August 25, 2010

Privacy Please

Living in a house with 29 windows brings challenges in terms of finding and affording window treatments for every window in every room. For those of you who have been in the house, you know there is nary a room/hall/closet/space in the house that doesn't have access to a window. So, we had to prioritize when it came to which rooms needed window coverings first. We quickly took care of the bedrooms and bathrooms (gotta have privacy there) by covering them with mostly cheap/temporary shades for now, and the rest of the rooms we left with bare windows.

Well, after living in the house for almost 2 months now, we decided that we just couldn't live with the bare, wide open windows in the living room any longer. We had to get something to cover these 3 windows so that we have something to block the light (the sun sets on this side of the house bringing in a lot of sunlight and warmth in the afternoon/evening hours) and some privacy during the nighttime hours since this is where we spend most evenings.

Knowing that we didn't have a lot of money to spend, we wanted something on the inexpensive side, but not so cheap and ugly that we'd have to throw it away eventually when we got something "better". So, whatever we got had to fit into our overall design scheme for the room.

With that in mind, we set out to the basic home improvement stores - Lowe's, Home Depot, and Menard's. We set our sights on bamboo blinds. I like the natural wood look of bamboo blinds. They work like roman shades (which I also like) and are very functional. And they can be dressed up later on with curtain panels on either side.

The home improvement stores all had similar options at similar (reasonable) prices. The problem? Size! We decided we wanted to mount the blinds inside the window frame. It looks the most seamless and hides the top valance of the blinds which is usually unfinished at the ends. But our 3 windows were 33 inches and the blinds came in 31 inches, 34 inches, 35 inches etc. And while some of the stores will cut blinds/shades to length, the bamboo blinds were almost always the exception item they wouldn't cut.

So, we headed home after a 4 hour search with empty hands and pockets full. That's when I decided to head to JCPenney, which actually has a fairly well-known custom decorating (and window covering) department, and see what they had in stock. Much to might delight, they were running great sales on window treatments (I'm talking 40-60% off) and they had a variety of bamboo blinds in stock.

Problem? Size! Again! They had bamboo blinds that measured 31 inches, and 34 inches, and 35 inches, but not 33 inches. Enter helpful saleswoman. She asked me if the actual window pane stretched the full 33 inches or if there was some wood trim around the window pane that took up some of that space. Hmmmm... good question. I called Joey who measured the window and relayed the fact that the actual window pane was 30 inches and the wood trim around the pane made up the other 3. So, we could actually buy the bamboo blinds at 31 inches and it would look normal since only wood window trim would show on the sides and the blinds would still cover up the full window panes.

Problem Solved! And with these blinds being on sale at 50% off, that meant I could get all 3 blinds for $75 (it was almost twice that much at Lowe's/Home Depot/Maynard's). Score!

So, here is a snapshot of the bare windows. The windows by themselves are pretty, but we just need some covering at night...

Here is a "night shot" with the bamboo blinds hung and pulled all the way down. The wood of the bamboo coordinates with all the wood trim nicely.

And here are the blinds pulled up most of the way during the day/evening.

You can see in this close up shot that the blinds aren't complete "privacy" blinds in the sense that you can kind of see through them. For example, when it's still daylight out, I can see the images outside (which I like), but the light is still greatly filtered. Standing outside at night looking into the lighted room, you can kind of see the images inside, but not near as noticeable as having no coverings at all. So, for us, this works great for the living area, but I wouldn't recommend for a bedroom or bathroom where you may want total privacy.



Eventually, I will get some beautiful curtains to hang on either side of the 3 windows. This will dress up the room a little as well as add some texture/pattern/interest to the room. But for now, this will do! Pin It

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