Window Dressings – Natural, Artificial or a Combination?
Windows need treatment if they are bare or if existing dressings need replacement. The process of door and window dressings, though last in the list of activities of home beautification, is the final touch. This final touch can transform an interior into a labor of beauty and convenience. To use an analogy, window dressing is like adding the final twist to a dish with the intention of converting it into a gourmet item. Like in cookery a plethora of information confronts us for window dressing from magazines, the Internet, word-of-mouth and our own experience.
Would we spare an additional expense to procure that transformational secret ingredient that would convert an ordinary meal into a gourmet experience? Probably not. So let us assume that we can squeeze in that little bit of money to procure transformational dressing material that will give us years of good living and home- pride. What would a good choice be?
Luckily, each area of a home has its own window treatment requirement. Requirements range from elegance to utility to easy control and easy maintenance. For example, the immediate demand for entertaining and living spaces is elegance and slick control. For utility areas and kitchen window treatments, it is maintenance and easy control. For exteriors, it is ruggedness, easy management, and maintenance. With this in mind, we can go ahead and splurge where necessary, economize where possible and still work within limits of our budget.
Important parameters for window blinds, shades and dressings are texture, versatility, maintenance, longevity and return on investment (ROI).
When it comes to texture, maintenance, longevity and ROI very few material can compete with natural material like wood and fiber. They have variety and unpredictable variation and can be crafted to enhance aesthetic qualities and pattern that can hardly be attained when working with artificial, mass-produced look-alike material. Plastic is available in a variety of grades. The inherent quality and cost of plastic depend on the virginity of the granules used for its fabrication. When we compare window dressing material, wood blinds are far superior to those made of even the highest grade granules. The texture and grain of the wood can be accentuated by treating it with the right finish. A coat of polish gives the wood a level of sophistication that can be very satisfying. An entire pallet of tint is readily available to suit any decorative demand. If the user wishes to use paint rather than polish, the choice of colors and shades is almost limitless. The greatest advantage of having blinds made of wood is that it can be used for a lifetime. Paint and polish can easily be scraped off. A new coat of paint or polish will render it suitable for new decor. Also, keep in mind that wood can be recycled and from the environmental point of view, wood is renewable and bio-degradable. To highlight the superiority of natural material, please keep in mind that good quality natural material well maintained attain antique value with age. Remember, we rarely associate plastics with the word ‘antique.’
Natural hardwood is ideal when the requirement is for horizontal blinds and plantation shutters. It has natural insulation properties and can be easily controlled to provide light and darkness as required. In terms of value, very few window dressing options can compare with plantation shutters when the house is put up for sale. For large windows or patio doors, wood can be used in the form of sliding panels or bamboo and fabric vertical blinds treated with an insulating material can be considered. The fact that natural material is almost 30% more expensive than an artificial look-alike should not be a deterrent because it will turn out to be a one-time investment that appreciates over time as against synthetic options that will, in fact, visibly deteriorate and depreciate over time. Try not to compromise in areas that need elegance and easy control. Also, keep in mind, the environment is in desperate need for us to be ‘green conscious’. Make responsible use of renewable material that the earth provides.
An artificial material is cheaper and easily replaced. They can be engineered to attain look-alike elegance of natural material and can also be fabricated to provide efficient insulation, light management, easy control and in locations like the kitchen and bathroom where grit, water, and dampness resistance is necessary, dressings made of the artificial material is a very good choice. Artificial materials, though easily replaceable, is not environment-friendly or biodegradable and as evidence mounts all around us, harmful to the well-being of our planet. One interesting point, to keep in mind, is that artificial material has a ‘shelf life’ after which it will have to be scrapped and replaced.
Natural and / or artificial – these options can be customized in terms of budget, color and texture to suit design and decor requirements. With these basics clear in the mind, it becomes easier to choose and approach a reliable supplier to place an order. Reliable suppliers provide adequate information and support for measurement and installation – final ingredients for the ultimate twist.