December 13, 2017
When homeowners think of window treatments for extra-large windows, shades aren’t always their first choice. After all, it’s much more fun to visualize gorgeous, billowing drapery than streamlined, horizontal shades! Plus, choosing shades that work well—both structurally and aesthetically—over a large span can be a little bit tricky. But shades do have their advantages over drapery, so it’s not really fair to disregard them outright.
If you’re considering having shades installed over one of your windows, here are some things to keep in mind:
For covering wide windows, it’s wise to stick with lightweight materials and designs. Sheer shades are a great choice. We recommend this because, according to certain laws of mathematics (mainly the Square-Cube law, for anyone interested), the mass of an object will increase exponentially faster than its dimensions. In laymen’s terms, this means that larger shades will typically be much heavier than smaller shades, even if they’re made out of the same stuff. And not only can this make large shades prohibitively difficult to raise, but it can also cause them to require motorization. By choosing lightweight components and strategic construction techniques, you’ll help compensate for the increased weight, enabling the shades to stay functional and pretty.
Another way to avoid the issue of your shades becoming heavy and cumbersome is to use two or three smaller sets instead of one enormous shade. These individual sets can be installed to all hang from the same headrail, and a drapery professional can help you pick a style or design that will appear almost seamless when the shades are properly aligned. By combining these two techniques, you can give your window treatment the appearance of having one large, continuous set of shades without the increased weight. As an added bonus, you won’t have to take an “all or nothing” approach when it comes to raising the shades; if you’d like to uncover only part of the window, it’ll be easy enough to do so.
Although many folks love the look of a large window in their home (especially if said window provides a beautiful, picturesque view of the outside), glass “walls” don’t offer much in the way of privacy. Shades are often added with the intention of blocking a hypothetical onlooker’s view of a house’s interior, and they usually serve this purpose well.
Combat feelings of uncertainty by trusting in technology. Timer systems, for example, allow homeowners set certain hours of the day that shades should be opened or closed. You can thus tell your shades to close down while you’re supposed be at work during the morning/afternoon and then open up after you arrive home in the evening. Smartphone technology takes this concept to the next level by allowing homeowners to check on their shades remotely; an app on your smartphone or tablet will tell you whether the shades are currently opened or closed, and you can easily adjust their position with the touch of a button.
Whether you choose shades or drapery for your next window treatment project will depend upon a variety of factors: your budget, your artistic vision for the room, the appearance of other rooms in your house (and possibly your furniture), etc. It should be based on the fact that shades are practical and possible to hang over large windows. With the right materials, style, and even technological help, shades can be just as beautiful and useful as long, dramatic drapery. So why not give them a chance?