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Choosing Window Dressings: Tips & Advice

Leanne Tranter

Leanne Tranter

Kitchen Designer

Leanne is a kitchen designer at our Bournemouth showroom on Poole Road in Westbourne.
Leanne Tranter
Inspiration and Advice

Author: Leanne Tranter

Posted on 28 Jun 2017

Choosing Window Dressings: Tips & Advice
Our passion for large areas of glazing that allow living spaces to seamlessly merge into the outdoors has opened up our homes, creating modern, highly liveable family spaces. In particular, kitchens that flow into the garden via large windows or expanses of folding and sliding doors have become the must-have when remodelling a kitchen. But how do you protect your space from overheating in the summer months and economically heat a space with so much glass? And what do you do when privacy is called for? Or you don’t want to end up sitting at dinner facing a wall of black when it’s dark outside?

Shutters and blinds are both a practical and stylish choice for the kitchen. They can shut out prying eyes, protect you from the glare of the midday sun plus add warmth, colour and texture to a scheme. 

Buying Blinds

Blind choices are varied and what you buy will largely depend on the size of your window and how overlooked your kitchen is there are five main styles:

An Oak Shaker kitchen design with roller blind window dressingRoller: 
Roller blinds are an affordable neat and contemporary choice. Off the shelf offerings in a variety of sizes are widely available and most can be easily cut to fit your window. They’re also the most affordable made-to-measure option. If you’re worried about too little light coming in they often also come with bottom-up (also called pull-up) mechanisms, rising from a cartridge fixed to the window sill. Translucent roller blinds are an effective choice if you’re overlooked but still want to allow in maximum light. They’re also a great choice for roof windows.

Roman:
More decorative and softer, these work well in traditional kitchen designs. Hanging flat just like a roller blind when lowered, they rise to form attractive pleats when opened giving a more decorative effect. Lined with blackout and insulating fabrics they provide an effective light and heat control. In rooms that are already verging on the gloomy they might not be the best option, as they will not rise to expose all off the window.

Venetian:
Made of wood or metal slats in a variety of widths, these can be raised and lowered as with other blinds but tilting the slats allows in as little or as much light as you need. A less expensive alternative to shutters, they’re easy to wipe clean, which is useful in the steamy atmosphere of a kitchen. If good insulation is high on your wish-list, then wooden blinds are a cheaper option than shutters but if fitted properly will be as affective at controlling light and temperature.

Vertical: 
Easy to maintain, vertical or vane blinds have come a long way from their traditional ‘office’ originsA painted Shaker design with walnut island and window seat. They’re a clever alternative to several rollers or Venetians, which could be a fiddly to open and close, if you have a large expanse of glass such as bi-fold or sliding doors. A variety of widths, colours and materials are available and opting for blackout and solar designs will allow you to regulate light and heat. Look for ones without weights and chains at the bottom as they are much safer for covering patio doors if you have children running in and out during the day. 

Panel blinds:
A chic, modern choice, extra wide panel blinds in translucent fabrics look similar to roller blinds but slide to one side rather than up and down. They can be used like Japanese style room separators in open-plan rooms to zone areas such as cooking and living.

Choosing Shutters

While they are often the most expensive option, you shouldn’t always dismiss shutters because of budget restrictions, as not all are made out of pricey wood, with some available in in more affordable materials such as polymer-coated MDF, hardwearing vinyl and ABS, a waterproof material designed specifically for kitchens and bathrooms. 
The style of shutter you choose will depend on the room and the area you want to cover but a home consultation is advisable. This will ensure you have the right type and that your windows are professionally measured to ensure they are a perfect fit. 

Full height:
Covering the entire window with a clean and simple appearance, these open as one unit. The slats, or louvers, often tilt via a central pole mechanism on each panel to alter the amount of light coming in – much like Venetian blinds. However many companies now offer ‘rod free’ variants for a cleaner appearance.

Tier on tier shutters with our bench seatingTier on Tier: 
These will allow for privacy without sacrificing light. They have two independently opening levels, with top and bottom panels that open and close independently. They help to guard against prying eyes, particularly if your kitchen is overlooked without blocking too much light.

Tracked:
This kind of shutter slides along a track and negates the need for frames and hinges. They’re particularly good for large areas of glass, as bi-fold versions concertina back when opened to provide plenty of access, while bi-pass designs slide behind one another similar to sliding doors.

Café Style: 
Fitted only to the bottom half of a window, these let light come in at the top but prevent anyone looking in at the bottom.

Solid: 
These are simple wood panels that cover all of the window. They will effectively keep out light and noise so work well in bedrooms, but aren’t really suitable if you want your light controlled in degrees.

Browse our website and social media for lots of inspiration about window dressings for your new room, and don't hesitate to discuss your requirements with a designer in your local showroom by calling 0800 389 6938.

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