I don’t know about you, but here in Denver it just dropped 20 degrees in the last hour and now I am just looking out my windows waiting for the snow to start. At my house we just swapped out the screen door for the glass insert, disconnected all the outdoor hoses from the house and swapped out the filters in the furnace. What do you do to get your house and your rental properties ready for managing winter cold?
As a Canadian I often get asked if I just like the cold. My response is aways, “No I don’t like the cold, I just know how to better dress for it than you do.” The same principal applies to your real estate investments, you need to make sure they are “dressed” for the cold and let’s not forget we might as well look good doing it too 🙂
Today we are getting tips from Kerrie an award-winning interior designer on how to cover our windows to make them look great and along the way help us manage winter cold.
Property Management and Design: How to Select the Right Window Covering for Your Space and block out Winter Cold
by Kerrie Kelly, ASID
Windows are crucial to our sense of home. They give us privacy when we want it and open us to the world when we don’t. It’s no wonder that so many different treatments have been developed over the years.
Whether you’re a homeowner just looking for a simple Roman shade to add some privacy to your space or a corporate housing property manager looking for some interior shutters for a more polished look, start by considering the architecture of the room.
Make sure your window treatments are a good fit for the space—you don’t want to overdo the windows in a room that’s architecturally simple and spare, and likewise, you don’t want something too understated in a room that’s full of structural detail.
Blinds and Interior Shutters
Horizontal and vertical blinds are what we typically see in most corporate and rental housing. These are the plastic or vinyl shutters with louvers that tilt up and down or rotate left to right to let the light in or keep it out. The louvers are generally an inch wide, which is great for privacy, but let in less light and less of the view. Though durable and easy to maintain, this is where most of our clients start when we talk about upgrading their rental space. Many landlords are happy to have, and even subsidize, a more updated look.
Interior shutters, including plantation shutters, use the same type of louvers that blinds do, but are generally made of wood, faux wood or metal, which gives them a much more custom or finished look. The louvers also come in larger sizes on shutters, all the way up to the three-inch louvers that are used on plantation shutters. Plantation shutters are very popular for their high-end, custom look, and go especially well in more traditional design settings for the architectural flair they offer. While they don’t require an extensive remodel, they are best installed by professionals, as they require more infrastructure than traditional interior shutters. When opened, they also have the advantage of offering more air and light than smaller shutters do.
At my interior design firm, Roman shades are our favorite shade option. Timeless in style and functionality and simple to use, Roman shades offer the same clean lines and polished look of interior shutters, but the edges are slightly softened by the pleated, fabric construction. If your style is more contemporary, you can find them with tightly pressed, straight edges, while a more full and voluminous pleat adds some drama and romance in a more traditionally styled space.
Roller shades have come such a long way since the days of plain, white vinyl shading that was great at keeping out the light, but also tended to keep out the style. These days, you can find roller shades constructed of beautiful fabrics, weaves, grasses and reed. They create a very clean line, but add warmth and texture to your space at the same time.
Drapes and Curtains
Drapes and curtains are a great way to soften the room, or add some color if the walls need to remain neutral in tone. Curtains are the simplest and least obtrusive option, especially in a rental setting. Drapes require more hardware, as they hang from hooks connected to sliders that are attached to the rod. Curtains hang directly from the rod, and if you can use a screwdriver and a tape measure, the job is half done! Layer the fabrics with a more sheer panel nearest the window and something thicker and darker on top. That way, you can let in some light while maintaining your privacy, but still have a nice, dark room when the day is done. Pairing fabrics is also a great way to add some depth and texture to the room.
Window treatments are a great way to update a rental or temporary living space. Indulge yourself in luxurious fabrics or richly finished interior shutters, or simply add some colorful drapery panels over your horizontal or vertical blinds. You’ll be amazed by how much better your space will look.
Kerrie Kelly is an award-winning interior designer and a member of the American Society of Interior Designers. She is the author of the popular book Home Décor: A Sunset Design Guide. To view a selection of interior shutters at Home Depot like those reviewed by Kerrie, you can visit the Homedepot.com.
TIP: If your rental property is vacant, NEVER turn off the heat. Saving a few dollars on heat will often result in costly broken pipes.