be done to maintain the quality of your wooden furniture pieces so that they can retain their value and sleek appearance.
Causes of Wood Furniture Damage
The first step in understanding how to prevent damage and maintain the condition of your wooden furniture is to understand what environmental elements can cause damage to your pieces. The vast majority of damage to pieces of wooden furniture stems from a lack of understanding of the properties of wood and how it interacts with its surrounding environment. Below we will highlight common environmental factors that may affect the quality of your wood pieces.
Light – Light is probably the most common environmental factor that can affect the quality of your wood furniture, and is quite manageable in the grand scheme of maintaining an optimal environment. As a general rule, the brightness and intensity of light is directly proportional to how much damage it may inflict. Unfortunately, light’s damaging effects are often irreversible. Depending on how bright the light that your furniture is exposed to, light can cause discoloration or bleaching, and can wear down the furniture’s coatings. Naturally, the best remedy for this problem is to remove your furniture from light as much as possible. This may include turning off lights when you are not in a room, leaving blinds closed during the day, or adding some type of cover to the exposed surface.
Humidity – As humidity rises and falls with changes in the weather, wood tends to absorb any excess water in the air, causing it to swell. This swelling tends to occur unevenly, and occurs differently depending on the direction of the wood grain. Over time this can cause furniture to warp, which may result in damage or pieces not fitting together correctly. It is important to maintain a relatively average humidity throughout the year in order to prevent the furniture’s wood from swelling and shrinking. If necessary, using a humidifier in the winter or a de-humidifier in summer may help mitigate large changes in relative humidity. Although this is not as big of an issue here in Southwest Colorado, it is still an important factor to take into account.
Mold, Mildew, and Fungus – Speaking of humidity, it is not uncommon for certain types of mold, mildew, and fungus to grow on wood furniture in environments with extreme humidity. As a general rule, keep relative humidity levels under 70% to keep most types of mold, mildew, and fungus from growing on your furniture. This also includes keeping your furniture away from any areas that are exposed to any excess water or moisture. If any of these growths do occur, reduce humidity gradually as to not cause shock to the wood. Basically, keep your furniture away from extreme moisture and these problems should not occur.
Cleaning Wood Surfaces
Most of the time, wood will not need much more than a light dusting to keep it clean and tidy. If there is an excessive buildup of dirt or wax, or if the wood is unfinished, painted, or has a strong finish, cleaning the wood may be a good solution to maintain its original quality. If the wood is already showing signs of damage, it is best to let a professional handle any cleaning and restoration as to not further damage the piece.
A lot of the time, if dusting doesn’t do the trick, a slightly damp cloth may be able to safely remove any access accumulation of dirt or dust. It seems overly simple, but it is important to remember that excessive use of furniture polishing sprays and waxes can build up over time, even causing dirt and dust to be trapped underneath. If there’s a large buildup of dirt or dust, an easy solution might be to use to brush extension on your vacuum cleaner. This adapter will likely be able to remove much of the unwanted buildup while not scratching the wood surface.
If cleaning your furniture is necessary to remove unwanted dirt, the best option is to use a diluted cleaning solution. Most importantly you need to test which solution works best on an unexposed surface of the furniture. A very small amount of mineral spirits or paint thinner diluted in water will hopefully do the trick. Clean only small areas at a time in order to prevent the wood from being exposed to too much moisture from the cleaning products. Follow the cleaning solution with a slightly damp cloth, followed by a dry cloth in order to remove any excess cleaning solution and moisture.
To put the finishing touches on your freshly cleaned wood furniture, you can apply a hard furniture polish in order to bring out the wood finish’s original shine. Waxing and polishing doesn’t need to be done very often, and if done too frequently can cause a cloudy buildup on the surface.
Source: Smithsonian Institute
Whether you’re a potential first time homeowner, a prospective remodeler, or even considering selling your home, it’s important to understand how different flooring options can affect the resale value of your home.
While your choice in flooring may work well for you, the preference of potential homebuyers is what ultimately drives the market value of your home. In general, the higher quality of flooring that is installed, the more that your house will be worth. However, that does not necessarily mean that investing in the most expensive version of flooring will always pay off in the long run.
In the flooring world, hardwood is king. This is by no means a new phenomenon, but this option has seen the most growth in preference over the last few decades. If you have hardwood lurking underneath existing carpet, a quick and easy way to increase the value of your home is just to rip up the carpet!
Of course, preference for flooring types is not universal, but preferences can especially differ depending on the geographic location of your home. Homebuyers in more humid and tropical locations, for instance, tend to prefer porcelain tile to carpeting in order to keep their homes cool in the summer. Here in Southwest Colorado, on the other hand, carpeting seems to be a quite popular option due to its ability to retain heat during the frigid Colorado winters. While hardwood is probably a safe choice for any climate, it is important to take into account your location when choosing to install new flooring.
Kitchen: Kitchens are a very central part to any home, and thus are good options to focus on for remodeling projects. While in years past tile has been the preferred standard for kitchen flooring, hardwood has swooped in as the number one choice in recent years. Don’t be alarmed, though, if your home has tile, as this is still welcomed by many prospective buyers. Should you choose to replace your existing flooring with new tile, the larger 18” tile seems to be preferred over the more outdated 12” counterparts. Porcelain tile tends to hold up longer and retain its color better than ceramic tile, but can often be a most cost-prohibitive investment.
Bathroom: It is probably obvious that tile is the first and only choice of the vast majority of prospective homebuyers. Hardwood flooring warps when exposed to moisture, so it is almost always a no-go for bathrooms. Carpeted bathrooms become dirty very easily and attract the buildup of mold and mildew. After tile, the second most popular options are vinyl or laminate, which tend to not raise the value of a home. Simple but important updates to a bathroom can be a great investment in your home, helping to increase its desirability and resale value.
Living Room: For living rooms, and other rooms that are found on the main level of a home such as a dining room, the majority of homeowners tend to prefer hardwood flooring, but this can of course differ with personal preference and geography. As previously stated, if there is hardwood installed under existing carpet, ripping up the carpet and refinishing the hardwood is an easy and cost-effective way to increase a home’s value.
Bedroom: The jury is still out on this one. Geographic location will probably play a bigger role here, as many people worry about waking up to cold floors. People also tend to prefer what they’re used to, so if they were raised in a home where the bedrooms had carpeting, they will probably prefer carpeted bedrooms in their new home as well.
If you’re planning on replacing the flooring in only one room or in just a portion of your home, it is important to take the existing flooring into account. When it comes to hardwood or laminate, it is a good rule of thumb to match existing flooring to create a universal flow throughout the house. Many new homebuyers choose to install new carpet the house, even if it’s in pretty good shape. In this case, it may be a good idea to offer new carpeting to entice buyers wary of existing stains, odors, dirt, germs, or pet hair.
While preferences differ for all people, there are still good ways you can optimize your home for the best possible resale value. Properly maintaining your existing flooring can also be an affective way to avoid the high cost of replacement.
For more information on specific flooring options, feel free to use this comprehensive guide.