Hunter Douglas

How to Bring Light into Your Home

Window shutters

Window shutters are a great window treatment for maximizing the amount of natural light in a room. Imagine the times when you’ve walked into a room and it immediately felt warm and welcoming and then the times when you’ve walked into a room with beautiful furnishings and décor but it felt cold and sterile.

It’s all about lighting. Lighting is a powerful, but often overlooked, element in the way home feels. Lighting affects our moods – consider how many homes in the northernmost parts of the country, where daylight is scarce during the month, have sunlight-emulating lighting to keep the blues away – and it’s an essential element in your home’s design.

There are two types of lighting in any home. One is natural lighting, which comes in from the outside. The other type of lighting is artificial lighting, and it comes from bulbs in light fixtures inside the home.

Daylighting, which uses the natural light coming into your home to its full capacity, is what gives a home that warm, cozy feeling. As much as you are able, even if you have some smaller windows, you should incorporate daylighting into your home’s design. The more heavily you rely on artificial light during the day, the less of that warm and inviting feeling your home will have.

The key to successful daylighting is to allow as much light in as you’re able without making the room too hot or giving up privacy. Window coverings like dark, heavy drapes give you no fine control over natural light. Either it’s blocked completely or it’s shining in full strength. Although window treatments like sheers are usually paired with drapes to handle natural light control, they do filter light, but they don’t give much privacy or the ability to maintain a comfortable temperature.

Window shutters, on the other hand, give you lots of control over natural light. You can have them fully open for the maximum amount of natural light, or tilted to let some light in while ensuring privacy, or completely closed for absolute privacy and maximum temperature control.

One way to add more natural light into your home is to use mirrors and wall colors that take advantage of the light. Placing mirrors beside windows will allow the mirrors to reflect light from the windows into the rooms. Not only will it make rooms look bigger, but it will give the rooms more natural light. Using light paint colors on the walls will also give rooms more natural light they reflect light. Dark wall colors absorb light, so rooms with walls that are painted in a dark color will always seem darker, no matter how many windows, mirrors, and artificial lights are there.

Artificial light is not all bad. The key to successfully lighting your home is to layer your lighting. Use multiple sources of light, such as standing lamps, wall sconces, and table lamps, strategically laid out in rooms to create balance and warmth. Add some recessed lighting with a dimmer switch to create accent or mood lighting.

To get the best out of artificial lighting requires choosing the right kind of light bulbs. Daylight bulbs and fluorescent lighting have a cool blue tone, which will not give you the kind of warmth you want in your home. Warm-toned light bulbs that are faintly yellow (soft white with a Kelvin temperature between 1,800 and 3,000) will give you the best temperature for artificial lighting that doesn’t feel cold.

If you’d like to learn about how window shutters can enhance your home’s natural light, you can speak with our experienced staff at McNeill Palm. You can come to our showroom at 1191 N. Elgin Pkwy, Ste. C, Shalimar, FL 32579, or you can call us at (850) 613-6228.

Solar Window Shades for Energy Efficiency

Window shades

Window shades are a key factor in energy efficiency because the easiest way for heat to travel from warm areas to cool areas is through windows. This is known as heat transfer. The U. S. Department of Energy estimates that between 25 and 40% of home heating and cooling costs can be attributed to windows.

With Florida’s balmy weather that boasts more than 250 sunny or partly-sunny days a year, providing an above-average amount of natural light compared with most other parts of the country. But all that wonderful light also can raise cooling costs and can create annoying glare on your computer screen or TV.

Solar window shades offer a solution that will please everyone. They are constructed of a tightly-woven fabric that, unlike many other types of window shades, allows light into your home while reflecting solar heat and harmful ultraviolet rays away from your home. In fact, they work on much the same principle as sunglasses. This effect reduces glare, keeps rooms at a comfortable temperature, and protects the contents of your home, including carpet, furniture, and wood flooring.

Solar window shades have many benefits beyond saving you money on energy costs (an average of 15%, though Florida homeowners may see greater savings). So, while you can expect a significant reduction in the amount you have to pay on power bills each month with solar shades installed, they are a good window shade option for other reasons as well.

Solar window shades that are closed let you maintain the view outside of your home, while most other window shades block your view when they are closed.

They have different levels of openness, which controls how much light is filtered through them. The first level of window shade openness is transparent, which allows anywhere from 5-14% of light come in. The second level of openness is translucent, which allows between 1 and 3% of light to come in. And solar window shades also have a blackout level of openness (helpful for people who work at night and sleep during the day or in rooms where small children nap or sleep), which allows absolutely no light in.

Solar window shades come in many textures and colors, so it’s easy to find one that will complement your current home décor. They are woven with materials that are flame-resistant and antimicrobial, so your windows stay clean of the little bugs that can wreak havoc and, in the event of a fire, they will help prevent it from rapidly spreading.

Solar window shades can be motorized, which is a nice feature to have on window shades. Motorization makes it easy to open solar window shades no matter how high or tall the window or skylight is. Most motorization can be controlled by a remote that included with your solar window shades or by using smart technology on your digital devices.

Solar shades can also be installed on the exterior of your home, in places like patios and porches. Exterior solar shades are specifically designed to be corrosion, flame, and mildew resistant, making them an excellent choice to cool outdoor spaces for relaxation or gatherings.

For more information about solar window shades, you talk with our experienced staff at McNeill Palm. You can come to our showroom at 1191 N. Elgin Pkwy, Ste. C, Shalimar, FL 32579, or you can call us at (850) 613-6228.

When to Replace Window Coverings

Window covering

Window covering replacement is something that should typically be done on a regular basis to keep your home’s look fresh and updated. But how do you know when it’s time to replace or update your window coverings? There are some signs that you can look for to give you guidance.

If your window coverings, such as blinds, shades, or curtains have yellowed or become discolored, the sun’s UV rays have taken their toll on them. Ultraviolet light from the sun eventually fades anything it hits on a continuous basis. This can include window coverings, furniture, carpet, and even hardwood floors.

Over time, ultraviolet light will cause window coverings to yellow or discolor. If you’ve had your window coverings installed for a decade or more, then it’s probably time to consider replacing them. Window covering designs have be continuously improved so that they now offer excellent protection from ultraviolet light, which will, in turn, protect hardwood floors, furniture, and carpet. Once window coverings have become discolored or have turned yellow, their structural integrity may be compromised.

Another sign that your window coverings like blinds need to be replaced is when the slats of the blinds are warped or bent. Some homes have plastic or vinyl blinds, which can bend and get disconnected from the opening mechanism very easily. Eventually, they become harder to open and close, the slats don’t sit properly in the blinds in either position. These should be replaced with sturdier window coverings that have either non-corded or motorized operation.

Window coverings such as wood or faux wood blinds need to be replaced when the slats are warped (heat from the sun causes this). Although repairs may be possible if only a few of the slats are warped, many wood and faux wood blinds are custom window coverings, so it may not be feasible. Your best option is to go ahead and replace them.

Trouble with lowering and raising your window coverings such as blinds or opening and closing window coverings such as drapes or curtains, then the lifting mechanism is likely damaged. New lifting mechanisms, while including corded operation, include motorized and non-corded operation, which is not only safer in houses with children and pets, but also results in less wear and tear on the lifting mechanisms, because the same amount of force is applied every time to each operation.

If your window coverings are blinds and you have to tilt the blind wand over and over, with the slats barely moving at all, then the functionality of the blinds is compromised, and you should consider replacing them.

You should also consider replacing all your window coverings – curtains, shades, blinds, and drapes – if you have small children or pets in your home. Corded window coverings pose a danger because little children and pets can get tangled up in the cords, which can lead to serious injury or even death. Childproof options for window coverings include non-corded operation, motorized operation, and many of these can be programmed using smart technology, which makes them safer and can make your home more comfortable.

For more information on window covering replacement, you can talk with our knowledgeable team at McNeill Palm. You can visit our showroom at 1191 N. Elgin Pkwy, Ste. C, Shalimar, FL 32579, or you can contact us at (850) 613-6228.